Huacachina is a small desert city in Peru surrounded by sand dunes and some of the driest climate in the world. With a laguna and palm trees in the center of it, this little city is a true desert oasis that is quite the attraction for travelers and backpackers.
If you are planning a trip to Peru, it’s well worth to spend a few days in Huacachina enjoying the warm desert breeze and fun adventurous activities.
Here is our travel guide to visiting Huacachina including what to do, where to stay, eat and more.
The Ultimate Guide To Huacachina, Peru:
Things To Do In Huacachina
Go On A Sand Buggy Tour
A sand buggy tour is hands down the best activity to do in Huacachina. It’s an adrenaline packed tour riding in a buggy car up and down giant sand dunes at high speeds.
The sand buggy tours in Huacachina start at 7 am and end when the sun goes down around 6 pm. The tour companies and local guides offering sand dune rides are located all over town but if you’re looking for the best deals, go directly where all the sand buggies are parked and negotiate with the drivers directly.
The first and lasts tours of the day cost around 20-30 soles ($7-$10 USD) and take about an hour. All other tours during the day take 2 hours and cost around 40 soles ($13 USD).
The sand buggy tour is such a fun and exciting experience. The drivers take sharp turns and bomb down steep hills in a ride that is similar to a thrilling roller coaster ride.
Part of the sand dune tour is also trying out a bit of sand boarding. We stopped on top of a huge hill and got to sand board or sled down a massive sand dune.
The best times for doing the sand buggy tours are early mornings or late evenings, when the sun and the desert heat is not too scorching yet.
Make sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen on the tour. Also wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sand and closed toe tennis shoes to prevent your toes and feet from burning up in the sand.
Hike A Sand Dune For Sunset
While staying in Huacachina, hiking a sand dune for sunset is a must. The best sand dune viewpoint is located right where the sand buggy tours start. Just past the water tower, there is a narrow path leading up a giant sand dune that provides amazing views of the Huacachina city below.
After watching the sun disappear behind the dunes, the sunsets in Huacachina often result in beautiful pink and purple colored sky.
This tall sand dune is also one of the best spots to photograph the Huacachina Oasis below. We were happy we brought with us our Rokinon wide lens with our Sony camera to capture the entire sand dune. A wide lens is perfect for capturing epic landscape and nature shots.
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Go Sand Boarding
If you got a little taste of sand boarding on the dune buggy tour and just can’t get enough, Hotel Silva House offers sand board specific tours that will take you to 4 different sand boarding locations for 150 soles per person ($50 USD).
If you’re looking for a cheaper DIY deal, they also offer sand board rentals for 35 soles (around $10 USD). After all, there are sand dunes that you can hike and board down all around Huacachina in every direction you look.
Hit Up A Party
The hostels in Huacachina are notorious for their wild parties and luckily they also offer free entrances to their pool parties and clubs. We spent an entire day hanging out at Wild Rover’s pool party that turned into a club at night. I can’t remember last time I had so much fun at a bar as we did at Wild Rover. It’s just a good time filled with lots of energy and dancing.
Visit Tacama Winery
Tacama winery, just a 30-minute ride from Huachina, is one of the oldest vineyards in South America and it’s still going strong selling a variety of wines and Pisco liquors made of 23 types of grapes.
Although the winery is surrounded by desert and dry climate, the soil in this region is quite fertile with water being supplied from the Andes highlands through an irrigation canal making it possible to harvests grapes in the midst of the desert.
Tacama Winery is a lovely place to stop by for dinner or to hop on one of the wine tasting tours. For 10 soles (around $3 USD) we did an hour long tour of the winery completed with tasting 3 of their wines and a Pisco, a local Peruvian spirit made of grapes.
The fermentation process for Pisco is a bit different from wine resulting in a much stronger liquor. A popular Pisco drink in this region is Pisco Sour made of Pisco, egg white, lime juice, simple syrup, and bitters. It’s a delicious concoction sold just about anywhere around Huacachina.
Fly Over Nazca Lines
The Nazca Lines are large ancient drawings in the desert landscape 2 hours south of Huacachina. These drawings, made of different geometrical shapes and figures often resembling animals, were created 500 BC and now are a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mystery revolving around the origins and purpose of these historical drawings have turned it one of the most popular day tours from Huacachina.
Due to their size, the best way to see the Nazca Lines is by flying over them in a plane. We personally didn’t do this but our friends did a flying tour and they absolutely loved it. For around $100 USD they booked a private plane for a once-in-a-lifetime experience of flying over the Nazca Lines.
Where To Stay In Huacachina
When it comes to accommodations in Huacachina, there are hotels and hostels appealing to every taste.
Top Hostels In Huacachina:
- If you’re looking for a fun party hostel with a young college crowd, the Wild Rover is the best spot to stay at for a good time. Know for a fun atmosphere and a lively bar mimicking that of a spring break in Mexico, during the day this hostel hosts fun pool parties and at night it turns into a club. This is the hostel where you can take shots at noon or lounge by the pool sipping Coronas and nobody will judge you.
- For a more chill vibe, check out Banana’s Adventure Hostel. This hostel has a laid-back atmosphere catering towards travelers and couples in their late 20’s and early 30’s that still want to get a good deal but also care about getting a good nights sleep (at least for a few hours).
Top Hotels In Huacachina:
- Surrounded by sand dunes with a pool at the center of it, Hotel El Huacachinero looks like a true desert oasis. The tropical outdoors space combined with a modern bar and friendly service makes this hotel a wonderful escape in the desert heat.
- Hotel Mossone is a tranquil hotel built in Spanish style completed with a lush garden courtyard. This hotel is perfect for couples and families that enjoy being in the midst of the city while seeking out a bit of peace and calm.
- Las Dunas Hotel is a gorgeous resort just 15 minutes out of Huacachina. Featuring 3 pools, 3 restaurants, 2 bars,
anda spa, this is the nicest hotel in the area. It’s the perfect place to stay for a romantic getaway or if you’re just looking to splurge on nice accommodation for your vacation.
Where To Eat & Drink
Pizza At Wild Olive Restaurant
We have been experimenting with pizza abroad for a while now. It’s usually a hit or miss (in most cases a miss), but the pizza at Wild Olive restaurant was simply delicious.
We had pretty low expectations when we saw that we had to pick our own ingredients in a build-your-own-pizza style but we totally loved how it came out. The ingredients really complimented each other well, the bread dough was soft and fluffy and overall it was one of the best pizza’s we’ve had in a while. And the bonus was a beautiful view of the Huacachina laguna with a warm breeze to cool off from the heat.
Lunch At Bananas Adventure Bar
Bananas Adventure is one of the most popular hostels in Huacachina offering a relaxed yet fun atmosphere. We really enjoyed their open outdoors seating area complete with a round bar and a cute garden restaurant.
Unlike some of the party hostels in Huacachina, Bananas Adventure offers more variety in food and drinks than cheap beers and basic bar food. It’s a great place to visit for lunch to enjoy cocktails and delicious food for low prices.
Pisco Cocktails At Nuna Cocina-Bar
Pisco is a local Peruvian drink made of distilled grape liquor. We tried some at the
At Nuna Cocina-Bar you can try a local drink called Pisco Sour or a Maracuya Pisco. Maracuya is a local fruit that I have been obsessed with since I found it in Colombia. Maracuya’s sweet taste makes it a popular complimentary flavor for cocktails and fruit juices.
Other Must-Know Tips
Getting To Huacachina
Unless you have your own vehicle, the best way to get to Huacachina is by Peru Hop private bus since it is the only bus that goes to Huacachina directly from Lima and Cusco. Public buses go only as far as the
Peru Hop is a hop-on hop-off bus that sells passes valid for multiple stops. It is also the only bus system with an English speaking assistant and will drop off passangers at the foot steps of their hotels.
To see the ticket prices and route options, check out the Peru Hop website here.
Currency Used In Peru
The currency used in Peru is the Sol. At the current exchange rate $1 USD will get you around 3 Peruvian Soles.
Overall things in Huacachina cost a bit cheaper than in the US but not by much because it is a tourist destination after all. An average meal in Huacachina costs around $8-$12 USD and drinks cost around $5 USD.
While hotels and bigger businesses typically accept VISA credit cards, smaller businesses in Peru only accept cash. From our experience, most businesses do not accept other credit cards like AMEX or MasterCard because they don’t have the systems set up to charge these cards. It’s always a good idea to keep some cash on you in case you need to purchase water or flag down a cab.
Tip: When paying with a VISA credit card, make sure to ask for the payment in Soles instead of USD because that will give you the best exchange rate (and who doesn’t like more money in their bank). The credit card system used in Peru is VISA Exchange and when charging the card ask the attendant to select Option 2 on the machine to pay in Soles. When paying with a card we typically ask them to bring the credit card machine to us. It’s better for safety reasons and also it lets us confirm that the payment is being charged in Soles, not USD.
Weather In Huacachina
The climate in this area of Peru is sizzling hot especially during the day. On top of that Huacachina is surrounded by giant sand dunes offering little to no shade. The sun in this region can be unforgiving so bring lots of
Huacachina also has a pretty bad mosquito problem. Bring bug spray with you to avoid getting eaten alive especially in the evenings and at night.
The main languages spoken in Peru are Spanish and Quechua, a local dialect. In Huacachina, however, most servers and hotel attendants speak English which saved me the embarrassment of trying to communicate in my typical half Spanglish efforts.
When traveling abroad it’s always a good idea to know a few basic phrases in the local language to help you get around easier and often it makes the locals happy to communicate in their local tongue.
The entire town of Huacachina is quite small and can be navigated and walked within a few minutes. The main road in Huacachina is U-shaped with restaurants and hotels located along it. If you are trying to go somewhere out of town, Tuk-Tuk motorcars and cabs can be flagged down along the main street.
If you have a rental car with you or if you travel in a van like us, there is plenty of safe street parking for your vehicle in Huacachina.
If you prefer parking your car in a lot, there are a few closed lots available in Huacachina that charge around 5-20 soles per day.
Are you ready to add Huacachina to your bucket list? Personally, it was one of our favorite destinations in all of Peru. Where else in South America can you sandboard down a giant sand dune and head to a pool party after?
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