Sandboarding on the Sand Dunes of Huacachina
In the past few years, Huacachina is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination for those seeking a bit of adventure because of its many sand activities and sports.
Its enormous, hundred-metre high sand dunes allow for sand tours, camping adventures, as well as driving sand/dune buggies and my favourite – sandboarding. Why leave boarding to snowy mountains and cold climates?
Welcome to Huacachina
Huacachina is a small town located in the Ica Region of Peru. It is south of Lima, southwest of Machu Picchu, and lies on the outskirts of the city of Ica.
The small oasis town is a popular resort getaway for rich local families living in Ica and around Peru. The population of Huacachina in 1999 was around 115. Peruvian legend tells a fable of the origin of this desert oasis, a lagoon nestled and hidden away by its surrounding mountains of sand hundreds of feet high.
The Legend and History of Huacachina
A beautiful native Peruvian princess was bathing in a pool of water when she was apprehended by a young hunter. She quickly clothed herself and fled the pool, causing it turn into the lagoon that exists today. The folds of her mantle streamed behind her as she ran, which fashioned the large sand dunes which envelop Huacachina today.
Recently, geologists have discovered both fossilized whale skeletons and shark’s teeth in massive quantities within the desert’s massive sand dunes. Pre-Inca cemeteries and graveyards are also found within these dunes. Much of this research is done by Roberto Penny Cabrera, a geologists whose work focuses on the mysterious Ocucaje desert.
All About Snowboarding Sandboarding
Besides Ica, Peru, sandboarding is becoming wherever there are large sand dunes. Other areas of Peru as well as South Africa, Capetown, Namibia, Brazil, Germany, and Japan are popular areas. Ica, Peru is known for its high sand dunes that reach up to 2km while Argentina‘s dunes are known as the tallest that exist.
Sandboards are much harder than a typical snowboard and the bottom is waxed more often with paraffin wax because of the roughness of the sand. Some sand boarders ride the board by just standing on it, while others ride it like a normal snowboard, with boots and bindings. The fastest unofficial speed has been 60 mph.
One difficulty in sandboarding is that it is difficult to build chairlifts to bring boarders to the top of the dunes. Boarders then have to climb up to the top, which is very difficult in sand – or they can use sand or dune buggy vehicles that can take them to the top. Some also consider sandboarding as lying stomach down on a flag waxed board with arms to the side – but this is usually only for those not brave enough to get up on the board!
Another obvious question about sandboarding is whether you get burns from the sand – as if you’re rubbing sandpaper against yourself. From most of research, the sand burns aren’t bad compared to the sun burns that you’ll get from the desert sun.
Ouch. Bring sunscreen.
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