After an amazing week in and around Arequipa I took an overnight bus north to Ica. From Ica, I took a tuk-tuk for 7 soles to the desert oasis of Huacachina. Upon arriving I went to Wild Olive Guest House which was a recommendation of friend from earlier in my trip. While it was a little more expensive than the typical hostel in Peru it was the same cost as the other hostels in Huancachina. It cost 30 soles per night and included a great breakfast at the restaurant attached to the hostel.
I arrived fairly early and spent the midday hours walking around this small town and then I booked a 4pm dune buggy and sand-boarding tour. I decided to book through the hostel to make it easier and also in the hopes that I would meet another solo traveler to hang out with. The cost was 40 soles and the dune buggy held 10 people plus the driver. The tour was 2-2:30 hours and we were able to see the sunset from the dunes.
The tour started by us driving around the dunes (at very high speeds) and after around 20 minutes we were to a dune to try sand-boarding. There were two options with sand-boarding, lying on your stomach or riding it like a snowboard. We quickly found out that lying on your stomach was both easier and faster. After going down the “starter” dune we went to a second dune which was both higher and steeper. We got to ride down this dune twice in two different spots and we flew down this dune. At one point, I also got some pretty good air under the board.
After finishing on the sand-board we rode around the dunes for a few more minutes and then went to a lookout to enjoy the sunset. We stayed and watch the sunset for 20 minutes and then on our way back we stopped to see a bird’s eye view of Huacachina from the dunes.
That evening I ended up chatting with another solo traveller that I met on the sand dunes tour and we split a bottle of wine and enjoyed the warm evening air. The next day around noon I took a tuk-tuk back to the bus station to go to Lima so I could then catch a night bus to Huaraz.
While I only stayed one night in Huacachina I felt like it was sufficient because the town in really small and also expensive (tourist prices and not local prices). Plus, the other activities available outside of the sand dunes tour were all really expensive because it was things like paragliding and sky-diving. Overall, I’m glad I went to Huacachina because it was a nice change from my typical stops in my trip aka no hiking. Plus, the sand dunes were beautiful and it was the perfect stopover between Arequipa and Huaraz.