Huacachina is a palm-fringed oasis set in the Peruvian desert, about 185 miles south of Lima. This tiny town is a popular backpacker destination for one main reason: the massive sand dunes that rise in every direction. Travelers come to hike the dunes, race over the sand in dune buggies, and take heart-pounding tours deep into the desert. If you’re feeling adventurous, it’s even possible to ride a sandboard down the steep dune slopes.

Many travelers use Huacachina and nearby Ica as a jumping-off point for tours to other parts of Peru. Companies in town offer flights over the Nazca lines, as well as boat tours to the Ballestas Islands. When the weather is nice, tourists rent boats and paddle across the brilliant green waters of the Huacachina lagoon.

What’s your next stop in Peru ? Check some hostels that we recommend:

Best Hostels in Cusco

Before you arrive in Huacachina, it’s important to book a place to stay; since the oasis is so small, hostels and hotels can fill up quickly. No matter which accommodation option you choose, you won’t be far from the lagoon and the bars and restaurants that line its shore. To help you make a decision, we’ve gathered the best hostels in Huacachina.

Wild Rover Hostel Huacachina

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from $7 / 16-dorm 4.2/5 Map

Highlights of the Hostel

  • Pool
  • Poolside bar
  • Regular theme parties

Run by an Irish hotel company, the Wild Rover Hostel offers some of the best parties in Huacachina. The environment is laid-back and fun — grab a beer at the bar, hang out by the pool, or watch your favorite game on the bar’s TVs.

At night, the hostel brings in DJs and hosts themed parties, making it easy to meet other travelers. For solo backpackers, this is the ideal place to meet people. 

Every room at the Wild Rover Hostel comes with a private bathroom, including the dorms, so there’s no need to walk in public on your way back from the shower. Speaking of showers: there’s always hot water available. The hostel also has an onsite restaurant, so it’s a great place to relax after a long day of adventuring in the sand dunes.

Banana’s Adventure

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from $25 / 6-dorm 4.4/5 Map

Highlights of the Hostel

  • Each stay includes one activity or tour
  • Outdoor pool
  • Rooftop terrace with oasis views

For backpackers who like a social environment, Banana’s Adventure is a great choice. This hostel focuses on fun — travelers will find a selection of board games, a bar with TVs, and multiple areas for socializing.

In the evenings, the staff organizes barbecue dinners and fun outings, giving guests an opportunity to meet other people. Plus, since every stay comes with a free activity such as a dune buggy tour or a wine tasting, it’s easy to save money.

After a day of adventure, backpackers can relax by the outdoor pool, take a nap in a hammock, or chill out on the rooftop terrace. The terrace also offers exercise equipment, so it’s easy to get in a workout with views of the dunes and oasis.

The Upcycled Hostel

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from $15 / 8-dorm 4.6/5 Map

Highlights of the Hostel

  • Outdoor pool
  • Poolside bar
  • Multiple common areas

For travelers who want a place to relax and get a good night’s sleep, The Upcycled Hostel is one of the best options in Huacachina. It’s located a little way out of the center of town, away from the noises of the waterfront bars and clubs.

Travelers love hanging out by the pool with a cocktail from the bar or enjoying dinner from the hostel’s restaurant. To help backpackers meet other people, the hostel offers organized events each week.

One of the best things about this hostel are the beds — they’re super comfortable in both the dorms and private rooms. The Upcycled is known for its cleanliness and its Instagram-worthy colorful design. You’ll also find plenty of seating in the center courtyard and at the outdoor bar.

Wild Olive Guesthouse

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from $10 / 10-dorm 4.6/5 Map

Highlights of the Hostel

  • Outdoor terrace
  • Great kitchen
  • Guest access to pool at nearby hostel

Wild Olive Guesthouse bridges the gap between a party hostel and a relaxed hostel. Inside, the vibe is chill and laid back; just steps away, you can find Huacachina’s best parties around the oasis.

Rooms are spacious, comfortable, and very dark, ensuring a good night’s sleep. In the dorm rooms, backpackers can opt for women-only, men-only, or mixed rooms.

After a day of climbing sand dunes, backpackers can opt to hang out in the comfortable lounge areas at Wild Olive. There’s also an excellent Italian restaurant attached to the hostel, as well as a fully equipped kitchen for preparing budget meals. Each stay comes with a hearty full breakfast.

The New Desert Nights Hostel

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from $7 / 8-dorm 4.3/5 Map

Highlights of the Hostel

  • Rooftop terrace with dune views
  • Great Peruvian restaurant
  • Access to a nice pool

For backpackers who want to meet people, The New Desert Nights Hostel is a great option in Huacachina. This tiny hostel has just seven rooms, making it easy to meet other guests.

All of the action happens on the beautiful rooftop terrace, which offers stunning views of the oasis and the sand dunes. Or, try new Peruvian foods at the hostel’s buffet restaurant; be sure to grab a seat in the outdoor courtyard. The hostel sits on the main road, just a short walk from Huacachina’s bars and restaurants.

For backpackers who want a solid rest, The New Desert Nights is a good choice. Each bed in the hostel is equipped with fluffy bedding for the cool desert evenings, as well as access to spacious bathrooms.

Carola Lodge

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from $51 / twin-private 4.1/5 Map

Highlights of the Hostel

  • Outdoor pool
  • Barbecue dinners
  • Recently renovated

Another of Huacachina’s best party hostels, Carola Lodge is popular among backpackers who are looking for fun. It all starts with the hostel’s nightclub, which offers dancing and music until 4AM on the weekends.

The club is also a favorite of locals, so it’s a fun place to hang out. If you’re visiting on the weekends, you can join in on the hostel’s barbecue dinners.

This hostel was once a hotel, so it offers plenty of space for travelers to chill out. The large outdoor pool is a great place to cool off on sunny days; you’ll often find backpackers napping on the sun loungers. When it’s cool, the indoor common areas are the perfect place for socializing. 

Once you check in to your hostel in Huacachina, it’s time to take advantage of the area’s many activities. The best thing? The oasis is so small, you never need to worry about taxis; you can walk across the entire village in 15 minutes or less.

The sand dunes are the main attraction in Huacachina. For backpackers on a budget, it’s easy to explore without breaking the bank — just walk to the edge of town and start hiking. Head to the west or southwest for the best views of the dunes as they stretch toward the horizon.

Sunset, in particular, is a beautiful time for a climb. No matter when you go, be sure to bring plenty of water; the desert heat can be intense. For people with less time, it’s easy to book a dune-buggy tour at any hostel or tour agency in town. Be sure to check whether or not the tour allows the chance to try sandboarding down the dunes.

Back in town, there are plenty of places to recover from a day of hiking in the sand. The best bars and restaurants overlook the lagoon. At night, the palm trees glow in the light from the bars, and dance music can be heard across the water. When the evening is done, it’s a quick walk back to any hostel in town. Ready to leave town? The bus station in Ica is a quick ride away.