The Best Huacachina Tours for 1-day Trips to the Peru Desert Oasis and What to do While There

The Best Huacachina Tours for 1-day Trips to the Peru Desert Oasis and What to do While There

Looing for the best Huacachina tours for the Peru desert oasis? Getting from Lima to Huacachina is easy, and you’ll love all the Huacachina tour things to do in Huacachina Ica once you arrive! The sand dunes Peru are amazing!

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We consider our 3-day trip to Huacachina, Ica one of the coolest things we’ve done in our last two years of traveling full-time.

Yes, it really is that unique. 

We loved being surrounded by massive Huacachina Peru sand dunes, walking the circle around the small lake and palm trees, and testing the different backpacker hostels and restaurants at the Peru oasis.

The only downside is that three days felt like a long time.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much to do in Huacachina in the middle of the day. The main attraction for the area is the incredible sand dunes and all the fun activities to do on them, but the same is firey hot from just after sunrise to just before sunset. This limits what you’re able to do for fun in Huacachina, and makes joining day tours to Huacachina from Lima a great option.

If you are intent on staying overnight in Huacachina, as we did, you’ll still have a great time if you fill your days with day trips to other nearby towns.

No matter what, there is lots of fun to be had and a way to tour Huacachina for everyone- regardless of budget or time!

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Getting from Lima to Huacachina by bus

How to get from lima to huacachina by bus

Getting from Lima to Huacachina is easier than you might think! Transportation by bus is the most popular choice, with two main options:

  1. PeruHop. PeruHop offers hop-on hop-off tours around Peru, with legs from Lima to Huacachina (and even beyond to Lake Titicaca and, eventually, Cusco) running daily. PeruHop offers comfortable seats on a double-decker bus, an English tour guide, and fun stops along the way to Huacachina. You can choose to stay overnight in Huacachina and catch a PeruHop bus returning to Lima (or onward) later, or make your trip to Huacachina in just one long day.
  2. Oltursa. Our preferred method of transportation from Lima to Huacachina bus is with the national bus line Oltursa. They offer clean, easy private bus terminals to pick you up in Lima, comfortable, reclining chairs, a complimentary snack service on the road, and are much cheaper than PeruHop. The downside is that the bus drops you off in Ica, the main town 10 minutes away from Huacachina, so you’ll need to find your own taxi to drive the final leg. They also only offer one-way rides, so you’ll need to arrange stops or onward travel separately.

For more information on getting to Huacachina from Lima by bus with PeruHop or Oltursa bus company check out our earlier article. It also icludes prices and other information you’ll need to make the trip as seamless as possible!

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The Best Huacachina Tour (by ratings and inclusions) 

Huacachina Sand Dunes Tour

If you aren’t interested in arranging your own bus from Lima to Huacachina desert oasis you can always join a Huacachina tour leaving directly from Lima!

The best one-day Huacachina tour from Lima:

For those short on time looking to go to the oasis Peru Huacachina, consider joining this top-rated Huacachina tour group from Lima. It’s the highest publicly-rated day tour to Huacachina for a reason. Check out all they offer!

Guests are picked up in Lima early in the morning and join a bilingual tour agent for three fun stops:

  1. Paracas Bay: 300 km south of Lima this Huacachina tour stops at Paracas, a culturally important and picturesque beach town
  2. Ballestas Islands: The tour continues to a boat ride to the Ballestas Islands, where you’ll be able to watch native penguins, birds, and sea lions play around incredible rock and island structures
  3. Huacachina Desert Oasis: The final stop on this Huacachina tour from Lima is a thrilling dune buggy ride over the mammoth sand dunes with stops for sandboarding down the smooth Huacachina sand dunes

Honestly, I kind of wish we had taken this tour!

We organized the bus from Lima to Huacachina, the sand dune and sandboarding trip, and a side trip to Ballestas Islands on our own and it was much more stressful and expensive than having one Huacachina tour group handle it all for us!

Each of these stops is incredible, but they don’t require a lot of time to fully enjoy. A one-day tour of Huacachina from Lima would be perfect. Check out the Huacachina tour prices and other details here!

 

How to tour the Huacachina sand dunes if you are already in the Peru desert oasis:

If you have some extra time in Peru, a day or two to relax in Huacachina would be great! We spent 3 days in the Huacachina oasis, and felt very relaxed being able to watch the sand dunes around us for so long.

The easiest way to book desert oasis tours of the best things to do in Huacachina is once you already arrive. You’ll pay a premium for last-minute bookings, but you’ll have three main options for finding things to do: 

  1. Your Taxi driver into Huacachina. If you take Oltursa bus from Lima to Huacachina you’ll need to hire a separate taxi to take you the final 10 minutes to Huacachina from Ica. This driver will inevitably know many people in the Huacachina tour industry and will share his contact information for you to book tours directly. We booked sand boarding and Ballestas Island tours through our Ica taxi driver for about half the cost our hotel was trying to charge!
  2. Your hotel can arrange tours. Once you check in to your Huacachina hostel or hotel the front desk agent will tell you all the tours he is able to arrange for you. The charges are roughly double what you’ll find other places, but it’s convenient to arrange transportation from your hotel and the variety the hotels are able to offer!
  3. Ask the tour operators themselves. The most popular thing to do in the Huacachina oasis is a dune buggy ride over the sand dunes and sand boarding down them. You can easily arrange this yourself by simply walking up to the hoard of dune buggies and drivers hanging out at the bottom of the sand dunes! Group tours can fit up to 10 passengers, and dune buggies typically won’t begin their tour until their group is full. This means you’ll find many drivers asking sand dune pedestrians if they’re interested in last-minute fun! You’ll have the most luck if you show up around 4:00 pm, as this is the most popular time for dune buggy rides to head out.

The best day tours around Huacachina:

Ballestas Island Huacachina Tour

If you do plan on staying in Huacachina Ica for more than just one day you’ll probably want to book a day trip somewhere else while you’re there. The Huacachina sand dunes are the main attraction here, but they are too hot to walk from just after sunrise to just before sunset (believe me, we tried!). 

But there are so many other Huacachina things to do that finding a great day tour is super easy and makes your trip to the Peru desert oasis even more meaningful!

Here are our top choices for day trips around Huacachina:

1. Ballestas Islands from Paracas Bay

Paracas Bay is 1.5-2 hours away from Huacachina, and home to some really amazing things to do along the Peruvian coastline. Our favorite trip from Paracas Bay is a boat tour of the Ballestas Islands, famous for the unique wildlife you can watch in action.

A Ballestas Islands boat tour will take you past one of the giant desert geoglyphs the Peruvian desert is known for, with ongoing travel around some incredible rock formations where you’ll see wild sea lions, dolphins, birds, and even penguins lounging and having fun.

We recommend this top-rated Ballestas Islands tour, which includes dock and park entrance fees.

The tour only takes around 2 hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to hang out in Paracas Bay before getting back for sunset tours of Huacachina!

 

2. Fly over the Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs carved into the desert by the Nazca culture between 500 BC and 500 AD.

The “lines” which form giant pictures of plants, animals, and objects, range anywhere from 1 ft – 30 meters wide and can stretch up to 9 kilometers. Due to their giant shape and size, it’s best to view these incredible pictures from far away- in the sky.

This Nazca Lines tour will pick you up from your hotel and fly you over 13 Nazca geoglyphs, including the recently discovered Palpa Lines, in a small plane where you’ll have a window seat and 360-degree views of the ancient artwork.

The Nazca Lines were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 for good reason. It is in an incredibly unique sight to view, and one you don’t want to miss while you’re in the area!

Check prices for a 1-hour helicopter ride here. 

 

3. Pisco Winery Tour

Pisco, a wine native to the Pacific coast of Peru and the signature ingredient in a Pisco Sour, is produced in wineriers surrounding Huacachina.

Many day trips to Huacachina include a stop at a local winery for a tour of their Pisco process and sampling of their famous drink, but your hotel can also arrange a private day trip to one of these small wineries if you have extra time to kill in Huacachina.

 


 

Huacachina, Ica, is an incredible place to see. Whether you can only afford a one-day Huacachina tour from Lima or have more time to stay in the desert oasis Peru you’ll love this unique desert landscape. It’s amazing, and you’ll have the time of your life!

 

Planning a trip to the sand dunes of Peru? Pin this article on what to do in Huacachina for later!