We take a short and comfortable bus ride from Paracas to Ica,
the city sign is not as impressive as some of the others we have seen…
From Ica we take a cab on to Huacachina (pronounced wack-a-cheena). The cab driver spoke really good English and was keen to show us his currency from around the world collection, which he had displayed very proudly in a ring binder.
We splashed out on our accommodation in Huacachina as we’d heard really good things from a trusted source. Charlie and Becci had stayed at the same place and said it was crazy, so we had to check it out for ourselves!
Our digs for the next couple of nights is a tent in a small oasis town, in the middle of the Peruvian desert. I really mean an oasis…
The top things to do in Huacachina are sand boarding and riding a dune buggy up and down the huge dunes surrounding the little town. Hence all the buggies lined up waiting to take people on a rollercoaster ride around the desert.
Our fancy digs also features a pool, yay!
As soon as we arrive we dump our bags, securely zip up our tent and hit the pool…
We also hit the beers!
We spend the rest of the afternoon lounging around the pool and relaxing. This place is incredible! The dunes surrounding Huacachina are huge. It’s impossible to have any clue how huge they are until you see people walking up them. Just before sunset tiny little ants start making their way, very slowly up the massive, imposing dunes to grab the best views.
We decide to skip the hike on our first night and just visit a small restaurant for a simple dinner and some Pisco based cocktails.
After dinner we head up a small section of the dunes and watch the last of the buggies coming in from their tours. We also bump into the lovely German couple we met in Mancora and again in Paracas.
We sit and catch up with the guys and then just watch Huacachina light up.
After saying our farewells we call it a night, feeling pooped after all the sun, swimming and beverages.
At some point during the night Dave disappears and I hear the ominous sound of someone vomiting in the bathroom. Cue second bout of travellers tummy. Poor Dave spends most of the night in and out of the bathroom which happens to be down 3 flights of stairs. The next day the visits to the toilet have calmed but stomach cramps have taken over. I make sure Dave is well hydrated before leaving him in bed to go and find a pharmacy. As I’m wandering around the outskirts of the little town my phone rings and it’s my little dude (Luca). I show him the desert, dunes and lake and he’s super excited to see it all. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find the pharmacy despite having done a full lap of the town.
After failing my mission and getting a little distracted, I head back to see how my big man is doing. Turns out he’d found himself some paracetamol, in the bag I’d already looked in earlier! I am a very rubbish nurse.
A little later the big man has started to feel a bit better and we go out for a little walk around. This place is beautiful and so surreal, it’s like nowhere else I’ve seen.
Unfortunately stomach cramps were still causing Dave some issues so as he lay down to try and ease them, I supportively took photos of him…
I really am a terrible nurse and also probably a terrible person!
We stuck around for a bit of magic hour and somehow Huacachina became even more stunning.
The next day Dave is feeling a bit better. He’s still getting cramps but they are less frequent. We decide to both risk having some breakfast around the pool at the hotel.
Turns out one of us wasn’t quite ready for breakfast yet so after some toilet time we head out to find a decent coffee. It’s impossible to walk around Huacachina and not take hundreds of photos, I take hundreds at the best of times but this place is picture perfect.
We head up into the dunes to get a different perspective of the town. We don’t go up too high but only because Dave wasn’t feeling himself otherwise we’d be up at the very highest peak, no questions!
After our walk in the dunes we go back to the hotel and one of us stuffs our self silly with a huge plate of pasta. Despite my hero being under the weather he wasn’t about to let that stand in his way. We came here to play in the dunes and play in the dunes we shall! Our bus was booked for 8pm in the evening from Ica and the last dune buggies head out at 4.30pm for a 2 hour thrill ride. We find a tour company who agree to include a taxi to the bus station in our trip.
At 4.15pm one of us with a dicky belly and the other full to the eyeballs of pasta we head over to the dunes rather apprehensively. There is a not too remote chance some of the other passengers may get vomited on by one or both of our party! We load into the buggy with 6 other unsuspecting passengers and are soon being hurled all over the place as we rush through the dunes.
Its like being on a rollercoaster and luckily so far we have both managed not to vomit! We pull over and the driver grabs some sand boards out of the back. We are at the top of a dune, it’s not particularly big but it’s very, very steep. He gives us some brief instructions in Spanish and then asks who would like to go first. Now I’ve never been snow boarding but I have been skiing, I didn’t get on with it and my skiing career ended with me throwing a massive wobbly halfway down a mountain. Dave has been snow boarding and has the broken bones to show for it. Even though he was not feeling great and despite previous accidents in a similar sport, up steps my hero to show everyone how it’s done!
As it turns out if you sand board on your tummy it’s much easier than snow boarding or skiing and it’s much more fun!
We race around the dunes some more and then the driver pulls up for us to catch a bit of sunset. The first day we were here sunset looked like it would be pretty special from the dunes but all the other days, it has been cloudy just before and not been as pretty. Unfortunately today is one of those days too
We hit a few more dunes on our sand boards, gradually increasing in size.
Spend a bit more time wizzing round in the buggy
And then it’s done, we both succeed at not vomiting and really enjoy the whole thing.
We rush back down the dunes to the tour agency and our taxi is waiting to take us to the bus terminal.
We arrive at the terminal just in time but unfortunately the bus was running late, giving us time to make a new little friend…
This cheeky monkey would not leave us alone! She just wanted to climb all over Dave and have us throw her around, all while she had mouthfuls of her dinner!!! By the time the bus did arrive we were sweaty and worn out!