Our first glimpse of Peru: beach life in Mancora

by Kim on October 4, 2012 · 41 comments

Ecuador is behind us- we’ve made it to Peru!

We arrived in Mancora at 5 a.m. after catching an overnight bus out of Cuenca. It was a nine hour journey that had us crossing the boarder from Huaquilla, Ecuador into Tumbus, Peru around two in the morning.

It was our first overland boarder crossing and I was nervous, had heard some not-so-nice stories, nevermind that we were crossing in the middle of the night. But our friends Kate and Leon, whom we’d met while volunteering in Baños, had made the same crossing a night before without any difficulty.

It turns out we had nothing to worry about. The crossing was straightforward and painless. The bus we’d caught in Cuenca took us almost to the boarder where another bus, one that would take us into Peru, was waiting. We filed off the Ecuadorian bus and onto the Peruvian bus which drove us about ten miles to the immigration office. We stood in a line to be stamped out of Ecuador, then moved to an adjacent line to be stamped into Peru. Then we loaded back on the bus and were on our way. The whole process took about an hour.

We pulled into Mancora in the wee hours of the morning, filed off of our bus and hopped into a tuk tuk that drove us down a bumpy dirt road and deposited us at Laguna Surf Camp. A man, barefoot and in board shorts, met us at the gate and ushered us down a brick path to a tiny thatched roof beach hut. We threw our bags on the floor and promptly collapsed into bed, too exhausted even to spread the mosquito net that hung from the ceiling overhead.

We awoke late the next morning to the sound of crashing waves, blue skies and sunshine- a welcomed escape from the rain and gray skies of Ecuador. Kate and Leon, who’d reserved our hut for us, welcomed us as we emerged from our room, blinking our eyes in the morning sunshine. Welcome to paradise they said, or, if they didn’t actually say that, they totally should have.

The dusty dirt road to Laguna Surf Camp

Our beach hut

What is it about the ocean that turns life slow as molasses?

For the past four days Brian, Kate, Leon and I have lounged lazily in hammocks, listening to the waves crash and the sound of the wind in the palm fronds. Occasionally we pull ourselves out of our salt-water coma and walk the five minutes to town for food, or to grab a beer, or to take a dip in the warm ocean. We tried our hand at surfing one day and, after giving up on that, boogie boarding the next.

Where we rock the day away

Lounging on the beach

It is the off-season here, has just turned to Spring, and each day the sky is a deep blue and the temperature a perfectly warm 75-80 degrees. There is a constant, cool salty breeze blowing in off the sea.

Mancora is a small town of surf shops, bars, and restaurants with plastic chairs plopped into the sand. It’s a beach town like so many other beach towns, dusty roads and tuk tuks and men selling coconuts to drink. In the high season Mancora is the place that Peruvians come to see and be seen. But right now the place positively crawls, there are only a handful of tourists in town.

Mancora, Peru

The sea air and sunshine have seeped into my brain, my senses are operating at the slowest pace.

I can’t be bothered to write or even read, often finding myself just staring into the sky as I rock slowly in a hammock. It has taken me four days to write this little blog post, and even so I’m not sure it makes much sense. I’ve tried to proofread it twenty times but lose concentration before I’ve even finished.

I could stay here in Mancora for a very long time. Sadly, though, we’ll be leaving tonight on an 18-hour bus ride to Lima, where we’ll stay briefly before catching a 21-hour bus ride to Cuzco.

We’ll be in Cuzco for a few days to acclimate to the altitude before setting off to hike the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu. Our trek on the Inca Trail is the first thing we booked when we were planning our trip, so we’re really excited for it to finally take shape. 

But, all of that is in the future. For now, please excuse me, I must go back to my hammock for a few final hours in heaven.

A little slice of heaven