Huanchaco, Peru – Nothing to do but Surf

Huanchaco, Peru.

The north coast of Peru and 12 km from Trujillo. (a day on a bus from Lima!)

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We had stopped by this town for lunch and I felt in love with the surfing town atmosphere of it and swore I would be back. And so here I was.

They are famous for these totoras, boats fisherman used to use and they are placed everywhere on the beach.

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Tourist photo and souvenir key chains! Cute!

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It’s not the most beautiful beach town, but it has its charms. The once fishing town is tiny, it’s a cost town everything within a 10-15 min walk away. It has some restaurants and shops for the tourists, but not too lavish, surf shops and souvenir shops, the small restaurants that serve S. 12 ($4) lunch menus (including appetizer, main and a soft drink!), the markets that sell everything out in the air from veggies to meat to fish to bread (there’s no supermarkets).

The town & its colourful buses:

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The markets:

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The beaches have good constant waves so great to surf and observe but not the beautiful kind that you want to lay and hang out. There are actually quite a bit of rocks and pretty painful to the foot.  Many people seem to just like hanging out and looking at the ocean.

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So I made my way over to continue my practice on surfing and that’s just what I did.

The rentals were incredibly cheap. I rented at place called Muchik right by the water for only S. 20 / day (that is $7)!! The boards aren’t that great, but actually it did me good, because apparently I am also a destroyer of surf boards.

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Here’s the surf.

Its constant easy surf. The current not too strong for beginners. The only thing was the rocks by the shore at certain spots. It’s difficult to stand against the current and sometimes you end up being pushed into them, as much as you try to stop it.

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5 days of surf.

  • 1 broken fin (pushed into the rocks unintentionally) – Sorry! I got pushed by the current!
  • 1 dented top of the board – Sorry! I got pushed by the current Again! I’m so embarrassed!
  • 1 chipped side off the board – Umm.. this is the third time. You guys should make stronger boards!!!

So, I still hold my name as the “Desastrada” which my Brasil friends were calling me. But hey, on the positive side, I won’t destroy anything if I wasn’t trying right? So it’s all good. 🙂 

The good things is they only charge 50% of the repair cost it ended up costing me only S. 30 ($10) so the damage wasn’t so bad for my wallet. It was however quite damaging to my ego and motivation to surf though. But I’ll try again!

Besides surfing, there was not much to do so I spent a lot of time at the hostel, hanging out and cooking and writing. I wrote on my previous article about a good hostel, but a place to hang out and relax is so essential to your stay.

Frog’s Chillhouse – as per its name was a good place to chill and hang out. Large open lounge spaces, game areas, kitchen and rooftop balconies. They are still new and things are clean and pretty so that added to the pleasant stay.

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Cooking! French people making bread!

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Also, I went jogging in the morning and was shocked and sad to see how dirty the beaches actually were. There was trash everywhere!! and I couldn’t believe so much could be left behind. I had notices people threw things out (even outside of buses)  a lot here, but not to this extent!

I was thinking what I could do to help? Should I just start picking up or should I think of a way to more fundamentally help? What can I do in the short time here? Then I saw two ladies working at it. One raking them together and one stuffing into a bag.

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I went up to them and expressed my sadness and my will to help. Though they were reluctant at first, they found me some gloves and a bag and I was one of the ladies. And we worked, silently picking up garbage, filling up the bag and replacing it with another.

 

In the 2-3 hours we worked, we filled up probably a good 10 large garbage bags. The garbage was anything from candy wrappers, large plastic sheet, condoms (and lots of it!) to toys, nets, shoes. I couldn’t believe that people would leave this behind! But it turns out, the washed up to the beach every single morning. Every single morning, the ladies comb the beaches to yet another load full of garbage.

This is before & close up of the beach

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And this is after & the close up of the beach

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See the difference?

They tell me that they work 6 days a week from 6 in the morning to 2 (because the sun is so strong), with a wage of S. 650 ($200) / month. Raking, collecting and bagging garbage with no lunch or rest. It is really hard physical labor and I felt for them. This is one of the most important jobs for Huanchaco if they want tourism to bloom so I hope there can be more help and better wages for these hard-working ladies behind the scene.

I’m sure my 3 hours of help wasn’t much in labor, but I hope it was time well spent for all of us. For me, I was able to talk, understand and think of what I could do beyond just being a traveler. Is there any volunteer work that I can do, can I get involved an get something back to the communities that I travel to? For the ladies, I hope it was a fun time getting to know a foreigner and to be appreciated how important their job is to the city. We talked about the job, the working conditions, Japan and they even talked about coming! But upon hearing the prices of the tickets, asked if I had a bag big enough. haha. Lovely ladies. I’m glad I took the courage to walk up to them that morning.

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I wanted Huanchaco to be chill time and surfing time until I was satisfied and it was just that. Happy to have stopped here but now charged up for the next adventure.

Next stop: Huaraz. A 8 hour bus ride away in the 3,000m altitude of the Andes mountains. I heard so many traveler rave about it so looking forward to the unbelievable mountain scenery and all the hiking!

 

 

2 thoughts on “Huanchaco, Peru – Nothing to do but Surf

  1. Ahhh Frog’s Chillhouse looks like the perfect place to get stuck in >< one of those traveller enclaves that are just too good to leave. Great insight into the surf! Would you say the beach is dangerous for swimming then?

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    1. As long as you’re careful with the rocks, you’re okay to swim. There seemed to be a lot of of local people just playing around by the shore though! As a tourist, I’m sure you can find better places to swim, thanks for the comment!

      Like

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