Huacachina was one of the stops in Peru we were most excited for as we were going to try sand boarding over here! The town itself is built around a desert oasis, which looks super spectacular when you climb up the dunes. Huacachina can be kind of a backpacker party town, which is probably why it doesn’t have a great reputation with all sorts of travelers. Huacachina is a place you either love or hate and we fell in the love category. After our stay in Huacachina Peru Hop took us to the Nazca viewing tower for a quick visit to the Nazca lines.
Huacachina is only one hour away from Paracas. The town is built around a desert oasis and is known for its party atmosphere. We figured we would be a bit old for the party hostels and booked a quiet hotel at the other side of the town for € 27 per night including breakfast 😉 Huacachina consists of about four streets, in one street the Wild Rover and Catalina Hotel are located and that is the street where the parties happen. I did not think the hotels in Huacachina were as good value as in other towns in Peru, but make sure you stay close to the desert oasis. The nearby town Ica offers better hotel value, but then you are not sandwiched between the sand dunes, which was super cool. The main activities in Huacachina are dune buggy driving and sand boarding. We did the tour with Peru Hop (€ 13 for two hours), but you can easily book yourself. Our tour took about 2,5 hours and at the end we got to watch the sunset from the dunes, super beautiful. We got to sand board five times, which was enough for me because you do get some bruises… The sand boarding was super fast and the dunes were super steep, definitely not a disappointment. And it was much more safe than the volcano boarding that we did in Nicaragua. I actually liked the dune buggy riding even more than the sand boarding. We had a super crazy driver and it felt like we were in a rollercoaster without rails. It is kind of hard to describe how thrilling the dune buggy riding was, it was super surprising, you never knew when you were going to turn and spin and we got lifted out of our seats several times. I cannot imagine people who are a bit of a thrill seeker not liking Huacachina.. It is also possible to rent a “real snowboard” and try to snowboard, but we heard it is much harder than snowboarding.
The next day we climbed the dunes ourselves, just to enjoy the amazing views of the desert oasis. It took us about 20 minutes to reach the top of the dunes, as it was super hot and you kept gliding in the sand this was kind of strenuous but totally worth it! As Huacachina is such as backpacker town we were surprised by the choice of restaurants. We went to Wild Olive several times as they had delicious food, for a reasonable price with great views of the oasis.
A fellow hopster took these amazing pictures of us, when they spotted us climbing the sand dunes. Look at my terrible posture and how far I am behind Hielke while he is carrying our backpack…
We did not really know what to expect of the Nazca lines, but Peru Hop offers a quick stop at the Nazca viewing tower. This was perfect for us as it meant we didn’t have to spend the night at Nazca, but still got to see some of the lines. From the viewing tower (€ 1 entry) you can view three Nazca lines, but there are many more which you can view with a small airplane. I was a bit confused as you could already see some Nazca lines from the main road and they were much smaller than I expected. One Nazca figure is even broken up by the main road, as the lines were discovered after the road was there. The Nazca lines are estimated to be 2000 years old, but the exact meaning has not been discovered. They could be a gift to the gods, but nobody really knows. The Nazca lines have been preserved because the area is extremely dry. In the end we concluded that the Nazca lines were a strange visit, but that we liked the mystery surrounding the lines.
Peru Hop also took us to a Pisco distillery, Pisco is the national drink of Peru and we didn’t get to taste it yet. We received a small tour with information about the production of Pisco, but the best part was the tasting! After this tour we are definitely going to try some Pisco sours 🙂