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Coordinates: 14°5′15″S 75°45′48″W / 14.08750°S 75.76333°W / -14.08750; -75.76333

Huacachina from a nearby sand dune
Huacachina from a nearby sand dune
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Huacachina is a village in southwestern Peru, built around a small oasis surrounded by sand dunes. It is in the Ica Province, about five kilometers from the city of Ica in the Ica District.[1] The oasis features on the back of the 50 Nuevo Sol note. Huacachina has a permanent population of around 100[2] although it hosts many tens of thousands of tourists each year.

Huacachina is built around a small natural lake in the desert. Called the "oasis of America," it is a resort for local families from the nearby city of Ica, and increasingly as an attraction for tourists drawn by the sports of sandboarding on sand dunes that stretch several hundred feet high.[3] Other popular activities include dune buggy rides on buggies known locally as areneros.[4]

According to local legends the water and mud of the area is therapeutic. Both locals and tourists often bath in the waters or cover themselves with the mud in an attempt to cure ailments such as arthritis, rheumatism, asthma and bronchitis.[5]

Legend holds that the lagoon was created when a beautiful native princess removed her clothes to bathe, but looking into a mirror, she saw a male hunter approaching her from behind. Startled at the intrusion, she fled the area leaving behind her mirror which turned into a lake.[6] Other versions hold that she fled, leaving the pool of water she had been bathing in to become the lagoon. The folds of her mantle, streaming behind her as she ran, became the surrounding sand dunes. The woman herself is rumoured to still live in the oasis as a mermaid.[7]

The lagoon at the oasis

Water stopped seeping into the lake in the 1980s and this has now started to become a threat to the lagoon. Recently[when?], private landowners near the oasis have installed wells, which has reduced the level of water in the oasis.[8][9] To compensate for this water loss, and preserve the oasis as an aesthetically pleasing destination for tourists, a group of ten businessmen devised a plan to pump water from a nearby farm into the lagoon. The process of artificially pumping water into the oasis began on 2 April 2015 and since then more than 73,000 cubic metres of water has been pumped into the lagoon raising the height of the water by as much as 3 metres.

It was announced in 2016 that the Peruvian scientist Marino Morikawa, who created a nanobubble system to decontaminate lake El Cascajo, will lead a project to restore the Huacachina lagoon.[10][11]

Scenery from Huacachina and its surroundings was used in Apple's iPhone X launch video[12].

Huacachina and surrounding dunes


  1. ^ Atlas Obscure: Huacachina
  2. ^ Discovery Channel Australia: Huacachina
  3. ^ Segreda, Ricardo; Newton, Paula; Caputo, Lorraine (2009-01-01). V!VA Travel Guides: Peru. Viva Publishing Network. ISBN 9780979126437.
  4. ^ Planet, Lonely; McCarthy, Carolyn; Miranda, Carolina A.; Raub, Kevin; Sainsbury, Brendan; Waterson, Luke (2013-03-01). Lonely Planet Peru. Lonely Planet. ISBN 9781743216248.
  5. ^ Jenkins, Dilwyn (2003-01-01). The Rough Guide to Peru. Rough Guides. ISBN 9781843530749.
  6. ^ Jenkins, Dilwyn (2003-01-01). The Rough Guide to Peru. Rough Guides. ISBN 9781843530749.
  7. ^ El Huachinero: Huacachina's Legend
  8. ^ "Huacachina lagoon level drops sharply due to well pump failure". Peruvian Times. 2008.
  9. ^ Peru This Week: Water level in Huacahina Lagoon Drops (2013)
  10. ^ "Peruvian scientist who revived wetlands aims to clean up Lake Titicaca". 2016-07-06. Archived from the original on 2016-08-12. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  11. ^ "Peruvian scientist uses nanotechnology to recover polluted lake" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  12. ^

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