One of the best-kept secrets in Peru is the Huacachina Oasis and most people miss it when they are on their Peruvian vacation. This is a great shame as the small town of Huacachina is an interesting place to visit.
Located around five hours drive from Lima is the town of Ica. Normally people drive straight through Ica not stopping. The town has some interesting wineries where they grow and produce the Pisco grape. Pisco is famous in Peru and South America and you will have the opportunity to taste a Pisco Sour on your trip. Travel just outside of Ica and you will arrive at Huacachina.
At Huacachina, you will some big sand dunes and a lagoon surrounded by restaurants and some hotels that you can spend the night. From Huacachina Oasis you can take a Sand Buggy tour into the dunes where there are no rules and no speed limits. Travel at break neck speeds over the dunes and if you are lucky see the sunset from the top of the dunes.
If the thought of a dune buggy is too much for you than try Sandboarding. You can rent Sand boards at the restaurants around the lake. You will need to climb to the top of the dune and either stand or sit on the board and slide down the hill. The problem with this is when you get to the bottom you will need to climb back up to slide down again. The dunes can get hot so remember to take a hat and cover up, as you will be burnt.
There is a local legend about how Huacachina came to be, it is said that the lake was created from a princess whose voice was so beautiful that I made people cry. They called her Huacca China or the girl who in cries. One day she was bathing and singing, she noticed through her mirror that a hunter was watching her. She was startled and tried to run away, the cloth that covered her fell away and created the sand dunes. While she was running, she broke her mirror and this transformed into the lake. She was turned into a mermaid and is said that to this day she comes out in the moonlight and sings her ancient song.
There are hotels to cater for all budgets from a backpacker hostel to a luxury hotel with a wonderful swimming pool. There are restaurants that cater for all tastes from Peruvian food to American cuisine. You can buy your tour of the Sand dunes at one of the hotels in Huacachina for an afternoon of adrenaline pumping fun.
Paracas National Reserve
While you are in the area, you should see Peru Ballestas Islands and the Nazca Lines. Before you get to Ica, you will pass the towns of Pisco and Paracas. From Pisco you can take a boat out to the Ballestas Islands. The islands are home to thousands species of birds and sea lions which you will see lounging on the rocks around the islands. The tours are generally in the morning as the afternoon the water can get choppy. From the town of Paracas take a tour to the Paracas National reserve and see the Candelabra, which is etched, into the side of the hill.
Do not forget to visit the town of Nazca south of Ica, the quaint little town has some of the best weather in Peru and is a great place to spend a few days. What the town is famous for is the Nazca Lines Mystery. What is the mystery you may ask, centuries ago the Nazca people and this is never been proven, etched lines in the desert floor by removing the red colored stones from the surface to reveal the light golden colored ground below. This is how they formed the lines and shapes. The reason for the lines is not known, but today you can enjoy the lines on a flight that you can take from either Nazca or Pisco airport.
You will see many shapes like the monkey, the lizard, the spider, hands and the astronaut to name a few. If you have a fear of flying than just outside of Nazca on the highway there is a viewing tower here you are able to observe three of the figures. You are not allowed to walk on the site, as this will cause damage to the delicate lines. Scientists say that the lines have been preserved because of the dry climate of the Nazca desert so we should be thankful for that.
Take a trip to Huacachina and the southern coast of Peru for some of the most interesting sites in Peru. The Southern coast has some of the best weather in Peru and it is great place to spend a few days relaxing after your trip. Take the time to do some research and book your tour today.