Fun in the sand

(Written 28/02/12)
Our recent travels through Peru have brought us to a small desert oasis called Huacachina, just a few miles from Ica. It’s a unusual little place, with a big lake in the middle and several hostels, hotels and restaurants dotted around the outside of it. It’s a really relaxed place which feels so friendly and safe that it’s almost like being on holiday! We’ve spent lots of hours sitting by the pool in the blistering heat drinking Pisco Sours (our new favourite drink), well, even the most hardened travellers need a bit of R&R now and again!
The main attraction which brings us travellers here are the HUGE sand dunes – home to some of the worlds best sand boarding!!! We took a dune buggy tour slash sand boarding lesson yesterday afternoon and had so much fun that we’re doing it again today!
We were given a tip on arrival at our hostel (Bananas hostel) from some fellow travellers to ask for a specific driver – going by the name of “Schumacher’s dad”…. Turns out a better name for him would be Schumacher’s psyco dad (SPD)! Turns out he’s 81 years old…. but he could drive on sand better than anyone I’ve ever met.
We were picked up in the beast, strapped in tightly and within minutes were flying across the dunes – home to one leg of the recent Dakar rally! The ride was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve done, like being on a roller coaster, but for a lot longer! He’d race at full throttle across a huge dune, them out of no-where would come a huge drop off, which he attack head on, pelting it down then sliding round a corner to find another obstacle to tackle. This went on for what seemed like hours… Such a good laugh, we were all screaming, laughing and clapping spontaneously with every new twist or turn.

Here’s our group with SPD at the wheel

Claire taking it for a spin
After half an hour or so we hit a decent patch for our sand boarding lesson…. It started with SPD asking the group in Spanish if anyone had done snowboarding before – that’d be only me. This cheered him up as it made me the instructor from then on! His parting instructions (sign language) were to rub the base of your board with a candle so that it slides better.
Oh well, I guess we should just point it down hill and see what happens then……..

Styl;ing it up here…

Walking to the next dune with our Welsh mates

After 10 minutes most of us got the hang of it so we moved to progressively bigger and bigger sand dunes, finishing with what I could only describe as a “black run”

Here’s Claire tackling one of the big dunes
Having conquered all that the desert had to offer us we got back in the beast with SPD for another White knuckle ride back to Huacachina – in the dark!!!!!
We arrived back at the hostel safe and sound giving SPD a huge round of applause, then racied to the bar with our new Welsh friends for a Pisco Sour to steady our nerves!

As I say, such great fun, and all for £8 each… We’ve decided to do it all again this afternoon, good times!

Tomorrow we’re off for a trip to a nearby set of islands called the Ballestas Islands (aka the poor mans Galapogas). It’s supposed to be full if cool wildlife such as Penguins, Sealions, Pelecans and Dolphins…. After that we’re heading over to Cusco by bus (17 hours) to try and book onto and Amazon Jungle tour – wish us luck!
As always I’ll let you know how we get on, until then, love to all back home
Stefan and Claire

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