Dogtag Blogger Amy Dyduch checks in with another update of her big tour of South America. This time she's in the Peruvian Desert.
Whizzing through the Peruvian desert in a sand buggy isn’t your average Wednesday. And being pushed down a massive dune clinging onto a sandboard for dear life is pretty out of the ordinary too.
Welcome to Huacachina, a tiny village that circles a desert oasis, in the south of Peru.
With the town nothing more than a few shops scattered in between a parade of hotels and restaurants, the desert’s pull is even stronger.
Stitched onto the back of the town means you can walk out of your hotel and into the vast desert, climb up the sand and watch the beautiful sunset over the dunes.
Hopping into the sand buggy, which I would describe as a pimped up go-kart, we take off to catch the sunset. We zoom up one dune and come crashing down another. The desert this evening sounds like a theme park - roaring diesel engines and screaming. I actually could not stop screaming, and whooping and laughing, the entire time.
When we weren’t speeding up and down sandhills in the buggy, we were either running and jumping down the dunes, or trying to climb up them using our sandboards for stability. Imagine being knee-deep in snow trying to climb up a mountain. It was tricky but hilarious. Talking of snow, that’s the only thing I can really compare it to, despite it being 30C and not really like snow at all.
When we finally manage to scramble to the top of the ridge, we teeter on the edge and peer down at our inevitable fate. I am last of four to be pushed down the 300-metre drop. I can just about make out the others at the bottom, pinpoints. “Don’t close your legs!” yells the buggy driver as I cascade down the sand. I am rocketing down the slope, with my head inches from the ground, and picking up more and more speed as I go. There was a lot of swearing! But when I reach the bottom, I just want to do it again. I feel like a little kid!
In fact, tonight the desert is an adult’s playground. When we stop at another spot we take the chance to sprint down the dunes. With the sand moving underneath every leap, it’s like being on another planet. We discover we can roll and jump down the soft sand. The difficult part is clambering back up when you want to have another go.
As the sun sets, we sit on a towering ledge to admire the vista. It is incredible how huge this desert is, and how tiny it makes me feel. Looking out, I can see mountain after mountain after mountain, and then some! Such a beautiful place, and so much fun.