South America, Uncategorized

Happy Like a Little Kid – Travels in South America – Ica and Huacachina Xmas

Hola amigos, and Feliz Navidad 🙂

Ica dunes, Peru

Christmas for me was spent this year at the very unique desert oasis of Huacachina, near Ica, in Peru.

Huacachina (wok-a-cheena) has a permanent population of around 96, but is always swollen with tourists who’ve sought out this off the beaten path little piece of paradise. It’s only about 5 kms from Ica, which is a decent sized city, but the feeling of isolation makes it seem much further.

This is serious desert, sand dunes stretching to the horizon, and even Ica has major dunes right near downtown, and in the suburbs. In Huacachina there is a bright green ring of vegetation around a spring surrounded by dunes, and in turn surrounded by a small ring of restaurants, tourist companies, and accommodation.


There’s not much to do- explore the dunes, or visit nearby Nazca.  (The tourist flights over the famous lines can be booked from here) But it has a charm that used to draw the Peruvian elite from Lima in the early part of the 20thC. The waters and accompanying mud are said to have healing qualities, although most visitors now are content to rent a paddle boat or go for a wade.

Although most of us pay around $20 AUD for two hours at sunset of dune buggy riding, with the options of sand boarding, or tobogganing down dunes. And it is pretty damn fun 🙂


This video (below) shows sunset on Xmas eve for me. No reindeer or snow in sight, but still a very enjoyable time. Ecocamp gets a massive thumbs up for their facilities and hospitality – definitely my pick for the options that surround the oasis. Great pool, with swim up bar and restaurant. I’d show you photos, but my spectacular stack whilst sandboarding didn’t agree with my camera…. Hope you all enjoyed Xmas as much as I did – around the Ecocamp pool, eating, drinking, and getting ridiculously sunburnt. Also got to share traditional Peruvian chicken Xmas dinners with the staff. Makes missing friends and family that little bit easier 🙂  See you after New Years, keep smiling, Joe.



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