Checklist Earth: Peru (El Norte)


 Checklist Earth: Peru (El Norte)
 By Jarrett Bellini | @JarrettBellini 
 June 7, 2019
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About
In June 2018, while visiting my girlfriend's family in Peru, we ventured out from Lima for a couple nights of relaxation on the country's northern coast. The plan was simple: Beach. Sun. And an astonishing amount of raw fish cured in lime juice. This little get away was as much about the sea as it was about the sea-vee-chay. Ceviche. See what I did there? Click here to see a full page of assorted trip photos. Scroll down for 360 VR videos.

The Flight
Latam Airlines is a perfectly fine carrier to get you around South America. Here, we flew from Lima to a town called Tumbes, located near the border with Ecuador. From the air, the terrain was mostly brown. And I never once - save for taking off out of Lima - saw the ocean or anything that resembled a body of water. Which was mildly curious. However, I was assured that somewhere out there was the Pacific. And I hoped it was as blue as it was in my dream. Shawshank Redemption. See what I did there?

Tumbes to Las Pocitas
My girlfriend and her sister pre-arranged a ride to pick us up at the airport. He held a sign with my name. I get it. A little joke on the gringo. The gringo who sat up front in the van, desperately searching for the western edge of the continent. Which, eventually, came into sight somewhere along the 115km drive to Las Pocitas - a little beach area just south of Mancora. We stopped in a little town along on the way called Zorritos. Just a quick in and out to grab beer and eggs and probably other stuff. I dunno.

Coco Né
A collection of nine beachside bungalows, Coco Né is basically what I would come up with if I had to design the perfect beach house and I was capable of drawing. It's perfect. Thatched roofs. Amazing views. It's the kind of place where you could sit down every morning for the rest of your life in a lounge chair, drink beer, and eventually write a failed novel.

Note: 360 video doesn't work on certain browsers, mobile devices, and streaming services.
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Los Corales
Just a short walk from our house was a little beach resort called Los Corales, and we made it the first stop on our quest to eat as much raw fish as possible. I mean, it's not sushi. For those who are new to this dish - a Peruvian point of pride - it's cubed up fish cured with lime juice. So, it's "cooked" but not cooked. And there's spices and all that and it's just amazing. Los Caroles was a good start.  

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Click here to watch directly on YouTube . The 360 experience is worth it!

Mototaxis
They're basically tuk tuks like you'd find in Asia. And this is the preferred method for getting around in the Mancora area. Heading north from Las Pocitas into the town proper takes about ten minutes of drive time. But the waiting makes the entire journey a bit longer. On the less busy side streets - like we were on - mototaxis are rather sporadic. And many that do drive by already have passengers. But there's no rush to be anywhere in these parts, so you wait. And wait. And wait. Casablanca. See what I did there?

Restaurant Cesar
This is supposed to be the best ceviche in Mancora. But we'll never know. Restaurant Cesar was closed. Wah. Wah.

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Click here to watch directly on YouTube . The 360 experience is worth it!

Las Gemelitas
Our second choice ended up being a cozy little restaurant called Las Gemelitas. Open air. Friendly staff. And great food. Everything you want. And they were even nice enough to let me come into their kitchen so I could film them making ceviche. So, special thanks to everyone at this second choice restaurant that was nothing less than first rate. 

Note: 360 video doesn't work on certain browsers, mobile devices, and streaming services.
Click here to watch directly on YouTube . The 360 experience is worth it!

La Bajadita
After lunch we went on a search for beer to bring back to the house. We thought we could get some at a place called La Bajadita. But it wasn't to be. No beer. That said, it had amazing desserts. Which sort of makes sense. In Peruvian slang, "la bajadita" is slang for coming down. That could be a flight of stairs. Or, more figuratively, from a high. So, one might use it after smoking weed. Right about when the munchies kick in. That's la bajadita. Or at least that's how I understand it. Thus ... desserts. Dude! Sweet!

Loki Hostel
I didn't actually venture into this place, but thought I should mention it here since it seemed like it was the go-to backpacker hostel in town. You know, the one for when you absolutely, positively want to wake up naked and hungover next to a stranger. Loki is the party hostel, and their website makes it perfectly clear that this is the place to do shots. And then barf said shots. So that you can do more shots. And then wakeup naked and hungover next to aforementioned stranger.

Antica Pizzeria
This is actually one location from a national chain. But it certainly doesn't feel like a chain. And the pizza is really good. On the upper level, Antica Pizzeria has a great terrace for drinking and dining in the open air. And if you listen carefully. And if you close your eyes. And if the wind is just right. You might even hear the faint echo of a backpacker throwing up her flip flops.

Note: 360 video doesn't work on certain browsers, mobile devices, and streaming services.
Click here to watch directly on YouTube . The 360 experience is worth it!

La Sirena d'Juan
This seemed to be about as upscale a restaurant as you'll find in Mancora. Which is not to suggest that it's not relaxed and comfortable, just like all the little holes in the wall. It's still perfectly charming, but with more creative food. And they take American Express. The ceviche at La Sirena d'Juan was less traditional. But inventive. It was really good for a change of pace. Though, I'm perfectly happy with the standard. 

Papa Mo's Milk Bar
Hailed as the original beach front bar in Mancora, Papa Mo's serves good drinks and specializes in ice cream. Apparently they also make fresh brownies every day, but we never tried any. Much to the disappointment of Kenny, the local dog who undoubtedly was showing affection in hopes of a treat. Nobody is capable of liking me THAT much.

Note: 360 video doesn't work on certain browsers, mobile devices, and streaming services.
Click here to watch directly on YouTube . The 360 experience is worth it!

Talara
This is the town we flew out of back to Lima. I can offer nothing of interest about its people. Its architecture. Its cuisine. Or its history. I can only say that it was 1.5 hours from the beach house. And it had a functioning airport. Beyond that, I got nothing. I'm sure it's lovely.

Note: 360 video doesn't work on certain browsers, mobile devices, and streaming services.
Click here to watch directly on YouTube . The 360 experience is worth it!

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