Sandboards and dune buggies

Trip Start Jun 13, 2006
Trip End Jun 12, 2007

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Alex: We half heartedly decided on a stop in Huacachina on our way to Nasca because it sounded interesting, "desert oasis surrounded by sand dunes with lots of sandboarding and dune buggy rides" and are so glad we did. Until we saw the dunes we were undecided whether or not to try the sandboarding but having seen them we snapped up the sandboarding/dune buggy combo our hostal offered. We spent the early afternoon wandering the town, which I can only describe as a reverse island, it centres on the oasis pool instead of the port, is surrounded by sand instead of water and has the same laid back feel. We were quite amused that, other than the one road connecting the town to the outside world, every road ends in a dune (see the pics). We climbed a dune and were glad our excursion involved the minimum of walking - it is tough work, the sand is so soft it really is 2 steps forward and 1 step back, but we got a great view of the town from the top.

Our trip left at 4pm which I think was the perfect time, it wasn't too hot, the shadows picked out the contours of the land perfectly and, as it was a 2 hour excursion, we got to see a desert sunset. The dune buggy was fantastic, we tore across the desert, down what felt like almost vertical slopes, with our driver competing with the other buggies to see who could loop highest up a dune before turing back down - who needs rollercoasters? Then there was the regular stops for sandboarding. With no snowboarding, skateboarding or surfing experience I think it is needless to say I was rubbish but Dean was picking it up towards the end. The first couple of slopes I tried to do stood up but just don't have the balance so everytime ended up squatted down on the edge of the board, not very technically good but it got me to the bottom without eating too much sand. I think it was the 3rd slope that the buggy driver must have picked up on my crapness and got me to use my board as a sledge and pushed me down head first, very fast but very fun! Dean managed that one stood up, and was beginning to look pretty confident...then he saw the next slope! Most of the group seemed to have snowboarded before but still 90% of the people went down sledge style, it was about 100m high at a 60 angle (we think - it was steep anyway), and going down on you front you went fast but didn't have too far to fall, I think I screamed/swore the whole way down! The buggy then took us over one of the best, most rollercoastery slopes in the area a few times and then stopped at the top so we could board down. No kidding, if you stood at the top you couldn't see the bottom it was so steep, 100% went down on their bellies, but it was amazing! We had a couple more goes at the boarding and our buggy driver competed with his colleagues a little more, all in all an exhilarating couple of hours. The landscape was also incredible - it was like that Turkish Delight advert, the dunes were beautiful and seemed to go on forever, we came across a couple of oasis' which are quite surreal and watched the sunset which was spectacular. Definitely worth getting sand everywhere imaginable!

The hostal put on a BBQ that evening including all the Pisco Sour you could drink! Got talking to a couple from South Africa, a couple from Bolton & Sheffield (one of whom went to uni with someone I went to school with - small world) and a few others so had a nice time comparing routes and stories!

Could have stayed longer than our 1 night as Huacachina is a nice, chilled place but we have to get to Cusco to acclimatise for the Inca trail so it is straight on to Nasca to see those lines.

Dean: The sandboarding was excellent, I was really getting into it. Hopefully we can do some more while we are in South America. We have been chilling out a lot recently and I am starting to get itchy feet - can't wait to start the 4 day Inca Trail hike...
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trevnjean on

Sounds bloody brilliant!
It sounds absolutely amazing. As Dean't Mum says you bring it so alive and I love the description of the reverse island. Really fancy the dune buggy's and sandboarding - hope they do it in Chile, mind you know what a wimp I am Alex. Love Mum and Dad M

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