Huacachina is a collection of resorts and restaurants around a green laguna surrounded by huge sand dunes. The place is so appealing for Peruvians it features on the 50 soles bill.
Huacachina and Ica
Legend claims every a mermaid living in the laguna takes one man. The inability of Peruvians to swim seems a more likely explanation of the yearly drownings.
This oasis is close to Ica. Most buses stop in Ica on the way to and from Nazca and Lima and you can take a taxi (3~4 soles).
We had been hanging out in Lima for a couple of days and frankly, I dont really like Lima. We had arranged a bus from Nazca to Cusco so we had a few days to kill in between travelling. We saw a poster for Huacachina in our hostel in Lima and decided on a whim to give it a whirl !
boarders on the dunes in the early evening
I had hurt myself quite badly in Ecuador - so when we arrived in Huacachina we found a hotel with a pool. I spent the first couple of days relaxing in the sun and then we went dune buggy riding at dusk.
Watching the sun go down over the dunes after blasting down them on sandboards was gorgeous. So much so that we stayed for an extra day and night to do it all over again !
Sandboarding --- It's the hot version of snowboarding except you do it on sand instead of snow. On the streets you can rent a board for a few soles. Wax (cera) is essential for velocity, so ask a piece to go with your board.
What's really great:
Nell playing with the sunset
Watch the sunset from the rim of the dunes.
Amazing colours and views. You can walk up for the sunrise but be careful as there are no marked paths for walking up. Lots of people do it in the evenings so there are others to follow.
El Huacachinero is a lovely hotel underneath huge sand dunes. The main area is around a big pool - with grassed and shaded areas. There are also colourful birds just wandering around. There is no restaurant in the hotel but there is a bar that has a pretty good snacks and light meals menu.
The hotel can also arrange sand boarding and dune buggy riding (they have their own boards and buggies) and they also arranged a very debauched pisco tasting tour for us !
$10USD per night - twin room with private bathroom.
Huacachina lagoon and restaurant strip
Going for a walk around the lagoon, you can see and smell most of the restaurants in Huacachina.
Our favourite was a little italian place called Faralitos.
Awesome pastas and the Palta Reina (queen avocado stuffed with chicken) is to die for.