After 3 month in the Caribbean we finally agreed to leave our favourite destination in order to continue our travel. Keen on discovering South America we started in Peru.
Managing to get there without passing through the main hub Miami we booked a connection from Santiago to Lima via Panama City. From Lima we headed up North to Mancora, Peru’s famous destination.
From the first moment on we realized, this is a real back to the roots hippie town. It seems to be the Puerto Escondido of Peru – just with the difference that it’s windy.
On the internet we already found our favourite (or Isa’s favourite…) place to stay, the Samana Chakra retreat. Considering the rather top priced hotel, we thought about staying there just for the first week, but thanks to low season they cut the prize by half and we could stay there for the month. Samana Chakra is not a hotel, it’s a Yoga retreat. So, we managed to live there for a month without getting too “zen”. Isa enjoyed the daily Yoga classes and Andy had fun in observing the Yoga Guru’s and other temporary staff that seemed to be selected at “Rudolf Steiner School”. Thanks to the great Peruvian manager we lived in a very clean, relaxing atmosphere.
Beaches in Peru changed from Caribbean…. There are so many birds chasing fish, that some of them regularly crash on the beach! So, the pretty nice beach is often the last stop of unlucky blue footed boobies or pelicans. Of course the hundreds of vultures have a nice meal out of them….just the normal nature circle. By the way, sometimes the birds did not crash into the water but into our kite lines….
Mancora offers great restaurants and we got the freshest seafood ever. Isa was in heaven between ceviche, fish carpaccio and langoustines. We also met the friendliest restaurant staff ever; they really know what great customer service feels like. Once your food is not as it should be, they apologize 10 times; offer you the plate and a desert on top of it. If anything is out of stock, they just send someone to get it for you at the store. Our favourite restaurants: “El Tuna” and “El Aji”.
In Mancora we could kite all over the long beach and got some nice shore break. The main spot is in front of Mancora centre. The nice curling point break proofs that Peru is the land of the longest left breaks. It get’s a little bit crowded on the weekends as you share it with surfers, stand up paddlers and kite surfers, but the advantage of kiting is that you catch much more waves than the surfers!
After we got used to cold air and water we headed down to the famous Lobitos surf spot. There the water was much colder, wind very gusty, but Lobitos has one of the most amazing breaks of Peru. Unluckily we got there on a low wave day, but we could imagine what it most is like under normal conditions. Some other spots nearby where Cabo Blanco and Organos.
After 4 weeks we headed up north and crossed the border to Ecuador in Tumbes. A special city with hundreds of souvenir shops along the street. Fist you stop on the Peruvian side to get your migration stamp, then after another 20 minutes drive around the city you get to the Ecuadorian custom to do the immigration. Only then you get back to Pan-American Norte to continue your travel.
Once arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, we continued our journey by cab to avoid an overnight stay in the big city. Mr. Schumacher himself was our driver over a terrible road and we really enjoyed arriving in one piece in Manta. We stayed at the Davo’s Kite house, a friendly family owned guesthouse near the city centre. It was funny to stay in a city again after all those little pueblos. We especially enjoyed passing through a fully equipped supermarket again.
Manta is the capital of the Tuna – so Isa was again keen on discovering the Ecuadorian cuisine. But as a matter of fact they have the freshest fish, but not really great restaurant chefs….
Besides the city of Manta there is the smaller town Monte Christi where the famous Panama hat is still produced hand made. (Yes, the Panama hat is an Ecuadorian product….)
The main kite spot is about 12 km south of the city centre at Santa Marianita. Wind was fine but waves a little low, so we decided to stay only for 2 weeks there and spend some time in Quito before leaving for Brazil.
We felt a bit dizzy arriving after 5 month on sea level to 2800 m altitude, but as real Swiss people we quickly got used to it.
With our special local guides Veronica and Steffen we enjoyed a few days of sightseeing in and around the amazing mountain city.
Especially to mention is the old colonial district of Quito. Surrounded by 8 beautiful churches it was the former centre. Outside Quito we visited Otavalo, with its Indian market and of course the Equator Line and Museum. On our last day, we even got to see the volcanoes surrounding the city!
Not only that our guides showed us around their home town, they have a great sushi restaurant where Isa ate the best white tuna ever… www.sushi-in.com.ec
We spend the nights in a great boutique hotel and Isa spoiled herself with some spa treatments. It felt really nice to get out of the wind and sand for some days.Then we got ready for our 24h trip to Brazil. It would be a really short flight, just to fly over to Fortaleza. But as there are no direct connections we had a little roundtrip from Quito to Lima to Sao Paolo and up north again to Fortaleza!