Things to do in Huacachina – a guide for backpackers

The Best of Peru

Huacachina is an instafamous village in the Ica Region of  Peru. Huacachina is built around a small natural lake or oasis and is surrounded by golden sand dunes, creating perfect photo opportunities. This is a guide to visiting Huacachina, covering things to do in Huacachina, places to stay and other travel tips.

Things to do in Huacachina Peru

Take a sand buggy / sand-boarding tours

This is the main attraction in Huacachina and is one not to be missed. You can take a sand buggy and sandboarding tour combo. The Sand buggies speed through the sand dunes at high speed, guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping. After a while of speeding up and down the sand dunes, you will stop at the edge of a large sand dune that you can sandboard down. The buggy will then come and pick you up.

I recommend taking the 4 pm tour, so you can enjoy the sunset in the magical sand dunes.

Things to do in Huacachina

You can book these tours through your hostel. They usually cost between 30 and 50 soles. There are lots of reviews online (TripAdvisor especially) that state that the quality of the dune buggy ride is all down to the skills of the driver so choose your company wisely.

Hire a sand board

For around 3 soles an hour, you can hire a sand board and hike the dunes and board down. Hiking the dunes is harder than you expect, so you will probably only spend an hour or 2 doing this.

Hike the sand dunes 

From the sand dunes above Huacachina, you can get magical photos of the Oasis town and Ica.

Peru things to do in peru

Check out the local Markets

Like every town in Peru, you will find colourful and cheap markets to buy souvenirs and gifts. You could explore all the markets within an hour, as they are very small.

Tour the Ballestas Islands from Huacachina 

If you won’t be stopping in Paracas, take a tour to the Ballestas Islands from Huacacina. The Ballestas Islands are known as the poor mans Galapagos, a great place to see penguins, seals and birds. I recommend the Islands as an alternative to anyone who cants afford the Galapagos Islands. If you are or have visited the Galapogas, I would skip the Ballestas Islands as I can imagine you have already seen everything and much more than the Ballestas Islands have to offer.

Things to do in Huacachina
Things to do in Huacachina

You could tour the Ballestas Islands in the morning and be back to Huacachina in time to take the 4 pm Sand Buggy and Sand Boarding tour.

Tours to the Ballestas Islands can be booked through your hostel or a tour agency and cost 60 soles. You also have to pay 12 soles for taxes once you arrive at the port.

If you are spending a night in Paracas, check out my Paracas destination guide.

Watch the Huacachina Sunset

As the sun sets over the golden sand dunes surrounding Huaccachina, the skies light up. You can hike to the top of the surrounding sand dunes for the best view in the house, best enjoyed with a beer.

Party in Huacachina

Although it is a small town, it certainly doesn’t lack in nightlife.

Relax by the pool

Banana Adventures hostel has a pool that you can visit to cool off and relax on a day in Huacachina.

Tour the Nasca Lines

If you missed the Nasca Lines, you can take a day trip from Huacachina. This is my guide to Nasca. 

Book a tour in Huacachina

Recommended trip length

Things to do in Huacachina Peru

I recommend staying in Huacachina for 1 night. There isn’t a lot to do except sand buggy and sand-boarding tours which you can do in one afternoon.

Getting to and around Huacachina

You can get to Huacachina from any location in Peru on the Cruz Del Sur bus service. You would take the bus to the nearby town of Ica, then a taxi from Ica to Huacachina. The taxi should cost no more than 8 soles to Huacachina. Everything in Huacachina is within walking distance.

See my guide to getting around Peru safely. 

Hostels in Huacachina

Options are limited to about 5 hostels in Huacachina.

Desert Nights Hostelling International

This place offers cheap beds and has everything you need, including a restaurant, bar and friendly reception desk that can arrange tours for you. It definitely isn’t the nicest hostel I have stayed at but it was fine for 2 nights. Take earplugs as it can get noisy.

Banana Adventures

Was highly recommended to me and has the best reviews, although it is significantly more expensive. In saying that, the cost of the accommodation includes the sand buggy tour.

Search for cheap accommodation options here.

Travel Insurance for Huacachina

Things to do in Huacachina Peru

Travel insurance is a necessity when backpacking to Huacachina. I recommend World Nomads.  If you are still unsure if you should buy travel insurance or not, read this. 

Safety in Huacachina

Huacachina feels like a relatively safe destination to backpack to, but safety precautions are recommended.

  • Avoid flashing your valuables
  • Keep an eye on your belongings at all times
  • Lock your belongings in the hotel safe
  • Remain aware of your surrounding
  • Avoid unknown streets at night
  • Don’t drink too much

See more tips for keeping safe when travelling. 

Language in Peru

The official language in Peru is Spanish. Limited locals will speak English.

Vaccinations for Huacachina

Check the Travel Doctor website to find out what vaccinations you need when backpacking to Huacachina. If you have any further questions regarding vaccinations required for Huacachina, I recommend consulting a doctor.

Other Huacachina Travel Tips

Try and go to a supermarket before you get to Huacachina as food is expensive. If you stock up on some bread rolls, fruits and salads and muesli bars you will save yourself some money.

Bring cash as ATMs are not found in Huacachina.

Planning a trip to Peru

If you are planning a trip to Peru, this article will tell you everything about visas, flights, accommodation, budgeting and more.

Overseas Travel Checklist

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