I first caught a glimpse of Huacachina on Bronte’s Instagram (Australian girl who we met on day one in Arequipa). She posted a pic, I said “yo, where is this, I need to go there.” And she gave me all the deets.
One week later we were off. We went from Arequipa to the tiny desert town via a 12-14 hour night bus.
In Huacachina you do three things; wine and pisco tours, buggy tours, and explore the dunes. So that my friend is what we did.
We were TIRED upon arriving. We also booked on super late notice. Bronte told us to book at the Bananas Hostel. But they had no vacancy…no one did. Besides our little shat-hole of a place known as the sunset hotel. I don’t suggest it. Huacachina is basically just hotels and restaurants, so if you plan ahead, you should be fine.
After a nap, we grabbed some grub and headed up the main dune to explore…
“Heading up the dune” shouldn’t be said so nonchalantly. We were not prepared for the workout ahead.
Poor Nate. He’s a heavy human. So with every step he really just sank into the sand. Progress was minimal. But we eventually made it.
At the top, the wind was no joke. I suppose this is precisely what MAKES the sand dunes. Forgive my lack of brain power after that night bus ride.
The weather was great both days until about 3-4pm, then a miniature slow moving sand storm would move in and give you this type of view (see below).
Oh…did I forget to mention we made sure to bring some wine to the top? Essentials, you know.
So we sat, and drank our wine, trying to avoid the consumption of sand in the process…
Then we headed down the dune – a much more pleasant experience. I of course stopped to snap a selfie half way down…and Nate captured the moment. How millennial of us…
We used day one to book all the things. This is not difficult. You’ll be haggled with every step you take around the lake to sign up for buggy tours and wine tours…the two things you do in Huacachina.
Our wine and pisco tour was private, set up via our taxi driver from the bus station to our hotel. Rather convenient and much preferred I must admit.
The wine and pisco tour stopped at two places. The first of which was TACAMA. No complaints here. The facilities were gorgeous, and the wine was great. I can’t REALLY speak for the pisco because the only one we tasted was unflavored. So it was pure pisco…which really just resembles rubbing alcohol. BUT I personally LOVE the containers that the pisco is fermented in.
I’ll let the photos do the talking…
From Tacama we visited a smaller “pisco only” factory, but didn’t have time to snap any photos. We tasted six or seven piscos…which was enough for me to no longer feel my face. SO, can I thought they were delicious, but my perception may have been skewed. #dontjudge.
After our wine and pisco tour, it was back to Huacachina for some lunch before our buggy tour at 4:00pm (that’s when all the tours begin). You get put into a group, and off you go. We personally wanted kind of a jackass driver because, well duh, we wanted to have fun. Those prayers were answered…ten fold.
Our driver was HILARIOUS and terrifying…
Before you actually start sand-boarding, they take you out to the dunes so you can snap your selfies, and do it for the gram. I attempted a toe touch…jumping in sand is humbling to say the least.
Then, the fun begins. They should really tell people to wear long pants and sleeves. Sand-boarding has the potential to be quite violent. And as you can imagine, in Peru there were no waivers, little instruction, and a firm push down the dune. Elbows in, legs out, chin up, and GOOOOO!!!
I wish I had video of us actually sand boarding. But know that it so much fun, you will see people wipe out, and it’s hilarious – if they’re okay of course.
At the end of the tour, all the buggies post up on one of the highest dunes and watch the sun set.
That’s it! Two days in Huacachina well worth the 12-14 hour night bus. Two days later, we’d wake up at 3am for our Colca Canyon Tour. THAT, my friend is worth the read. I’ve got a blog post on that event from a very REAL perspective.
If you ever find yourself in Peru, try to make a stop at this little oasis in the desert. The locals will greatly appreciate your tourist mula.
A note – the busses in Peru are NOT punctual. Really 95% of Peru is not punctual. We literally went to a cafe one day that said “sometimes we open at 4pm, sometimes 5pm, sometimes we don’t open.” So drop your agenda and go with the flow. You’ll save yourself a lot of pointless frustration. Our bus back to Arequipa was 2 hours late. It happens. Expect the worst and you’ll be pleased most of the time I think.
Huacachina, 10/10 (minus the hotel of course).
I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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