Sand boarding and dune buggy frivolity in Huacachina, Ica
My month in Peru is coming to an end (boo, hiss) and it’s been absolutely incredible. I didn’t really know what I was expecting when I arrived… I mean, I knew there were jungles (I had the most amazing time in the Amazon), I knew there were mountains (I had the most embarrassingly intense time in Huaraz), and I knew that there were plenty of big cities, but one of the things that has struck me most is its almost unfathomable diversity.
After the cold and glaring sun of the highlands, the jungle seemed like an entirely different country. It was hot, it was humid, and it was everything you would expect a jungle to be. Heading for Cusco, we decided to stop in the city of Ica, and though I knew it was in the desert, I definitely was not expecting to be sunbathing my days away in unbearable heat! Making the most of our rooftop terrace in the hotel during the sunniest hours (I’m exceedingly white and in desperate need of a travel tan, dammit), the afternoon was reserved for dune buggy riding and sand boarding in Huacachina, just a five minute tuk tuk ride away from the city.
Now, I’ve been sand boarding before, and it was a disappointment. In fairness, it was in South Africa, I was very, VERY hungover and totally ready to go home after four months of traveling… So I thought that maybe – just maybe – this time would be different. As ever, all the posters depicting the sand boarding trip showed laughing, smiling, excited little faces flying down the dunes, and I was victim to the powers of advertising. Even if it was bad advertising.
We arrived in Huacachina, very quickly bartered the tour price down to 30 soles each (about €9), and hung around until our departure time. Honestly? The dune buggies that took us to the sand boarding point were by far the most exciting thing about the tour… Something in which I was definitely not expecting. And when I say they’d were the most exciting thing about the tour, it isn’t because the tour wasn’t exciting, it’s because riding around on dune buggies was like riding a bloody roller coaster. And I hate roller coasters. Cue loud, embarrassing screams for the first hour, despite my nonchalant, ‘I don’t give a damn’ troll face below.
The dunes themselves were pretty steep, and we were only allowed to go down on our bellies. Which I hated. It was fast, and I felt like I was going to smash my face in every second of the journey. As can be seen in the following video. The boys did a bit better, claiming it wasn’t thrilling enough. Ha.
All in all, Ica was an amazing stopover, and I wish we’d had enough time to stay longer than a day and a half! Though my time sand boarding was unimpressive, I’d still absolutely recommend it. The sunset views at the end of the day made the terror of the buggy acceptable, though I’m not sure you’ll ever see me on a sand board again!