After the failure that was Montañita we had absolutely everything crossed arriving into Mancora, Peru’s popular northern beach town. We needn’t have worried – straight away the locals were friendlier, the town was busier and the surfer vibe was very obvious. Plus as we were now travelling with Nat & Steve, our new Canadian friends, we were also able to haggle ourselves a deal on a cute little B&B near the beach. Travelling in a group of four definitely helps with bargaining power!
The weather was absolutely perfect every single day, making it very easy to be a complete beach bum. I’m always happy to do nothing more than sunbathe, read and chat to friends!
Sadly the waves didn’t really play ball for surfing. For our first three days the ocean was incredibly calm, meaning only white water for total beginners. On day four the tide had picked up but by far too much and turned into HUGE swells. Martin tried to go out anyway but didn’t last long – even the kite surfers were struggling with how strong the tide was!
The range & volume of restaurants in Mancora is crazy for a relatively small beach town. For dinner you can have amazing stone-baked pizza one night, followed by fresh sushi or authentic Thai food the next. In my opinion though, breakfast cafe’s are where Mancora really shines. If you don’t care about quality you can easily find an Economico menu with toast, two eggs and a cup of (bad, instant) coffee for S/5 – around £1.50. I’d rather spend a little bit more to get something slightly more exciting though!
Café del Mundo quickly became one of our favourites. Run by a French chef, the specialties are omelettes, crêpes and really amazing bread. It also has real coffee, something that it surprisingly rare in this part of the world! Martin loved the huge veggie omelette packed with mushrooms and peppers, whereas I always had to order one of the sandwiches made with garlic & butter smothered ciabatta – yum.
The other place we kept returning to was Green Eggs & Ham cafe. More great sandwiches, omelettes and pancakes but with a side dish of amazing breakfast potatoes. The smoothies made by Papa Mo’s Milk Bar downstairs are incredible too, and obviously the beach-front location doesn’t hurt either!
As a now full-time sunset hunter, I usually forced the others to start the evening back on the beach with a few long-necks of Cristal. Funnily there were no complaints as long as the beer didn’t run out! The night usually descended pretty quickly into hilarity. With the option of drinking rum & playing cards on our private balcony, or hitting up party-hostel Loki’s happy hour we were never short of a good time!
As always when I find a beach town that I enjoy, I find it really hard to drag myself away at the end of the week. Luckily Nat & Steve were on a tight schedule to get south so they convinced us to get moving on to Lima pretty easily.
What was not so easy was booking a bus…after our first one fell through / tried to scam us for more money we found ourselves racing across town to find an alternative before they’d all left. We managed to get booked on to a pricey but very comfy Cruz del Sur coach with minutes to spare and set off on one of our many 20 hour overnight journeys!