Sandboarding in the Desert of Huacachina in Peru
In Cusco – where I’m living for a while as I’m doing my internship in Peru at Dos Manos Travel Peru – there are a lot of possibilities for amazing multiple day trips. Because Peru is a country with such big distances, it is not uncommon to be on the road for sometimes 10 hours or more to reach your destination. With a couple of days to my disposal I decided to make a trip to the desert of Huacachina, at the southern coast of Peru. It took a 17-hour bus ride to get to Ica, close to Nazca, known from the famous Nazca lines. From Ica, I had to take a taxi that took about 15 minutes to reach Huacachina. I absolutely dreaded the bus ride but knew that if I ever wanted to get anywhere in Peru, it was necessary. Several people told me that Huacachina was something totally different than Cusco, which is located in the Peruvian highlands. One the most fun things to do in Ica and Huacachina, is sand board and take a buggy ride. So it was time for me to pack my weekend bag and take the exhausting bus ride.
When I arrived in Ica I was pleasantly surprised by the climate. I could actually wear shorts and flip flops here! It was completely different than Cusco, where the weather is more unpredictable. After a short taxi ride I arrived somewhere that looked like an oasis in the desert – Huacachina – , surrounded by hostels and restaurants. I decided to start my experience by walking around to see what Huacachina had to offer. I soon found out that it was extremely small and everything was built around the water.
The next day I decided to go on the buggy and sand boarding tour. After all, that is what it is all about when you visit Huacachina. There are numerous places where you can book your tour; I personally did this in my hostel, which offered a special package including the tour. Around 4 p.m. we had to be at the entrance of the hostel where we got into a buggy. To be in this strange kind of car was an experience in itself and once we actually were in the desert the buggy went extremely fast. It was an exhilarating ride, which at times felt like a roller coaster. We all enjoyed the amazing views and screamed when we went downhill.
At a certain point the buggy stopped and we had to get out to go sandboarding. I had never done anything like snowboarding before, so I was a bit scared because I had heard that something easily could go wrong if you were not careful enough. The instructor told us that if we were too afraid to go standing on the board, we could go on our belly. Eventually this is what I decided to do so I would have less of a risk of hurting myself. We started easy with a small hill and worked our way up to more difficult hills as we moved along. Even though at times I was a bit afraid to slide down the hill, I loved every second of it and felt the adrenaline going through my body. Afterwards we went back to the town in the buggy where I enjoyed a nice meal with great people and eventually it was time to take the bus back to Cusco. I had an amazing time during my short stay in the desert of Huacachina and this certainly is a trip that I will never forget!
Besides sandboarding and do the buggy ride, you can visit the Ballestas Islands, the Nazca Lines, the National Reserve of Paracas and more.