Huacachina is an oasis in Peru surrounded by desert. Huacachina comes from the Quechua word meaning conceal or guard, and experts feel it may have been shortened from a phrase meaning “hidden lagoon.”

Why Is It Famous?

Huacachina is famous because of its uniqueness. This is a gorgeous village built around an oasis in the center of the dunes, meaning that there are few other attractions in the world like it. 

What Is Nearby?

You can find Huacachina in the Peruvian southwest. It sits around five kilometers away from Ica, a city in Ica Province’s Ica District. This puts it around four hours to the south of Lima. The permanent population is just 100 people, but tens of thousands of tourists visit annually.

Geological Description

The village of Huacachina surrounds a small lake that is natural and in the desert. According to legend, the origins of the lagoon began with a native princess who was getting ready to bathe but saw a male hunter approaching in the mirror. She was startled and fled, leaving the mirror behind. That mirror became the lake. Variations of the legend say she left the water she would have used to bathe behind, and that became the lake. According to experts, natural seepage from the area’s underground aquifers created the lake.

Huacachina is unique as it is the only natural desert oasis in South America. It also has the biggest sand dunes on the continent.

Events in Time

During the 1940s, Huacachina was a beauty spa popular among those from Lima, partially for its beauty and partly thanks to claims that the waters had healing powers. As of 1991, Huacachina is the image on the back of the 50 nuevo sol note.

During the early 2000s, there was a rise in the drilling of wells that threatened its water supply, so businesses had to start pumping water into it as of 2015. A restoration project was announced in 2016.  


The only oasis in a South American desert, Huacachina is a natural lake in the middle of the desert and the small village that formed around it.