Mancora, Peru

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April 6th 2011
Published: April 6th 2011
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3-4 April 2011 – Mancora, Peru

After a long 5 hour drive to southern Ecuador, through windy and some dirt roads (including being held up for 45 minutes due to a land-slide), we arrived at the Ecuador-Peru border. Wow, what an ‘interesting’ border crossing system. This is how it went:
1. Off the bus and get our passport stamped to get out of Ecuador
2. Onto a different bus where the bus company asked us to record our name and passport number
in duplicate
3. We drove about 2 kms just past the border (a very dirty river demarcated Ecuador from Peru) and
we stopped again to get our passport stamped for Peru
4. WE then drove a little further when we stopped in front of a building, got out of the bus, walked in one door, through the building and out another door. Here is where we saw these big beefy uniformed blokes, one of which stopped Tom to fleece his bag and clothes in a very half-hearted way.
5. We then got back onto the same bus. Yahoo, we were legitimately in Peru !!!

The countryside was very desolate, with ranges of strata-rock hills, some covered in low dead-looking trees which looked like prickly acacia (but wasn’t). We arrived in Mancora which is a beachside town. There is the main drag through the town which is also the main highway of Peru. It is only a small town which by the look of it, is on the expansion phase as there were many unfinished buildings. It’s a very touristy town, reminding us a lot of Bali. The bus stopped in the main street where we jumped on a Moto (a motorbike with a covered 3-seater attached). We only had 500metres to our hotel.

The Kimbas Hotel was fantastic, again with its own character, cute bathrooms, hammock, deck chairs, comfy bed, pool, great (helpful) owners. The water in the pool was luke-warm – just my style. After a hectic past 10 days, we were all going to lounge around the pool, swim and surf in the sea, run down the beach, enjoy the fantastic Peruvian food and Mancora night-life. This was the spot for trying Pisco Sours (grappa, egg white, lime juice, lemonade – very refreshing, but a bit ‘dangerous’ if too many consumed).

The main street was lined with stalls selling summer clothes, snacks, toys etc. The beach-strip had bars and restaurants, some one-story and some 2-story. That night we went down the beach which was a real party scene, with tables and chairs on the sand also. All the places were competing with whom could play the loudest music so no matter what beat you were rocking to, you would have been in beat !!!

The first breakfast place (Angela’s) which was on the main drag, was a health-food restaurant and served their own fantastic multigrain toast, beautiful fresh juice (your choice of tropical fruit), wonderful Peru coffee, eggs etc. Beautiful. The next morning we went to a restaurant called Green Eggs and Ham, run by a 60 y.o. American lady who has been there permanently for 2 years but on and off for the past 15 years. Even thought it has been fun learning Spanish, is was a nice change to have an English speaking person serving us.

In the evening, Claire (one of the girls whose parents are from Townsville and Cloncurry, in fact her uncle owns Riversleigh Station and someone in her family also donated land which is now Cloncurry) and I did a yoga class. It was just what I needed, loosening up the back and shoulders. It was held at the newest resort. The instructor was an American girl who had a fractured clavicle.!!!!
Tuesday 5 April 2011

We left at 1.00pm so we had a pretty relaxed morning, lengthy breakfast on the beach, watching the waves come in. By the way, you could get surfing lessons, ride horses, do para-surfing, but we chose nothing!! The only downside we found with the town is at dusk the mosquitoes come out by the dozens. With one hand-slap, I killed 4 mosquitoes. There were a number of dams at the side of the buildings which were breeding ground + mangroves.

Mancora has 3 days of rain each year.!!! It has a spring which the town accesses for only several hours during the day to refill tanks etc. So it’s a pretty dry place. January and February is very hot but also very busy with tourists so that is the time to dodge Mancora. WE would have all liked to stay for another couple of nights but we were off to Huanchaco (pronounced Whanchaco), another resort town.

We left at 1.30pm and travelled through the Sechura Desert. It reminded me of photos of the Mexican desert. We saw a couple of very small towns that were deserted. We followed some of the coast driving south. The bus had comfortable seats although very hot. There were a couple of unreasonable South Americans who were sitting in front of 2 of our group members and insisted on reclining their seat right back and refused to put it up despite a polite request from our group members. I thought that was very unreasonable so I told them to put it up in a way that they had no choice !!! The driver of our bus did not want to put the air conditioner on. We stopped at the bus station along the way for dinner. In ½ hour we were all served a meat and rice dish and drinks. Then it was back on the bus.

We came across irrigated rice fields but I don’t know where they get their water from. But on the whole, it was desert. This type of countryside continues right down to Chile.

We went by bus to Trujillo and then caught a van 20 minutes back to Huanchaco where we were staying for 3 nights. By the time we got there is was close to 1.00am...a long day. It was a fantastic shower and into bed.

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