We were told to always book first class on the buses in South America since the price was only a little more and well worth it. This was not only our first overnight bus and border crossing but our first double-decker! Sadly though, the first class section was on the first level in what felt like a cave, plus this CIFA bus had to have been from the 80’s. The seats were larger and folded part way down making sleeping easier. However, sleeping wasn’t an option as the bus stopped and turned on all the lights every couple of hours during our 8 hour drive. We had to get out of the bus around 4am to go through immigration, which took about forty-five minutes. Dead tired the bus dropped us off on the main road in Mancora, Peru at 7:30am. Moto-taxi’s were ready and waiting to take us to our hotels, which ended up only being a short walking distance to our particular Hostel. Now by pure chance I booked us into a hostel chain that has become quite a phenomenon in South America. A group of travelers got together and decided to create a hostel that was clean, nice, safe, full of on site activities and 18 and over.
‘The Loki’ meaning God of Mischief was first created in Cusco, Peru. The owners have since expanded their hostel empire to Lima, Mancora, and La Paz, Bolivia. The mototaxi driver dropped us off in front of a high wall. He knocked on the large white door and a guard let us in. The property consists of a large 3 story white building resembling something you would see in Morocco, a 26 meter pool, an open-air restaurant/ bar/ giant gaming area, and multiple lawns to chill out it. We couldn’t check in until 1pm, so we curled up in the shaded hammocks and caught up on our lost z’s. By 11am this place was awake and bustling with young travelers. We checked in and lugged our rolly bags and surfboards up to the 3rd floor. It was well worth it. The room was huge and had a balcony with panoramic views of the ocean. $33/night for this room felt like a steal! We didn’t even leave the property the first day, just did our best to recuperate from our time in Ecuador and the long sleepless bus ride. Unfortunately, this quiet little beach town ended up being not so silent. The party hostel was nice enough to go quiet by 11pm on the first night, but the unexpected bar on the other side of another hotel blared their music until 4am every night of the week. Abe stuffed pillows into the screened windows in an attempt to smother the noise, but it was useless.
The next morning we woke up to a hot sunny day. Finally, sunshine! We ventured out of the back door of the Loki del Mar and onto the sandy beach of Mancora. It was small and beautiful. We decided to stay for two more nights. Abe finally got to surf and I got a few runs in. We played pool volleyball with other travelers, lounged, read, and explored the one road town. Food and beer was now 2-3 times the cost of Ecuador, but the quality was so much better. We found a great vegetarian restaurant called, Angela’s Place, a great upstairs cevicheria overlooking the ocean and funny enough the Loki del Mar had really good food and at the best price.
On our second night, we came back from dinner just in time to see the end of the beer pong tournament. The very tall and brawny Irish owner, Dre and a female employee smoked every poor stumbling contester. Perhaps we looked a little too sober or Dre was just looking for fresh meat, because he approached us and said, “let’s play”. Abe and I shook our heads no. He said, “I’ll buy the beers and play left-handed just to make it interesting”. We couldn’t decline. He lined up the cups and the toss began. We held our own for a short while, but we (especially me) still weren’t a match for Dre and his new more sober partner. After having to pound many cups of beer, lots of laughter, fun and of course losing we decided to call it a night. The next fuzzy morning we searched for a bus that could take us to Pacasmayo. There were many bus companies and shuttle vans heading to the major cities. But finding one that would drop us off in the small town of Pacasmayo posed to be a little more difficult. Eventually we were directed to an office that could take us to our next destination the following morning. The surf was finally up a bit, so we enjoyed our last day at the beach. Our night was spent relaxing as a pesky cold had started to brew. But of course sleeping wasn’t an option as the Loki and the neighborhood bar were both in full effect until at least 2am.
The next morning we woke up to a quiet hostel and the most pumping surf we had seen in South America, but our bus was leaving in less than an hour. Abe was devastated that we had to get on a bus of all days, but felt it was time to move onto the next surf spot. There wasn’t a main bus terminal so the ticket lady told us to meet in front of her office at 8:30am for our tickets and the bus. However, when we arrived her office was closed and she was nowhere to be found. As the clock ticked closer to 9, we began to think she took our money and ran. The neighbor office was open and said our bus is further down the road. So we rolled our luggage down the main street hoping to find the bus name that was on the receipt she gave us. Eventually, I just stayed back with the luggage and Abe wondered further up the road asking other locals. As Abe was walking back with despair in his eyes I noticed a bus near me, so I showed the bus driver our receipt and he started yelling at me in Spanish for being late. I did my best to explain it was the office lady. But just as I was explaining myself at 9:10am, she appeared with 10 other travelers that had all been waiting for her as well. He seemed less than impressed. We quickly learned that we had actually booked through a travel agent and not directly with a bus company. This was the first and only time this happened, but be aware of this when booking buses since they charge you more than the actual bus.