I think the title of this post sums up my experience in Mancora. Two weeks, interspersed with local market food, early morning fishing trips, lazy afternoons on the beach and some exploring by motorbike along Peru’s northern coastline.
Mancora is a town that has mushroomed in popularity and size over the last few years. It has turned from a lazy fishing village into a gringo hotspot, attracting hostel chains like Loki, Kokopelli and Point Hostels to open flashpacker paradises. For around $7USD a night nobody settles for less than a poolside bar or a two minute walk to the beach. Singlet-clad Aussies jostle for position with top-buttoned English travellers, with a smattering of other nations all out represented in the town renowned for its daily surf.
I began my Mancora experience at Loki Hostel after half-hitching, half-bussing my way north via Chiclayo and Piura. The plush, resort style hostel demands that you’re a part of the party and, despite a long day, it wasn’t long before the beers were flowing. Thankfully, the atmosphere was fantastic and the people I met there were easy going and more relaxed than those I’d met in party hostels elsewhere. Among them were a couple of Aussies, Chaz and Caitlin, who shared my enthusiasm for cheap beachside drinks. Their travels have been documented with a certain degree of hilarity, and you can read their blog by clicking here.
Unfortunately, once you decide to take a break from the party, Loki tends to not agree with you and parties on regardless. I managed to handle this for about five days before my body and my budget finally caught up with me. I made a quiet escape to The Point Hostel, five minutes out of town and equally comfortable, which provided welcome relief from the thumping bass that invaded the town centre almost 24 hours a day. One day turned into two, then two into three and before in knew it a week had slipped by. The laid back atmosphere and awesome group of staff and travellers there were what made it so hard to leave. Among them: Max, the organised German manager who bribed us with cheap drinks to hand out hostel promotions. Diego, the strongest Peruvian man alive, who decided to wear a sock for five days after stubbing his toe. Dusty and Justine, the Tennessee-Dutch dreadlocked couple, full of smiles and conversation about quantum physics. More Dutch representatives, Michel and Barbara, the Cuba-libra swilling, nude pool jumping party animals, and of course Amanda, the token Kiwi who had us all hooked on Flight of the Conchords classics. Considering that we spent over a week together playing beach volleyball and full moon partying, this will be the best way to remember them as I inexplicably forgot to get a photo of all of us before leaving!
So, what else is there to do in Mancora? I spent a day taking in the coastline by motorbike (~$7USD p/h) with a cool German guy, Joe, who also taught me to ride a clutch bike. We drifted up to nearby Punta Sal, the quieter, equally beautiful beaches just north of Mancora. Eating ceviche at the local market is a must-do, for $1USD your plate is stacked with fresh lime-juice marinated fish, beans, toasted corn and a side salad. A morning fishing trip is easily arranged at the port just south of the city, not recommended when hungover, but we did see a whale! Angela’s Cafe on the main street had lightning-fast internet and dangerously good coffee and banana smoothies, which kept me occupied for a few hours each morning.