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The next day, Marco drags me out of bed at 6am, bouncing off the walls from life – and caffeine? – and says:  “I check with my friend. There’s huge tubes at Piscinas for two more hours. You like to see?” Racing the 4X4 back down the PanAmericana, we take the turning off for Lobitos, hit a dirt track, then a sand dune and head into a desolate military facility requiring ID for beach access. We breeze through to join the other surfers, who skillfully glide through the barrels like bronzed darts. Marco turns to me and says, simply: “I live the really good life.” I don’t doubt it.

The good life, as it transpires, also extends to Mancora’s reputation as a backpacker party town. Perfect for kicking back after a hard day’s wave chasing, the main street offers a plethora of bars, eateries and entertainment for those craving a little aprés surf. I soon learn the nucleus of the small town’s party scene is at Loki, a large backpacker joint where twentysomethings mingle for hijinks and themed party nights with a similarly fun-loving bunch of nomads.

Knocking back pisco slushies and dancing to cringeworthy Bon Jovi classics is fun (for a short time), and at 2am the party shifts gear as the hostel decamps down to the beach for ear-blasting reggaeton and a generous dose of Rihanna.

I head home, however. For tomorrow is about a different kind of high; I’m off to visit Mancora’s resident shaman, Eloy. 


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Big Trip: Surfing and shamans - a guide to travelling in Northern Peru
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