Sand Boarding in Huacachina, Peru

Huacachina is a bizarre oasis in the desert of Peru and is a nice stopping point between Cuenca and Lima. Huacachina is built around a small natural lake in the desert. Called the “oasis of America,” it serves as a resort for local families from the nearby city of Ica, and increasingly as an attraction for tourists drawn by the sports of sandboarding and taking dune buggy rides on sand dunes that stretch several hundred feet high.

Arriving at the town of Ica (there is nothing to do here) we took a ten minute taxi ride to Huacachina and arrived in the tiny resort at 8am where the sun was already really strong.

It won’t take you long to find a hostel and have a walk around the lake, the place really is tiny, so we dumped our bags and went to get booked on a tour for the afternoon. All the dune buggy and sandboarding tours leave at 4pm as the sand is too hot if you go any earlier and you get to see the sunset at the end.

There is not a great deal to do in the day. There is a public pool that you can pay to use and a couple of restaurants but the quality of food is not great. We found ourselves simply relaxing by the lake and watching all the locals play in the water. We were surprised at how many locals from Ica there were as we thought it would just be hundreds of tourists.

4pm arrived and we were getting into our buggies. After paying the sand tax (they have a ‘tax’ for everything in South America!) we went shooting off in our buggy.


It really was like a roller-coaster ride with all the girls (including myself) screaming with excitement as we went over a big dune or down a steep drop. Watch the video here:

After 30 minutes of racing around in the buggy we stopped at the first point for sandboarding.


After a 3 minute briefing on how to sand board (in Spanish!) we got on our boards head first and headed down the dunes and quite a speed. I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck at the top of the steep dune but I got straight on my board and speeded on down…it was so much fun!


We went down 3 dunes, all pretty steep, and one of them we did sitting with our feet placed in front of us which was a little wobbly.

Unfortunately, we didn’t leave completely unscathed…here is what happens when sand boarding goes wrong:

and here is the result!


After washing all the sand off us and disinfecting our wounds we grabbed a beer and headed back up the slopes for a view of the sunset.


For a little something different head to Huacachina and experience this unique oasis for yourself.

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Sarah has a thing for maps, so one of her favourite holiday pass-times is exploring a new city. Give her food and beer (and a map) and she'll be happy.

Random Acts of Kindness While On the Road

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