We were picked up by Raffo and Juliana for our day of sand boarding and off-roading in the huge sand dunes south of Lima. We were all a little surprised when they loaded us into 2 cars- 1 Jeep and 1 Toyota truck. I think we thought we would get transferred to the dunes where we would be met by dune buggies or something. But our adventure started as soon as we got into those car- these drivers were very aggressively getting us through the insane free-for-all Lima traffic.
About an hour south of town we stopped at a sand boarding shop in Playa Hermosa. Apparently this town is packed with partying city dwellers during the South American summers, but today it looked like an abandoned dusty strip of block walls. In the shop we were fitted into snow boarding boots, boards and helmets. We loaded our gear into the trucks and drove further south to the sand dunes.
I've never really been on huge sand dunes before so I have nothing to compare Lima's sand dunes to. But there were mountains of sand as far as the eye could see- boarded by the Pacific Ocean on the west. The drivers let air out of their tires and then we sped out into the dunes. It was seriously one of the scariest things I have ever done- I am not a big fan of off-roading. Probably has something to do with not wanting to die in a car crash! And Raffo our driver was INSANE! He was obviously very experienced, but Rick said my screams were only encouraging him to be crazier.
Finally the ride came to a stop at the top of a steep dune. It was time to put on our boards and see what we could do. Ian and Brent both have experience snowboarding, so this was an easy transition for them. The rest of us were out of our element. Our guides were awesome instructors and got us down our first hill in one piece. Then the roller coaster started again as we went on another wild ride to the top of even a steeper sand dune.
We got 4 wild rides and 4 runs down the dunes, which may not sound like a lot but was plenty. The sand was everywhere- especially on those of us who ate it- literally. I had so much sand on my face- sand beard and mustache, sand sideburns, sand boogers for days!!
We headed off the dunes and back on to the freeway. We stopped for some alien ice cream- which was delicious and included lots of flavored unheard of in the US. Back safely at the sand boarding shop we returned our gear and braced ourselves for the gnarly ride back into the big city.
Back at our hotel we were able to use the showers in the spa to wash all the sand away- and there was a ton of sand! We are all starving so we walked to an early final dinner in Peru. It was a fantastic meal and a great way to end our feasting in Peru!
After dinner we said good bye to the Paul's who had to head to the airport to catch their flight back to Chicago. We had a few more hours before we needed to take off, so Emily and I did what all smart travelers do when they have a few extra hours to burn- we went shopping!
We headed out in the dark rainy night (a note about the rain- both times we were in Lima this trip it rained. And both times we had multiple locals tell us "it never rains in Lima!" Right). We had limited time and limited soles so we were on a mission. We headed to a nearby market (flea market style) and hunted out the final gifts we wanted to take home. Ian stayed at the hotel to work and Rick stayed at the hotel to get a massage. We got back just in time for our airport pickup.
Because our flight didn't leave until 1am, we still had a few hours to burn. So we went to _______________, a water fountain park. There were dancing water fountains with lights and different themes. The park was beautifully landscaped and clean, and even in the cold and drizzle, there were a lot of people out. We walked the grounds and checked out all the fountains, finishing with the big attraction- a laser, image projector, water show that we left after watching for almost 30 minutes! There was no end in site!
Our flights home were uneventful and easy (Ian and I each got a row to our selves so we slept the entire red eye home. Bonus!) We had an amazing vacation, but were so happy to be back in the US- (toilet seat covers, flushing toilet paper, cold drinks, ICE!!) We love going on adventures, but nothing is better than coming home to our beautiful girls!!