Huacachina Lagoon is an oasis located five kilometers west of the Peruvian city of Ica, in the middle of the Pacific coastal desert. Around it there is abundant vegetation composed of palm trees, eucalyptus (introduced species) and the species of carob tree known as huarango, which serves as a resting place for migratory birds passing through this region.
All this contributes to make Huacachina one of the most colorful and beautiful places of the Peruvian coast.
Its great attraction as a natural paradise, the warm weather all year round and the healing power attributed to its waters (once rich in sulfurous and saline substances) made Huacachina become, around 1960, one of the most important and exclusive Peruvian resorts at that time.
Houses and hotels were built, a beautiful boardwalk was built around the lagoon, with railings, walkways and changing rooms for bathers. While on your trip to Peru visiting the Huacachina Oasis you may need to keep communication or a translation app.
Now let’s find out all the important facts about Huacachina Origins, and everything you might see on your next adventure in Peru:
The legend of Huacachina and its meaning:
Legend has it that a princess named Huacachina fell in love with a warrior. Shortly after getting married he had to go to war where after several battles he lost his life. Huacachina, upon learning the bad news and full of sadness, went every day to cry at the place where they had met.
One full moon night a warrior who saw her crying tried to approach to help her but Huacachina, intimidated by the warrior, began to run and just before he reached her the princess jumped into the lagoon. When she got out she realized that instead of legs she had a large fin. Huacachina had become a mermaid.
According to legend, every night of the full moon, the young woman comes out of the lagoon to cry for her beloved.
Now this lagoon in the middle of the desert bears the name of the princess: Huacachina (which in Quechua means “woman who cries”).
How the Oasis came to be
If we leave aside romanticism, according to scientists, this lagoon arose due to the upwelling of subway currents that give it it’s emerald green color. Its waters are rich in sulfurous and saline substances, which have healing properties.
The Huacachina Oasis, also known as the “Oasis of America” for being the only one of its kind in the continent, is the desert with the highest dunes in the world.
When to visit the Huacachina Oasis?
The Huacachina Oasis can be visited practically all year round, because the climate of the area is dry and warm. Being desert, it rarely rains, although it is possible that it could happen.
However, if you want to avoid the hottest months, they are usually February and March. During the winter months (June, July, August) the temperature can drop to 15 degrees at night.
How to get to Huacachina from Lima ?
To get to Huacachina you will have to take a bus to Ica from Lima. The best option is Cruz del Sur. The trip from Lima to Ica takes about 4 hours and a half and costs about 20 soles one way.
Once you get to the bus station in Ica you will have to take a cab (less than 10 soles) or a bus that runs the 5 kilometers that separate you from Huacachina.
What to do on your visit to Huacachina
Take a walk around the Huacachina Oasis:
This famous Oasis is known as the Oasis of Latin America as it is one of the few remaining in this part of the world. Go around the lagoon in a pedal boat or take a walking tour along the boardwalk.
You can enjoy the delicious food or taste the good wine in the different bars and restaurants that surround the area.
Visit the pisco cellars:
One of the activities you cannot miss if you are in Huacachina is to visit the famous vineyards in the area. You will be able to see how the preparation of the wines and above all the pisco, the flag liquor of our country, is elaborated.
The tour ends with the tasting of the different liquors that are produced there. You can find these tours available from Huacachina.
Are you a lover of unique and extreme emotions? Then you can’t miss sandboarding on the dunes of the Huacachina desert.
Definitely the Huacachina desert is one of the best, if not the best place to slide on its dunes of different sizes. If you are a beginner you can start sliding from a smaller peak dune and then try a little steeper dunes, you won’t regret doing it!
If you love to go hiking, then you should venture into dune trekking. Don’t think it’s not worth it as the views you will have of the desert will be breathtaking.
Remember that you can do it on your own, but always follow the recommended safety measures. Take enough water with you, try to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, don’t forget to apply sunscreen and above all don’t go too far away.
It is also possible to hire a local who knows the route well to be your guide, with this you will avoid getting disoriented or lost along the way.
Finally, it is also advisable to use apps where you can see the routes taken by other tourists who have already taken that route.
Ride through the desert in buggies:
The drivers of these sand buggies are renowned for their dexterity when driving through the dunes. That’s why you shouldn’t miss out on touring the desert in one of these buggies.
Undoubtedly, the most popular activity to do in Huacachina is to take a tour aboard a buggy through the desert dunes. Basically, you board a buggy or a tubular (as they are also known), and a driver takes you and other people for a ride through the desert. Keep in mind that it is a ride with a lot of adrenaline and speed.
Traveling through the desert at full speed in one of these sand buggies will not only give you an incredible adrenaline rush but will also allow you to see the landscape from a different perspective. This is the ideal moment to bring out the adventurer in you.
The buggies are offered by several tour companies in the area, as it is one of the most demanded activities by visitors. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a short trip from Lima and enjoy this fun adventure.
The vehicle will go up and down the dunes, and most of the time it will do it at high speed, so you can imagine that it is a very adventurous activity, which you will feel up to your stomach.
Keep in mind that buggies are open units (without doors), so it is vital and indispensable that you put on your seat belt. It’s a very fun activity, but you have to be well aware that it is an activity not suitable for everyone.
Usually, this activity in addition to the buggy ride, also includes the use of a sandboard, with which you can throw yourself down the dunes sometimes; it is really fun. The average duration of the whole activity is 2 hours.
It is a very economical activity, because there is a lot of supply and because usually in each buggy several people go (some fit up to 10 people) and then the total cost is divided. On average you can find this tour for 60-70 Peruvian soles.
Tips for visiting Huacachina in Peru
- It is totally forbidden to swim in the lagoon. If you want to visit it the only option is to ride on board pedal boats.
- Consider that Huacachina is a very small place, so you will not find big stores or supermarkets, if you want to buy the basics you can, but if you want something bigger, you will have to go to Ica.
- It is important that you take your basic and most necessary items, so you do not have to move to buy them (especially if they are special things like medicines).
- Be very careful with all the people who are going to offer you a tour, remember that cheap is expensive. It is better to always go with a serious agency.
- Preferably in the buggy tour, do not carry a backpack (it is not necessary), although if you do carry it, tie it on the floor with the lower part of the belt so that it does not fall off.
- If you plan to bring a reflex or professional camera (large size) be very careful because sand can easily get into it.
Finally, we know that you have to keep communication with your relatives and friends, that you need to be able to orient yourself in new cities, that you might need help with translation and that you might need to search for restaurants or hotels. That’s why with PeruSIM you can buy a SIM card including the data plan of your need without having to worry about high roaming costs.