Huacachina in Peru is a beautiful, tiny oasis town hidden among some of the worlds largest sand dunes. It’s an adventure lovers paradise as you can ride rollercoasters in a dune buggy, sandboard down gigantic dunes, witness a spectacular sunset over the desert and camp overnight in the middle of the beautiful, peaceful desert.
Huacachina was our second last stop on our La Paz to Lima Intrepid Tour which was run locally through Dragoman. We arrived into Huacachina just before lunchtime and spent time exploring the beautiful desert oasis. Our hostel, Desert Nights provided an optional activity to head into the desert on a tour with Desert Adventures. The majority of our tour decided to take part in the overnight trip that would see us go dune buggying, sandboarding and finish up with a BBQ and drinks in the desert before spending the night camping in the sand dunes. The price of the tour was $25 USD (and so worth it)!
We departed from Huacachina mid afternoon once it had started to cool down. It was a good time of the day to head out because as it is incredibly hot out there and I think you would melt during the middle of the day!
We set off all strapped into our dune buggy and began our 25 km route through the desert. Our driver was absolutely mad but I still felt confident that he knew what he was doing as he said he had been driving the dunes for decades!
I don’t ride rollercoasters as I get motion sickness, and I did feel a little ill at times while dune buggying because it felt like we were literally on a rollercoaster. I can’t even describe just how big some of the sand dunes are, but I can tell you just how loudly I screamed the whole time.
We had a young British guy who had just turned 18 on our tour who I think my best friend and I scared off/maybe educated with our lack of restraint girl talk throughout the tour. He turned around half way through the ride, grinning and said “I’ve never heard someone scream as loudly or as long as you, it’s hilarious.” I took that as a compliment haha!
We stopped half a dozen times throughout the adrenaline pumping, rollercoaster ride to take photos, sandboard down the dunes and in my case, eat sand…
Sandboarding is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced, it is absolutely insane! So much fun, and your driver helps you out by setting you up on the board and then sending you off down the dunes!
You can try stand (like snowboarding) if you want, but most people go down on their stomachs! If you want to go slow you just lie down on your stomach as if you are on a sled and dig your feet into the sand.
If you’re scared, don’t worry because I promise you I am one of the most uncoordinated people out there (ft. broken leg in Thailand) and I still had a go and loved it! I’m not lying when I said I ate sand and also managed to sand literally everywhere…
Once we were all sandboard-ed out, we stopped at the top of one of the largest dunes to watch one of the most breathtaking sunsets of the trip. We sat in silence (covered in sand) as we watch the sun slowly dip below the dunes and the sky turn magical shades of yellow, blue, pink and purple.
Once the sun had set, we jumped back in the dune buggy and slowly cruised to our campsite for the night.
Our campsite was located in the middle of the dunes, protected from the wind and so far away from civilisation. It felt like it was just us and the stars!
We were cooked an amazing BBQ dinner, drank the piscolas (pisco + coca cola) and danced the night away in the desert.
It was “roughing it” by any standards, as we slept on blankets in the sand and used a tent toilet, but I wouldn’t have changed that experience for the world. I would however pack warmer clothes as the desert was freezing at night (we visited in November).
Upon waking up, we cruised through the desert and dunes back to Huacachina (fairly slowly thankfully as we were all feeling a little under the weather thanks to the amount of piscola consumed the night before)!
Our stay in Huacachina and the desert was at the end of my South American trip and was an amazing way to finish off an incredible trip, by far one of the highlights of three months in South America.
I highly recommend it to anyone travelling through Peru.
Don’t forget your sunscreen, warm clothes for when the sun goes down, head torch/flashlight and camera!