I think there’s very few days where you find yourself feeling like back when you were 10-years-old on the highest rollercoaster in the park. Do you remember the last time you screamed laughed uncontrollably for several minutes at a time? Maybe at a haunted house, a roller coaster, or…in a desert in the middle of Peru?
More importantly, when’s the last time you made a
snow sand angel?
Huacachina, Peru is by far one of the coolest places I have ever seen before in my entire life. I strongly urge you to get your booty to Peru so you can have a day just like this! On our way from Paracas to Huacachina, it suddenly appeared as if someone dropped me off in the middle of the desert in Egypt, or somewhere in the Middle East. I was so ready for Aladdin to appear and take me on a magic carpet ride… but um, he never showed up. So I settled for a magic sand dune ride instead 🙂
If you’re backpacking South America, you’ll hear about the chance to “sandboard” in the deserts of the continent, much like snowboarding, except down sand dunes! If you know me, you know that I’m not exactly athletically inclined- I’ve never surfed, snowboarded, skied, or any other activity that requires me not flying off of a board to avoid imminent pain or discomfort. Well, much to my relief, it is strongly advised despite your “level of experience” (because we’re all sand dune boarding pros… har har har), that you go down on the board on your belly. People have wrecked their faces, shoulders, and other miscellaneous body parts attempting to stand… and the Good Lord only knows where the nearest hospital is. So yeah, no thanks!
Sadly, I wasn’t talented enough to photograph myself while taking plunges down sand dunes with the sand board. It was slightly terrifying, but hilarious and amazing. Essentially, I felt like I was just a little kid again, flying down a mountain-sized slide at absurd speeds. Some friends I made in my group took some photos, but I am still waiting to get a hold of them. To my surprise though, the dune buggying was the best part. Our driver was fantastic and took us up and down the biggest dunes he could find. I really don’t think my words can articulate just how steep these dunes were. I was praying the whole time our buggy wouldn’t tip going up or down and had to trust that the vehicle, and driver, were capable.
After sandboarding down about five dunes, we headed out to watch the sunset and take some fantastic photographs. If you think a sunset on the ocean is something to be seen, the desert certainly competes with it.
On our way back to the hostel- we…ran out of gas…in the middle of this gigantic desert where there’s no landmarks…besides maybe my snow angel. There’s was no point in panicking though. We just had to wait there in hopes that it wouldn’t get too dark or cold after sunset too fast… and that someone would pass by. Our driver looked slightly concerned, but really all we could do was laugh. Finally, someone arrived, so we watched our driver siphon gas out of another dune buggy- who was also low on gas. We got enough gas to drive up a few dunes and then turn off the engine going down these hills to descend home. I joked with the group, “Remember that time we ran out of gas in the middle of the desert after sunset in Peru?” What a memory.
Breaking News: Dune buggying is absolutely freaking incredible. You will scream in sheer terror and laugh in pure ecstasy the whole time you are flying around these immense, incredibly steep sand dunes. The beauty that surrounds you is like nothing you have ever seen before. The exhilaration is something that you have never felt before. Best. Day. Ever. Really. Ever.
Please come to Peru. It is safe. It is amazing. The country itself is a wonder of the world and makes you thankful to be alive everyday to experience it. One minute you’re in the desert, the next minute you’re in the Andes mountains, the highest navigable lake in the world, the Amazon jungle, and then there’s that whole Machu Picchu thing
whatever that is. I am so blessed.