Melting in Máncora...
Trip Start Oct 05, 2012
64Trip End Apr 01, 2013
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So, the cross border bus journey from Guayaquil to Mancora was actually painless. The CIVA International double-decker bus was comfortable enough as had leg rests and also 'semi-cama' seats which reclined almost far enough to rest on the knees of the person behind you, effectively rendering the table slightly useless as it consequently sat at a near 45 degree angle. Dinner was also an unexpected inclusion in the $17 ticket price, albeit consisting of a very dry cheese filled and sugar-coated empanada and a peach juice box. Still tasted good at approx 2am!! The previously described 'harrowing' experience failed to materialise as I think we must have used the new immigration complex at Huaquillas
Luckily, the bus was met by a small army of moto-taxis who were happy to sell the positives of their allied hotels and hostels. I chose one who promised a room near the beach, and was bundled into the mototaxi to make the bumpy journey to Guacamayo Bungalows. It was difficult to see much of the place in the dark but decided to give it a go as I figured I could always find somewhere else in the cold light of day if it really was terrible!! As it turns out the accommodation was fine. Very clean, with helpful and friendly owners, and also extremely quiet because of its location in the least developed part of town. This was definitely better than the discos and party atmosphere of the main centre, even if it meant opting for a mototaxi instead of walking after dark. My only criticism would be the lack of people as there were only 5 others - 3 Argentinians and another couple - so not many people to meet or talk to
Mancora itself is developed along the Panamerican Highway, which passes through and forms the central route lined with travel agencies, shops and restaurants/bars. Most of the development exists between the sea and the road so you are never too far away from the beach. I expected the beach to be truly stunning as Mancora is so well known for its beaches and surfing. However, I have to confess to being slightly disappointed... The beach to the north (near my accommodation) was relatively narrow due to the high tide line and looked more scruffy than anything. In the centre itself, it was also much smaller than expected and generally packed with people fighting for the small amount of space there was. I'd have to say that both Montañita and Canoa had much larger and nicer beach areas immediately adjacent to the town than Mancora... That said, if you have come here to surf the waves are quite spectacular. Fierce, so I'm not sure how beginners would fair, but watching the locals - who probably started surfing as soon as they could walk - really was amazing
I also visited another beach called Playa Pocitas which is only 3km (or 5 soles) in a moto-taxi along a very bumpy, guarded road. This was much, much nicer!! Wide, deserted except for a handful of people, palm lined - what more could you want...? If I could choose again, I would probably stay here rather than Mancora, but am pretty sure the accommodation here isn't suited to those backpacking!! I enjoyed a long walk along the beach before attempting to sunbathe. I say attempt, because I survived all of 5 mins... The wind was so strong that a small dune had gathered to the side of my body, and the liberal application of sunscreen meant I was coated from head to toe in sand grains. Not nice, and I definitely wouldn't have lasted any longer had I not managed to sneak onto one of the sunbeds put out by a hotel on the beach. A much better way to spend the afternoon - although I still left with a considerable amount of the beach on my body, in my bag, and especially in my hair!!
So all in all, a nice relaxing start to my time in Peru. Something I will be very thankful for as I have to keep moving pretty fast to fit in all of the things I want to see and do before I arrive in Cusco for Christmas...