If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you already heard about Montañita-gate 2017, in which Nick and I were promised a joyous beach in Ecuador and were handed a large pile of shit in its stead. Needless to say, we didn’t really see the point in going on with life anymore and opted to stay in bed for a few weeks with the sheets pulled over our heads.
Which made it all the more exciting when we arrived at our first destination in Peru: Mancora. Mancora is a tiny beach town that’s gradually become less tiny as gringos like us hear more about it. And with good reason: In the end, we stayed here for about 2 weeks.
When the night bus dropped us off in the morning at Mancora’s central town square (read: three and a half buildings that could easily collapse at any moment), we were immediately accosted by four hundred and sixty three tuk-tuk drivers vying for our business. “Ah, a typical South American town, how refreshing!,” thought we as we physically pealed back cab drivers right and left to get some breathing room. In the end, we took money out of the ATM and picked the least aggressive cabbie we could find to take us to our hostel. When the cab driver didn’t have change for the Peruvian bill the ATM gave me, he offered kindly to drive me to the nearest store where I’d be able to break my bill…..if he was then allowed to charge me twice the fare because of the extra ride he was giving me. “Ah, a very typical South American town,” thought I as I told him in my most polite Spanish to fuck off and no I wasn’t paying him double because he didn’t have change. Anyway, the saga called “All’s Not So Quiet on the Western Front of Mancora: Tani fights the Cab Driver” lasted for a good hour until he finally went away. And thus began our 2 week stay in Mancora.
All right guys, here’s the deal. Nick and I were exhausted from weeks of nonstop moving between towns, in desperate need of a beach with good weather, and felt like staying off the grid for a while (LOL JAYKAY @ this last one, you all know I go full Carrie at the prom if I’m out of wifi for 6 minutes). Our first hostel was fine (despite a bedbug scare that turned out to be caused just by sand fleas), but we moved on our second day to a gorgeous hostel called Casa Naranja, the Orange House.
Casa Naranja gave us a private room with our own bathroom, a delicious breakfast every morning, and a pretty decent kitchen for us to use. We spent our days at the beach, catching up on blogging and talking to loved ones at home, pinning one another down so we could forcibly sing Britney’s greatest hits while the other desperately tried to get away*, and lazing around. Life was tuff.
Mancora in general has one main (unpaved) road, one main strip of beach, 10-15 restaurants, and excellent weather (at least at this time of year). It’s not the place you go if you’re on a foodie’s adventure, not the place you go if you want fast-paced, and definitely not the place you go if partying is your scene (there’s one party hostel in town, which is fun, but it’s not a club, and it’s your only option). Each day, our routine involved walking from our hostel, across town, to the central marketplace to haggle for prices on veggies and chicken, and then take a cab back with our groceries. We ended up knowing the main stretch pretty well, and the familiarity felt nice after spending all of Ecuador moving every two or three days.
Some general highlights from our time in Mancora, though, that were a little more unique:
- Swimming with giant sea turtles and sea lions
- Getting up close and personal with pelicans bigger than Trump’s ego
- Spilling water on my computer and having it go dark for a full week (fun!)
- Demolishing Nick in back-to-back-to-back-to-back (x9) ping-pong games
- Reuniting with old friends we’d made in Quito and making new ones (we’d ultimately end up traveling with these guys for the next month)
Ironically, this post is shorter than others despite spending half our time in Peru in Mancora because, by design, our time here was largely uneventful. By the time we left, we’d started feeling the urge to move again, having fully rejuvenated and like 86% gotten over our Montañita experience.
For those who want a beach town that’s off the grid, or at least more so than Peurto Vallarta, check out Mancora. It’s underdeveloped and feels remote, but that’s absolutely part of its charm (not for everyone, but excellent for those to whom that description appeals). Surfing is good here, so they tell me, and the small collection of restaurants offers a pretty decent array of options.
*this applies more to one of us than the other