Sunday, 10 August 2014

Spotlight on Mancora: A Week in Paradise

Tucked away in Northwestern Peru, Mancora is home to the country's best sandy beaches which stretch for miles and is also one of Peru's sunniest places; probably not surprising as its only about 300 miles from the equator.

Travelling up from Lima, it was like we'd entered a different world. With temperatures upwards of 30C and bright blue skies, I guess we could be forgiven for thinking we'd died and gone to heaven. We stayed with a small independent hostel, called Misfit, and were living in one of the four huts that are directly on the beach. An ocean view and sandy stretches weren't a bad sight to wake up to every morning, and it was just a short walk along the beach to town.

Our living quarters 
(we were staying in the green one)

Long, lazy days drinking cocktails and eating the Peruvian seafood speciality ceviche (personally not a fish fan, I opted for the tacos instead, but I've heard the fish dishes here are pretty amazing on account of the fish being fresh from the sea) should be interspersed with the other activities Mancora has to offer. Snorkelling with turtles is one way to pass a morning, or maybe surfing or diving is your thing. Unfortunately, when we went to book our surfing lesson, we were informed it would be a waste of time due to the lack of waves. 'You'll just be floating on a board' he told us - surprising, as we had heard from multiple sources that Mancora is THE surf town of Peru - so we decided not to part with our money there and go shopping for necklaces at the market instead.

The market is definitely worth a peruse. Full of statement handmade jewellery, many made from shells or shell pieces, it's definitely the place for gifts or treating yourself. As with most places in Peru though, bartering skills are key, and is something I haven't quite yet mastered. We found ourselves also having to barter down the tuk-tuk drivers. If you're not familiar with a tuk-tuk (which I definitely wasn't before I got here, but it became my primary form of transport for the week), it's essentially a rusty tin can on wheels. It has an engine, and apart from the seat in the back covered by a roof, and the piece of metal covering said engine, you are completely exposed to the elements. Travelling at high speeds along the dusty, uneven roads leaves you feeling a little dishevelled at the end, but the high whilst it's happening is akin to riding a crazy rollercoaster. And it's ever so slightly addictive.

If beautiful sunsets are what you're after, 
then this is the place to come!

I must admit, a week was enough. I always forget that I don't like sand, and it takes me by surprise every time I visit a beach, and so I don't think I'll be spending my life savings on a house on the seafront any time soon. Nevertheless, despite being constantly covered in small grains and having nothing but cold, saltwater showers, my time in Mancora was fantastic. Cheap drinks, super cheap food (on average I was paying the equivalent of £2 for a 2-course meal and a drink), gorgeous sunsets, and wonderful temperatures, it's a place I would recommend to anybody!

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