At 4pm our dune buggy picked us up and off into the sand mountains we sped, way more than half drunk we revelled in the adventure; the drivers take carte blanche with your existence, rallying around the peaks and troughs at breakneck speeds, belly down on makeshift snowboards you nose dive down giant slopes, we played like children in a monster sandbox and finished the day drinking more by the side of our now broken down buggy.
Alongside climbing volcanoes at sunrise in East Java and walking with dragons on the island of Flores, the Santa Cruz trail immediately goes into my top three adventures of this year long trip thus far.
Seven months into a years adventure, these are the things I hadn't anticipated I would learn out here, little nuances in this myriad of experiences that have put a smile on my face and may even have had some longer lasting, more important effects on my overall character and outlook on life...maybe.
Embraced by ocean on the very north western tip of this great continent, it has bones of fortress walls and a belly of multicoloured colonial buildings, rhythmic salsa drums provide the heartbeat that pumps a melting pot of humankind through its narrow pastel streets...
Away from the neon glow of the big cities, this was a chance to peer into real life for these hill dwellers that have survived for generations, barring the addition of a few Premier League shirts, almost unchanged.
Set in a valley of forest green hills, small businesses sit like punctuation marks along the road, dogs came sniffing inquisitively and then left us for the next...
...the carvings here are sensational, almost two hundred giant faces towering out from its peaks, detailed bas reliefs depicting the mythology and history narrating the centuries that have passed here.
We bathed in the waters, watched ephemeral rainbows dance in the falls like quantum particles blinking in and out of existence, then wearing our most sincere smiles we walked back through streams and caves to our bikes.
$12 for a day spent wondering at some of mother natures greatest art, swimming in postcard oceans, kayaking what felt like uncharted earth and getting up close and personal with some of humankinds earliest ancestors.