Immediately following the boat trip to the Ballestas Islands, we jumped back in the trucks to continue the drive to the desert in Huacachina. Upon arrival, we took a short walk down to the lagoon in the middle of the small town where the calm waters, surrounded by palm trees, brought immediate relaxation.
The reverie didn’t last too long though once we’d exchanged our trucks for dune buggies and a local driver. He whizzed us to the top of the surrounding dunes, chicaning where no chicanes should ever be chicaned, to the delight slash screams of my fellow passengers. At the top, two of my new buddies (Charlotte and Matthew) and I decided it would be a good spot for a jumping photo. Now, if you’ve read my blog about Queenstown in New Zealand (and in case that was an oversight on your part, or if you just want to refresh your memory, you can do so here) you’ll know that I love any excuse to jump off things. Unfortunately, as the pictures below testify, it’s rather hard to do so on sand. However, as you can see, there were lots of giggles and that’s kinda the point right?
The jumping shenanigans were brought to a finish, mainly because the photographer lost patience when she realised we’d never manage to jump in sync ‘on three’, and we got back in the buggies for the short ride to the first sandboard slope. After what can only be described as a perfunctory training – which is being pretty generous given that it lasted all of twenty seconds – we were tipped over the ridge off the dune.
The sandboards fairly flew and the adrenaline rush was incredible. About halfway down I started bricking it when the board wobbled slightly, before remembering to brake with my feet. As soon as the board came to a stop though, I was itching to go again. Thankfully, that’s exactly what our ‘instructor’ had in store and over the next couple of hours we rode increasingly bigger dunes until we were spent. I filmed some of the descents on my GoPro (my attempt to justify buying it for this trip), and managed to rip a large patch of skin off my elbow in the process, but it was totally worth it. There are no pictures of that as it still looks kinda funky.
Our guides then drove us further up the dunes from where we were treated to a beautiful sunset. Everyone seemed really content, and with the boat trip from the morning, the newer passengers especially were raving about their first day. It was pretty different to ours that’s for sure! Once the sun was gone, we were taken to a dip in the dunes, where we found a humongous barbecue sizzling away on a camp fire. A feast followed and the continual pouring of pisco ensured a good time was had by all. We set up our sleeping bags on the sand and gazed at the stars. With little light pollution, they were dazzlingly bright and I fell asleep with a big grin on my face, thinking how lucky I was right then.
The following day saw us drive to Nazca, home of the Nazca lines. The only way to see the figures is from the air and in small planes, but being conscious that I’m away for nearly four months and would be undertaking the Inca Trail in just over a week, I decided to take an activity break and instead, I took up residence by the hotel pool (a first so far on this trip) and enjoyed some me time: reading, sipping a beer and pretending to swim lengths. It was bliss and set me up well for the next few days in Arequipa .