Sand Boarding in Ica, Peru

The Haucachina Oasis

After a week in Peru, exploring Machu Pichu, Cusco, Puno and Arequipa, it was time to return to Lima to catch our flight back to the US. We had to take an overnight bus from Arequipa, but decided to make one last stop along the way. We had heard of several interesting places including the famous Nazca Lines but what really caught our interest was the chance to sand board in Ica on the sand dunes surrounding the Huacachina Oasis. Before we boarded our bus, it was really easy to book a tour in Arequipa for a tour the next morning. For $20 we would get breakfast, a sand dune tour in a buggy and sand boarding rental equipment.

Oasis surrounded by sand with Ica in the background

After a long night on the bus, we were dropped off in the small town of Ica. The Oasis is actually about 15 minutes away by cab. After leaving the bus station you slowly drive out of civilization and into a pretty desolate area surrounded by sand. Just as we were starting to regret choosing this as our destination, the Oasis suddenly appeared surrounded by hostels and backpacker hang outs.

 After breakfast, we grabbed our gear and headed out with our guide in a four man dune buggy.  The dune buggy ride itself was actually half the attraction. After driving for about 10 min all signs of civilization are left behind and all you can see are huge sand dunes. Our driver drove up and down the dunes turning the ride into one long roller coaster -esque adventure. 

Ten Minutes past the Oasis – nothing but dunes

Finally we drove to the top of a high sand dune to begin our boarding. The only thing we could see at this point were dunes and a few other sand boarding groups.

Another group sand boarding

Sand boarding is a lot like snow boarding. You strap your feet to a board and balance as you slide down the hill. But, warm sand is a much nicer place to fall than snow.

It took us a while to get the hang of it, and we also found out that it was a lot of fun to just head down on our stomachs – especially the bigger dunes. Once we got to the bottom, our buggy would come down and get us and bring us back to the top.  On later trips I learned just how hard it is to walk up giant sand dunes….so this was probably a good thing. 

Sand Boarding – Belly first before we tried standing
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