Sand-boarding is becoming the next big thing. Like snow-boarding, but you’ll be carving down sand dunes instead of snowy mountains. You’ll be first hiking up the dunes, or climbing in a buggy instead of taking a ski lift. It’s no less exhilarating and you don’t have to wait until the right season to have a go.
Ancient Egyptians first sled down the desert sand dunes on wooden boards more than 2,000 years ago. More recently, around 800 A.D., the Chinese. In modern times, sand-boarding picked-up in the late 1960s. Now gaining popularity in Australia, Japan, Peru and parts of Europe. For years, travellers have been descending on the sandy dunes of Ica and Nazca in Peru. The highest is Cerro Blanco (or White Hill) which stretches a staggering 2,000 metres.
There are some stark differences in the equipment used. Sandboards are much harder than snowboards, more durable and made from a Formica base, with a hard ply-wood top. Some come with bindings to strap your feet into, others come without. These are particularly useful if you’re in the learning stages and will likely fall. Aficionados apply a wax to the base to help gliding. On deep sand, you may be able to use a normal snowboard, through it’s usually easier to rent a board when you arrive.
To see sand-boarding at its best, visit the Copa Sandboarding Cup near Paracas every year. Alternatively, the Pan-American Sandboarding Challenge near Prainha Beach in Brazil every July.
Want to try sandboarding yourself? Call one of our travel experts on +44 (0) 407 1478 to start planning your sandboarding adventure or email us here.
The thousands of kilometres of coastline that make up South, Central and North America have some of the world’s best surf spots. They are particularly good along the Pacific coast with great waves being found everywhere from Peru to Costa Rica. Here are some of the best places to catch a break.
Located right up in the north of Peru along the Pan-American Highway, Mancora is known for two things – excellent surf and lively nightlife. The excellent year-round sunny weather brings in floods of tourists who descend upon the small town for good surf and a good time. Mancora is home to the world’s largest left point break.
Further up the coast in Ecuador is the town of Montañita. Like Mancora, Montañita is somewhat of a party town, but is also known for the excellent waves. The surf season tends to run between November to April with the largest waves hitting the coast between January and March. During carnival season in February, the town hosts an international surf competition.
Santa Catarina, Brazil
Over on the Atlantic coast, the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina is also well-known for the excellent Atlantic swells. Due to the varied wave sizes that can be found along the coast, this is an excellent for everyone from those looking to learn the sport to more experienced surfers. Although good waves can be found throughout the year, it’s best between April and October. An international completion is held near the city of Florianopolis each April.
Colombia isn’t as well-known for its surf as some of the other countries on this list, but the Pacific coastal region of the country near Nuqui has some world-class surfing spots. As well as riding the excellent waves, if you visit between June and October you will have the chance to whale watch at the same time! What could be better?
Located as far up Chile as you can get, near to the Peruvian border is Arica. While Chile isn’t known for its surf, this particularly spot is excellent. Sitting on the edge of a desert, this isn’t the prettiest spot in Chile, but the high winds bring in some excellent swells between March and May. It’s also easy to combine this surfing adventure with a trip to San Pedro de Atacama or even up to Machu Picchu in Peru.
Bocas Del Toro, Panama.
Bocas del Toro is known for its luxury over-the-water bungalows. However, there are several beaches on the Caribbean archipelago in Panama that offer excellent surf. Water taxis are the easiest way to access the different reef breaks and secret surf spots. There are several places where beginners can take lessons and hire equipment.
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s wonderful climate, white sandy palm fringed beaches and lush countryside make it a particularly pleasant country to visit. It’s Nicoya and Guanacaste coast are also blessed with some of the best surf in Latin America. Most surfers descend upon Tamarindo where beginners can learn in in the smaller waves, while experience surfers can take the boats further out to larger breaks. Surfing trips can easily be combined with a visit to some of the country’s other natural wonders including Arenal Volcano and Monteverde cloud forest.
Located a few hours south of Managua, the white sandy beach of Popoyo is hit by some excellent surf. Along the coastline, surfers find everything from smaller surf where beginners will be comfortable up to thrilling larger breaks for the experienced. There are a number of surf camps through Nicaragua which offer everything from meals, accommodation, surf hire and training. The ideal place to spend a couple of weeks learning this oceanic sport.
Puerto Escondido, Mexico
This area is known for its super powerful hollow barrels. It is therefore advised that only experienced surfers ride these waves. But those who know what they are doing will be treated to some of the world’s best and most powerful surf. Further along the coast, some small waves can be found which are more suitable for beginners. There are several international surf competitions here throughout the year.
To begin your surf adventure, give one of our Latin America specialists a call today on +44 (0) 207 407 1478. Whether you wish to explore just one surf spot or plan a longer multi-country surfing adventure our specialists will be able to help. Alternatively, you can send us a message here.
Pelé is considered the greatest football player of all time. The Brazilian revolutionised the beautiful game with his creative and energetic style. The legend is now a global ambassador for the sport, promoting the game throughout the world. Here’s 21 interesting facts about Pelé you probably didn’t know.
1. Pelé’s real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimiento and he was born in Três Corações, Brazil.
2. During his career he scored 1,283 goals, 77 of which were for Brazil.
3. He became the youngest World Cup winner at the age of 17.
4. After being signed at 15 he scored four goals during his first game against FC Corinthians in 1956.
5. In 1995, Pelé was named the Minister of Sport in Brazil.
6. In 1999, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted Pelé the athlete of the century.
7. Pelé was given an honorary British Knighthood in 1997.
8. Pelé’s 1000th goal was a penalty after which the fans rushed onto the pitch.
9. 19 November is celebrated as Pelé Day at Santos to celebrate his 1000th goal.
10. The violent clashes between government and rebel troops during the civil war in Nigeria in 1967 had a temporary 48-hour ceasefire in 1967 so Pelé could be watched.
11. Pelé thinks that a penalty is a ‘cowardly way to score’.
12. The Times of London once said that Pelé was spelled G-O-D.
13. Pelé never beat his father’s record of scoring five headers in one game, although he did manage four.
14. Pelé is married to gospel singer Assíria Lemos Seixas.
15. In Brazil he is named Black Pearl (Pérola Negra).
16. In 1961, the Brazilian government declared Pelé a national treasure to stop him from being transferred out of the country.
17. Pelé couldn’t afford a football as a kid so often used a stuffed sock.
18. As a child he formed a team with friends and named them ‘the shoeless ones’.
19. He is the only person to been in three winning World Cup teams.
20. Pelé’s 100th World Cup goal was a header.
21. The star helped break the taboo of erectile dysfunction when he fronted an advertising campaign for Viagra in 2005.
Head just south of Puerto Vallarta and you’ll find the Ocean Grill Restaurant. Not only is the seafood excellent, but this wooden structure is built on a cliff side overlooking a wonderful little bay. To reach the Ocean Grill drive thirty minutes south to the village of Boca de Tomatlan where they will take you by boat around the bay to the restaurant. Alternatively if you have the energy you can hike from Boca de Tomatlan through thick jungle for around an hour.
The small town of Sayulita on the Riveria Nayarit offers great all year round surf. There are plenty of places to hire boards and if you are new to the sport there are some excellent schools. The surf breaks in two different places making it an excellent place to learn.
In Puerto Vallarta oysters are eaten in abundance. However, the best place to get them is down on Los Muertos Beach where three to four vendors compete for trade under the shade of the concrete pier. A dozen fresh oysters will set you back around 150 pesos (£6).
The fishing around Banderas Bay is world-class. There’s a wide selection of fully-crewed fishing boats to choose, Likely catches including Pacific sailfish, marlin, dorado, tuna and red snapper. Afterwards you can take your catch back for a beach barbeque or to a local restaurant.
It’s well worth timing your holiday during the winter and spring months when you’ll have the opportunity to go whale watching. The warm ocean make it the perfect breeding ground for magnificent humpback whales and orcas.
Famed for its hidden beach, this group of uninhabited Islands were used for military tests during the early 20th century. After an international outcry in the 1960s the islands were designated as a national park. Your likely to encounter thousands of tropical fish, octopus, manta rays, turtles and even whales when snorkelling or scuba diving.
Eating churros in Puerto Vallarta
There’s only one place you should be eating churros in Puerto Vallarta. Drop by the corner of Lazaro Cardenas and Aguacate after five in the afternoon and you won’t regret it. Churros is just 1 peso (4 pence) each.
Have you thought about racing in the wild of Patagonia? If not, here is a good opportunity for you to experience this remote area of South America in a different way. The race takes place within the Torres del Paine National Park, in the Chilean Patagonia and this year will be held on the 27th September. The event is divided in four distances such as 63 km, 42 km, 21 km and 10 km, along multi-coloured lakes, glaciers, granite mountains and a vast range of wildlife including guanacos, foxes and condors will make of this race an unforgettable experience. Competitors will start the race at different points according to the distance they will be running, however, they will all finish at the same location. Since the first event in 2012 the marathon has attracted professional and amateurs runners from all over the world. The event aims to contribute to the responsible development of the region and support the conservation of Chilean Patagonia. A three will be planted for each runner in the National Park in order to collaborate with the reforestation of native species in the Chilean Patagonia.
If you would like to join the Patagonia Marathon please get in touch.