Huacachina is quite literally, an oasis. It’s located a few miles outside of Ica in southwest Peru. The actual population of Huacachina is about 100 people but thousands of tourists flock to this beautiful place every year. While the spring used to be natural, now water is pumped into the oasis because local land owners built wells around the area that caused the water levels to drop significantly.
When we arrived in Huacachina we were tired, had LOTS of stomach issues and just all around were not in the greatest shape. Coming into the city we felt at first it did not live up to its expectations; it’s very run down but then again you have to keep in mind Peru is a developing country and the area around the lagoon was actually in better shape considering what we had just driven through to get there. The water is also not clean in the lagoon, and it kind of smells. We stopped at lunch at the restaurant with a patio overlooking the water and the food was okay, but the owner reallyyyyy screwed us (our fault) because he never actually gave us a menu. He just told us what he had and we assumed it would be cheap like the rest of Peru- we were very wrong and our lunch ended up costing us around $40USD (not cheap if you consider a lunch like that should have cost us about $10USD). Afterwards we checked into our hostel which was a groovy little place with a hot tub and lots of backpackers. We relaxed for a little while in our room before heading out to the sand dunes to do some sand boarding!
Read more about our sand boarding adventures here.
After sandboarding we changed and got ready for a barbeque our PeruHop guide told us about. We first stopped at a little bar and met up with some of the people we had been hanging out with all day before heading over to where the actual BBQ was happening. We walked into an amazing hostel with a huge pool, although half of it was still under construction. There was a long table full of food and the grilled chicken was great- but holy shit you guys my stomach was NOT having it. Somewhere along the line I accidentally got some water into my system or ate some bad food and I was reaping the consequences. After an hour of trying to keep it together, I looked and Michael and he knew we had to leave. I felt so bad because we were sitting across from (the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen) a Swedish couple and they had to be thinking “holy crap these Americans suck,” because I couldn’t make conversation to save my life.
If you’re visiting Huacachina there are lots of restaurants, bars and hostels. I think we paid about $10 for our one night in the hostel. Don’t drink the water (just like you wouldn’t anywhere else in Peru) and if you’re out later at night, stick to the walkways around the lagoon and keep a friend with you. I would not recommend swimming in the lagoon, although lots of locals were doing so, just because the water did not look trustworthy. Also, spend the $15 and go sand boarding! Another recommendation would be to hike up to the top of the dunes to watch the sunset.