A Peruvian Sandboarding Adventure!
Our day started off at the Peru Together Travel Office located in Trujillo, Peru. Although it was only half eight in the morning, it was already baking hot and I was grateful for the suncream that I had lathered on generously that morning. I was sure that the sand dunes would offer very little respite from the sun!
After meeting our guide Victor, my boyfriend, Tim and I piled into the minivan that would be taking us to Laguna de Conache – a picturesque destination just a half an hour drive from the city of Trujillo.
Sandboarding in Northern Peru – Laguna Conache
Perhaps the most well-known area to go sandboarding in Peru is the desert oasis of Huacachina – a popular backpacker hangout, home to several backpacker hostels, restaurants and bars.
What most people don’t know though, is that major Northern city of Trujillo is surrounded by desert and therefore is a fantastic place to develop your skills on the sand! Half day sandboarding trips can be organised for just 60 soles (approx. $18 US) which include an experienced sandboard instructor, transport and entrance fees.
Despite the fact that our sandboarding guide, Victor, spoke very little English, he explained to us (through the use of hand gesture and our limited Spanish) that we would be picking up two companions prior to heading to the Laguna. After meeting the girls that we would be sharing our first sand-boarding experience with, we headed to our destination.
What to bring for a sandboarding trip
- Comfortable clothes: In case it isn’t obvious, you will be flying across the sand quickly so make sure you limit sand burn!
- Trainers: Preferable to open-toed shoes.
- Sun cream: There is no shade on the sand dunes and it gets very hot.
- Sunglasses: Good for dealing with the blinding landscape and also for keeping sand out of your eyes while riding.
- Mosquito repellent: Mozzies love the hot weather so come prepared!
- Phone camera/Action cam: I have specified phone camera because it would be impossible to take a digital camera and not get sand in it. Go Pros and other action cams are recommended as well.
- Water: The hike up the dunes is tough in the heat so you will need to stay hydrated.
No experience necessary
In case you’re wondering whether you can sandboard with no previous experience, rest assured that you can. A trip organised with a local travel company like Peru Together Travel will see you paired up with a sandboarding guide who knows exactly how to get beginners started.
You will begin the day by stretching your muscles and practising the posture needed for riding the board. You will then graduate through the three positions, with the option to progress onto higher dunes as your skills increase.
The three essential sandboarding positions!
Despite speaking little English, Victor showed us how to get in the correct position and did an example ride in each stance before asking us to copy him. The three positions that we were shown are:
1. The Superman position
As the name suggests, this position sees you lay on the board on your stomach. Keep your head level with the top of the board and keep your elbows tucked in. You can use your feet as your brake. Scary as hell!
2. The sitting position
Position your bum around half to three quarters up your board. From there, hold the foot stirrups with your hands and tuck your feet onto the end of the board. Use either both feet or both hands to slow yourself down. A beginners’ fave!
3. The standing position
Most similar to a snowboarding position, this stance involves crouching with your knees bent whilst you hold the tail of the board. Shift your weight to determine direction. The most challenging of the positions!
Riding the sand!
During our sandboarding lesson, we progressed through all three positions culminating in the most challenging: the upright stance. Initially, I was terrified by the speed in which I hurtled down the dune but after a couple of attempts, I was laughing along with everyone else.
Whilst no-one in our group was actually good at sandboarding, we had a hoot making fun of each other while somebody tumbled down the hill. The trip with Peru Together Travel allowed for two hours of sandboard practice which can only be described as a real laugh!
Time for a relaxing paddle!
Feeling raw from the tumbles but filled with adrenaline, we took our final rides down the dunes and headed to Laguna de Conache. The lagoon was beautiful and really showcased the surrounding scenery. A boat trip was included in our tour and we quickly hopped into one of the pedal boats on the lake.
In the middle of the lagoon, there were two islands, one of which was home to a family of geese. We had fun messing around on the boat and taking it in turns to pedal, after an exhausting few hours of sandboarding this was much harder than we expected! The end of the ride signified the trip’s completion and we were driven back to Trujillo centre.
Final thoughts on sandboarding in Peru!
Considering my trepidation about sandboarding, Tim and I had a great time playing around on the sand dunes outside Trujillo. Victor was very patient and allowed us to do the positions that felt most comfortable to us, something that was hugely appreciated as Tim was suffering from an old knee injury at the time.
Peru Together Travel made sure that the tour ran on schedule and the meeting point was easy to find. Although the views that the sandboarding location presented were stunning, what was even better was taking them in on the relaxing boat ride to finish the day. I certainly can’t think of a better way to recover from a morning of adrenaline (except for maybe a beer in hand as well)!