Huacachina, the oasis of South America

An oasis amidst the parched desert
/ New Delhi
Huacachina, the oasis of South America

Huacachina means crying woman in Quechua (Photo: Peru Tourism)

A small town surrounding a beautiful lagoon amidst the never-ending sand dunes in central Peru is Huacachina, which has attracted tourists from all around for the unique experience and scenic charm that it provides.
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A beautiful princess who was once mourning the death of her lover so much that her tears created a lagoon amidst the big desert– or that’s the legend that the locals of Huacachina recount anyway. According to the legend, Huacachina, which means ‘crying woman’ in Quechua, is the name of the beautiful crying princess. And it is from her that the name of the small town, surrounding the lagoon is derived.

Just at a 5-hour drive from Peruvian capital Lima, stands the ‘oasis of America’- Huacachina, a beautiful lagoon encircled with lush trees and vegetation along with resorts and hotels in the midst of the enormous sand dunes stretching miles and miles away.

The town has only 100 permanent residents of the town. Yet, it hosts tens of thousands of tourists around a year. Crowded with hotels and restaurants, Huacachina was formerly a getaway for the upper-class Peruvians, exclusively. Now, it is one of most popular destinations for people from all around to pay a visit.

Adventure sports and activities

Extensive sand dunes of Huacachina offers visitors an adrenaline ride on dune buggy(Photo: Alvaro Palacios/Unsplash)

As Huacachina is surrounded with extensive vast amount of sand dunes, tour operators have taken advantage of this fact and offer several adventure sports for visitors.

Adventure junkies are in for a treat as the first half of the tour involves riding in a dune buggy by a professional driver up and down the dunes at high speeds. At times the driver balances the vehicle on two wheels, which is bound to send a rush of adrenaline to most visitors.

The second half of the tour gives the tourists a chance to try sandboarding, yes, sand boarding, which is exactly like snowboarding. The only difference is that instead of boarding on freezing snow in the cold weather, you will be boarding on sand dunes on a warm weather. There is also ‘sand sled’ for those seeking more relaxed activity.

There are also paddle boats for people opting for a leisure getaway. Rent a paddleboat and relax as you take in the view surrounding the lagoon. 

Head to the outskirts of Ica, away from Huacachina, and join a tour to visit the couple of different vineyards and distilleries to learn about the production process and sample heaps of wine and pisco, which is a colorless or yellowish-to-amber coloured brandy. One can even have up to 30 samples, including a pisco sour cocktail.

Nazca Line

These lines resemble the shape of a monkey(Photo: Peru Tourism)

When in Huacachina, a visit to the 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines, about two hours away, is a must. The lines, some of which measure up to 400 m long, are giant designs etched into the ground.

When seen from an airplane, the lines resemble the shape of almost about 70 different representations of plants and animals. They range from a spider, tree to dogs. These lines are considered as one of the most mysterious phenomena to exist in this world and is also considered as one of the greatest mysteries of Peru.

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