September 18-19, 2015
After a fairly short public bus ride of 4.5 hours from Lima we arrived in the city of Ica. Another 10-minute taxi ride and we were in the heart of Huacachina. We checked into our room, a nice bedroom with a double bed and our own bathroom. Sylvie wasn’t feeling well so she took a little nap—I went out exploring the city. It turns out the entire city is walkable in 20 minutes. The back of our hostel opened up directly to the city’s large lagoon.
The entire city of Huacachina seemed to be a backpacker’s paradise—cheap drinks, great western food, and American music. In fact, Sylvie and I enjoyed the best meals we’ve had to date in this small town.
The main attraction in this city is the sunset sandboarding tour. Dozens and dozens of dune buggies, each loaded with a dozen+ gringos take to the sand dunes three times a day. The last tour of the day, at 4pm, lasts for 2 hours, whereas the others only last for 1 hour. We buckle ourselves in using a three-point harness and the driver takes us on an exciting ride over sand dunes.
I could tell from the course the driver took that he was experienced and felt completely confident in his abilities—Although, he did love revving the high-torque engine. We stopped a few times to take some pictures and to watch the sunset. We ended up taking the sandboards down half a dozen slopes. They boards were in really bad condition so all of us went down on our bellies. A few guys in the other groups tried to go down standing up…most of them fell. There were a few companies in town that rented high quality boards with bindings.
Sylvie and I went on a ‘city tour’ that consisted of a few stops in the city of Ica. We were told a legend about witches and then taken to a restaurant. I hate these kinds of ‘city tours’. They lack content and the tour companies just get a commission from the restaurants. Afterwards we toured an artisanal pisco distillery and sampled some liquor and wine. The tour was so cheap that I didn’t mind spending my day doing these things, but I would not recommend this to anyone else traveling to Huacachina. The sandboarding, however, comes with high praise! That and the food at Dessert Nights!
Another taxi into Ica and a night bus to Arequipa that departs at 9:30pm.