The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Huacachina, Peru

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Huacachina is a small desert town in Peru surrounded by scenic dunes and some of the driest climates in the world.

With a laguna and palm trees at the center of it, this little city is a true desert oasis and quite an attraction for travelers and backpackers in South America.

If you are planning a trip to Peru, it’s well worth spending a few days in Huacachina enjoying the warm desert breeze and fun adventurous activities.

Here is my travel guide to visiting Huacachina including what to do, where to stay, eat, and more!

The Ultimate Guide To Huacachina, Peru:

Best Things To Do In Huacachina

Go On a Dune Buggy Tour

We had such a great time on a dune buggy tour in Huacachina!

A dune buggy tour is hands down the best activity to do in Huacachina Oasis. This is an adrenaline-packed tour riding in a buggy car up and down giant dunes at high speeds.

The sand buggy tours in Huacachina start at 7 am and end when the sun goes down around 6 pm. There are tour companies and local guides offering dune rides all over town so it’s easy to sign up for one.

If you’re looking for the best deals, go directly to where all the sand buggies are parked and negotiate with the drivers directly.

Otherwise, you may end up paying double and have to wait around until the tour guides find enough people to fill up the cars.

Starting point of the dune buggy tours in Huacachina.

The first and last tours of the day cost around 20-30 Sol ($7-$10) and take about an hour. All other tours during the day take 2 hours and cost around 40 Sol ($13).

The sand buggy tour is such a fun and exciting experience! The drivers take sharp turns and fly down steep hills that feel like a thrilling roller coaster ride.  

Most tours also include trying out sandboarding. We stopped on top of a huge hill and got to sandboard down a massive dune.

My husband Joel sandboarding in Huacachina.

The best times for going on the sand buggy tours are early mornings or late evenings when the sun and the desert heat are not too hot yet.

Tip: Make sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen on the tour. 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.

If you want to book the tour ahead of time, I recommend this 2-hour Dune Buggy Tour and Sandboarding experience. This excursion will take you on a thrilling 4WD ride through the dunes in a small group setting.

Hike a Dune For Sunset

View of a giant dune in Huacahina during sunset.

While staying in Huacachina, hiking a dune for sunset is a must!

The best viewpoint is located right where the dune buggy tours start. Just past the water tower, there is a narrow path leading up to a giant dune that provides amazing views of Huacachina City from the top.

The sunsets in Huacachina often result in beautiful pink and purple colored sky that is great for photography.

Sunset overlooking Huacachina Oasis.

This tall dune is also one of the best spots to photograph the Huacachina Oasis below.

Photography Tip: To capture the entire oasis city I used my Rokinon wide lens with my Sony camera. A wide lens is perfect for photographing landscape and nature shots.

For a unique experience, book this Huacachina Buggy sunset tour! This tour starts at 4 pm and will take you on an exciting ride to explore the dunes for 2 hours during sunset.

Go Sandboarding & Sandskiing

Sandboarding is one of the most fun activities in Huacachina!

If you tried a bit of sandboarding on the buggy tour and just can’t get enough, consider taking this Professional Sandboard & Sandski Tour that focuses specifically on the sandboarding sport.

The tour includes more training on how to properly ride down a dune to get the most out of the experience. This adventure includes 4-5 runs down the tallest dunes in the area.

Visit Tacama Winery

Outdoor area at Tacama Winery.

Located just a 30-minute ride from Huachina, Tacama Winery is one of the oldest vineyards in South America. This unique winery sells a variety of wines and Pisco liquors made of 23 types of grapes.

Although Tacama Winery is surrounded by a desert and dry climate, the soil in this region is quite fertile. The water is supplied from the Andes highlands through an irrigation canal making it possible to harvest grapes in this otherwise dry area.

Tacama Winery is a lovely place to stop by for a wine-tasting tour. For 10 Sol (around $3) we did an hour-long tour of the winery. The tour included sampling 3 of their wines and 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 in Huacachina!

Tacama Winery is located a 30-minute drive from Huacachina Oasis. If you don’t have a car, book this Winery and Pisco Distillery tour that includes transportation and visits to multiple wineries in the area!

Fly Over Nazca Lines

Nazca Lines archaeological site in Peru.

The Nazca Lines are large ancient drawings in the desert landscape 2 hours south of Huacachina.

These drawings are made of different geometrical shapes resembling animals and plants. The Nazca Lines were created in 500 BC and now are a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The mystery revolving around the origins and purpose of these historical drawings has turned it into one of the most popular day tours from Huacachina and Lima.

Are Nazca Lines on your bucket list? Book the Nazca Lines ticket here!

Enjoy Nightlife

The hostels in Huacachina are known for their fun parties. Luckily for visitors the hostels also offer free entrances to their pool parties and clubs.

We spent an entire day hanging out at Wild Rover Huacachina pool party which turned into a club at night. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun at a bar as we did at Wild Rover! It was a good time filled with lots of energy and dancing.

Where To Stay In Huacachina

Here are some of the best places to stay in Huacachina Oasis:

Top Hostels In Huacachina:

  • If you’re looking for a fun party hostel with a young college crowd, the Wild Rover Huacachina is the best spot to stay for a good time. 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 to travelers and couples in their late 20s and early 30s who still want to have a good time but also care about getting a good night’s sleep (at least for a few hours).

Top Hotels In Huacachina:

  • Surrounded by dunes with a pool at the center of it, Hotel El Huacachinero feels like a true desert oasis. The tropical outdoor space combined with a modern bar and friendly service makes this hotel a wonderful escape from the desert heat.
Outdoor pool area at Hotel El Huacachinero.
  • DM Hoteles Mossone – Ica is a tranquil hotel built in Spanish style with a lush courtyard. This hotel is perfect for couples and families who enjoy being in the midst of the city while seeking out a bit of peace and calm.
hotel mossone best hotels in huacachina ica peru huacachina travel guide
Beautiful courtyard at Hotel Mossone.
  • Hotel Las Dunas is a gorgeous resort just 15 minutes from Huacachina. Featuring 3 pools, 3 restaurants, 2 bars, and a spa, this is the nicest hotel in the area. It’s the perfect place to stay on a romantic getaway or if you’re looking to splurge on nice accommodations during your vacation.

Glamping In Huacachina

If you’re seeking something a bit more unique, book a stay in a glamping tent in the Huacachina desert.

This glamping experience will take care of everything for you! The stay includes a dune buggy tour, sandboarding, and food & drinks – so you don’t have to worry about anything and just enjoy your stay!

Where To Eat & Drink In Huacachina

Wild Olive Trattoria & Guest House

In many cases, pizza in South America can be a hit or miss, but the pizza at Wild Olive Trattoria was simply delicious. At this restaurant, you can build your own pizza and we loved how it turned out!

The ingredients complimented each other well, the bread dough was soft and fluffy and overall it was one of the best pizzas we’ve had in a while. The bonus was a beautiful view of the Huacachina Laguna from the restaurant patio!

Bananas Adventure Hostel Bar

Enjoying a drink at Bananas Adventure Hostel.

Bananas Adventure Hostel is one of the most popular places to stay and eat in Huacachina with a relaxed and fun atmosphere. We enjoyed their open outdoor seating area complete with a round bar and a cute garden terrace.

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 at low prices.

Nuna Cocina Bar

Pisco is a local Peruvian drink made of distilled grape liquor. We sampled pisco at the Tacama Winery in a shot form but for my taste, it was too strong to drink straight. After visiting the Tacama Winery we ventured over to Nuna Cocina Bar in Huacachina to try out pisco cocktails.

A few of my favorites were Pisco Sour and a Maracuya Pisco. Maracuya’s sweet taste makes it a popular choice for cocktails and fruit juices.

Drone shot of Huacachina Oasis.

Other Huacachina Travel Tips

How To Get To Huacachina

Unless you have a vehicle, the best way to get to Huacachina is by Peru Hop bus that goes to Huacachina directly from Lima and Cusco. Public buses go only as far as the neighboring city of Ica where you would need to arrange a cab to Huacachina.

Peru Hop sells passes valid for multiple stops. It is also the only bus system with an English-speaking assistant and will drop off passengers at the footsteps of their hotels.

If you’re looking to visit Huacachina as a day trip from Lima, book this highly popular Huacachina Oasis & Mini-Galapagos day tour from Lima (with over 2500 five-star reviews!).

Currency Used In Peru

The currency used in Peru is the Sol. At the current exchange rate, $1 will get you around 3 Peruvian Sol.

Overall things in Huacachina cost a bit less than in the US but not by much because it is a tourist destination after all.

While hotels and more established 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 run 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 Sol 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 Sol.

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 Sol, not USD.

Weather In Huacachina

The climate in this part of Peru is extremely hot, especially during the day. On top of that Huacachina is surrounded by giant dunes offering little to no shade. The sun in this region can be unforgiving so bring lots of sunscreen, bathing suits, and light clothing like shorts, tank tops, and dresses.

Huacachina also has a pretty bad mosquito problem. Bring insect repellent with you to avoid getting eaten alive especially in the evenings and at night.

Sunset at Huacachina, Peru.

Language Spoken In Peru

The main languages spoken in Peru are Spanish and Quechua, a local dialect. In Huacachina, however, most tour operators and hotel attendants speak English.

When traveling abroad it’s always a good idea to know a few basic phrases in the local language. This will help you get around easier and often it makes the locals happy to communicate in their native language.

How To Get Around In Huacachina

The entire town of Huacachina is quite small and can be walked on foot within a few minutes.

The main highway that travels through 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.

Parking In Huacachina

If you have a rental car with you or if you travel in a campervan (like us), there is plenty of safe street parking for your vehicle in Huacachina. We left our van parked on a side street for 3 nights and had no issues the entire time.

If you prefer parking your car in a lot, there are a few closed lots available in Huacachina that charge around 5-20 Sol per day.

Scenic viewpoint of Huacachina town in Peru.

Are you ready to add Huacachina to your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below!

Personally, it was one of my favorite destinations in all of Peru. Where else in South America can you sandboard down a giant dune and head to a pool party after?

If you’re looking for more South America travel inspiration, check out these related posts next:

This post is written by Laura Sausina. Hi, I’m the founder of the Fun Life Crisis travel blog and I’ve been traveling full-time for the past 7 years. Here I share my experiences and tips to help 100,000 people a month plan their adventures around the world! Read more about me here.

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2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Huacachina, Peru”

  1. hi , ive been here twice now , done the sand boarding, the wine tour …. and the partying too ..absolutely loved it !!!!!!!!!! great place and lovely people , would highly recommend paying a visit , great write up and very helpfull guys :-)).. cheers

  2. Excellent writeup and breakdown, complete with tips/suggestions. Fantastic photography (a couple of fine art pieces in there, too). I can imagine your videography would be fantastic as well, but that would be a LOT of work in totality and very difficult to be living it, there, in the moment.

    Love your blog. Following you on both Facebook and Instagram. Will look you up on Pinterest.

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