|Our first stop after leaving Guayaquil was the beach town of Mancora in the north of Peru. We stopped here for a few days on our way to Ecuador and decided to come back because it is the nicest beach we visited on our trip. Its hard to believe that a small surf town that has the busy Pan American Highway as its mainstreet could be so tranquil. There were times we would forget this is the busiest highway in South America until a huge semi-trailer would come rolling through town.
The town was basically the main highway and a few dusty dirt roads leading down to the beach. The main way people get around here is in a moto, similar to a tuk-tuk in Asia. All day hundreds of these cut laps of the main street, it was a really cheap way to get around, and even though the distances were short, not wanting to walk in the hot sun ensured these motos had lots of business. For under 40 cents you could go from one end of town to the other and we always tried to pick an open air one to take advantage of the breeze.
One of the best surfing beaches in Peru, it was full of gringos and tourists. Lots of markets, bars and cheap restaurants, this place was really geared for the traveller. It has a great atmosphere with everyone there for the same reason. The water was warm and if you could put up with the frequent vendors selling their wares on the beach it was the perfect place to relax.
As the warm and cold water currents converge here, the waters full of all types of fish, making it an ideal fishing area. While we were swimming at the beach we were surrounded by schools of bait fish. At first we weren't too keen to go swimming with so many little fish but in the heat you couldn't help but want to enjoy the refreshing water. It wasn't until Alison was nudged a few times on the leg by a large fish (or god forbid it could have been a shark!). After growing up on the beaches of Sydney and only ever having the odd bit of sea-weed wrapping around your leg, it was quite a scary experience. It was a reminder that where there are little fish the big fish will follow and after that we were a lot more cautious, and never swum at dusk.
We planned on staying for a few days enjoying the last chance for a swim on our trip as the beaches aren't as nice further south. The day we went to buy our bus tickets to leave we found out there were riots in a town about 3hrs south and no buses were leaving. We ended up staying an extra 3 days making it a week in total, it was not a bad place to get stuck in as we soaked up the sun and salt water.