After a great couple of weeks learning Spanish and cooking classes in Arequipa, we’d heard about a small oasis called Huacachina, located in the blisteringly hot Peruvian desert and surrounded by huge sand dunes! We arrived after a long bus journey, and planned to do two things: relax, and attempt some sand dune surfing!
How To Go Sand Dune Surfing
After our experience of traversing the sand dunes of Mui Ne, Vietnam, we were ready to take advantage of the miles of huge, rolling sand dunes surrounding Huacachina! We’d heard you could go on a dune buggying ride into the desert, and then sand board down the dunes on makeshift boards. We signed up, despite no real experience in snow boarding (or surfing) and waited for our driver to pick us up.
We knew we were in for a manic afternoon when the two jeep buggies pulled up, adorned with multiple roll bars and harness like seatbelts. It looked like it might get a little rough – we didn’t know the half of it. What followed was a chaotic, adrenaline fuelled ride across the sand dunes of Huacachina!
Eyeing up the two jeeps, we quickly put our travelling heads into action, and did what we normally do when faced with a choice of driver: pick the more experienced (read: older) driver. It’s worked on most of our travels, why stop now?
Jumping into his jeep and buckling up, the journey started innocuously enough. Driving through the street (yes, street) of Huacahina towards the sand dunes. Then the moment when we thought, what have we signed ourselves up for?
Our driver turned around (whilst still driving) gave a cheeky smile and shouted ‘vamos’! Before accelerating onto the sand dunes and upwards toward the summit of a huge dune! Imagine being on a rollercoaster, but instead of being attached to rails you are attached to sand. Oh and it seems even the driver doesn’t seem to know where he’s going until the last minute, that was pretty much how we felt.
Reaching the top of the huge dune, the jeep paused slightly. Our driver turned to look at us all, and, with a slightly manic glint in his eye, revved up the engine and accelerated over the top of the dune and downwards! Now we understood the need for the roll bars! Fancy seeing a bit of the action? Of course you do.
After 20 minutes, our excitable driver stopped at the top of a dune and motioned for us to get off. It was sand dune surfing time!
At this juncture it’s probably worth noting that I have never snowboarded or surfed, Laura having had one lesson (which apparently was a ‘disaster’). We were inexperienced to say the least! This is what we decided to do…
Our advice, be careful! Laura took a nasty tumble on her second surf down the dunes, making the mistake of going straight down the dune rather than the advised route of diagonally. After that, we decided to sit down and lie down on the board, and most of our group did the same. Listen to your tour guide when he tells you to go diagonally down, it makes it slower and safer!
The tour across the sand dunes of Huacachina was a fantastic, if sometimes scary experience. We were glad to be in a buggy with roll bars and good harnesses, so it’s worth checking out what the company’s use. As for the sand boarding, take it easy and don’t get carried away, the sand is unforgiving if you slip up! And when you do, you’ll be finding sand everywhere for a couple of weeks…