Found amongst the rolling sand dunes of Peru is the little settlement of Huacachina, which is centered around an oasis, towering palm trees. Back in the 1960s, it was thought that bathing in the water had healing powers, and it became a very popular destination with rich Peruvians, with houses and hotels springing up all around it.
As legend has it, a young maiden named Huacay China fell in love with a warrior and on hearing of his death, started to weep. She went to their place of meeting and while looking in the mirror, saw her lover. She was terrified and started to run, but dropped the mirror. The mirror then took the form of this lagoon, and Huacay dived in and became a mermaid.
The town of adventures:
The oasis feels isolated from the world – beautiful and intriguing in equal measures. Surrounding dunes rise up 300 feet, however, a road to the west leads you to the city of Ica.
You can cruise around the Oasis in the middle of the barren desert and admire the outlines of the curving sand dunes. Another most popular attractions in Huacachina is dune buggies, which you can either rent for around $50 per hour or you can join in a group tour.
If you fancy yourself in boarding, you can use the dunes as your playing fields. There are plenty of bumps and steep dunes to bomb down. You can even go body boarding.
The dunes in Haucachina really are magnificent and you can see them rolling off the distance. If you fancy a hike there are plenty of tall dunes to conquer, although be warned as climbing over sand is indeed a very hard work.
Watching the sunset over here seems to be a rite of passage for many visitors. People cluster on the dunes and enjoy the stunning view as the sun dips behind the dunes.
You can visit both artisanal and industrial vineyards near to Huacachinam, Tacoma being the most popular. As pisco is also made from grapes, you can also see how the framed national beverage of Peru is made.
How to reach?
Peru Hop is the only direct bus to Huacachina, with buses going from Cusco to Huacachina and Lima to Huacachina, as well as from Paracas, Nazca, Arequipa, etc., saving you the hassle of taking a taxi with all your bags from and to Ica.
If taking a public bus, you would need to take a bus from Lima to Ica or Cusco to Ica. Once in Ica, you would need to find a local taxi to then take you to the oasis of Huacachina. To leave Huacachina, you would need to do the same. The Lonely Planet currently states that this is the only way to get to Huacachina, but actually Peru Hop buses have direct entry to the oasis, like previously mentioned, due to having the necessary license.