A Solo Female Traveler's Experiences On And Off The Beaten Path

Taxi? Weed? Coke? A Typical Day In Máncora, Peru.



Máncora, Peru, home of surfers and transient tourists making their way south to Lima. It is a spot popular for waves, and not much else. For the non-surfers (like me) it is the first stop one makes in Peru after taking the long bus journey (9 hours) at night from Guayaquil, Ecuador. Spending time in Máncora is not something I planned on doing, but fate had other plans when my traveling companion had his debit card eaten by an ATM a few days after we arrived. A one-week stopover to rest and recoup before heading south to Lima (and parts along the way) quickly became a two-week stay while waiting for the new card to arrive in the mail. (It is still not here yet) Yes, they do have mail service in Máncora, Peru, but it does take some sweet talking to allow the hotel to accept a package on your behalf. Especially when you tell them it is your debit card and they immediately ask if you will be able to pay for your room up until its arrival. I have tried desperately to find the charm of Máncora, and without much luck. The food is decent, the prices fair (albeit not one of the cheapest places in the world like CNN Budget Travel believes). There are three things you are sure to find in Máncora, Peru…a taxi, weed, and coke (cocaine).

A typical day in Máncora does not amount to much activity. There is the beach, a long strip of relatively clean white sand with surfers and kite surfers enjoying the waves at all times of the day. Other than that, well, you can grab a tour to some local mud hot springs, go see a crocodile farm, or swim with tortugas (after doing that in the Galapagos I do not think it would even compare so I have not bothered to go). I’ve fed marshmallows to crocodiles in the past, and done my time in mud hot springs–much to my blonde hair’s schagrin) so Máncora has not proven to have any activities geared towards my tastes. I did enjoy an excellent massage at FisioMundoPeru and have read nearly six books since my arrival. I view this as a win, win situation, even if I am feeling a bit stagnate.

The Main Road Of Máncora, Peru Where The Taxis, Weed, And Coke Are Easy To Find.

The Main Road Of Máncora, Peru Where The Taxis, Weed, And Coke Are Easy To Find.

Now, if I was into the party scene, Máncora would be heaven on earth for me. The one road in town, minus the tiny Malecon that is more a mecca for street peddlers than anything else, is where the action is for the partying types here in Máncora. One step on the road and instantly you will be asked if you want a taxi. I still have not figured out just where I would go in said taxi as the town is so small you can walk from one end to the next in ten minutes. Should you decline the taxi ride the taxi drivers have other “services” you may be interested in…weed and cocaine. They are not shy about it, nor do the cops that roam the streets seem to care in the slightest. The common call one hears from multiple taxi drivers on the street, at any time of day, is “Taxi? Weed? Coke?” This has become my life: saying no to the drug peddlers while I am simply trying to go grab dinner. Thankfully my breakfast spot, Green Eggs and Ham, is located off the main road so I don’t have to deal with them first thing in the morning.

For those who want weed, coco, and debauchery (stay at the Loki Hostel) Máncora could just be your mecca. I can see why so many young travelers who want to have a good time come to this town. The music starts at 9am and does not silence until 3am in the morning. The booze is always flowing and you can get drink specials at every restaurant, every day of the week. The beach is comfortable, the hostels cheap for a dorm bed and there are plenty of people to meet and get crazy with. Am I too old for Máncora? I hate to believe that I am ever too old to visit any destination but I fear it may be the case with Máncora. Rest and relaxation will have to do until I can depart this town full of taxis, weed, and coco. I will miss the pancakes, but I am quite sure they will have those in other cities along the way to Lima.

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