Peru desert

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Peru, one of the world’s few cradles of ancient civilizations, has diverse landscapes and rich culture, and is home to some of the most exciting deserts on Earth. While its sprawling cities are fascinating, there’s nothing quite like getting away from it all in the Peruvian deserts, where you can camp in the wilds, or enjoy upscale spas and lodges. 

What makes Peru's desert landscapes unique? 

Peru’s desert landscapes really vary, from wide, flat plains to hilly dunescapes. In the oasis of Huacachina, 700-foot-high dunes are brilliant for sandboarding or driving dune buggies. But it’s not all about white-knuckle rides, here. There are brilliant hiking tours and simply sensational views all round in Peru’s deserts.  

The best desert tours and excursions in the Peruvian desert 

The enormous dunes that characterize the desert in Peru are its most popular attraction. But there’s lots more to enjoy in Peru’s deserts. Here are the best activities to be found in the deserts of Peru. 

Dune buggying in Huacachina

Dune buggy tours are one of the most thrilling ways to explore the enormous Huacachina dunes. After riding for around an hour or so, tour guides will take you to the highest point, where you’ll plunge over the edge of the tallest dune and into a rapid descent. This one’s only for the brave! 

Explore the dunes by foot  

Experiencing the Huacachina’s dunes by foot has its own unique excitement. Go by foot, and you’ll get the best view of the Huacachina oasis. If you’re a keen runner, you might want to try racing to the top of the dunes, the reward being spectacular views. 

Try sandboarding down sandy slopes 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re an expert snowboarder or a total novice, sandboarding is for everyone. And no matter how hard you fall, there’s the soft Peruvian desert sand to land on. Simply pick yourself back up, climb that dune and try again. Once you’ve got the hang of it, sandboarding here is somewhat addictive. If you’re struggling, try racing down the dunes on your belly or backside instead.  

Go camping in the desert 

Nights out don’t get more remote and peaceful than this. Head out into the desert to set up camp and spend a night under the stars, away from all civilization. Make a campfire, open some great South American wine and enjoy intimate chats by the flames, surrounded by the stunning Pervian dunes. 

Watch the sunset from a sand mountain

The best sunsets in Peru are seen from the ridge of a sandy mountain in Huacachina. As dusk falls, the sky turns all manner of pinks, reds, yellows and oranges before it gets dark. Watch the town of Huacachina light up before your eyes as darkness falls. 

Tips for planning a desert tour in the Peruvian Desert 

Take a taxi or bus service from Arequipa or Lima to reach the desert oasis of Huacachina. Temperatures here are warm year-round, but evenings can be chilly so bring a jacket and scarf. 

When to go in Peru?

You can go to Peru at any time of year. In fact, the country's climate varies enormously across the regions. Choose the dry season, from December to March, to visit the coast. June to August or in mid-season is best for touring the Andes and September or November is best for a hike in the Amazon rainforest. You can climb the famous Machu Picchu and go down the Madre de Dios river by canoe in this colourful country with its huge number of tourist attractions.
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