The legend tells that Huacachina , also called the Oasis of America, had its origin when a princess, who was having her bath, was captured by a young hunter . while escaping from him she let the waters become a lake and the train of her long cloak to create the surrounding sand dunes . It is said that she is still alive somewhere in the incredible expanse of silky sand.
This mythical and simple story was the preamble to my arrival at the oasis of Huacachina in the region of Ica north of Cuzco, not far from Nazca , the popular tourist town where I did not go and famous for its services, 5 hours by bus from Lima, a 5 -minute taxi ride from Ica, capital of the region.
After about 16 hours of travel by bus, although comfortable and pleasant, and hungry like a wolf, I arrived at the bus terminal in Ica where a young man was waiting for me.
The Tepsa bus company with whom I had traveled had included a good lunch at a nearby restaurant in the ticket and the boy was waiting to take me there. Sitting by the road I think that Ica is not exactly the city where I want to be. It is big, hot, chaotic, with hundreds of yellow cabs and red bee-like vehicles that serve as taxis honking and in queue.
After a short walk into town in search of the money exchange office to change money, I change my travel plan and decide to go directly to Huacachina that is only a few kilometers from the busy city center.
In Huacachina everything is redimensioned. There are no cars, no bee-like taxis, few people in general and those few are some tourists. A small paradise just outside the city. The village lodges around the pike lagoon in concentric form. There are only two roads, impossible to get lost, the main one and the malecon, obviously not without the main square and the church.
The hostels have gardens, in some, pools. They are small, natural and economical resorts just off the Peruvian capital and light years away from the chaotic and touristic Cuzco.
I find mine, Carola del Sur, as soon as I get down from the taxi. It costs 5 soles more than the nearby hostel but I am struck by the large garden where I could immediately imagine myself lying on one of the hammocks. So I spent four days in total tranquility in a pleasant and quiet environment, ideal to work in without a lot of distractions.
In fact, apart from the sand boarding, the ride in a buggy, a car equipped to go around on the sand with metal grates covering, and the tour to the bodega of Pisco, there where is produced this alcoholic drink disputed by Chile and Peru (but more Peruvian I think) according to the Inca traditions, here there is not much to do.
Generally the mornings are cloudy and cold, at noon the sky opens up with punctual regularity and what was a dark scenario earlier becomes a bright and sunny picture afterwards. If you are not in a hurry and on a pre-arranged itinerary, it is easy to find yourself in Huachina after 3 days of your arrival, an oasis in the truest sense of the word.
Getting to Hacachina
From the station in Ica, five hours by bus from Lima (20 pesos), 2 hours from Paraca and 15/16 hours from Cuzco (125 soles with Tepsa), take a private company taxi to get to Huacachina for 5 soles.
There are no buses to Huacachina and it is necessary to start from the bus station of Ica.
Tour in buggies and sand boarding in Huacachina
The tour was fun and definitely worth taking part in this race in the desert sliding (standing or lying on the stomach) on the high dunes and have fun in the company of other people.
The tours depart at 4pm so as to be able to finish the activities at sunset and watch the sun set behind the dunes.
The two-hour tours include ride in a 4 × 4 that I’m not sure how to describe and that you can see in pictures, sandboard for sandboarding, and the race for the dunes.
Cost of the tour in Buggy and sandboarding
2 hours in buggy and descents cost between 40 and 45 soles.
From Hostel Carola del Sur you can take advantage of this formula / blackmail that in any case is convenient: a dorm bed for 20 soles with the purchase of tour otherwise 25.
Cost of the tour 40 Soles.
HOSTEL Carola del Sur – bed in dormitory for 4 with private bathroom with hot water, 25 soles
Tourist menu at the lakeside restaurant 15 soles (an appetizer of ceviche and a second of choice)
Taxi for Ica 5 Soles
Buggy Tour – 40 soles
Tour and tasting at the bodega of Pisco – 40/50 Soles