Sandboarding (Huacachina and Ica)

We took a night bus from Cusco to Ica, the town that took a big hit from the earthquake last August. The city seems to be up and running and not too much damage happened within the city itself. But most people we talked to told us of the major damage just outside the center. Two taxi drivers we had told us their houses were leveled and are now sleeping in tents. But the locals are grateful for the outpouring of help and a lot of work has been accomplished in a few months.

We didn’t have time to do any volunteer work in Ica, we were here to meet up with Brendan and Laura and play for a few days before we flew back home. Ica itself wasn’t a very exciting city, it reminded me of Trujillo, a place to get stuff or sit in the plaza. We found a cheap vegetarian restaurant and bought groceries but stayed in Huacachina at a hostal. Huacachina isn’t much of a town, but it’s quiet and is basically a pile of hostals and restaurants around a lagoon surrounded by sand dunes. We were there for the sand!

We did a buggy ride and sandboarding through our hostal (La Carola Sur) whom I DO NOT recommend. Go through an independent group or a different hostal. The price was right but they didn’t treat us right, telling us we had to pay an extra fee once we were in the buggy and we had to FIGHT verbally to not pay it. Obviously the whole town is a tourist trap but I refuse to just accept all that added fee sneaky crap. Once we got past that, everything was super cool.

The dune buggy fit 8 people and was a rough ride. There were seatbelts to keep us from flying out, but I was worried they would decapitate us as well…but everyone returned safe and sound. The buggy went fast through over around and down the dunes, stopping here and there for us to get out and (attempt) sandboarding. It was a lot like snowboarding but much slower going and harder to catch an edge (could be b/c our boards were not high quality). Once I picked up some speed and tried to control the board I just fell over. But it was fun and I was tired at the end of the day. Matt resorted to laying on the board on his belly for the bigger, steeper dunes, but the rest of us attempted to go down the dune vertically. It was easier to get up after falling, I have memories of learning snowboarding and having my abs be sore for DAYS afterwards. The crash is much smoother, too (no ice!) but you do get sand in your ears and everywhere else. We’re happy to see old friends and play!

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