Welcome to Huacachina, Ica
Huacachina is a village in the Ica Region, in southwestern Peru. It is located in the Ica Province, near the city of Ica in the Ica District. Huacachina has a population of 115 (1999). The oasis features on the back of the 50 Nuevo Sol note. Everything in Huacachina is within walking distance. The lagoon in the center of the oasis is only about 2 acres in size.
Huacachina is built around a small natural oasis in the desert. Called the "oasis of America," it serves as a resort for local families from the nearby city of Ica, and increasingly as an attraction for tourists drawn by the sports of sandboarding and taking dune buggy rides on sand dunes that stretch several hundred feet high. Also the atmosphere in Huacachina is very laid back, with little venders of all sorts. There you will find lots of hand crafted items such as beaded jewelry and hand paintings.
Currently, private landowners near the oasis have installed wells, in order to access the groundwater. This has had the effect of drastically reducing the level of water in the oasis. To compensate for this water loss, and preserve the oasis as an aesthetically pleasing destination for tourists, the city began a process of artificially pumping water into the oasis.
The Legend of Huacachina
Huacachina Legend: On the main boulevard there is mermaid statue with a wishing well which is the photo focal point of Huacachina. The reason this statue is here is because there is a legend that there is a mermaid that lives in the lagoon. Legend has it that before Huacachina existed there was a maiden in the countryside brushing her hair, looking at herself in the mirror. The maiden was a beautiful virgin who had a pact with a god that she would never fall in love with anyone, as he wanted her all to himself. That day as she was looking in her mirror in the reflection she saw a hunter and fell blindly in love with him at first sight. The all-knowing god found out and cast a spell on her and turned her into a mermaid so that she could never be with the hunter. As he did this the mirror crashed to the ground and created the Huacachina lagoon, and her tunics blew away in the wind only to create the imposing dunes that surround Huacachina. Legend says that she comes out at night, especially when there is a full moon, to sing to the single men that pass by trying to entice them into the lagoon. Huacachina means in Quechua the woman who cries and apparently for her lost love.
How to get to Huacachina
By GPS coordinates to Huacachina, Ica = 14°05'16.26"S 75°45'50.47"W
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The Truth about Huacachina
The area is popular for dune buggy and sandboarding tours, dinning, and relaxing. Huacachina is also a great place to stay while on vacation, because it is centrally located and is used as a hub for many travelers. It is for the most part considered a safe place to stay, and this is another reason why many tourist choose to find lodging in Huacachina. Huacachina has a very relaxed and layed back kind of atmosphere. We invite you to come and see all that it has to offer.
Huacachina is considered a safe place to vacation, but here is some general safety advice as if traveling to other parts of Peru.
1) Eat in established restaurants (Food Sanitary Reasons).
2) Don’t trust strangers that come up to you on the street, even if they speak English, some want to take advantage of you.
3) Lock up valuables in safes.
4) When you go out to the bars, go with a fellow travelers.
5) Don’t leave your Ipod, phone etc. in public areas unattended, they might not be there when you go back. Same goes for hanging your purse, camera or day bag on the back of restaurant chairs, place on your lap or hang them on your knee instead.
6) Don’t trust the taxi drivers, they are not the travel experts they believe to be. They often bring you different places because they receive kick backs in the form of money for free stuff.
7) Don’t buy tours or bus tickets from someone on the street. Buy tickets from a formal tour company office or establishment.
Tips and additional info about Huacachina:
1)There really is not a bad time during the year to visit Huacachina. During the day it is almost always sunny even in our winter months of June and July. It only rains maybe 2 days out of the year, and even then its just a sprinkle, you wont need rain gear.
2) Wear closed shoes or sneakers for sandboarding to protect your feet.
3) You can use Huacachina as a base to visit Paracas to the North (Islas Ballestas) and Nasca to the South. It is a much chiller place to stay than either of these towns. It is also a great last stop before going to the airport in Lima to head home because it is only 4 hours from Lima.
4) There is 1 ATM point in Huacachina, and it is GLOBALNET. It doesn’t always have cash. Lots of places accept VISA and Mastercard, but its probably a good idea to get cash out in Ica before coming to Huacachina to be on the safe side.
5) There are no pharmacies, big supermarkets, post offices, or medical clinics in Huacachina, although they are a few minutes away by taxi, make sure if you need something like this you get it before coming to Huacachina.
6) There are always taxis waiting in Huacachina to bring you to Ica, you don’t need to reserve them unless its really early like 6am. A trip to Ica costs 6-10 soles depending on location and time of day.