We traveled an additional 1200km north in the overnight bus which would have been absolutely adequate if it wasn’t for the two heaving, overweight, heavy smoking Peruvian men that did one of two things – eat chips when awake and snort when not. Bleary eyed again we stumbled out of the bus when pulling into Mancora around 10am and were immediately attacked by a flock of touts wanting to sell us the usual – rooms, taxi ride, tours, a map. You could walk from one side of Mancora to the other in under 10 minutes so a map wasn’t a necessity but we took took a Peruvian tuk-tuk to Koko Pelli, our hostel that primarily catered for the gang of board and kite surfers that made Mancora their home for 3 to 6 months of the year. Not a bad life.
Mancora is currently Peru’s key beach resort that apparently houses one of the best, if not the best beach in Peru. We had followed Peru’s coastline for approximately 1600kms and surprisingly to us, the entire coast was rolling desert that looked more like something from the middle east. However due to strong winds and the dry climate, the sun shone here more then 300 days a year and gave off the perfect conditions for riding the waves. The beach was nice, fairly clean and it was great to finally see some blue sky again after Lima; and feel some heat with temperatures in the high 20s. The beach had the usual kiosks and beach side restaurants lining the main esplanade and you could pick up some cheap and tasty seafood washed down with a Pilsner. The other attraction was the Argentinean hippies. In their droves with their ratty clothes and dreads, they tramped up and down the beach selling homemade sandwiches, empanadas or were happy to do some juggling for you for a tip. The tips funded their on-going travels around South America and/or their drug habit – apparently Peru serves up the best and cheapest coke in the world.
Koko Pelli was an excellent place to stay. We were told that if you wanted a place that was fairly chilled out Koko Pelli was it. But if you wanted to party all night, the only place was Loki hostel, a hostel that looked more like a Greek island resort with its beach front location, pool and that duf-duf-duf all throughout the night. We choose wisely. Brian was a mid 50 year old retired firefighter from NY that had just finished service in Afghanistan. And Brian had figured out the next 10 years of his retirement. He would spend 3 to 6 months a year kitesurfing the world (currently working in Mancora as the bar man and just for the social life), rent his place out back in the states for a bit more income and on top of that collect a nice pension from the Army. His other past times were watching a myriad of free documentaries around conspiracy theories and making space cookies which he claimed to help him focus on the details of the documentary due to his A.D.D. Brian spoke continuously, mainly about himself for a good hour so we didn’t question the A.D.D part.
In the three days we spent in Mancora we achieved very little and just enjoyed slowing it down after three months of a fairly fast pasted itinerary. Our rough estimate of the kms we had travelled by road throughout the continent was over 9000 in twelve weeks. 20 hours on a bus was nothing! It gave you some appreciation for how big the continent actually is. All those hours staring our the window on the buses had given us the ability to see the geography changing slooowly to reveal such diversity from one destination to the next.
Our next was crossing the border to Ecuador. A country we knew very little about other then one thing – we were approaching the equator and nearing the cross from southern to northern hemisphere and of course, the tropics!