Sandboarding in Huacachina, Peru
After a month lazing away my days on the beaches of Ecuador, the change of scenery of Huacachina’s desert oasis was a breath of fresh air. Surrounded by the sandy dunes of the desert, Huacachina is the only desert oasis in South America and is lined with restaurants, hostels and hotels. With very little else to it, visitors to Huacachina are often eager to book up with one of the many tour companies, hop in a dune buggy with a few new friends and put their lives in the hands of the driver that’s about to rip around the dunes. In all honesty, I found this to be even more fun than propelling down a mountain of sand on a sandboard – the driver, clearly having done this many times, hit the gas at full speed and shot us around the desert.
He had everyone giggling in nervous laughter that turned into exhilarated screams as he led our buggy racing up the dune, the top coming towards us with no visible landing on the other side – just pure air as the buggy soared over the sand. Once or twice I thought we really might die in that desert but it turns out that was half the fun of it all. Before long he put us in park and instructed everyone to hop out and grab a board.
Sandboarding is exactly as it sounds – you grab a board and have the option of strapping in your feet and riding down just like a snowboard or plonking yourself belly down on the board, legs spread with your toes in the sand to control your speed and flying headfirst down a hill of sand. I, the graceful swan that I am, went belly down and face first, the rebel in me keeping my toes in the air for maximum speed. No matter which way you go about it, it’s loads of fun and we went one sand dune to the next, each one bigger than the last until the sun turned the sky a pastel pink as it set behind the sand, forcing us to head in.
If you’re looking to go sandboarding in Huacachina, here are a few tips to get the best experience ever:
- Bring a backpack with water and sunglasses – the desert can get hot before the sun goes down and it’s helpful to wear sunglasses to keep the wind from piercing your eyes.
- Wear comfortable clothing – long pants and sneakers would be ideal otherwise you’ll likely end up with sand all up in your shorts like I did. Plus, the board and the sand can be a bit scratchy on your skin.
- Go in the late afternoon rather than the morning. This way, you’ll be able to catch the sunset, peek up at the stars and take a look at Huacachina all lit up in the dark.
If you choose the afternoon option and are stumped for what to do in the day beforehand, there are a few beautiful wineries in the area. Waking up to do a little wine tasting before hitting the dunes was a lovely way to spend the day.
Looking for accommodation in Huacachina? Wild Olive Guesthouse is highly recommended and is located right on the lagoon, with a restaurant attached and offering free brekky! Super clean, reasonably priced, comfy bunks and a cozy lounging area.