Last Days in Mancora

Mancora Travel Blog

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Deluxe beach hotels
 What do you write about at a tiny, lazy beach town?  The only things to do are sleep, eat and go to the beach.  Well, ok, there are a few more things to do to occupy the time.  They have dune buggies and surfing lessons, kite surfing or wind surfing as well.  At night you can go bar hopping to the little places but that soon loses its charm when you see the same people night after night and the DJs play the same songs.  So in the day you read, check your email, shop for trinkets and try to while away the time.  I can see the attraction of wanting to drop out of the real world and let time slip by in Mancora, or any other similar beach town.
Deluxe beach hotels
  I guess that’s why you see so many hippies here and beach bums and surfer dudes.  Some of them come to catch some waves and end up buying a bar or little piece of property, others teach lessons, and yet others sell hash or make and sell jewelry to be able to rub a few soles together and continue their hazy existence here.  But for me it was becoming quickly boring.  The sun has a tendency to cook your brain and make you forget about everything else and I didn’t want that to happen.  I had too many places to go and see, and a long road ahead of me.  Not time to stop yet!

On Monday evening I went out for a late drink because I couldn’t fall asleep and the evening was nice.  So I ended up at a little slip of a place called Mancora Surf Club.
Deluxe beach hotels
  The girl behind the bar was cheerful and smiley and she mixed me up a caipirinha that was so tasty that before I knew it I had an empty glass.  The fellow next to me at the bar had a funny accent to his Spanish and I confirmed my suspicions when someone said that he spoke Italian.  So we launched into a nice conversation about Mancora.  Pietro has been there for 18 years and is now trying to go back home, or where his papa’ lives at least, in Taranto, in Puglia, Italy.  He has grown weary of things here and is looking to sell some land on the beach that he says is valued at $20 a square meter but in 5 years will be worth $50.  I don’t doubt it actually.  Angela was here 8 years ago and she says the whole coast is unrecognizable with all the construction.
Birds over the water
  She doesn’t remember half of anything being here.  So it could very well be true what Pietro was saying.  He told me that 6 years ago there was nothing at La Pocitas.  The first guy there invested 125 grand in bungalows and just sold them this year for about $650 thou.  That’s quite a profit!  Pietro claimed you could build up a nice place for about a quarter of a million and quintuple your investment in 5 years.  Something to think about, that’s for sure.  It sounded great on the balmy evening listening to soothing bar music and sipping cachaca, mixed with lime and sugar.  My bright-eyed siren behind the bar herself is English and came to Mancora a year ago, fell in love with a local surfer and before they knew it they owned this bar.
Las Pocitas Beach
  Fortune befell them recently when the director Alfonso Cuaron rolled into town to film a movie coming out in January called, appropriately and succinctly enough, “Mancora.”  He featured their bar in the movie and had it renovated and spruced up and they opted to leave the changes.  The place across the street, Bar Rojo, never ceased to amaze me.  The owners are the Adams Family of Mancora.  I swear they must eat magic mushrooms with dinner each night.  The daughter runs around like a maniac, and each night I noticed with amusement her choice of outfit…or lack of.  She seemed determined to wear the tightest and skimpiest clothing she could find or tailor, but it didn’t come off as sexy, just a bit crazy and even ridiculous.
Angela
  The son is the resident DJ, when he isn’t off goofing off with his buddies in some corner or hanging out on the street.  Then the keyboard and computer is in anyone’s hands to pump out more reggaeton and other ear-spllitting music on the damaged speakers.  Still, if you’re one of the only games in town, it doesn’t really matter.  The dancers don’t have much choice.  The mother is a special piece of work.  She mans a grill in front but it’s not much competition to the slick bald tattooed griller next door.  There was always action in front of his stand and not much going on at hers.  When she bores of surveying the street scene she goes back to raise a ruckus in the bar.  I had to wait 15 minutes for a margherita the first night because she insisted on serving it in a proper glass which the daughter had to go find.
Las Pocitas Beach
  She came back 4 times with the wrong glass until the mom got so exasperated that she went storming off to get it herself….just one, even though I’d ordered two drinks!  My protests that it was ok to put it in any old glass went unheeded.

The weather finally brightened up for us and Tuesday and Wednesday there was full sun and ample opportunity to get a fine burn.  We headed over to the tranquil beach of La Pocitas but weren’t there fifteen minutes before Angela realized she didn’t have her cell phone.  She realized that it must have slipped out of her pocket and fallen on the seat in the mototaxi.  We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon buttonholing every taxi of the same company (there are only two.
Buzzards
  One has a blue and green color scheme, the other red and yellow) and asking the drivers if any of them knew the kid who had driven us to the beach by description.  Angela had the local radio station put out a notice but there was little chance the phone would ever turn up.  Peru is a nation of thieves and you can’t leave anything not bolted down and you have to be ultra careful constantly because you can have the shirt stolen off your back if you don’t.  It’s a terrible shame that things are that way.  You would think that there is an instant where the thief thinks, “Hey, would I like to have something stolen and not returned?” but evidently not.  Angela called her phone and it rang and rang and then shut off.  Then when she called again it went right to voice mail.
Buzzard in flight
  It’s obvious what happened.  The thief just bought a different chip and switched them out.  Voila, he’s got a new phone.  Losing her phone put a damper on things and we just went to the Mancora beach near our bungalows to make the best of things and get some sun.  

The last day, we tried La Pocitas beach again and this time with success.  It was the typical beach scene in Latin America.  We roasted under the hot sun and sympathetic and intelligent vendors combed the beach, attracted by our evident desire to get even warmer by purchasing their alpaca blankets.  Course, what’s a day at the beach without a genuine handcrafted wood and seashell soup ladle?  I couldn’t count all the uses I’d have for that utensil on the beach.
Deluxe beach hotels
  I even asked the vendor what I might do with it.  Carve a pool out of the sand and ferry water from the ocean with it and fill it up?  Cook up a turtle soup there and serve it with that lovely ladle?  If you’re thirsty or hungry on the beach that’s your own tough fault.  Not a water or sandwich to be had…come on now, who’d want an ice cold water on a hot beach?  Let’s get real people, there are coral necklaces and woolen shawls and $10 magazines to be sold!  I figure that if I ever need to furnish a house I should just rent a truck and park it near the beach and by the end of the day I’d have everything I need.  I didn’t see a vendor hauling around furniture but I think that’s just because I didn’t look hard enough.
Andrew at La Playa
  I’m sure he’s out there…

Poor Angela never did find her phone.  Every time we were besieged by offers of taxis I would say, “Taxi? Ahh, no. Cellphone maybe?”  Angela was laughing so hard she couldn’t walk.  At least I lightened the mood of the situation.  We splurged for lunch at a place called La Playa, near the north end of La Pocitas.  It had a nice terrace and uniformed waiters and I hoped that the service would be slightly better than the experience of the night before at Casa de Betty.  The poor befuddled waitress had no clue how to serve a table and by the end of the meal I was wondering if she would do even a single thing right.  It’s just mind-boggling how you can ask to share something and they bring it without share plates and without silverware.
Andrew at La Playa
  Every single time you have to ask for it.  We asked questions about the food preparation and she had no idea whatsoever (also extremely common).  She brought the main course before the appetizers, and when she brought it back out it was cold and inedible.  I asked for dry wine, and asked her to make sure that it was secco.  What she brought me was sweet.  I finally just paid and ran far away.  An egregious example, but elements of that are quite common in Peru.  It makes you realize that even bad service in the US is good service in many other places, especially here.  Well, at La Playa the service was excellent.  The wine was chilled (that’s another thing…very few places offer wine and next to none have it by the glass), the service was prompt, the food was superb – among the best I’ve had in Peru – and the atmosphere was perfect.
Andrew at La Playa
  It was worth the splurge!  For first course we had a delicate whitefish, cooked perfectly, in a white sauce with shrimp and the second course was a mero fish with ravioli in a mushroom sauce.  With the crisp cold Chilean sauvignon blanc it was perfect.

It was time to leave Mancora.  We grabbed our things and were on our way.





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Deluxe beach hotels
Deluxe beach hotels
Deluxe beach hotels
Deluxe beach hotels
Deluxe beach hotels
Deluxe beach hotels
Birds over the water
Birds over the water
Las Pocitas Beach
Las Pocitas Beach
Angela
Angela
Las Pocitas Beach
Las Pocitas Beach
Buzzards
Buzzards
Buzzard in flight
Buzzard in flight
Deluxe beach hotels
Deluxe beach hotels
Andrew at La Playa
Andrew at La Playa
Andrew at La Playa
Andrew at La Playa
Andrew at La Playa
Andrew at La Playa
La Playa Restaurant
La Playa Restaurant
La Playa Restaurant - Angela
La Playa Restaurant - Angela
Fishing Fleet
Fishing Fleet
La Playa Restaurant
La Playa Restaurant
Gate
Gate
Fishing Fleet
Fishing Fleet
Dune buggies
Dune buggies
Fishing commercial center
Fishing commercial center
Mancora
photo by: yadilitta