A dune is an accumulation of marine sand created by the wind. They are formed by very thin layers and are dynamic in their shape and space, they move and change.
They are always asymmetrical: the side facing the wind is convex and gently sloping, the opposite face is steeper. They advance and move, pushed by the wind; and although they are in the same place, they are never the same, just like life itself.
A curious fact with mysterious undertones is their singing. The phenomenon of the singing dunes was described by Marco Polo; and Charles Darwin also spoke about it on his voyage of the Beagle. This singing is a serious sound around a frequency that is produced by granular avalanches that make the sand vibrate. This can be reproduced in the laboratory and its acoustic spectrum analysis shows that it is not a noise, but a “musical” sound with a defined frequency and various harmonics. The amplitude of the harmonics decays with their order in an algebraic pattern uncommon in nature, perhaps because of this, many listeners perceive emotions and feelings of harmony with Nature. This sound is only heard when the sand slides down its slopes, and when the wind causes avalanches, a kind of “chorus” is heard. Interesting, don’t you think?
In La Paz we have this ecosystem of coastal dunes very close to the city. Just drive 30 minutes and you will be able to know, live and have fun in these great, soft, changing and singing mountains. Leaving the transpeninsular highway to the north, you will reach the junction to San Juan de La Costa, along this road you will take a detour at kilometer 4, where a dirt road will lead you to the sea and the Mogote Dunes. The path is wonderful. Cacti with extravagant shapes, trees and a variety of desert plants will guide you; Roadrunners, lizards, hares, red and yellow cardinals, masks, and ospreys resting on the cardones will accompany you closely. At the end of this road you will see the wonderful Sea of Cortez, and on the other side, our beautiful bay of La Paz. You must follow the path bordering the beach until the sand dunes appear right up front. There is no way to get lost, you will see them. Sunset is the perfect time to enjoy this place: the spectacular view of the city from afar, the sea surrounded by red mountains, the sky full of colors at sunset, and the dunes between the sea and the land will make you feel free and happy to be there.
A fun plan is to practice sandboarding in the Dunes. It is not necessary to have experience or a previous class, with some quick instructions you will know what to do and you will feel the adrenaline of speed in the sand. It is not dangerous though, and it can be practiced at any age. The Mogote Dunes are usually medium or small, perfect for beginners. Don’t forget your swimsuit because after going up, down and sliding in these soft and sandy mountains you will be ready for a refreshing dip in the sea, and open your eyes wide and heighten your senses because dolphins and other sea creatures will be able to surround you while you swim. Or maybe, you can also experience and listen to the singing dunes in the desert near the sea.