Screaming, shouting, whooping… The clamour was deafening as we were thrown out of our seats, shoulders straining against the seatbelts. We smacked back down to the ground and simultaneously veered around a dune, banking treacherously to the left. I couldn’t hear myself, but I knew I was adding my voice to the noise. Terrified or exhilirated, I couldn’t tell.
I was in the back of a dune buggy, clutching my camera tightly with one hand and trying desperately to keep my goggles on with the other. I had signed up for a two hour evening sandboarding tour in Huacachina, a one street town built around a desert oasis in Peru. Volcano boarding in Nicaragua had been such an adrenaline rush, I couldn’t wait to try sandboarding which promised to rival its lunacy. As the buggy came to a halt and we jumped down from its monster truck tyres, we were so distracted by the view that we didn’t notice that steep bank behind us where our driver was setting up the boards. Snapping away, we were still incredulous that a desert of this size and beauty existed in Peru. Although I’ve been here a week, it is still a country that I associate exclusively with the Andean mountains, not deserts. As the sun filters through the clouds, bathing the undulating dunes in a golden glow, it’s hard to remain heaven-sceptic.