Sat 19th – Tues 22nd May
We arrive in Mancora around 1030 and pull up on the street. Stuff loaded off and we’re accosted by tuk tuk drivers. I check the distance and could walk but I’m tired, it’s hot and haggle the driver from 5 down to 3$ to take me to my hostel. Probably still too much but I’m too tired to push for any more!
He babbles on about this being far away and I could stay somewhere he knows for much cheaper and nearer but he’s missing the point that most people research where they stay and base a lot of their bookings on this and reviews. It’s ok mate, I’m happy to stick with my reservation…although it does appear to be a fair way out from where I got off the bus.
I get in and am greeted by Eduardo the owner. He explains my room isn’t ready as checkout isn’t yet and it needs to be cleaned. I reply it’s fine and understand I’m early but explain I’m shattered after the journey and asap would be preferable.
I immediately meet 2 Irish couples who are heading out to watch the FA Cup final and as the wifi has gone down in my hostel, I decide to tag along with them.
They show me the on foot short cut which definitely gets u into the main drag much quicker – Location of Casa Naranja is actually quite good.
We go to Loki del Mar which I already know is the biggest party hostel in town. Inside it looks like it used to be some kind of resort owned hotel. I’ve not come into contact with so many Brits since I’ve been away and I’m immediately transported back to my younger holiday days as it feels like I’m back in Magaluf! I get chatting to a few more people, enjoy the sunshine beating down and order some breakfast which is pretty good and quite cheap. The boys indulge in the happy hour beer which is just 14 soles for 2 500ml bottles which is about £1.50! Cheap as this is, beer is definitely not on my radar today. Once the footy is over, the blaring music kicks in and is my cue to leave. My room should be ready so I say my goodbyes and walk back, hoping that it is indeed ready. Luckily it is and after a quick shower and change I lie down. The sun however is burning brightly outside and after not getting the weather I hoped for in Montañita decide I shouldn’t pass it up. There was a pool at Loki but I don’t like party hostels and especially not today. On my walk back I found a quiet hotel and enquired about using their facilities so go there. For £2 I have the use of the pool and better still – a sun lounger and no sand! Sun cream on and kindle in hand, I promptly pass out for about an hour!
I stay here for a few hours until it clouds over then go back home. Shower and a bit of chill time before going out for dinner. I’d read on a few blogs and Trip Advisor about a great steak place called Mancora Steak House so go there. I am feeling a bit sick but decide to go anyway. When choosing something to eat I feel worse. I don’t think I’m ill more just the journey of last night catching up with me. I treat myself to the steak. It was one of the best meals I’ve had – a massive chunk of meat with proper chips for only £6!!!
I feel a bit better but decide enough is enough and at 8pm, call it a night and walk back. En route I bump into Lee from my hostel in Montañita. We get chatting and I tell him the journey has messed me up and I’m off to bed! He did the same journey the night before and spent yesterday feeling the same way! So much for night buses hey!
Tucked up in bed, I decide to read for a bit but not for long and promptly fall asleep!
I wake around 2am and read to get myself back to sleep, again at 6 and then 8. After a bit more reading on each occasion I finally get up at half 10 feeling much more human and set off to do a rekkie of the place. It’s quite similar to Montañita in parts – another tourist backpacker trap for people who like surfing and parting full of tacky tourist souvenir shops but the nightlife here is nothing like Montañita…I don’t think many places could beat it!
Another food place I’d read about was Green Eggs and Ham. Great for breakfast/brunch/lunch so I go here. They have a fairly good menu and as is on the beach, is a great location.
I’m drawn to their version of a fishfinger sandwich! I had to wait an unbearable amount of time. After 40 minutes I questioned where my food was and it seems my order was lost! If it wasn’t for the fact they had wifi (builders had cut through the power line near my hostel and everywhere around there was without) I may have left. 20 mins later my food finally arrives! Fishy goujons in gorgeous floured baps (just like the ones at home) with mayo and tommy k!!! Wow…this was good! Served with beer battered chips and a side salad for just over £3!
The wait was a pain in the arse but the food was bloody good! The whole place was rammed by the time I left and I can definitely see why – despite the slow service!
From there I headed to my little haven of tranquility – back to the pool where there is just me myself and I.
Lathered in suncream and WiFi code got, I sit back and have a lengthy conversation with both my mum and my sister.
With the clouds coming over and a few buzzing mosquitoes, it’s time to head home where I chill and finish the book Niki told me about – A House in the Sky which is a true story about a Canadian woman and her Ozzie mate captured and held hostage in Somalia. A great read.
Tonight I head to another restaurant for dinner with great reviews. A Thai place called Buda. It’s a lovely restaurant, clean and airy with a very tranquil ambience. The food was great – a flavoursome green curry followed by an Oreo milkshake (I was feeling sick again so felt I needed the sugar)!
The food here is great but the after service was a bit (very) on the slow side.
Back at the hostel and I end up chatting to the Irish couple I met yesterday – Shane and Ruth. Loads of stuff on travels, tv shows and I give them a load of info on my fave city – NYC as they’re ending their 8 month trip there in a few weeks.
This got me thinking again about a former plan I’d hatched in my head a few weeks back – I could do this too and do some Xmas shopping on my way home if I decide to stay here and not do the Asia leg…..decisions for another day though!
An early night means an early morning and I’m on the beach back at Green Eggs and Ham for breakfast.The food was good so they did deserve another go…plus the view out to sea and all the surfers is great.
Much better service today, but is early so not crowded either.
I take a stroll down the beach,
mesmerised by all the surfers. The waves seem huge here and the surf seems good. One guy in particular looks awesome – not that I know the slightest thing about surfing thou!
The beach however where the tide has gone out a bit isn’t the greatest with a slurry of dead fish lutking on the shore! Definitely not something I could sit amongst so I simply head back to my quiet spot by the pool!
I go for another stroll around lunchtime
and find out some prices for tomorrow’s bus to Trujillo. There are so many companies it’s hard to choose. I ask in the Tourist Info office and the guy tells me 2 companies. One looked pants and so I go to the other. I’m torn between a cama and semi cama and when I realise I’m quibbling over 2-3 quid decide to go all out for the cama (bed) on the first floor. I didn’t realise this journey was again only an overnighter! Downstairs is full so it’s the semi cama for 57 soles (about £12). My bus (should) leave at 9pm tomorrow evening and take about 9 hours….
I check out some other offices on my way back. I’m not sure if company Ittsa is better but it’s too late now. Cruz del Sur is meant to be the best in Peru but I couldn’t find anywhere selling tickets by them for my route. I’m travelling with EMTRAFESAC.
A word of advice – always buy your tickets from the bus company directly and not from the multi bus vendors or tour operators. They have a mark up on the price so getting direct is cheaper. My bus varied between 10-20 soles more in some places.
I see the lighthouse up on the cliff top and again wonder how I get there
I ask around but no one seems to give me the right answer. I try twice but to no avail so head back to the pool for some more r&r in the sunshine. Tan coming back nicely again! After a few hours of head in new book and a chat back home with my mate Steve (his longest ever apparently – 1:23mins), I go back to the beach for sunset – however I’m an hour early. I sit and enjoy the view
and decide to wander round the shops to kill some time (cue lots of I love Mancora wares) to go back for sunset. I decide to find out again how to get to the lighthouse so ask a tuk tuk driver thinking he’ll definitely know. I figure I’m not told the right way by him as he wants the 3$ fare to take me there himself!
I stop at a shop to get a drink and ask the guy there…4th time lucky…? He tells me to walk back down the street a few blocks and take a right by Misters, follow the path then take the steps – BINGO! He was right – if they say in Ecuador u need to ask 3 times for directions in the hope of getting the right info, maybe here in Peru it’s 4!!!
I’m finally at the lighthouse that has taunted me from below,
the great view from up here and also having arrived in plenty of time, see the most amazing sunset
I can’t be bothered to walk back home, shower and head back out to the main street I’m already on so I grab a bite to eat on my way back. Then it’s back home to shower and get my stuff together ready to check out tomorrow.
I wake at silly I click (around 3am) and with a head buzzing with stuff decide to just do it all then luckily fall back to sleep.
I’m all packed n ready to leave my luggage in the storage room when I’m told I can keep my room as no one is checking in! This is great news as my bus doesn’t leave till 9pm and means I can shower etc after my day at the pool…which exactly where I’m heading as today is a scorcher!
I take up place in my usual space, on my sun lounger and fry for a few hours. Feeling peckish I grab some lunch and a takeaway sandwich for tonight’s bus (I’m being prepared after the last one), then I’m back at the pool to soak up the last of the sun. From here I’m heading into winter and don’t think I’ll see much of it again until I possibly get to Asia!
After 8 hours of pure sunbathing and reading, it’s time to head off to get ready to leave. Shower, chill and impressed with my 4 days worth of tanning
followed by a quick chat n details exchanged with Irish Shane & Ruth and it’s time to go…off I scoot on a tuk tuk to the bus office!