Just southwest of of the city of Ica you'll find La Huacachina oasis, a palm-tree laden lagoon neatly tucked away in a setting that more resembles the middle east than the 6,000 meter-topping Peru. We're talking sand dunes and distant mountains as far as the eye can see. When it was first discovered, the place was known locally for its beauty and, of course, its "healing" water which, as legend has it, was left by a lovesick princess fleeing the unwanted pursuits of a hunter. Oh how the times have changed.
These days, the appeal is much more visceral. Huacachina has become a mecca of sorts for adventurous travelers who want to trade in the hiking boots and ice axes for shorts and sunglasses (and no, we're not just talking about the paddle boats rides that are offered on the oasis). The steep sand dunes here are perfect for sandboarding and dune buggy riding, easily offering a day's worth of outdoor adventuring you probably didn't think you'd be experiencing in Peru. Plenty of rentals and tour outfits have popped up in Ica over the years specifically catering to these two activities, so even if you haven't planned ahead you'll be fine. Just give yourself enough time to thoroughly explore the desert side of the Inca landscape.
Location:5km southwest of Ica, Peru
Note:Buses to Ica are available daily from Lima, travel time approximately 4h30m.