Peru - Huanchaco, Chicama and Pimentel
After our time down south exploring Paracas and Haucachina we took a 4.5 hour long bus back to Miraflores, Lima so we could pick up Sam's surfboard from the hostel we previously stayed at. They kindly let us store some luggage free of charge which made it so much easier getting on the buses etc.
We spent one night back in Lima before taking a 10.5 hour bus to Trujillo. It sounds like a really long time to be stuck on a coach but it's such a good way to see the country. You drive through hills, towns and small shanty towns that make you feel fortunate to live the way you do.
Once we arrived in Trujillo (apparently one of the most dangerous cities) we jumped straight into a taxi that took us to Huanchaco. Here we had booked into ATMA Yoga hostel...I think Sam did this to soften the blow of him surfing lots.
ATMA was a really cool hostel. All of the staff were super friendly and helpful...they even had a pet tortoise roaming around the courtyard.
The rooms were clean and one of the communal areas contained hammock seats that you could sit in and watch the surf. I loved the yoga classes and it was cool to chat with the teacher who is travelling the world doing what she loves! On our first night in Huanchaco we were recommended to have dinner in Restaurante Otra which is a vegetarian place on the seafront. The food was delicious and it ended up becoming our favourite spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner! The falafels and burritos were amazing!
Just across the road from the restaurant was a perfect spot to watch the sunset.
After a good night's sleep we went out to explore the town.
The main strip runs along the seafront and is mainly made up of eating spots, surf shops and market stalls. Behind the hustle and bustle of the main street there are beautiful little lanes and streets that are home to the more local, cheap places to eat.
They love their VW Beetles in Peru!
The beach itself was always really busy with locals pressuring us into spending money on deckchairs and an umbrella. Also I found the men to be quite forward and intimidating when Sam wasn't around. It was so bad on the beach that I would put my clothes on as I felt too uncomfortable and exposed in my bikini.
On the beach you can rent caballitos de totora's which look like canoes made out of reeds. Rather than sitting inside them like a canoe you sit on them like you would a horse with one leg over either side. They are traditionally used for fishing.
We were only meant to stay at ATMA for 3 nights but as we were in no rush to get anywhere and the surf was good we extended it by 2 nights.
On one of the last days we decided to take a day trip to Chicama which is home to supposedly the longest left hand wave in the world. It took about 3 hours to get there by bus.
Once we were there Sam headed off to surf and I sunbathed on the almost empty beach. After an hour or so I saw him wandering back with a smile on his face which I knew meant he'd had a decent surf.
After some lunch we went for a walk along the desert coastline so Sam could show me where he had surfed earlier.
Chicama was way more chilled than Huanchaco, it was less touristy and felt unspoiled. We both agreed that we would have enjoyed staying there more than Huanchaco.
The following morning back in Huanchaco, I went to yoga and then we had lunch at our favourite vegetarian place before we headed to Trujillo to catch our bus to Chiclayo.
The bus took around 4 hours and it was really interesting to see all of the different towns and villages along the way.
Chiclayo is another city that is supposedly not very safe, so as soon as we got off the bus we got a taxi to our Air BnB in Pimentel.
The hosts were 2 ladies from California called Melly and Ari. They were super friendly and welcoming and we felt very at home. Their house was right on the beach and a short walk from the shops and restaurants.
They also had another guest staying with them, a French man called Michelle. He had lived all round the world and had settled in Brazil working as an Architect. Unfortunately, the economy entered a recession in 2014 and his business struggled. He was taking some time travelling Peru to decide what to do next with his life.
Pimentel was a nice town and felt like it was wealthier than the other areas of Peru we had stayed in. There wasn't exactly much to see and do but it was the perfect place to relax on the beach and eat yummy food.
We stayed in Pimentel for 3 nights before heading back to Chiclayo to catch our 15 hour bus that would take us over the border into Ecuador.
We boarded our Super Civa bus in the afternoon and were pleased that we had paid a little extra to have the big, comfy, reclining seats on the quieter lower level. We were just about ready to depart when we heard a loud cracking noise. We looked over to where a lady was seated on the opposite side of the bus to see that the huge window next to her had smashed. Members of staff quickly gathered around scratching their heads about what they should do. After a while we were told to get off the bus and were ushered back into the waiting area where we sat for another hour before boarding a different bus.
The night bus went almost without a hitch until I needed to go to the toilet a few hours into the journey. I climbed over Sam's seat, got my leg caught and fell in a loud heap into the aisle of the bus!
We crossed the border in the middle of the night which was a little scary. There are lots of horror stories of people getting robbed etc but thankfully we crossed easily and without any trouble.
We arrived into Guayaquil, Ecuador and headed to our hotel where we were pleased to find a comfy bed!
Peru was a cool country with beautiful scenery. We enjoyed the food...although it was weird to see Cuyo (Guinea Pig) on the menu!! If we had more time we definitely would have liked to spend some time inland.
Next up Galapagos Islands!