Finally, after one particularly rollicking and well-received descent, he stops at the top of a small dune so that we can try our luck at sandboarding.
Like snowboarding, sandboarding requires strapping your shoes into set grips atop a three-foot, wooden board. Then all you have to do is maintain your balance while gravity does the work. Needless to say, this is easier said than done, so first-timers like us appreciated the option of taking the first two runs on our stomachs with our legs splayed out behind to use as brakes.
By now we are ready to try standing up, and with fairly satisfactory results — surfing straight down for about 20 or 30 yards until friction arrests our momentum and we topple over.
From there, we are driven to a series of increasingly steeper dunes, with increasingly less innocuous results, including some rather unpleasant face-plants. By the time we arrive at our last run of the day — a black diamond, to be sure — not even the two accomplished Korean snowboarders in our group are willing to take it any way but lying down.
Our legs tired from trudging, our egos bruised from the falls, and our clothes infused with thousands of grainy souvenirs, we gladly relax to watch the sunset.
And no one is more glad than I that Huacachina has been such a big hit — a sand blast, in fact — with another round of thrills still to come. By the time we are dropped off at our hotel, we have two very happy campers — and two contented parents looking forward to a cold beer and an exceedingly atmospheric night at a real oasis.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly located Huacachina in a desert that is not in southern Peru.