Sandboarding in Peru: Huacachina, Cerro Blanco and More
If you are looking to indulge in some sand-swallowing Peru adventure travel, then sandboarding could well be the thing for you. Most of Peru’s sandboarding hotspots are found a few hours south of Lima, but you can also find some decent dunes along the north coast.
Sandboarding South of Lima
Peru’s southern coastal region is sandboarding central. Follow the Pan-American Highway (Panamericana) south from Lima down to Nazca and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice your sandboarding in Peru.
- Lima – If you want some practice before heading south to the bigger dunes, take a short trip south along the coast from Lima to the Dunas de Asia. Here you’ll find dunes between 20 and 80 meters, ideal for beginners. Tours, including instructors, can be arranged in Lima.
- Pisco and Paracas – Take a short ride outside of Pisco and you’ll find some good dunes. The Pampa de Ocas is particularly popular with sandboarders and the 60-meter dunes are good for beginners. Further into the desert lies the picturesque Oasis Costa Rica and the Laguna Inmaculada; here the dunes rise to 200 meters. Dune buggy tours into the desert can be organized in Pisco or Paracas, many of which include an hour or two of sandboarding.
- Ica and Huacachina – Sandboarding hotspots don’t get much hotter than the dunes around Ica, Peru, a few hours from Lima by bus. The place to see and be seen is the Oásis de la Laguna Huacachina, a few kilometers southwest of Ica itself. This small village oasis offers buggy rides and sandboarding by day, and a party atmosphere by night. The dunes themselves offer a good selection of slopes for beginners and experienced sandboarders alike, the biggest dunes measuring more than 230 meters. Tours to Huacachina run from various locations including Lima and Ica, here are a few options. You can also reach the oasis independently through a combination of buses and taxis and take it from there.
- Nazca and Cerro Blanco – If you want to get serious about sandboarding, then this is the place to go. Cerro Blanco is the highest sand dune in the world, measuring a staggering 2,078 meters above sea level and 1,176 meters from base to peak. Situated a few kilometers outside of Nazca, Cerro Blanco is not for the faint-hearted. Buggies can take you to the foot of this sandy monster, but then you’re on foot for the climb up (3 hours approx.). Tour agencies will supply the boards and necessary equipment, but you’ll need to take your sun block and a decent pair of shades. Excursions can be arranged in various cities including Lima, Pisco, Ica and Nazca.
Northern Peru Sandboarding Locations
The majority of Peru’s sandboarding hotspots are located south of Lima. But if you’re heading north and want to catch a few dunes, you’ll still find some good options.
- Conache – About 13 km south west of Trujillo, in the Laredo district, is the hamlet of Conache. A series of large dunes surround the Laguna de Conache (lagoon), providing sandboarders with plenty of downhill options. Excursions can be arranged in Trujillo.
- Duna Cañoncillo – Located in the San Pedro de Lloc district of the Pacasmayo province, about half way between Trujillo and Chiclayo. Sandboarding down Duna Cañoncillo is not the only local attraction; the area is known for its three lakes, and paragliding and hang gliding are also popular.
- Duna Chao – Located in the province of Virú, approximately 70 km south of Trujillo. Take a look at this video on YouTube to get a rough idea of the Duna Chao.
- Coishco – a town located north of Chimbote and just off the Panamericana highway. The dunes around Coishco are the main place for sandboarding in the Chimbote area.
ENTERTAINMENT TIP: If looking for fun at night, or to watch sports during the day, or even a taste of home, visit the Wild Rover Hostels Chain for great food, sports and beer! Entrance to their bars is free even for non-guests
Your Sandboarding Recommendations for Peru
If you’ve been sandboarding in Peru, feel free to leave any recommendations, tips or hints (where to go, which tour agency to go with etc.) in the comments section below. If you know of more places to go sandboarding in Peru, go ahead and list them too. And finally f all of this has made you eager to get on a board and hit the dunes have a look here for a couple of different options.