Originally we planned to spend about a month in an area of Peru located about 5 hours south of Lima. This area includes the desert, the famous Nazca Lines, local wineries, and wildlife in an island archipelago. However, you may remember that our plans changed when we were only given a 3-month tourist visa, instead of 6 months. Therefore, we needed to cut our Peruvian itinerary in half, but decided the desert area was too good to skip. We took two days out of our time in Lima to make the trek south to the desert to explore Huacachina and the Tacama Winery.
The desert oasis town of Huacachina is completely surrounded of desert sand dunes. A small lake surrounded by palm trees sits in the center of the town. Although it is very touristy, it still has a charm exemplified by Peruvians strolling around the lake’s shoreline or rowing a boat from one side of the lake to the other. Also, the town is the starting point for a dune-buggy excursion deeper into the desert.
Dune Buggy Tour
Our two-hour tour included viewing the desert scenery, sandboarding down the big dunes, and viewing the desert sunset. The ride on the dune buggy was a cross between a roller coaster and a high-speed ATV on the beach. Check out the short video below.
First, our driver would zoom up to the top of a sand dune, slam on the brakes, and then have us get out of the vehicle with sandboards. Then after applying a quick coat of wax to the bottom of the board, we would lay down flat on the board, face first. Next the driver pushed us down the dune where we would reach the bottom with a smile and a little sand in our mouth.
The tour ended with a relaxing view of the sun setting over the beautiful dunes. Photos don’t do the sight justice.
Once we were out of the desert area and into the more fertile valley, we decided to make a stop at a local winery. Although neither of us are wine connoisseurs, we enjoyed this tour through the Tacama Winery. We learned about the history of the wine making process and the area’s famous wine–Picso. It’s amazing how the grapes can grow in such an arid landscape.
We had a great time exploring the desert area of Peru, including Huacachina and Tacama Winery! And of course, we did it on a budget!! Check out below how much this overnight trip cost us (September 2018, in US Dollars).
- Bus Company We Used From Lima to Ica: Peru Bus
- Time Between Lima and Ica by bus: 4-6 hours depending on Lima traffic
- Bus Cost: $16.97 round trip per person
- Where We Stayed In Ica: Ica Adventures II Hostel
- Hostel Cost: $13.66 For A Private Room With Two Beds, Bathroom Shared With One Other Private Room
- Dune Buggy Tour: $20 Per Person
- Tacama Winery Tour: $3.30