Puedes leer este artículo en español aquí.
Last October I decided to start my sabbatical with a 2-week trip to my native Peru, as I hadn't been there for an extended time in almost nine years. Aside from visiting family and friends in Lima, I also wanted to do some tourism. This time, instead of going to the places I have been to in my last stays, mostly in the south, I knew I wanted to go north.
That fit perfectly with my friend Eliana's invitation to visit her in Máncora, where she moved a couple of years ago, after spending over a decade in Buenos Aires. It had been four years since the last time I'd seen her and I had never been in this area, so it didn't take much before I found myself booking a flight from Lima to Talara, the quickest way to get to this sunny destination in the northern Peruvian coast.
Once I landed in Talara, I took a mototaxi to the EPPOS bus terminal, less than 5 minutes away. Then, I got on a bus that took me to Máncora in one and a half hour (buses conveniently leave every half an hour). Another quick mototaxi ride and I was at The Point Hostel, where I'd be staying during my short visit to this beach, a popular stop among backpackers traveling through South America.
This was the first time I stayed at a hostel in probably 15 years. The Point had everything I needed: great location (a few meters away from the beach), friendly staff, well-kept and clean spaces (including a pool, a bar and a restaurant), a comfortable bed with a mosquito net (a must!), hot water...and hammocks! I did not have a private bathroom, but it was totally manageable. The hotel was not fully booked as this was off season, so it was not super busy.
Unfortunately, I couldn't take full advantage of being by the sea for a couple of days because a rosacea crisis hit me so bad, I needed to avoid the sun during peak hours. No beach and sun for me? No problem! I used that time in the best way possible: just chilling and resting in a hammock, feeling the sea breeze...something I really needed anyway. I did not miss the opportunity to enjoy Máncora's famous dusks, the couple of sunsets I saw there were definitely the most beautiful I've ever seen in my life.
One morning I did sneak out very early for a whale watching excursion. Our close sightings included a whale swimming alongside her baby (no jumping out of the water, though), hundreds of dolphins as well as sea lions, and several sea turtles, among other species. Pacifico Adventures is the company that offers this amazing excursion, leaving from the nearby fishing town Los Órganos everyday (seasonally). Their staff is very knowledgable, professional and, above all, truly passionate about wildlife and nature, which shows. Check their site for more information on the different excursions they offer.
As for the food, I'd say this visit's highlight was trying the most amazing tostones stuffed with seafood from Cevicheria Osmary, a very modest restaurant with excellent seafood dishes, including Peru's most representative one, ceviche. As the sun was setting I also enjoyed a wonderful lúcuma milkshake at the beachfront Papa Mo's one evening. That shake certainly took me back to my childhood summers in Lima when D'Onofrio's lúcuma ice cream was a staple. Don't know what lúcuma is? Then, you need to visit Peru and try one of the many delicious desserts or beverages made with this fruit that can only be found in South America!