Huacachina — Peru’s Pint-sized Dubai

What do you get the man who has nothing, and likes it that way? An action-packed, boy toy filled day in Peru’s desert oasis, Huacachina.

Ready to ride

The things I do for this man

Coastal Peru is a total desert. With its emerald lagoon and native palm trees, Huacachina is a literal oasis. 5km from the Pisco and business center of Ica, Huacachina is many weird and wonderful things, namely southern Peru’s adventure capital and a very cool venue for Cliff’s 29th birthday.

Like many things in Peru, lore prescribes healing powers to the lagoon’s green waters. But most visitors skip the eerie oversized puddle and divide their time between their hostel/hotel pool and the adrenalin-charged activities that abound on Huacachina’s sprawling sand dunes.

Huacachina Lagoon

Huacachina Lagoon

We pulled together our entire day through local tour company Desert Nights, the only game in town that lets you pilot your own vehicle across the Huacachina dunes. Through google searches, Desert Nights appears a simple restaurant, but they also rent quads, book dune buggies, and supply sand boards. Just like a mullet: restaurant business in the front, dunes party in the back.

They took our cash (but didn’t bother with credit card insurance), hooked us up with a “guide”, and sent us off into the noonday sun at full throttle.


So much sand

Good, hot and sandy, we snuck into a hotel pool for a few hours and then headed back to Desert Nights for our sunset buggy ride.




At the top of a peek, we all piled out of the buggy and strapped plywood replica snowboards to our bare feet.

After the first run, group consensus was that head first, belly down was the way to ride.

I got moves

I got moves

Just before sunset, the buggy perched atop a dune facing Huacachina to the west, and we dug in for a pretty spectacular show.


We had just enough time for a birthday drink and to run into some old hostel friends before the desert cold set in and we retreated to our hotel in Ica.

A colourful end to a colourful birthday.

This bar sign pretty much sums up the Huacachina experience

Yep, that’s about it