Our guide handed me a broken-off piece of candle and told me to wax my board – my sand board that is. If I’d realised how fast this would make me go, I’d don’t think I’d have gone to the trouble!
I stared down at the impossibly steep dune and wondered whether the traditional standing position, or the chicken’s option – lying on the board – was less likely to result in broken limbs.
Ever the logical, sensible thinker, I decided to take the first dune lying down – there’s less far to fall, I thought. Little did I know this actually makes you go much faster and is a lot more dangerous.
The guide launched me over the edge and I closed my eyes to prevent having my contact lenses sand blasted. Seconds later, having been propelled half way up the next dune, I came to a stop. My entire body was covered with sand – something it’s even more difficult to avoid when you’re plastered from head to toe in factor 50.
I took the next dune standing up, and by my third attempt, I could do the whole thing without a fall. You’ll have trust me when I tell you that my friend with a broken arm – aka the designated photographer – only managed to capture a video of me falling over at the top of the dune. She even somehow changed the recording speed, making an already comical video look like something by Benny Hill.
Back in the dune buggy, we sped over massive dunes, feeling certain that the metal cage would roll over at any second.
The sun set as we made our way back to the obscure desert oasis of Huacachina, and the buggy stopped for a few minutes so we could take photos of the tiny town shimmering away surrounded by desert.
It was a really fun afternoon, packed with adrenaline, and with scenery more quintessential of the Middle East than you might expect of Peru. My shoes and ears were packed full of sand by the time I returned to the hostel. But it was a small price to pay!
If you’re looking to try sand boarding in Huacachina, almost every hostel can hook you up with a tour, and it’s never far to walk to the other side of Huacachina if you need to shop around. I stayed at Bananas Hostel – a very sociable place with a pool, bar, restaurant and functioning WiFi. They include sand boarding and dune buggying, along with one night’s accommodation in a dorm room, for S55. That’s about £13. You can’t ask for better than that!