Savannah Grace

Sand Boarding in Peru

Part 2 – Ica Day Trip Adventures

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After a wonderful tour of Islas Ballestas AKA Poor Man’s Galapagos in the morning, we returned to our hotel, Villa Jasmin, in Ica and relaxed before our sunset tour of the Huacachina Sand Dunes.

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We felt really spoilt with our room in the Hotel Villa Jazmin. The room was romantically decorated with flowers and towels folded into swans placed at the end of our big bed. It smelled fresh and clean, I loved the sparkly counter in the bathroom and the warm shower with good pressure. I knew that would be coming in handy after our sand-boarding tour. Rustic blue doors led to our private balcony overlooking both swimming pools. Ica is extremely close to the Huacachina oasis and its dunes. The sand was practically crawling over the hotel’s gates and pouring into the swimming pool.

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Huacachina is a small oasis village used mainly as a resort getaway for local families and tourism. The main draw in Huacachina is sand-boarding. To reach the dunes we took a super cool “Mad Max” style dune buggy from one of the hotels running tours from Huacachina.

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Despite having a slight grudge towards places with overly populated tourism, it didn’t matter in this case. The town is practically bumper to bumper with the sand machines, but it didn’t take away from the experience at all. Once you’re out on the dunes, you have more than enough space to let your inner crazy out.

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I’d previously seen videos on YouTube and talked to fellow travel blogger Mapping Megan, about Huacachina. The harnessed seats were sign enough that this was going to be a roller coaster ride but apparently I still had no idea what I was in for.

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Basically I have to start this one off with a big, fat WOW!!!! This was absolutely my favorite activity of our entire Peru trip. I loved it so much in a “thrilling” kind of way. Our driver was having as much fun as we were, as he made us scream in sheer terror. When we charged towards the steepest dunes imaginable, I was in complete disbelief.

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He couldn’t possibly be attempting that one! But oh, he did and the drop on the other side was even steeper than the side we’d climbed. Bracing for impact and clenching every muscle in our bodies we flew up and over and down mountains of sand. Tears streamed into my ears as I screamed my head off from the front seat, crying, “Why is this SO FUN?!?!!” I nearly peed my pants with joy.

We’d come for the sand-boarding, but the buggy was the highlight for me. Every time we jumped out to take a board and slide down a dune on our bellies, I couldn’t stop rambling on, “That was fantastic! Fantastic! I’ll never use the word fantastic again unless it’s at least as amazing as this. This is truly the definition of fantastic. Nothing less.”

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The boarding was still more fun than I anticipated. For some reason I expected to be eating sand on the way down, but that wasn’t the case at all. Taking the steep plunge, where you can’t see over the edge, was exciting in a terrifying way. In our group there was a Belgian couple from Antwerp, a caucasian Colombian man and an Asian (not sure where from) mother/daughter couple who were adorable wearing their giant bug-eyed goggles.

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Our driver was really good about giving us plenty of chances to go boarding from different spots. Kees tried boarding standing up, as expected.

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When the sky started to fill with pink, we stopped to watch the sun sink below the surface of the dunes. A romantic ending to a fantastic day of adventures.

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At the end of the trip we had a competition, emptying our sand filled shoes onto the street.

“My feet hurt from all the sand. My shoes are suddenly four sizes too small,” claimed Kees, undoubtedly the winner.

Afterwards, our new Colombian friend, Juan, insisted on taking everyone out for drinks. He was a really interesting character and explained, when Kees inquired about his skin color, that he came from a tiny village of about five families who all have light skin. He surprised us by saying that in order to save their land, they are all inbred and marry cousins. Perhaps this extremely nice guy had less than flattering cousins, thus his move to the big city, Bogota?

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We enjoyed delicious pisco sours together at Huacafuckingchina (A well deserving name for the intense buggy tour town) with a moonlit view of the oasis alongside doctors, lawyers and engineers. I love all of the interesting characters we meet on the road. An eavesdropping Canadian, Joel, joined our table after hearing the words “Sierra Leone” in one of our tales.

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He was out of his mind excited about our travel stories and was almost in tears that someone may just be able to understand his own stories from 63 countries. “No one can ever relate to what I’ve gone through. Most people just call me crazy and think I’m making these things up!” he said, and proceeded to tell his unbelievable stories to an audience that may finally believe him.

Before we parted he insisted on showing us his flag-patch-covered backpack and taking pictures with Kees and me.

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Kees and I went back to the hotel with our Columbian friend, Juan, who we realized was also staying at the Villa Jazmin. Bumping into the hotel owner on our way to bed, he invited us to drink some more pisco sours. Our intentions to get a good nights sleep before a travel day the following morning were tossed out the window, but heck, travel is about living in the moment and meeting new people.

Savannah Grace

This is a 3 minute video of our desert roller coaster ride! Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel Sticky Visuals!

VIDEO

TIPS:

-Take the front seat! Even if you have to fight your fellow traveller to get it. -Bring sunglasses for the sun and sand (though don’t fret if you forget, I    managed without) -Put sun lotion on BEFORE you get there or it’ll act as glue for the sand.

-Do not miss this tour if you are in the neighbourhood!!!! If I had another day I would’ve gone a second time.

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