Huacachina, Peru

Huacachina is a small town built around an oasis near Ica and surrounded by giant sand dunes.

 It is a 4 hour bus ride from Lima and is a great destination for kids. I find the place immensely beautiful with dunes as far as the eye can see if you gain a little elevation. When we were looking at this place online a while back I asked my boys how many nights they wanted to stay and they voted for a week. I booked us for six nights at a hostel called Rochabus with a large picturesque yard, a swimming pool, a tire swing and three hammocks. Our room was basic but included wifi, cable, three beds and a bathroom. We spent $28 a night and I happily drank Pisco Sours each night by the pool.

Our first solid day in Huacachina we headed out into the desert after a late breakfast and climbed the closest big dune. It took a long time, was very hot and Rex surprised us with his encouragement and energy level.

He is usually the first to lag and complain but not on this outing. Making it to the top was not easy and we took a number of breaks but with each rest the view improved and the top was spectacular.  What a good feeling to see it all with my family! It was so different than anything we’ve seen before.

The way down was the best part for the boys. They ran down the dune and managed to make it to the bottom with only mild tumbles. I had to take it in slow lopes with Wren sleeping in her ergo baby carrier against my chest. When we got back to the hostel I spotted a bright red Vermilion Flycatcher and was happy each day to see him around the grounds. 

That night Roland and I climbed one of the dune to catch the sunset and the next day both boys and I rented sand boards to play with. We hiked all over those dunes sliding down and scaling back up. What exhausting fun!

And then we had our dune buggy day…

Most hostels can arrange tours and our couple hour dune buggy trip was quick and easy to set up and very reasonable. We paid about $12 a person for a couple hours of wild dune hopping, sand boarding, sun set watching, ruin viewing and screaming. The boys loved it and I'm glad I signed us up for it. We got to ride our sand boards down a series of long dunes without the arduous hike back up each time. The buggy trip was definitely the highlight of Huacachina for the boys.

We found a hostel that served french toast for less than $2 and I took the boys there each morning for breakfast. It was a nice break for them from our normal menu guessing. Here is a sample of one of our morning guesses. Russ happily ate it while the boys wrinkled their noses when they tasted it. I enjoy the adventure of trying new foods and guessing at the menu but it has been a challenge for the boys. Some days they are fine with the strange and new foods. A few times they have burst into tears at the first sight of our plates.They have learned to try it anyways and usually decide its fine to eat in the end. My new favorite food is ceviche. It is typically made from fresh fish cured in lime juice, onions and cilantro.  It comes with sweet potato and corn and is absolutely delicious.

Our final day in Huacachina was spent packing, doing school work and swimming. Then it was time for our last Tuk Tuk ride to town to get a new sim card for our phone. Talk about a difficult task with limited Spanish!  We can use it for local calls but can't seem to make it work for calls back home yet so we are still dependent on Facetime and good internet.

And now for our bus trip to Arequipa!