Huacachina in Peru is a bizarre place. Steep golden sand dunes tower over the green lagoon where wading birds parade in the water against blood orange sunsets, and hotels cluster around the water for protection. At sunrise, guests trek 250ft to the top of the slopes, and enjoy the view of desert for miles around. Growling dune buggies leap across the sand and launch every passenger from their seats. My friends and I decided to tackle these giant shifting hills armed with snowboards, but here’s some things you should know:
1) Make yourself sand-proof Flip flops, t-shirt and shorts might seem appropriate for this terrain, but when you are hurtling down the steep dunes on your belly inches from the sand you will regret not having an extra layer. Ask my arm. Leave your camera at home unless it has a waterproof case.
2) Be realistic If you’ve never been able to stand on a snowboard, mastering these skills on sand is unlikely. It is possible to board if you have extreme skill, but even then it is much easier to hit bumps and dig your way into an impressive face-plant. It might not look pretty, but you will always win the race if you belly-surf like a rocket down the slope.
3) Wax up Candle wax is an essential accessory here, so make sure your guide provides you with some. The more time you rub your board, the faster you’ll speed down to the base.
4) Stick to the plan Listen to your guide and only hit the slopes that they recommend. My friends and I got carried away and launched ourselves down a series of 200ft dunes, before our guide told us to walk all the way back up a monstrous crumbling hill. If you’ve ever seen the Gladiator escalator which used to destroy contestants at the last hurdle, you’ll know what to avoid.
5) Don’t look down Some of these dunes are seriously steep, so avoid looking at the tiny ants waiting for you at the bottom. As always, it’s best to go earlier if you’re afraid of heights, and dig your shoes into the sand if you want to slow down.