Taking Peru head-on


Sure you can get a buzz on roller coasters, jet boats and hang gliders, but as Intrepid’s Ella Benjamin discovered, sometimes a simple piece of ply board can give you the most thrilling ride of your life…

“Flying face-first down a hundred foot mountain of sand is one of the most exhilarating and adrenaline pumping experiences of my life.

Huacachina, a tiny town in southwest Peru, has increasingly become an attraction for tourists drawn by the sport of sand boarding and taking dune buggy rides. The town is built around a small natural lake in the middle of the desert and is surrounded by enormous sand dunes.

Legend has it that the lagoon was created when a beautiful native princess was apprehended at her bath by a young hunter. She fled; leaving the pool of water she had been bathing in to become the lagoon. The folds of her mantle, streaming behind her as she ran, became the bordering sand dunes.

We decided to take a sunset tour of the sand dunes, so we piled into a 4WD dune buggy two hours before sundown and took off on a rollercoaster ride up and down the massive sand dunes of Huacachina. Our wonderful buggy driver took us to the top of the largest dune, unloaded our sand boards (think a skate board with no wheels) and instructed us to lie on our stomachs and slide down the mountain.

Staring face-first down a gigantic sand dune was truly terrifying. However, one you finally pushed yourself off, there was no feeling like it! We spent the next few hours soaring down these huge walls of sand, laughing and screaming from pure adrenaline. Watching the sun set at the top of a sand dune in the middle of the desert is one travel experience I will never forget!”

For more great thrills in South America, like trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or exploring the Amazon rainforest, check out Intrepid’s tours of Peru.

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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