A few of the places we have visited so far have been based on recommendations from other travellers met along the way, Huacachina being no different, after we heard about sand boarding & buggying, we decided it was a must. Arriving at the ‘Adventure Banana hostel’, feeling a little worse for wear after another long night bus, we hung around and cooled off in the very cramped pool for a few hours until we could enter our room. It was far too hot under the struggling fan for our well practiced post night bus nap, so we headed out for a wander. An amazing and very different place, this oasis settlement has developed purely from tourism, with the only establishments around being restaurants, hotels and tour agencies. All of these buildings encircle a pool of water and palm trees surrounded in turn by towering sand dunes. With the dune boarding and buggy tour booked for that evening, we grabbed a cold beer, and looked out onto the oasis with a collection of buggies waiting atop a dune in the background.
Our trip started with a little climb up the dune to where the buggies were parked, before we jumped into the large twelve seater buggy, making sure we were securely strapped in! The ride started off relatively gentle, perhaps to ease us in, because for what followed needed both seat belts and big boy pants. Blasting full throttle through the sand, the driver swerved, took us down steep drop offs you couldn’t see until you were already looking down and hit the top of sandy ramps so quickly we lifted off before slamming down. One of the best bits was listening to other peoples shrieks and screams – although at one point Alexz forgot his big boy pants and out screamed everyone when a particularly large jump caught him by surprise. After a short pit stop, to admire the views across the dunes, we reached our first sandboarding dune. Heavy wooden boards were handed out along with a small piece of wax that needed applying. All standing at the top of a steep and long dune downhill, a volunteer was required to demonstrate how we were to board down. To many of your surprise, it was not Alexz! With one brave soul stepping forward we (especially Emma) were very grateful to learn we would be bodyboarding down on our bellies and even more grateful when the first person to go showed us how not to do it, hitting some big bumps at the bottom. We then had 3 big dunes to ride down in succession before our buggy picked us up at the bottom. We thought we would be heading home now given it was getting dark, but had a pleasant surprise when the driver drove as crazily as the first time, back through the dunes in the darkness with the lights of Huacachina visible in the distance. We were really looking forward to the boarding, but the buggy rides had to be the highlight!
That evening we enjoyed the hostel’s BBQ and planned our next moves. We decided that as Huacachina was so small and we had done what we came for, and because there was still a lot to do in Peru, that we would move further north and back into the mountains. Next stop, Huaraz.
Blasting through the dunes…