First snowboarding, then volcano boarding and now sandboarding. Our favourite? Sandboarding! It was so much fun and the scenery is just incredible.
For New Year’s Eve this year we were in the very small desert oasis town of Huacachina, 4 hours south of Lima. This small town is surrounded by sand dunes everywhere, and also features a green lagoon within the middle surrounded by hostels, hotels, restaurants and bars. The reason people come to this town is purely to go sand boarding and dune buggying.
Huacachina has a population of only 115 people but New Year’s Day brought 1000’s of locals, tourists and families to enjoy the holiday.
There is no working ATM in this town so make sure you bring cash with you from one of the ATM’s in Ica!
Getting to Huacachina
Apart from Peru Hop, no large buses will bring you directly into the town. Buses from Lima, Arequipa, Cusco etc will drop you off in the town of Ica, 10 minutes away and from there, it’s a simple 10-minute taxi ride to Huacachina.
Accommodation in Huacachina
We found Booking.com to list the majority of hotels and hostels. After seeing the town, a lot of the hotels and hostels look unfinished or under renovations. One of the most popular hostels for backpackers & where we stayed was Bananas Adventure Hostel. It was the perfect hostel, with clean rooms, a pool, great atmosphere, friendly staff, decent food and as a bonus, each day you were given an included activity. We had one day of sandboarding /dune buggies and finished the day off with the most delicious buffet bbq ever.
We couldn’t have chosen a better day to head out onto the dunes. The sun was shining, the dunes were almost empty and our driver was ready to take us for one hell of a ride. Two groups of 10 head out on the monster trucks to drive up and over the sand dunes. The seat belts were tied on with a simple knot but it felt safe enough. It was definitely not our driver’s first rodeo and he wasn’t shy about throwing us around in the car.
The easiest way to describe the experience would have to be that similar to a rollercoaster, you head up a steep hill and fly over the top gripping the handles in front of you whilst letting out a few little squeals. Occasionally he would stop the buggy on the very edge of the dune so you could jump out and take pictures before plummeting down the other side.
With no instructions what so ever, the driver handed us our boards and a candlestick to wax the bottom and gestured to just go! Go where? Down there? Well ok, sure thing…. the most common ways to board were by standing up, lying on your tummy or sitting. Once you fell, it was a soft, but hot landing and unless you closed your mouth, you would end up with an early dinner of sand, as poor Jacob experienced after face planting at the bottom of the ‘dune of death’ (see photo below). I was too nervous to fly down that hill and with good reason!
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Eve was brought in at the famous ‘ Huacafukingchina Bar ‘, Yes, that is the correct name. Not entirely sure how they got this name but it works! It was also the cheapest New Years Eve cover we’ve ever paid! Entry… $2 USD. Sold.
We figured we should also start the year off right with a delicious brownie and banoffee pie (swear the diet starts 2017!) so after polishing them both off, we climbed to the top of one of the highest sand dunes alongside 2 dogs that joined us the whole way. It was quite a challenge but the view from the top was well worth it. 1000’s of locals filled the dunes and there was a real sense of happiness in the area. Getting up the dunes was tough, but running down them full ball was awesome.
Guys, Huacachina is small but it rocks so be sure to make it one of your stops on a future Peru vacation. Do it 🙂
We hope everyone had an amazing happy new year! We can’t wait to see what this year brings for us and we hope everyone has the most amazing 2016!
Thanks for following our travels in 2015!
Married days survived: 301