Huacachina Peru is a gorgeous town located around an oasis in the middle of the desert surrounded by incredible sand dunes. One of the top things to do in Huacachina (and in all of Peru) is taking on the giant sand dunes with a dune buggy and a makeshift snowboard. Thinking about sandboarding Peru? Here’s everything you need to know!
Getting to Huacachina Peru is pretty easy from either Arequipa or Paracas (The Poor Man’s Galapagos). If you’re heading there from Arequipa catch a taxi to the bus station (Should cost you about $5 S) and you can book your ticket directly there. Buses leave pretty regularly throughout the day. If you’re in Paracas you can follow the same method.
When booking the bus, you actually need to take an overnight bus to Ica. From there it’s a quick 15 minute taxi or tuk-tuk to the Huacachina desert. You should pay no more than $5 S.
It is also possible to take a day trip from Nasca to the Huacachina Oasis including sandboarding, which will set you back about $50 USD.
Where to stay?
We spent our time in Huacachina Peru at the Desert Nights Hostel. Which I could not recommend more highly. It’s clean, bright and has an awesome Netflix room for relaxing. It’s also part of the Desert Nights Ecocamp. Which means you can use the pool (with swim up bar) and kitchen without the $50 USD price tag. To book your room at Desert Nights Hostel click here.
What does it cost?
The price range of tours for sandboarding Huacachina vary greatly. They can start from as high as $114 S. (or $35 USD) per person. This all depends on the kind of buggy you take, whether it’s a private tour or a group tour and who you book with. We managed to find a tour for $30 S. ($10 USD) per person. However our buggy definitely wasn’t top of the range.
How to book
You can book at any of the tourism agencies. Or like us, if you’re not it any rush head out onto the main street find a driver and negotiate your price.
What to expect
After a short negotiation with some of the drivers on the street we were lead to our buggy. We were told we were lucky enough to have a private tour. Unfortunately this meant we were in a tiny 4 seater buggy that looked like it had driven over one too many sand dunes.
As the driver started the engine we quickly pulled on our aged seat belts and started putting up the sand dunes. No sooner had we started the engine stalled and we stopped again. Take-two, however was more successful and we started slowly but surely climbing the first super steep and incredibly tall sand dune.
From here our sandboarding Peru experience is all a bit of a blur. But it was pretty much like the scariest roller coaster of my life. While we yelled and screamed expletives I won’t repeat our driver pushed the old buggy to its limits. Taking us to the tops of the steepest dunes, lingering there for a second, and then flying down the other side like a madman. The buggy’s wheels left the safety of the sand multiple times as did my heart from my chest.
After experiencing this surprising fun glimpse of hell for about 30 minutes we stopped for our first attempt at sandboarding. Being the hopeless snowboarder I am I opted out of standing up and went down on my stomach. Which was actually really fun. My friends, however showed their bravery and attempted the dune standing. And did really well. Following the boarding we all piled back into the buggy and set off slashing around the sand dunes again. After 10 minutes we came to our second boarding spot and took on the dunes again.
Getting ready to watch the sun set over the Huacachina Oasis.
After another 15 minutes of the stomach churning rollercoaster ride it was time for our adventure to end. Our driver dropped us at one of the sand dunes near the town where we were able to watch the sunset.
- Wear closed toe shoes. Otherwise you’ll get sand burn while sliding down the dunes.
- Don’t bring any valuables. Everything you’re wearing/carrying will be filled with sand. I brought along my phone which was fine in the end after some vigorous dusting.
- Wear sunglasses. You will definitely end up with sand in your eyes if you don’t.
- Make sure you have travel insurance. While we made it home safely from the sandboarding Peru. It can be very dangerous, with accidents happening quite often. So make sure you’re covered with good travel insurance.
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