Originally, the plan was to take buses through southern Colombia, through Ecuador then Peru. Unfortunately, extensive protests/road closures made bus travel difficult, so we flew as far south as we could so we could get into Peru as soon as possible. Guayaquil, Ecuador is the main port city to the Galapagos but we landed around 10PM so didn’t see much other than our hostel and the bus station the next morning. Not before eating a typical breakfast though – encebollado de pescado, fish soup. Just what you want to wake up to, right? I was not a big fan, but Matt said he would have ordered it again for lunch.
We took a bus from Guayaquil, Ecuador to Tumbes, Peru. We had read the border crossing to be a sketchy one, but it was really easy. Tips to note: when taking international buses, take one that drops you off across the border – the bus driver actually cares that you make it through immigration. From Tumbes, we took a collectivo (car or van that acts like a shared taxi service) to Mancora, Peru. It is very common to play your own music from your phone like a boombox – in public, on the bus, and I was lucky enough to sit next to the man who graced our two hour journey with Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift. Of course, I sang along and he got quite a kick out of that (sorry to all the other passengers).
Finally, Mancora, Peru! It has been one of Matt’s dreams to surf the prolific, perfect left waves of Northern Peru. We arrived after dark, but even before getting a hostel (but after a meal, of course), Matt went on the hunt for a surfboard. We went to the local surf shop – he wanted to buy a board to use for the two weeks we’d be by the coast. All the boards on display were a bit pricey, but one of the local boys was in the shop overheard us and offered to show us his board. The boy borrowed his friend’s motortaxi and took us up the road to his house/hostel (in which he tried to offer us a room to which they lost the key and tried to break the lock unsuccessfully with both a hammer and butter knife). An hour later on this wild goose hunt, Matt ended up buying the board.
Mancora is quite touristy, with droves of pushy mototaxists, roaming jewelry vendors and bars lining the beach. We had only planned on staying one night, but the warm water, hot sun and our ridiculously nice hostel for only s/15 (~$5.50) convinced us to stay for an extra day before wandering to the much less-inviting environment of Lobitos, Peru.