I don’t know if I could have found a better entry point to Peru if I had tried.
I decided to go to Mancora because going from Cuenca to Trujillo would have taken something like 20 hours and it made sense to stop somewhere in the middle. I was able to line up an article at the amazing Las Balsas Bungalows to stay for free for three days, so what’s the worst that could happen?
Just falling in love, I suppose!
No, I’m being dramatic, but there is something special about the place. I am by no means a beach person. I just don’t care for the beach. I don’t find it relaxing. Maybe since I have a perma-tan I don’t feel the need to burn my skin to make it browner, etc. On the Ecuadorian coast, I stayed a week at a friend’s place on the ocean and I didn’t even dip my toe in the ocean.
But I liked Mancora.
I’d have a nice breakfast every morning, spend an hour or two walking along the beach, lying on the sand, swimming, going into town for lunch and to use the internet in the afternoons, and then returning to see the sunset and have a relaxing evening. I don’t know if I’d like that routine for the long-run, but for three days it was wonderful.
As I mentioned in this article about getting a sim card in Peru, the people in Mancora were really nice. I don’t think you normally find that in these resort towns where people constantly come and go and customer service need not be good to attract repeat clients.
The weather was perfect all three days I was there. It was about 93F/34C each day and mostly sunny. No rain. Light breeze. Perfect. The only complaints I have are the mosquitoes that, if left to their own devices, would have eaten me whole, and that the beach at Las Pocitas is full of rocks that you can’t necessarily see from the surface of the water.
Apparently, the temperature of the water is variable despite the proximity to the equator due to the La Niña ocean current and the Humboldt current. When I was there, though, the water was perfect – and I am a self-described wimp when it comes to being in cold water.
The main mode of transport in Mancora is the motortaxi. They aren’t the most comfortable things in the world, but they are effective and cheap.
I had some great food in Mancora. It was horribly expensive, but I tried “ceviche mixto.” Ceviche is, I’d imagine, Peru’s most famous dish. Mine had a bit too much lemon, but I have to admit I really liked it despite not being a big fan of seafood.
I also tried aji gallina. I was familiar with Peruvian food before coming since I lived with four Peruvians in Madrid. A couple of times they had a Peruvian night where they invited friends over to enjoy Peru’s spectacular culinary offerings. Luckily, I got to try the dishes too since I lived there
Aji gallina was one of those dishes. I have to admit that the aji gallina my friend made in Madrid was better than the one I tried below, but the one I had in Mancora was still good.
Before coming to Peru, I really wanted to try ceviche, aji gallina, and a dish called chaufa. In Spanish, people say “chau” for goodbye. But in Peru it’s common to “chaufa” as a bit of a play on words – well, that’s what my roommates in Peru said anyway. So for years now I have been ending emails and conversations with them by saying “chaufa”. In Mancora I didn’t get to try chaufa, but I did see a place that served it.
I knew I liked pan flute music before entering Peru. And Mancora seems worlds away from the Andes where the indigenous people produce this lovely music, but in Mancora I explored my interest in pan flute music. I love it. Truly love it. It connects with my soul somehow and I can’t get enough of it.
I have been listening to mainly traditional Peruvian songs, but below are some songs you’ll recognize that showcase how beautiful the pan flute sounds.
Lastly, my favorite song
Since I was on the Pacific Ocean, there were awesome views of the sunset each night. Below a couple pictures and a video of the sun disappearing into the sea.
Otherwise, I can’t explain how happy and relieved I am to be in Peru. I wouldn’t say it feels like being home, but I definitely have family here. As I mentioned before about being off balance in Ecuador, I really feel like Mancora gave me back some of my energy and mojo. And it really surprised me since I thought I’d be bored given my lack of interest in beaches.
Below, some pictures and a video of paradise.