“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
When traveling to new places, we always look to see what type of activities are available to try out. The new activity is chosen because it’s one of the only and/or few places in the world that it is available to do. Also, bonus if it’s something we’ve never done before. We are actually fairly conservative in our daily lives however we throw all caution to the wind when it comes to traveling. Being in a new place certainly sparks our sense of adventure!
When we were traveling to the Atacama Desert of Chile, there were several activities that were on our “must do” list. One in particular was an activity we had never tried before…..sandboarding.
We have been snowboarding and wake boarding but now it was time to take our skills to the desert sand. Extreme desert sports anyone?
Our desert accommodations in Chile, Alto Atacama, offered most of the activities we experienced during the week. We had to book the sandboarding excursion separately. The Alto Atacama recommended Sandboard San Pedro – really friendly guys and the rate included roundtrip transportation from your hotel.
We chose the afternoon excursion and came prepared with water, pants and sunscreen. It’s hot out there on the sand! Our first view of death valley was incredible, I mean this landscape was INCREDIBLE!
The Sandboard San Pedro van came loaded with several size options of boards and boots. After a few minutes of testing out sizes, it was time to go to the top of the sand dune.
Don’t expect a chairlift to take you there…..we hoofed it up through the hot sand to the very top. See the trail in the picture above? While we knew sandboarding would be hard work, we underestimated the climb to the peak with heavy boots and carrying a board in the blazing heat!
I was out of breath due to the altitude combined with the blistering heat! It took quite some time and effort to make it up the dune. Climbing in the sand? My legs were screaming at me! But I kept putting one foot in front of the other hoping I would eventually make it to the top.
Once we finally made it to the top it was time to admire the scenery. When I say scenery, the first minute of scenery was the sand around our feet because we were looking down trying to catching our breath! As we eventually stood upright, the scenery of Death Valley really began to soak in. The beauty of Death Valley can really be appreciated with 360 degree views! After a few minutes of sinking it all in, it was time to strap into our boards and go! The key difference in sandboarding versus other types of boarding is the amount of wax you need to ensure your board glides over the sand. We scrubbed the bottoms down with wax to ensure we would be gliding smoothly over the sand.
While my form wasn’t perfect, I was able to make it down the hill without eating the sand! YEA!
Brian powered through the hike to the top of this 40% incline dune within the Death Valley. Sandboard San Pedro makes a fun experience as they play jams from their van’s stereo at the bottom. The music is a great attempt at distraction to the burning sensation in your legs!
His form certainly was better and he was picking up speed from the top!
Unfortunately for him, he had less than optimal wax on his board and stopped about 70% of the way down the hill.
Overall we made it up the hill about 4 times and then were exhausted! We were really happy we gave sandboarding a try. While it was physically challenging, the views of Death Valley were stunning and made the climb worth it. The actual sandboarding trips down the dune lasted about 30 seconds for each run!
Check out a bit of the action as we rode down the dune. You can appreciate the 360 degree views a bit more from the video!
Overall we really enjoyed our 1st experience sandboarding in the Atacama Desert of Chile! While it was physically challenging, we were rewarded with the gorgeous views and the satisfaction that we did it when it was over.
Do you like to try new things when traveling? What’s the most extreme activity you’ve done?