After the cold Bolivian Altiplano and rainy Arequipa, I really needed a sunny break so I improvised a short trip to Paracas, on the Peruvian coast. Paracas is known for its Islas Ballestas, full of penguins and other beasts, plus the wild landscapes of Reserva Nacional de Paracas both visited on half day tours. I did nothing of this, I preferred to spend my time in the hostel by the swimming pool, reading a book on the hammock or drinking some piscos. The weather was so cool that I got sunburnt watching the Barça – Madrid with other guests in the bar, ha haa.
Before going back to Arequipa for the Colca trek, I did a short stop in Huacachina, a desert oasis 4km west of Ica. Huacachina is popular for its huge sand dunes, perfect for some sports like sandboarding and dune buggies. I decided to try both and I booked a half day tour starting early in the afternoon.
The dune buggie was very cool, a kind of roller coaster. Once we were on the top of the highest dunes our guide gave us the sandboards to go down the dunes. When I was on the top of the dune it looked very scary but now when I see the videos I wish I would not have used my legs to brake, ha haa.
It was a funny afternoon and a nice ending to my sunny break (not holidays, my holidays are in June 😉 )
My Tips :
Kokopelli Paracasis the perfect budget hostel for a break. Direct access to the ocean (but it is stinky), private pool, great bar- terrace and indoor spaces. If you have stayed in other Kokopelli hostels and you book directly through their website, you will have a 10% discount;
Huacachina is really small and all the hostels are located around the oasis. It is best to arrive without any booking and ask in situ for the best price;
Sandboarding tours are better before sunset. It is less hot and with the afternoon light you will take better pictures of the dunes;
Huacachina is at 4km from Ica, the main city. Taxis from Ica bus station to Huacachina cost 8 soles. When you want to leave the oasis, buy your bus ticket Ica-Lima or Ica-Arequipa in a travel agency in Huacachina, they usually propose clients a free shuttle to Ica.
Below there is a video of myself doing the idiot on the dunes 😀