After we heard that boarding down sand dunes is a real activity tourist agencies offer, we knew we had to try it, as both Tini and Andy are enthusiastic snow-boarders. We carefully researched several agencies and finally decided for PeruAdventureTours. To make it worth the drive we decided for a full day package in which we first visited a bird sanctuary and then headed to the dunes!
Our guides Saul and Harley picked us up in the morning and we drove towards the coast.
We passed by some mining regions in which after decades of mining the landscape looked almost moon-like:
This scenery they call the great planes on which simply nothing grows because of the lack of water:
We passed by farm villages which mainly live from growing sugar cain:
Saul bought some for us right off the street and while the peeled sugar cain looks kind of fibrous, once you start chewing it you get the very pleasant sweet taste of “sugar-water” in your mouth. Once you sucked out all the good taste you simply spit the fibrous rest out on the street…
We stopped in another village and drove to an arbitrary looking house. Saul said they have a surprise in here for us and when we entered there was the Peruvian most famous bakery for Alfajores, a sweet and crunchy pastry. At first we were not very convinced, since we had tried these pastries in Arequipa already. But after Saul bought us a bag of these fresh baked pastries from the women on this picture, we couldn’t help ourselves but to buy several more of them ourselves! They were absolutely delicious!
Can you see the pride in the face of the baker? People from everywhere come by this place to buy these pastries!
Some time later we arrived at the visitor center of the “Santuario Nacional” and took off to the lagoons to watch the birds. This sanctuary is one of the best protected coastal wetlands with over 205 species of birds!
In total there are five different lagoons we went to see. Each of them inhabited different kinds of birds. In order to not bore you too much we will spear you of all the bird pictures we took. Many of the birds were anyway only visible with the binoculars. Some of the birds we saw were: ospreys, flamingos, black skimmers, black-necked stilts, oyster-catchers, egrets and sanderlings. On these pictures you can see many of the above mentioned birds:
This is one of the biggest and fattest birds, a vulture. They are the garbage-cleaner birds of the lagoons as they only eat rotten carcasses.
At the beach we saw many little crabs bathing in the sun, but immediately disappearing into their caves as we approached:
In the back of this picture you can see one of our favorite birds, the great egret:
Hunting for food in the shallow ocean waters:
And taking off as I get too close to him…
Another inhabitant of the ocean:
And as Saul drove our 4WD SUV along the beach many more of the little crabs scrammed away along the beach:
As did the birds:
Saul is really a passionate Off-Road driver as we were soon to find out:
Our traces in the sand:
Back on the street we headed for a local place to grab some lunch and then finally headed on towards the sand dunes:
And suddenly Saul took a sharp left curve into nowhere!
This is where the Off-Road fun began. Saul did not get tired of having the car head up one dune after the other. We did get stuck several times, but there was no dune Saul couldn’t manage 🙂
Eventually we got close to the dunes fringing the edge of the valley with an oasis in its center:
These were the dunes:
And this the equipment:
The boards were quickly waxed and strapped on, and off we went:
Unfortunately there is no lift back up. You have to unbuckle and walk back up. That seriously limits the number of rides you can take down… 🙂
The sand looks nice and soft, but it is hard when you fall…
Saul doing one of his rides:
And Harley going for it. He enjoyed the sand boarding at least just as much as we did!
Saul introducing us to to the head first down-hill method:
And Andy just couldn’t get enough:
Our 4WD Off-Road fun car:
Andy too tried the face first method with an extra boost from Harley:
Tini riding the dune 🙂
Here we are having a short break with some drinks and fruits. It’s also where we tried the delicious grenadillas for the first time!
And Tini going face first as well:
The whole day Andy managed to not fall once. Saul and Harley were really impressed and said that they often have people who claim they are experienced snowboarders and then don’t seem to know what they are doing on the sand-board. They claimed to have never had a client sand boarding this well for the first time… That was for sure a great compliment for Andy, even though they probably tell this to all clients 😉
Then Andy had the idea to film one of his rides down the steep part of the dunes. Well, it almost all worked out, but in the last part he had a little crash with the dune. See for yourself:
Luckily Andy was fine and actually that should have been the very last ride that day. But when Saul saw Andy somersaulting down that dune he probably did not want that to be Andy’s last ride that day and offered one more last ride. Andy accepted immediately…
That evening he spent quite some time under the shower washing off the sand from all over his body. The floor of the shower was literally covered with sand…
A sand boarding group picture of Saul, Andy, Tini and Harley (from left to right):
And as the sun set we headed back to Arequipa:
That day Saul and Harley convinced us of their agency and we decided to book the Colca Canyon trek with them as well. We had so much fun while sand boarding, watching the birds and trying local specialties that this was for sure one of our favorite days in Peru!This entry was posted in South-America, WorldMap and tagged Pacific, Scenic, Sports
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What a vivid post – great to see you having a great time!
Nice to find some sweets in a semi-desertic area!
Looking like the Jacques Cousteau of the desert Andreas…