Huacachina, Peru

A good place to get sand in every crevice…

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The most adorable little desert oasis

Huacachina is a small little village built around a desert oasis. The village has been built into the perfect little tourist town, so it is a good place to relax and enjoy some of your typical touristy things (if thats what you like to do). I am not typically a “relaxy” person, but after working 60-70 hours a week for a while, I suppose its good to kick your feet up and enjoy a Pisco sour (or 10).

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The adorable desert oasis being kissed by the sunset light. Note how small the actual village is.

How we got to Huacachina…

Nine of my friends and I were traveling from Lima, so we booked bus tickets with Cruz del Sur to the city of Ica ($15/person). Once the bus arrived in Ica 4 hours later, we exited and were conveniently attacked by an army of taxi drivers that wanted to take everyone to Huacachina. Rumor has it that these guys charge more than your average taxi driver, but there was 10 of us, we were tired, and I was overwhelmed at the convenience so we took them up on their offer. Overall it cost us $9 USD/taxi and we filled up 3 taxis. Wasn’t going to break the bank.

The taxi ride wasn’t long, and the lighter traffic was refreshing after surviving Lima’s bumper to bumper highways (however, I have survived Bangkok traffic a million times, so anything compared to that is a cake walk). As always, my eyeballs were glued to the window because I love driving through new towns. As we continued driving, there were less and less buildings and more and more sand. We drove up the road with a giant dune on the right side of our taxis and once we turned the corner we could see the oasis. It was kind of magical (but I was also super hungry at this time so I might have been delirious and you may not experience the same magic as I did).

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Our dune buggy… featuring a super cool and proper llama.

Where we stayed…

The taxis dropped us off at our hostel, Mr. Llama (yes I chose this place because of the name). As always, I found this hostel on Hostel World. We checked into our three rooms, and all settled in. Two of the rooms had private bathrooms and were really nice. The room I ended up in with two of my friends wasn’t anything exciting and we shared the bathroom with the room next to us (who clearly did not know that you aren’t supposed to flush toilet paper in Peru, because they DID. And they left us with their little floating gifts to deal with in the toilet). Overall, we really enjoyed staying at Mr. Llama (except the floating gift incident). It was a great place for a great cost ($86/night for all three of the rooms), and a great location. The staff there helped us book our tours we were going to do during our stay in Huacachina, and everyone was very friendly.

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All 10 of us on top of our dune buggy

What we did…

Our spare time in Huacachina was spent exploring the village. We were there for three days, and if we would have stayed one more day we would have ran out of things to do. It is very small. We drank a lot at Huaca-fucking-china (a bar that you will easily find while walking the main street), and danced with their wait staff. We climbed the dunes, and walked around the oasis. We ate a lot of food.

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All that sand waiting to get into everyone’s underwear.

Our second night was when we decided to book our dune buggy/sand boarding adventure with Mr. Llama. This was an absolute blast. The buggy seated 12 people, and the driver had no mercy. It was a thrilling ride through the huge dunes, at some points we were flying over the dunes, at others we were barreling down them at what almost seemed like a completely vertical drop. We stopped at the top of a steep dune, and we all got out.

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Sandboarding. No one died, technically.

He started unloading the sand boards and we all, one by one, starting going face first down the dunes. It was amazingly fun going down the dunes, but going up them was a bitch.

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I have bloodshed! Emergency!

He told us to start walking over to an even more giant sand dune, and that was our last one we slid down. Overall, only a couple of us wiped out and only one of us “almost” died, so it was a successful first time sand boarding.

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Sunset in the dunes. Way to go, Peru. You look real nice.

After our driver picked us up at the bottom of the giant dune, we sped off romantically (terrifyingly) into the sunset. We stopped on top of a dune to watch the sunset with a group of other people and then sped over to watch the end of the sunset over the oasis. It was an amazing night.

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The Candelabra of the Andes. We went by this on our boat ride to Islas Ballestas. The figure is estimated to be from 200 BCE, and the carving in the stone is 2 feet deep and 595 feet tall. They still aren’t sure who made it. My vote: Aliens.

The next day was the day that we scheduled our Islas Ballestas tour and our Paracas National Reserve tour with Mr. Llama. We got picked up from our hostel around 8 am and took a 2.5 hour bus ride to the ocean.

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Some pretty sweet rock formations (fully equipped with birds and poo)

We filed onto small boats and sped off towards Islas Ballestas. The rock formations around the islands were breathtaking (even though they were covered in bird poo) and the wildlife was very exciting (especially when a cormorant landed on my friend in the boat with us).

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Sea lions being adorable and stinky
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My favorite part of the entire day. This one, lone penguin. Just chilling. We saw other penguins, but none as fantastic as this one (I related to him on a spiritual level, seeing as I am also a lone penguin).
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A trip to Islas Ballestas is not complete without some boobies.
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These pelicans are clearly the kings of the island, shouting commands at the other birds and demanding their loyalty.

Islas Ballestas is called “The Poor Man’s Galapagos”, because there is a huge variety of wildlife, but you can visit and see that wildlife without paying a thousand dollars. Once we were done touring the island, we headed back to the mainland where we had a small sandwich snack.

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Those pink things in the distance are supposedly flamingos. I am pretty sure they were real flamingos… but they could also be plastic lawn ornaments and I wouldn’t know from this distance. Well played, Peru. Well played.

We got back on the bus and they took us to Paracas National Reserve, where I was most excited to see flamingos. I was extremely sad, however, when I realized the viewing area for where the flamingos usually are congregated was so far away from the actual birds that all I could see was that there were pink things out in the ocean. And some douche had a drone camera that he flew towards the flamingos, which made them panic and they flew further away. Don’t be a douche, leave your drones at home.

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Red sand beach

We visited the red sand beach and got to eat an interesting lunch at a restaurant right on the ocean. Then we jumped back on the bus and headed back to Huacachina, where we packed up and headed to the bus station for our next adventure.

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Peru showing off with its great landscape and what not.

And that concludes our 3 day stay in Huacachina.

For a quick itinerary and budget for the 14 day trip I planned for 10 people in Peru, click here.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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This is the cormorant friend that landed on the boat and tried to befriend MY friend, Jacqui. I was jealous that it was trying to steal my friend, but it was escorted back to the ocean shortly after my jealousy flared up.

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