Highest sand dunes in South America

By Erin Hancock

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Just gazing from a hostel window in the small town of Huacachina (outside of Ica, Peru) is a magnificent view of the highest sand dunes in South America. But don’t just look at them, get out there!

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Adventure seekers, look no further than Huacachina. This magical desert oasis (oasis is the perfect and only way to describe it) is great for anyone who wants their adrenaline to pump. Sand, heights, scorching sun and sand boarding. That basically sums it up. Get out on a sand buggy (called “boogy” in Peru) and get your heart pumping. The best (worst) is heading strait up the highest dune in sight at high speeds (insert blood-curdling scream here) and not having any idea what’s on the other side. It’s also sometimes uncertain whether the driver knows what’s on the other side as he struggles to steer as the buggy shoots over the crest of the dune!

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For a fast, but more grounded experience, try sand boarding on your belly (or standing up if you’re a pro). Using snow boards, lay right down and speed down a dune. You can use your feet to choose your speed.

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  • Bring something to cover your face from the sand and dust
  • Pack a large bottle of water
  • Don’t eat much before you go
  • Wear long sleeves for sand boarding on your belly (protect your forearms from getting scratched up)

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After what feels like hours of screaming and catching your breath, the dunes are a perfect place to witness a truly epic sunset.

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You’ll have the best shower after your excursion in the dunes. Then you can head into the tiny “downtown” of this miniature mirage in the sand dunes. We chose “Huacafuckingchina” as our restaurant of choice. Enjoy a couple refreshing pisco sours (Peru’s sweet spirit drink) and some grub. Cheers again to our guide Walter from Peru Hop (Peru’s best, safest, most fun and thorough bus service) and Laszlo (our fellow adventurer)!


Love and light to all! From Erin and Julia



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