Friday, Jul 27, 2018
I decided to visit Mancora Peru. My friends, Vironika and Jamie who I met while they visited Olon, are in Mancora for a bit and encouraged me to come check it out. It is high season here because of the plentiful sunshine and warm, not hot, temperatures. When they described Mancora I was immediately sold on the word sunshine. 😉
Bus to Mancora
I traveled the 3 hour bus ride from Olon to Guayaquil. In Guayaquil, I found a direct bus going to Mancora. It was a night bus, leaving at 9 pm and arriving in Mancora at 6 am…or so I thought. I have never taken a night bus before. Of course I have heard the true stories of night buses getting robbed, but no such event happened to me. As far as comfort, it was better than the domestic buses I travel in Ecuador. My particular bus wasn’t the most plush one…no individual TV, no meals or beverages served, but the times worked for what I wanted.
It stopped at the border of Ecuador in Huaquillas, where I got my passport stamped exiting the country. It took about 45 minutes to an hour for everyone on the bus to be processed out of the country. After we loaded back on the bus it drove for less than 10 minutes and this time stopped on the Peru side. We all exited the bus again and stood in line to go through immigration. This took about an hour as well.
Welcome to Peru!
Arriving in Mancora
There is no bus terminal in Mancora. The bus just stops on the side of the main road that runs through town. We arrived about 4:20 am. Looking back, I think 420 is an appropriate arrival time into this fun surf town. 😉 But I digress. When I stepped off the bus a taxi driver immediately invaded my personal space wanting to take me to my hotel. I stood eye to eye seemingly mute with this guy as it took me a minute to get my bearings.
I was expecting a terminal. Yet here I was standing in the dark, on a street in a town I didn’t know, and I was early for my arrival time to the hotel. Before I left Guayaquil I whatsapp’d my hotel that I would be arriving at 6 am. They sent a text back that said someone would be there at that time with a key for me to get in.
Still standing on the street I tried to think what I could do before 6 am. I told the the taxi driver I wanted to go to an ATM so I could get some local currency. He told me I could pay the taxi fare in US dollars because the ATM would only dispense large bills in the local currency, which are Soles. As clarity arrived to my foggy brain I decided going to an ATM in the middle of the night with someone I didn’t know taking me to a place I knew not where was probably not a wise use decision anyway. I then decided to just go the hotel and see what happens.
My hotel is in an area called Las Pocitas, a short 10-15 minute drive south of town. We pulled up in front of my hotel, which looked like a ranch style house on a hill. At the blue gate-door there is a cowbell with a cord to ring. So at 4:45 am I rang the bell twice and waited. No one answered. My phone only works on wifi in Peru so I wasn’t able to whatsapp the person at the hotel.
I had no idea if the person who was going to give me the key was even on the property at this point. I did suspect there were guests sleeping inside and I wasn’t going to keep ringing the bell. So I just placed my bags against the door, leaned against them and waited for 6 am. When 6 am arrived it was light outside and I rang the bell again. This time someone answered the door. I was in!
Ricardo is the owner of the Mykonos hotel. When he opened the blue-gate door it looked like he just crawled out of bed. He was pleasant enough though. Speaking only Spanish he gave me my key, showed me my room, asked if I needed anything else, then I assume he went back to bed. I crashed for a few hours myself before I went exploring.
Mancora or Montanita?
Mancora is the Montanita of Peru, or maybe Montanita is the Mancora of Ecuador. Either way, Mancora Peru is a fun surf town. Most of the shops and restaurants are located along the main drag that runs the length of the town.
There is a nice plaza area to hang out in and people watch.
Some shops in Mancora were too much for my ability to shop in. This one below is for the locals more than the tourists. When I looked into the entrance of it, I became completely overwhelmed. How does anyone find what they are looking for?
On the beach there are plenty of beach bars and restaurants. It has a lively vibe filled with surfers, travelers both young and old, as well as families coming to the Peruvian coast for a beach vacation. Again, much the same feel to me as Montanita.
The weather this time of year is fantastic! As a welcome to me on my first day here, however, it was cloudy. The universe has a sense of humor. Other than that one day, the sun shone bright every day.
Tranquilo Las Pocitas
Las Pocitas, where my hotel was, is filled with rental homes, vacation properties, and hotels that line the beach and the hills in this area. It took me 30 minutes to walk each day from my hotel into town along the beach. Along the way I would pass people laying out on the beach, swimming in the ocean, fisherman cleaning their boats, and just an array of rocks, birds, and anchored boats in the ocean to look at. My morning walks into town were great moments for me in Mancora. I could definitely live here.
Tuk Tuk moto vehicles, just like those used in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador are the transportation vehicles used in Mancora and Las Pocitas, Peru. They are readily available, but for me I’ll skip the Tuk Tuk into town because nothing beats a beach walk.
There are plenty of great places to eat in Mancora. Whether it is local food on the beach or Italian or Mexican food along the main drag, all of it was pretty fantastic. One restaurant had incredible desserts which neither Jamie and Vironika or myself passed up.
Not only is there a beautiful beach in Mancora, there is also a view. I took a walk up to the lighthouse or el faro. I followed some dirt roads that ran behind the buildings of the main drag until I found the stairs to take me to the top.
(See those stairs on the left? When I was walking back down I stopped there to put sunscreen on. I took my hat off, applied the sunscreen, then walked all the way back to the beach without realizing I didn’t have my hat on. It was about 30 minutes later that I arrived back to those stairs and my hat was still there waiting for me. Yay!)
Above pic: Looking down over the town
Above pic: Looking at lighthouse from the beach
Overall my time in Mancora Peru was exceptional. I was able to spend time with good people, enjoy the sun and surf of the beach, relax, and most importantly remember how blessed I am to have opportunities like these.
Thank you Vironika and Jamie for the invite!