Saturday, 2 May 2015
Next on the itinerary was the desert oasis town of Huacachina, close to the coastal city of Ica. The town is centred around a small lagoon lined with palm trees with huge sand dunes looming as far as the eye can see.
Apart from wanting a few days to relax and soak up the sun, our main reason for visiting was to sandboard and dune buggy within the sprawling desert wilderness. The dune buggies are essentially monster 4x4 wheel drives kitted out with roll cages and harnesses - and not much more. Following a safety check we roared through town past copious other tourist filled buggies and hit the dunes which did not disappoint - it was so exhilarating to be thrown around the dunes, up huge peaked slopes only to be thrown over the crest and down the other side, all the while being jiggled around inside the cage!
We made two stops during our buggying experience which was our time to sandboard. As the name suggests it is literally snowboarding adapted to the sand. A very few people are actually able to sandboard, even those who can snowboard/wakeboard/surf due to the consistency of the sand being much softer and harder to balance on. Needless to say, 90% of the thrill-seekers up there, me included, opted to toboggan down instead which is no easy feat.
Crawling along the ridge at the top of the dune with only a board to hold on to dear life to, the only thing to do is launch off the ridge and plummet down the sand. During the six rides we did, the size of the dunes differed greatly but the last one, and the one I sustained an injury on, was in excess of 50 metres high. Due to the gradient, speed quickly picks up and the only way to slow down is to dig your feet in the sand to imitate brakes. On the first slope as I had finally come to a stop, I was trembling head to toe with adrenalin - sandboarding is a thrilling, exhilarating, blood-pumping activity not designed for the faint-hearted.
Taking into consideration all the climbs, volcanoes and activities that South America has offered us so far, Huacachina and the Peruvain desert has definitely proved me with one of the best days of my three months in this wonderful continent.