The Huacachina oasis, in Ica, is a magical place. Its beautiful dunes, sunsets and lagoons make this setting the perfect place to have a date, have fun with friends or reflect on life.
In a landscape full of palm trees, eucalyptus and huarangos. The Huacachina oasis dazzles curious eyes, awakens the imagination and becomes an unmissable attraction for those who visit Ica. The Huacachina oasis is surrounded by kilometers of fine sand dunes that are used by tourist agencies to organize excursions in 4×4 buggies and practice adventure sports such as sandboarding.
Studies determined that its origin is due to the outcrop of groundwater from the Ica aquifer, which, being at a higher elevation, is the one that provides water to the Huacachina lagoon of 379 m.a.s.l.
The Huacachina water mirror has an extension of 100 m. long by 60 m. Wide.
The name of Huacachina is etymologically related to the Quechua word “huacay” which means (to cry) and the expression “china” (woman); that is to say “woman who cries” or “woman who makes you cry.
This great attraction is located in the department of Ica in Peru, five kilometers to the west, 10 minutes by car from the capital of Ica. It is located in a depression in the land giving life to the beautiful and abundant vegetation that surrounds it.
Its history dates back to ancient times when it was inhabited by Yungas, Mochicas and men who came from Chinchaysuyo; later they were conquered by the Incas during the government of Inca Yupanqui or Túpac Inca Yupanqui.
Before the 19th century, the lagoon was used to wash clothes by settlers who came from Ica, Comatrana and San Joaquín; but after the publication of a chronicle of the royal comments of the Incas by Don Ricardo Palma, the lagoon is made public by virtue of curing ailments.
Later, in 1869, the naturalist scientist Sebastián Barranca visited the lagoon and confirmed the presence of mineral salts in its waters; becoming from that date on the main diffuser of the healing properties of waters; since they were rich in sulphurous and saline substances.
In the early years, the attraction was one of the most exclusive resorts, with homes, restaurants, hotels, and where a magnificent boardwalk was also built surrounding the lagoon, decorated with poplar groves, railings and dressing rooms for bathers who immersed themselves in the waters of the lagoon; which today is not recommended, since in a certain way they are no longer as pure and healing as in the past.
The Huacachina oasis also has part of its charm in a legend; in this it is said that many years ago, a princess named Huacca China lived in that place, she had green eyes and apart from being quite beautiful she had a voice so precious that her singing alone softened the hearts of men in such a way that no one could help but cry at its melody.
Legend has it that on one occasion when the princess was alone, a hunter saw her and fell in love with her in such a way that he began to chase her. The princess began to run to escape the bad wishes of that man; Along the way, the lady’s suit begins to be torn by obstacles until it finally comes off and becomes a sheet of sand (the desert). After that, a mirror that he always carried with him also falls and turns into a lagoon (that of Huacachina); and seeing the princess who had no escape from the threat of her aggressor, the beautiful woman plunged into the lagoon to be able to flee, but staying transformed into a mermaid.
The people of Ica say that even today that siren continues to appear on nights with a full moon and her song can still be heard.
In 2014, it was categorized by the Ministry of the Environment as a Regional Conservation Area of the Huacachina Oasis Reserved Zone.
Currently the desert that surrounds it is also an attraction in itself; Thanks to its impressive dunes, they offer a range of options for those who want to practice and enjoy adventure sports, since their sands are up to 250 meters of vertical risk, ideal for surfing them at full speed.
Among them, the adrenaline-filled rides in buggies and “sandboard” stand out; Likewise, its dunes have their own names: La Catedral, Santiaguillo, Orovilca, Norte Orovilva and Saraja.