Sandboarding in Huacachina, Peru
We didn’t spend much time in Lima. In fact we pretty much just slept there for the night then made our way to Ica to go sandboarding in Huacachina.
Before leaving we had a nice three course lunch for 10 Peruvian Soles (about $3USD) right next door to the Loki Hostel), although what we though was dessert was a sauce for the meal.
To get from Lima to Ica, Peru, we jumped on yet another bus but halfway there Jew started feeling serious symptoms of gastro. We stopped the bus and the two of us got off at a very small town. We left our bags on the bus for the others to take care of and we told them to meet us at the hostel. With these instructions being shouted from the street into the bus window, the last thing to be said was “we need a guide book”. Baff quickly flung it out the window as the bus drove off.
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Getting From Lima to Ica, Peru
This little town was a long way off from sandboarding in Huacachina. The first thing I noticed was that there was nothing in this town except for a basketball court, residential houses, and a kiosk. We quickly found Jew a bathroom in a locals house. I waited outside but the report was that it was one of the cleanest of the whole trip. We decided to wait 15 minutes to let her stomach settle and then make our way to Ica. We saw a mule with a ‘trailer’ on its back just standing there. Not tied down but not moving, and on the trailer was a sleeping dog. This to me was the picture of ‘outback’ Peru. Jew went for one more toilet stop (this time not such a clean bathroom) while I talked to the local ‘kiosk’ owner about getting to Ica. We communicated surprisingly well due to the language barrier, I had picked up more Spanish than initially thought.
We caught a mini bus to another town. One step closer to sandboarding in Huacachina. From this new town, we walked about 10 minutes down the road to the terminal and jumped on a big bus to Ica. We had to re-buy the tickets but we where happy to be on the right path. Once in Ica we jumped in a taxi from inside the terminal (it’s always safer to catch taxis from inside the terminal as they won’t be let in unless they can prove they are an official taxi. You can ask for them to show their license) and 20 minutes later we were eating dinner and having a few drinks with the others who apparently were only half an hour in front of us.
Jew wanted to show them photos of the town and the mule, but that is when we discovered that she had been robbed (we assume) on the bus. It must have been during the 20 seconds when the bag wasn’t between her legs and we dozed off. Fortunately they didn’t take her passport or spare cash. This was not the best day for Jew, but at least she felt good enough to eat and to go sandboarding in Huacachina.
Later that night we met two English students there on a volunteer program. We sat and chatted with them and the local worker who was kindly offering tokes of his pipe. We decided to go out with them so that night El Gato and I finally got to see a local club. It was a fairly quiet town so I had no problems with having a few drinks. It was nothing overly special but was nice to get out. We turned in fairly early so we would be feeling good to go sandboarding in Huacachina.
Cheap Accommodation in Huacachina
Huacachina is a small tourist town based around a lagoon and surrounded by sand dunes. We were staying at the Desert Nights Hostel, which by no surprise, was owned by an American women and Peruvian man. It was clean, had friendly staff, laundry service, free internet, good location, and a decent restaurant with alcohol available (although you could save a couple of dollars by going down the street) all at a reasonable price.
The main thing is that they offered a dune buggy and sandboarding in Huacachina package. For around 50USD you got to hire snowboards for the day (the type that strap to boots, as opposed to ones where you just slip your feet in) and also a four hour guided dune buggy/sand-boarding tour. You could opt to do either one or the other, and there are many companies in the town offering similar services, but I highly recommend doing both.
Sandboarding in Huacachina
The next day we finally, we got to go sandboarding in Huacachina. We wasted no time and headed straight for the dunes. The climb was not easy but very worth it. We found a small cove and attempted to sand-board. Sand and bodies were flying everywhere but after a few practice runs we started to pick up sandboarding in Huacachina. After a couple of hours, I had enough and headed back for lunch. After some egging on from the others I decided to test my new skills and sand-boarded the big hill back to the town. To say I was nervous about it is an understatement, but to my surprise, I did the whole thing without falling. This filled me confidence which would not serve me well that afternoon.
When I got back El Gato and I went for lunch. A restaurant owner convinced us to dine at his humble la bode which overlooked the lake. I can’t remember what I ate but I do remember that Gato had her heart set on spaghetti, which was on the menu. When they said they were out of mince we decided to go somewhere else. As we stood up they suddenly changed their mind telling us that they could provide it. We wondered if they were going to the store to buy the mince. When it came out we discovered they had cut up steak in small chunks. I was convinced to try the local Peruvian beverage called Pisco Sour. At roughly 70 proof, this alcoholic drink is made from a range of ingredients including Pisco (a type of Peruvian Brandy), lime and egg-white. Although the taste was quite deceiving considering the alcohol content, it was a bit sour for my liking.
In the afternoon we went for our guided tour which was a dune buggy ride mixed with sandboarding in Huacachina. Our tour guide was at one stage, a professional Dune Buggy racing champion. He could drive, well. It was like a roller coaster on the dunes. We would surf the dunes in the buggy then pull up on the hills and sand-board down. Then our guide would drive down to pick us up and we’d go to another hill. Surprisingly we didn’t start small, and the hills we were taken to just got bigger and bigger. I was not very good at turning, which apparently was also how you would slow down. My confidence built from the morning was soon shattered went I hit a bump and flipped then landed face first into the dunes. Luckily the sand is quite forgiving, although it did knock me around a bit. I decided to take it easy for the last couple of hills of sandboarding in Huacachina, while everyone else started to get a bit braver.
We explored the dunes until the sun fell and then headed back to the town before it got too cold. The next morning I had a quiet breakfast of toast, pancakes, fruit, and tea from a place about a five minutes stroll from the Desert Inn, then got ready to leave for the last leg of the trip. Sandboarding in Huacachina was a major highlight in the trip for me and I highly recommend it, although I was still finding sand in my ears a couple of weeks after.
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Next Stop… Cusco
Sandboarding in Huacachina was awesome, but there was still more amazing things to do. Cusco (and Machu Pichu) was my “last stop” in the South American “tour”.
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