Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Lima to Mancora
I'm not always the best with words, but I do like to document - whether it's writing a few notes or taking photos on a trip to remember it by. This year for my birthday, my wife got me a little video camera, and it took me back to my days of recording BMX tricks with my friends in hopes of putting together a video just like the pros. My how things have changed... from bulky video cameras to one that fits in my pocket and takes 4k video. I still have a lot to learn but I'm excited about the possibilities and hope to do more of these for later trips and maybe some events down the road.
Scroll down past the video for some travel tips if you're heading to the Northern Coast of Peru.
On a different note, I'm very glad we got home when we did. Not five days after getting back, Peru went on full lock down and a lot of people couldn't get home. I read several stories about people who found out too late and tried to book return flights, only to find they had to hunker down in place for another 15 days, possibly longer.
Hope you enjoy the film, and stay safe out there.
Most of the major airlines will only get you to Lima, so we had to book an additional flight separately. From Lima you can fly in to Talara, which is the closest airport to most of the beaches and surfing. There are several towns nearby that have great surfing, Lobitos being the closest, but we went straight to Mancora. We set up a taxi through our AirBnb host with WhatsApp (if you'd like his contact info, I'd be happy to share it) and it was roughly an hour and a half taxi ride from the Talara airport to Mancora. I decided against renting a car, since Mancora has small roads and very little parking, plus you can find Moto Taxis everywhere for pretty cheap (only 3-5 Sol per ride). We stayed a little bit outside the city in Los Pocitas, but there were always Moto Taxis available whenever we needed to go in to town.
This was my first official surf trip but it was a great place to learn. We took a lesson the first day where the instructors guarantee that you'll get up on a wave. They ride on the back of the board, steer, and tell you when to stand up, which ended up being a pretty great way to learn. It got us up and going, which allowed us to learn more about actually catching the waves in other lessons and on our own. (Google some Mancora surfing videos to see what I'm talking about). The waves might be a little big for first-time surfers, but they were consistent. And as long as the tide was up, the water was deep enough to avoid the rocks. Mornings were definitely the best time to be on the water - the sun was low, the water was like glass, and barely any wind.
Mancora had some of the freshest food I've had in a long time. The tuna in the Ceviche is caught that day and you can tell.
Cafe del Mundo - Best coffee. Most places just serve the instant stuff, but here you could get espresso drinks, plus great sandwiches and bowls.
Aqua - The staff here were super friendly and they had great fish-of-the-day specials. Their Chocolate Mousse was one of the best desserts we had.
La Sirena de Juan - One of the fancier places we went. You might need to make a reservation during the busy season (Dec - Jan). Order the Causa Acevichada - it's a different take on ceviche with a base of mashed yellow potatoes.
Soul Bowl - This is one of the few places we went outside the main strip, closer to our Airbnb in Los Pocitas. If you find yourself staying out that way or are looking for more secluded beaches, definitely stop for lunch or dinner. This place had the best ceviche in our opinion and delicious Poke bowls. It's also quiet and removed from the hustle and all the beeping moto taxis on the main strip.
We spent a couple of days here at the end of the trip - if you haven't been, it's definitely worth a visit. We mostly did the standard tourist things but a few things did stand out.
Rent Bicycles - This was very easy to do using the city's bike share app, where you can rent them and ride around Mira Flores for pretty cheap. You can even rent two bikes under one person so makes it easy to grab a couple and roll around.
Bridge of Sighs - This was in the Barranco District - it's a beautiful walk or bike ride along the main boardwalk and although it was definitely a little touristy, it was a fun place to walk around, see some murals, and see the people hanging around the parks.
Puku Puku - Little coffee place close to our hotel, but if good coffee is important to you then you'll want to seek this place out.