A small village in south-western Peru, Huacachina is home to the only natural desert oasis in all of South America. Just west of the city of Ica, this area draws tourists in for its many bars, unique outlook and of course, for a good blat on the sand dunes.
What Does a Huacachina Tour Include?
Heaps of fun!
We were given details of our meeting point and after a quick stop to pick up some candlesticks (yep, you read that right) we joined the convoy of dune buggies heading out of town.
The dunes are deceptive, literally spreading out as far as the eye can see. Before long our buggy had found its own spot, racing up and over the massive sand mounds.
The buggies are open-air adrenaline machines, purposely built for fun. With decent seatbelts and experienced drivers, there’s very little to be worried about, even with Peru’s questionable health and safety policies. Kick back, relax and hold on!
Once the tour’s well and truly underway, you’ll stop to wax up your boards (hence the candle-stop) and have a test-run on the dunes.
Though it’s possible to stand upon them, it’s generally not recommended. Over the course of our trip, we met a number of travellers who came unstuck on the dunes, breaking arms and collarbones whilst sandboarding – it’s a genuine possibility and one that we were keen to avoid.
With that in mind, we elected to ride our boards laying down which is what the vast majority opt to do.
I won’t lie though, those dunes are massive and as you line up your board, it’s pretty hard not to second-guess yourself.
Freshly waxed boards absolutely fly down the dunes but your speed can be (somewhat) controlled by digging your toes into the sand, creating friction. Get those toes ready!
If you don’t want to take on all of the sand dunes, you don’t have to. We really recommend giving them a go though – they’re crazy fast but equally as much fun.
Wrapping up on the boards, we made our way in the buggy to the highest sand dune we could find. Spot on for sunset, we all dragged our weary bodies up the last of the hill before collapsing down and soaking up last of the evening.
How Much Does Sandboarding in Huacachina Cost?
It’s incredibly affordable! Booked through Peru Hop, we only paid PEN50/USD15/NZD21.45 each. You possibly could pick up a tour for slightly less but as we wanted to be sure the bus would wait for us, we didn’t bother looking for other providers.
Essential Gear for your Huacachina Tour
- Sunglasses to stop the sand from getting in your eyes on the buggy.
- A bottle of water – it gets pretty hot out there!
- Closed-toe shoes so you can dig your toes into the sand to slow yourself down whilst sandboarding.
- Old pants that you don’t mind getting ruined. I wore exercise tights and they were fine but Nathan managed to wear holes in his shorts whilst sandboarding. Definitely don’t wear your favourite gear.
- Hair ties (if you have long hair)
Is It Really Worth Stopping by Huacachina?
The town itself is definitely on the touristy side but it’s a fun little place and the sand dune tours are heaps of fun and excellent value for money.
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