After a 19 hour bus ride from Lima, we arrived on the north coast of Peru in Mancora. We opted to stay a 20 min tuk-tuk ride out of the town (which wasn’t very large) in a private ocean-front bungalow where we could lie in bed and watch the waves crashing and sunset. Our bamboo bungalow came equipped with everything from hot water to a mini kitchen and was just steps from the ocean.
We were situated between the towns of Mancora and Los Oraganos. Both primarily fishing villages although Mancora has turned into quite the tourist town because of the ideal surfing conditions. Given it’s geographical position the seafood was amazing. Our first day we didn’t make the local markets in time and treated ourselves to yet another delicious meal out. For lunch we had grilled tuna tossed in pepper served on top of mashed sweet potatoes. For dinner, we couldn’t resist the sushi restaurant “Sushi Bar” just a few hundred meters down the road from us. After the sushi we had in Lima, our expectations were high. We spent quite a bit of time going through the menu roll by roll trying to understand the Spanish and finally decided on a tropical mango/tuna/shrimp roll and the tuna tataki. When we went to order we were then informed “no makis”. Supposedly the restaurant which is only open between 17:00 and 22:00 (and it was 18:30) was out of sushi rice. Disappointed, we decided to settle for the shrimp tempura; however, they couldn’t make that either. With not much else left on the menu to choose from we simply ate our tuna tataki and left. On the way home, we stopped at the mini market and grabbed a ripe mango to make our current staple meal – mango salad.
Our first morning in our bungalow, we woke up “early” to make the markets in time before everything was sold out or put away. On our hour and a half walk to Los Organos (closer than Mancora and cheaper due to the lack of tourists) we encountered an uncanny amount of dead sea life and birds. We saw five rotting carcasses that appeared to be seals, tens if not hundreds of dead fish, a dead sea horse and a few rotting vultures. The fish were all quite small and possibly discarded from catches of fisherman or possibly ill. We couldn’t find out…
In town, we found the large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables we have become accustomed to as well as a decent selection of fish and shrimp. Unfortunately, no tuna that day so we went with half a kilogram of shrimp to fry up later that evening. To get back to our Cabana we road with a tuk-tuk – the most common form of transportation in the area. The tuk-tuks here are motorcycles converted into three-wheeled taxi’s that have a covered bench seat in the back. They vary significantly from the tuk-tuks we road in Thailand and else where in Southeast Asia which were built using actual car parts (they had bigger motors and much more rigid chassis’s).
If it wasn’t for the slightly steep price (South American budget standards) of our bungalow and the fact that the nearest market was an hour and a half walk away, we probably would have stayed here for a week.. or more. That said, we loved the three days we spent there and would highly recommend northern Peru (Lima and the north coast) over the more tourist-popular southern Peru.
*Where we stayed: Marcilia Beach Bungalows – Ballenatos bungalow is the newest and closet the water with the best views. Pinguinos bungalow is a close second.