The Peace Corps is filled with all sorts of adventures. To be honest, I feel like I tried at least one new thing per day when I first arrived in Peru. But after 8 months, I began to fall into a rut. I know what you’re thinking: “You’re living in a foreign country, learning a new language, eating cow heart… how could you possibly fall into a rut?” Well, believe it or not, moments like this become the norm after almost a year abroad.
After realizing I was doing more or less the same thing every day, I decided to branch out a bit and start working on my Peru bucket list. First up on the list… sandboarding. According to Wikipedia, sandboarding is “a board sport similar to snowboarding. It is a recreational activity and takes place on sand dunes rather than snow-covered mountains. It involves riding across or down a dune while standing with both feet strapped to a board, though some sandboarders use a board without bindings.”
One of the top places to sandboard in Peru is located in a southern region of Peru, Ica. Unfortunately, that is a little too far (as in 15 hours away) for a quick day trip, so I headed to Trujillo, my department’s regional capital instead. We decided to go later in the afternoon to avoid the strong sun, and arrived around 3pm. I am glad that we went with someone who had gone before because we definitely would have been lost on our own. Below is sandboarding 101, and my thoughts on each step of the process.
Step 1: Rent a board. We rented one board and it cost about $8 USD. In addition to the board, the company should give you wax to put on the bottom of the board. This allows the board to move smoothly over the sand and prevent getting stuck halfway down the hill.
My thoughts: I would recommend renting one board for a group of 2-3. At first, it may seem a good idea for everyone to have their own board, but the reality is you have to hike your way back up the hill after boarding down. Let’s be real, you’ll most likely want a break once you reach the top, which is the perfect time for the next person to go.
Step 2: Find your spot on the hill.
My thoughts: If you are a newbie, like me, walk about halfway up the hill and start from there. Test out the waters for a few runs and move further up the hill once you get the hang of it.
Step 3: Apply the wax to the bottom of the board. The company we rented from gave us a candle-like shape of wax to streamline our board.
My thoughts: Make sure not to put too much wax on your board the first time! You’ll fly down the hill, wipe out, and end up with sand everywhere. Not that I learned from personal experience or anything…
Step 4: Strap your feet in and go!
My thoughts: Sandboarding is a lot easier to do than I had imagined, and I really enjoyed it. Despite having access to the beach in my region, I haven’t been able to pick up surfing, so sandboarding is a fun way to do break my routine. Pro Tip: Be sure to wear closed toed shoes and make sure you have access to a shower and clean clothes afterward.
Sandboarding was a great way to spend a few hours with some friends, and I plan on going back again! I hope to make it down to Ica to sandboard with the pros one day, but for now I am content with practicing on my little mountain.