If you would make a list of the Peru tourist places one needs to visit for sure the majority would put Machu Picchu on top of the list, the Inca Trail, Lake Titicaca and the Amazon. These are the most common destinations which are well-worth visiting. Now, how many of you have been snowboarding in their life? Quite a few, right? But how many have ever tried sandboarding? Not too much, usually. However, you are really missing out on something! In the desert of Huacachina, home of the largest sand dunes in South America and only about 2 hours from the coastal city Paracas, you get the chance to try Huacachina sandboarding and you will not regret it. Contrary to snowboarding you do not need any experience for sandboarding, just hop on it and let’s go!
To get to Huacachina you usually start in Lima. From there an approximately 6-hour bus ride along the Pacific coast will first take you to Paracas in the region of Ica.
Paracas National Reserve
If you have a few days go visit the Paracas National Reserve. The about 335,00 hectares big area is a treasure in native flora and fauna. It is the oldest marine reserve in Peru that also contains archeological sites from the Paracas pre-Incan culture. Apart from that you will encounter beautiful beaches with geological formations. Located there are also the Ballestas Islands that inhabit various different bird species as well as Humboldt penguins, the South American fur seal, sea lions and many more. A boat ride of about 2 and a half hours brings you there to spend time watching the wildlife. Tours are usually shared, however, plenty of agencies offer a private tour so you can enjoy this magic place together with your group. Make sure you to not forget your camera and take a pictures of the sea lions chilling on the coast!
From Paracas it is only an around 1 and a half hour ride to the town Ica. From there it is a short motor taxi drive to Huacachina. Surrounded by sand dunes the Huacachina oasis looks like out of a picture: a lagoon surrounded by trees and a small village in the middle of nowhere.
Once there it is super easy to find a place that offers Huacachina sandboarding. The tours last between one hour and two hours sliding down several dunes. Hop onto a sand buggy to climb the top of the sand dunes and enjoy the vast desert that stretches out in front of you and then get ready to jump on your board. For many the sand buggy ride alone is exciting enough, winding through the desert until you reach your starting point. Once there and after waxing your board you can either stand or lie on it, which is the safest option. Also make sure to not scream too much, since a lot of sand will be flying around your face while you race down the dunes. As you are on high speed do not forget to empty your pockets because the risk of losing and never finding it again is quite big. Furthermore, long pants covering your whole leg are recommended since there is a great risk that sand will enter everywhere. Sunscreen and water are essential, otherwise you will end up with a huge sunburn and dehydrated as it is quite hot there. And bring a hat and sunglasses as well!
Nowadays, Huacachina gains more and more attention and popularity, with good reason. Whether you want to make a short trip or are planning luxury tours in Peru, many travel agencies put Huacachina sandboarding on the list of best Peru tourist places and offer their services to arrange a trip there. Tours are generally organized to start from Lima. Make sure that it includes the Paracas National Reserve since it is on the way. However, you do not necessarily have to book a tour through an agency, you can easily go there on your own. Just book a bus in Lima, there are buses that go directly to Ica. Though there are only a few houses surrounding the Huacachina oasis most of them are restaurants and hostels, so it is no problem at all to spend more time there and go for a second round of sandboarding the next day or just enjoy the sunrise at the lagoon. Tens of thousands of people visit Huacachina each year, backpackers, families, adventurers, everyone who wants to make the exciting experience of racing down hills of sand. That is why it is under the Top 10 best Peru tours among which you can also find Machu Picchu, of course, the Inca Trail, the Sacred Valley, Puerto Maldonado and Iquitos in the Amazon, Lima and more. Make sure to visit as much as you can for an ultimate experience of this magical country.
Peru has many wonders waiting for you to be discovered. Here in Cusco Travel Peru our specialty is to make your trip an outstanding experience, fill-in this form and let your taylor-made luxury Peru vacation begin.