Huacachina

Come here to sand board and enjoy sand dunes painted beautiful shades of pink and orange.

Sand boarding is the main, if not only, draw card to Huacachina. The town enjoys beautiful views of sand dunes peaking high into the sky. Tourists dot the landscape by hurtling down steep cliffs on pieces of wood. There are other places to sandbar in Peru but for us, Huacachina provided a good place to break up the Lima-Arequipa journey.

The beautiful sand dunes of Huacachina are best explored in the evening when the temperatures drop and the dunes are painted beautiful shades of pink and orange by the setting sun. Even if you are not into sand boarding, a thrilling ride on a sand buggy or walk across the dunes will certainly wow you.

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Tours from Ica cost around 35 per person including transport. If you are booking from Huacachina they are assumably a bit cheaper. If you are on a tighter budget you can enjoy sand boarding by hiring a board from the hostels at Huacachina. This does mean you miss out on the sand buggy ride and you will have to climb the dunes. On a positive note, you will enjoy the dunes independently and at your own speed.

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Unlike volcano boarding in Nicaragua, sand boarding allows you to navigate the slopes on your stomach or on your feet. Volcano boarding is perhaps a faster ride but sand boarding allows one to focus more on technique and control.

Check out Huacachina if you’re in need of breaking up your trip from Lima to Arequipa.

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Accommodation:

We made the mistake of staying in Ica. Ica is a dusty, unpleasantly hectic city where the sound of car horns will echo in your head long into the night. There is no reason to visit Ica itself other than a small town square and a pricey stone museum (S30).

Catch a taxi out to Huacachina town and stay here the night. You will be a lot more comfortable.

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Getting there from Lima:

• Catch metro to Mexico subway station (S2.50) 

• Locate the Peru Bus Terminal to the right of the station along the main highway. Buses to Huacachina take 4 hours 30 mins and cost between S28-33 per person depending on class and speed of bus.

• The bus trip is pleasant and has good views of the coast. Buses arrive for Huacachina arrive in the nearby city of Ica. Taxis from Ica to Huacachina take around 10 minutes. Taxi prices should be haggled but stick to licensed taxis for safety in this area.

• Theft is an issue on the buses if you are not cautious. We were told by the bus boy several times not to put our day bag in the overhead locker or on the floor. Keep them on your lap. Our large luggage was safe in the storage below the bus.

Getting away to Nazca or Arequipa:

• Return to the main bus terminal in Ica. Buses to Nazca leave frequently and take 2 hours 15 minutes and costs S10 per person. As mentioned above, theft is an issue on the buses if you are not cautious. We were told by the bus boy several times not to put our day bag in the overhead locker or on the floor. Keep them on your lap. Our large luggage was safe in the storage below the bus.

• Skipping Nazca to go to Arequipa directly is just as easy from the same bus station.

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