Day 384: Sandboarding in Huacachina

Not many people can say they spent the first year – the entire year – of their thirties traveling around the world. I am one lucky, very lucky girl. On Day 19, I turned 30 in Saigon. Today, I turned 31 in Huacachina. My only wish for this birthday was to not visit a war museum. I wanted to do something fun, like sandboarding in Huacachina! Which is how we ended up on an 18 hour bus ride from Cusco to Ica a couple of days ago. Well, that, and we had to start making our way up north someday, somehow…

Dune buggy and sandboarding in Huacachina is more fun than you think it will be. About 12 of us climbed into a dune-buggy an hour or so before sunset with an older man who clearly loved his job (driving visitors around in the desert at incredibly high speeds). He flew across the desert, going up and down dunes so fast, it felt like we were on a roller-coaster. And then, just like a roller-coaster comes to a smooth stop in the end, so did our driver pausing to let us out for a a few photo opportunities, and then a few more times to let us sandboard down some steep, some not so steep, and some I-never-knew-a-sand-dune-could-be-this-steep sand dunes.

Everyone had trouble sandboarding down the dunes standing up. We could stand up, but many of us were inching down the hill because the sand just wouldn’t cooperate. In the end, everyone, well, most everyone laid down on the their board and suddenly we were flying down the dunes. It was a lot of fun, but the boards aren’t exactly the safest, and the metal bolts holding the shoe straps to the board cut up my arm a little bit. Our last dune was the steepest and fastest. I hit a few bumps going way too fast and went airborne more than once. I can assure you, sand is a lot harder than snow, and it wasn’t the most comfortable feeling in the world. Huacachina is in need of some saucer sleds. By the end of the excursion, everyone was covered in sand, some more than others, like the dude pictured above. My favorite part about this picture is that I unfortunately have no idea who this guy is! He kindly allowed me to take his portrait, and was excited to see his picture on the blog. I think I told him I would email him a copy as well, but then after we dispersed for some much needed cleaning up, I didn’t see him again! After sandboarding down four or five dunes, we made our way back (again at high, very fun speeds) to the oasis. The sun was setting and it was the perfect ending to our stopover in Huacachina and a wonderful birthday.