November 17, 2007

Mancora, Peru: A little slice of beach heaven

Julie and I recently left the beautiful beach town of Mancora, and headed for the mountains of Huaraz. We weren´t supposed to stay so long in Mancora, but the place just sucked us in, and apparently it happens all too often to other travelers.

Mancora is located on NW coast of Peru, about 2 hours south of the Ecuadorian border. When we left Ecuador, our plan was to travel as far down the coast as we could in a day. We were lucky that our bus driver told us of Mancora, otherwise we would have passed it by, and missed out on some great waves and relaxation.

We ended up staying 8 nights in the town at Pilar´s Laguna Surf Camp. The place was made up of thatched roof bungalows on sand, set around a common eating and lounging area with hammocks. The town is a perfect backpacker place, and I can understand why people spend months or years here. It´s not too big of a town, but it has everything you need from amazing seafood restaurants, great bars, and chill beaches.

Mancora is famous for its surf. The Mancora Peru Classic surf contest happened just the week before we arrived. I ended up surfing for the first 3 days until the waves died down. I need practice, that´s all I can say. I should also mention that the wind usually picks up in the afternoon and then the kite boarders come out to play. It really is an adventure wonderland.

So how did we really spend our 8 days in paradise. Well, we slept a lot. Julie read a bunch in the hammocks. I tried to surf when there were waves. When there weren´t any waves, we headed to the nearby beaches of Punta Sal to the north, and Las Positas to the south where it was void of tourists. We ate really well. In fact a fixed ¨Menu¨as it is called, consisted of fish ceviche (raw fish in lime), and a plate of grilled seafood called Chicharron, all for 5 nuevo soles (about $1.70 US). We also passed the nights drinking with new found friends such as Christian and Roger from Switzerland, and James and Charlotte from England. Did I mention I won a Texas hold em poker tournament! Seriously, I could never win with friends back home, but somehow I beat out 13 other people to take home the gold. The prize winnings paid for some great meals, I can tell you that. I also need to mention that Julie placed 5th, not bad for her first poker night.

So why didn´t we stay in Mancora for a while longer? Well, I can tell you that we asked ourselves the same question. Both of us knew that if we didn´t leave now, we would end up spending months in this town, and there is still so much to see. But if you do end up going to Mancora at some point in the future, I highly recommend staying at Laguna Surf Camp, eating at Sirena´s Italian restaurant, and drinking the night away at Lone Star Bar (owned by David, a native Texan, and place of the weekly poker tournaments), and at Surfer´s Bar (owned by a surfer/model from England) that also runs the Mancora Surf Club.

Here are pics from Mancora. I should mention that the last couple of images are from Trujillo, a larger city about 8 hours south of Mancora. We spent the day around Trujillo while waiting for our night bus to Huaraz. We saw the ancient Chimu archaeological site of Chan Chan and spent the afternoon and evening in the beach town of Huanchaco. I think Julie and I both agreed that you could skip Trujillo and the surrounding area. Maybe it was off season, but it was dead and not worth our time.

I should also mention that I finally uploaded my photos from our Jungle Trip.


Unknown said...

I finally caught up on your blog and looking at the photos. Amazing adventures. I also notices Julie's Beer Lao T-shirt at the beach. Party on!

Anonymous said...

love hearing about your adventures, guys. keep up the stories & pics!