Huacachina Oasis - Oasis in the desert of Ica

11 de January de 2024

Discover Huacachina, also known as the "Oasis of America," located in the coastal desert of Peru, just 5 km west of Ica. This unique lagoon is nestled amidst the dunes, making it one of the most captivating destinations in the region. Enjoy the warm climate and the natural beauty that surrounds it.

Despite being a diminutive town, Huacachina exudes a fantastic energy, with a warm climate, friendly inhabitants, dreamy sunsets, and the privilege of having a beautiful oasis in the midst of the desert. It transforms into a singular and memorable destination that everyone should visit at least once.

History of Huacachina

This beautiful destination enchants every visitor with its spectacular view amidst the desert; however, it has a very particular history that we should be acquainted with before traveling to this paradisiacal place.

Historically, it is said that the oasis emerged thanks to an underground stream, leading to the flourishing of plants and trees in the midst of the arid desert of Ica. Currently, initiatives are being undertaken to preserve this oasis and ensure the conservation of its lush vegetation, which includes palm trees, eucalyptus, and carob trees.

Huacachina, being the only natural oasis in the region, captivates Peruvian and foreign tourists alike over decades. In the 1960s, it was a famous summer destination with houses, hotels, a boardwalk surrounding the lagoon, and even a spa. Today, Huacachina attracts hundreds of travelers seeking to enjoy thrilling dune buggy rides, practice sandboarding, and immerse themselves in the vibrant nightlife that characterizes this place.

Legends about the Oasis of Huacachina

There are two legends that tell the origin of it, and we will now recount them to you:

First legend: This is a tale that combines love, mystery, and transformation. According to the legend, there was a young princess named Huacca China, known for her charms and melodious voice. She used to bathe in the river of Ica, but one day a hunter surprised her while bathing, and upon seeing him, she fled.

As he approached, she fled, tearing her dress that would later form the sand dunes. Her mirror fell and shattered, giving shape to what is now Huacachina. It is said that the young princess emerges on full moon nights to sing her melancholic song.

Second legend: This legend tells the tragic story of Huacca China, a maiden who lived in Tacara. She cried inconsolably day and night for the death of her beloved Inca warrior, Ajall Kriña. As a result of her sorrowful tears, the lagoon was created. They also claim that she transformed into a mermaid, and thus, every unmarried man who decides to enter these waters may be seduced by the mermaid and dragged to the bottom of the lagoon.

It is believed that this lagoon holds a special connection between the Incan past and the enduring legends of today, creating an eternal bond between the land and its inhabitants.

Why is it called Huacachina?

The etymology of the name "Huacachina" originates from the Quechua words "Wakay," meaning to cry, and "China," signifying woman/female. From these elements, the term Huacachina emerges, roughly translating to "woman who cries." This designation may allude to the myth of the Inca princess and her weeping following the formation of the lagoon.

Tourist Attractions in the Oasis of Huacachina

Do you enjoy adrenaline and crave unique experiences? If so, visiting the Oasis of Huacachina is an ideal destination. It's not just about the oasis itself; you can also embark on buggy rides, indulge in sandboarding, partake in nocturnal excursions, and explore the city by night.

Huacachina Lagoon

The lagoon is the central element of the oasis and provides opportunities for boat rides and photography. Its waters, surrounded by palm trees, create a stunning landscape. It is only 20 minutes away from the city of Ica, and the good thing is that you can visit it throughout the year. However, it is more beautiful to go between February and March to enjoy its warm weather.

Buggy Ride through the Desert

Experiencing an exhilarating buggy ride through the surrounding dunes is one of the most popular activities. Skilled drivers navigate visitors through the high and steep dunes for an adrenaline-filled experience, so fasten your seatbelts and let yourself be whisked away at high speed through the Ica dunes.


The Huacachina dunes are ideal for practicing sandboarding. Boards can be rented, allowing one to glide down the sandy slopes and providing an exhilarating adventure. While sliding down from the top of the dunes may sound intimidating, you will find that once at the bottom, you'll be eager to do it again. It's a one-of-a-kind experience, and you don't need prior experience, just follow the recommendations.

Night Tours

The oasis provides the opportunity to take evening strolls to enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings and marvel at the starry desert sky. That's not all; you can also embark on an excursion to visit various wineries and pisco distilleries, and finally, explore the nightclubs in the oasis.

How to Get to the Oasis of Huacachina?

There are various ways to reach the oasis of Huacachina:

From Lima

To reach your destination from Lima, the only option is to take a bus departing from the Javier Prado terminal. The journey has an approximate duration of 4 to 5 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. Upon arrival at the terminal, you can proceed either by taxi or on foot.

From Ica

Huacachina is located just 10 minutes away, so you can reach it by taxi or mototaxi from the city of Ica. However, if you wish to fully enjoy and explore the city, you may consider walking.

Tours to Huacachina

If you are planning an exciting trip through southern Peru, you cannot miss the opportunity to visit the impressive Oasis of Huacachina. This small paradise is a true oasis in the middle of the desert, offering a unique experience with its imposing dunes and natural lagoon. Ideal for adventure lovers, you can enjoy activities such as buggy rides and sandboarding. In addition, the scenic beauty of the place is simply unforgettable. For a complete experience in this magical region, we recommend the Tour Treasures of Southern Peru offered by Illapa Andean Cultures, which includes a visit to this spectacular oasis.

Where to Stay in the Oasis of Huacachina?

In Huacachina, there are various accommodation options ranging from budget hostels to boutique hotels. Some recommended places include Hotel Mossone and Desert Nights Ecocamp, both offering modern amenities and spectacular views.

Another option would be to sleep in a campsite within the desert itself, providing a unique and immersive experience.

Images of the Oasis of Huacachina

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