brief description of the other towns I visited in Peru
04.06.2019 - 10.07.2019
Mancora: a small beach town near the Ecuadorian border. Not much to do here unless you are a surfer or heavy drinker and the drinks are somewhat expensive. Ordered margaritas from several places along the beach. They were all $6US and not one came close to the taste of a decent margarita. Ate at one sandwich shop right off the beach on the main pedestrian street that was a bit tasty and good value. Also ate at Tao, wonton soup was ok and I had tuna shashimi for the main course. Quite small for the price and it too was ok; however a bit pricey for a party beach town. I was scheduled to stay 2 nights decided to cut it a day short if that tells you anything.
Chiclayo: awful; just awful. I caught the only day bus from Mancora to this town. I was headed to Chachapoyas and I arrived about 2 hours before the bus left that night for Chachapoyas. Of course, there are only night busses to Chachapoyas and I should have just jumped on the night bus to Chachapoyas. For whatever reason I decided to give Chiclayo a chance. One of the strangest hostels I’ve stayed in; nothing wrong with it and the guy was very nice just limited options and it was just a weird setup that’s all I’ll say. The driving around town is ridiculously aggressive and overcrowded. The food is crap and it was really hard to waste the next day waiting on a night bus. I had lasagna from the highest rated restaurant in town ‘Cafe 900’ and I’ve gotta say it was pretty average on the weak side. The restaurant was well decorated and had a nice upstairs overlook of a busy dirty street. I ate around the square the night before and I have no memory of the meal it was so plain. I don’t recommend leaving the bus station if you find yourself passing through.
*note: I booked an overnight bus with Civa that offered 180 degree beds from chiclayo. The beds were on the top floor and the bus sways too much to get good sleep and it didn’t even have a plug at your seat. From Chachapoyas I booked with Mobil whenever possible. I booked the last seat downstairs in the single row on the right side. It only reclined maybe 170 degrees but the meals were good, the temperature always set right and they provide blankets and pillows. I recommend Olturso if Movil is unavailable or booked. I took Cruz del Sur once and I find that they take theirselves a bit too seriously. Demanding only passports for identification and they actually search your bags when boarding and take your fingerprint. A bit ridiculous if you ask me. I avoided them at all costs after this.
Trujillo: a pretty town; I probably didn’t explore it long enough; however it has a few ruins and nice tours nearby. I took the tour that did several of the ruins. I went to the first stop which of course you had to pay for entrance then they brought us to an expensive restaurant in town that I knew had terrible food, so I just left and skipped the 2nd half of the tour. Hopefully it got better for the crew I was with in the afternoon. Nothing life changing maybe worth a look though. I heard the beach was pretty nice just didn’t want to stay too long and have to reacclimatize myself to my next destination of Huaraz being 12,000 feet in altitude. The square was quite striking and I enjoyed some nice cocktails on a balcony overlooking the square for sunset. Definitely worth at least a night maybe 2 don’t see much potential beyond that though.
Lima: I was only here 2 nights and I ate at only 1 place worth mentioning. It is a somewhat famous place among locals and served up some exceptional ceviche, Mi Burrantu; I highly recommend a visit. I stayed at hostel Puriwani which was in a good spot and had an exceptional staff. It was in miraflores, I might stay in Burranco if I were to go back. Also, the large water park near La Victoria might be worth a visit. I went during the day and it was I think 4-5 soles for entry. Apparently Sunday and Tuesday nights they have 2 light shows with all the fountains worth attending.
Paracas: a small beach town that looks to be quite the paradise in the summer. Has a high end resort with 2 really nice restaurants I didn’t get a chance to try. I came to Paracas because of a small private museum located in the main building in front of the main pier. It’s 10 Soles to enter when you can find it open. It contains elongated skulls that have been DNA tested and found not to be human. All the skulls were found on the reserve that surrounds Paracas. I was told there are motorbikes for rent here however couldn’t find one at a reasonable price that didn’t come with a ‘guide’. I stayed at Kokopelli which was under construction at the time yet a really nice spot right on the beach. They had a nice bar with activities nightly and I hear the food was good at the hostel. I ate out. Fruzion has good fruit salads along with burgers and fries. Even the guy across the street with a burger joint admitted their fries were better. Pizzeria Venezia: I took the free walking tour and this was recommended as the best pizza place in town. I had been warned by friends to not even try pizza in Peru as it is generally bad. However this place was quite delicious and with very reasonable prices. I’m told the rest of the restaurants on the pier are cheap copies of each other to feed the cruise ships when they arrive. ; Pizza Nick & Nate’s: this was the place across from Fruzion and I had the wings. It’s owned by a Canadian and he seemed to have quite the gringo menu wand pretty well done at that. His main restaurant was in lima so he has some experience. Lastly, there is a vegetarian place that has a great view of the city. The walking tour recommended it, so I went up to check it out. The menu was pretty pricey for a vegetarian place in a small town, so I tried one of their unique desserts. It was the sweet blue corn pudding. It was like a semi-sweet blackberry mash. Quite strange and it came warm.
Ica: not much here, they have a large mall if you need to get some shopping done and they had places that sold large fruit bowls for cheap. It’s a $5 sole tuck-tuck ride to Huacachina and there’s a bus terminal there. That’s about all I remember of the town. I stayed a night there while I visited Huacachina and waited on a bus. There was a circus in town that advertised dinosaurs. I took the show in for $10 soles. I think there were a total of 15 people there with me, nonetheless entertaining for me at the time.
Huacachina: just a little lake in the dessert. Some say it’s manmade. I have no idea, it seemed like a nice retreat although supremely overly touristic. Sand boarding and dune buggies were the activities here. The new Wild Rover seemed to be really hopping as well. Nice views of the dessert if you choose to climb up the dunes or rent a dune buggy for sunset, not much else here besides the party scene which seemed to be happening, like I said even for the ‘off’ season.