Address: Mancora is 116 miles (187 km) from Piura Airport, about 3 hours by car. There are vans that go to Mancora, but they don’t leave until the van is full of passengers. And there’s not a lot of space in the van if you have luggage. I learned that Eppo Bus goes to Mancora, too, but I wasn’t able to find it. It is also possible to go to Mancora by taxi from Piura, but I bet that would be very expensive.

From Lima, which is in Central Peru, I took an Oltursa bus to Piura, which is in Northern Peru. That’s a distance of about 620 miles (1000 km); the entire trip took a little less than 20 hours, but I was able to sleep comfortably in the bus. (I had my own bed; in Spanish it is called “bus cama.”) I chose Piura because I had known that Piura was the first Spanish city created by the Spanish intruders led by Francisco Pizarro in Peru. (No, it wasn’t Lima!) But I wasn’t very much impressed with the old city. I thus decided to go further north.

I had heard about the beaches in Mancora. I packed up my things and asked a mototaxi driver to take me to the bus terminal for Mancora. (People don’t speak English in this part of the world, so the conversation is usually in Spanish.) The driver didn’t take me to a bus terminal but to a place where there were a few vans. I had learned that the van fare was 40 soles per person for the Mancora trip. A middle-aged man approached me, telling me he would charge 45 soles and he would leave right away. Apparently, he already had three passengers in his car. Yes, he was driving a car, not a van. Seeing that his car was relatively new and looked well maintained and knowing that I was going to have the front seat, I agreed to become the fourth and last passenger, and in less than three hours, I was in Mancora.

On the way to Mancora, I saw lots of great sceneries. Unlike in Cusco in Southeastern Peru where everything is green, everything here is dry, dusty and dead; hardly anything grows on the land. It appeared to me that much of the coast from Central to Northern Peru is dry land. (It hardly rains even in Lima and it’s dusty everywhere!)

When I got to Mancora, after staring at the vast Pacific Ocean I thought I should take a swim. But I wasn’t going to compete with the surfers. I knew where I belonged; I would be swimming with the kids. LOL. The water was not too cold. Probably 25 degrees celsius. I actually expected the water to be warmer, above 30 degrees. Huaquillas, Ecuador which lies at the border between Peru and Ecuador is less than 150 km from Mancora, so I was probably 700-800 km from the equator.

After swimming for an hour or so, I felt I was starving. I ate at a place called “Gordo Gorilla” (funny name!), which offered only vegan food. I learned that the owner/chef (who runs the restaurant single-handedly) is an American who hates living in America. Although he grew up in Utah, he is a lot more liberal than I am! During my short conversation with him, I actually got to appreciate his outlook in life and his philosophy. He said he didn’t need to earn more than he needed. Everything on his menu was indeed inexpensive (costing not more than 15 soles — U.S. $4-$5). And it was great food! Other customers praised his cooking.

Just before sunset, I walked back to the beach. Two horses passed by. I took a picture, and here it is.

On the other side of the beach, there were still lots of people. Too bad I could not see the sunset.

I left Mancora the next day. It was another evening bus trip, expected to arrive in Guayaquil, Ecuador the next morning. Before leaving Peru, I decided I was going to have my last ceviche dish.

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