An ex-fishing port turned surfer haven, Huanchaco is a tiny little seaside town with huge waves, very little sand and lots of backpacker-friendly restaurants and bars.
During our time there, Sam, Ella and I divided our time between partying, eating and sunbathing, with some culture at the end to balance things out (it’s situated near some crazy old ruins. More on that later!)
The wonderful Ella!
The beach itself isn’t all that. It’s mainly sea, with a narrow strip of dirty-looking sand, but we found a nice spot between palm trees where we could sunbathe. There are also lots of cute old fishing boats lining the shore, along with markets and and an old pier – pretty sweet and ramshackle. We also went to one (of the many) seafood restaurants on the strip for some surprisingly delicious ceviche and chicharron (fried chunks) de pescado, so not all bad.
On our first night we decided we were going to ‘go hard’ after a couple of nights off. Whilst stocking up on rum, we bumped into an old friend from our hostel in Sucre and he invited us to his hostel to drink in their bar, which was handy as we weren’t allowed to drink our own booze at our hostel (I hate when hostels do this!!!!). So we ended up incognito drinking at ours, then finishing the night at theirs (after many hours of inane conversation, when Sam fell asleep. Sign that the night is over!). Though Chris apparently saw us approaching a third location after this (but none of us remember…!)
These photos are as blurry as the night!
The day after was, understandably, a bit chilled. However, we found an AMAZING place called Menu Land where you can get any kind of burger, with any topping, millions of kinds of sauces and great chips, with burgers starting at 50p. Ach. It was a hangover dream come true! After that and some sunbathing we popped back to our mate’s hostel for a charity pub quiz which we WON!! BOO YEAH!! We won a LOT of chocolate as our prize. It was gooood.
The day after we visited the aforementioned crazy old ruins – Huaca de Sol y Luna, and Chan Chan. They’re from around 2000AD and are pretty darned impressive. Huaca de la Luna in particular was really striking – built by the Moche people, it’s a load of temples buried on top of each other, which means they’re preserved really well, so you can still see all the original colours, artwork and symbols carved into the walls. Our guide explained what all the different animals symbolised, and what took place in each area of the temple (spoiler alert: they loved sacrificing young warriors!) It was way better than anything I saw in Egypt. Really impressive!
Impressive Huaca de la Luna!
We also went to an awesome museum which had tons of old pottery that was so intricately made.. Mainly to take hallucinogenic drugs with. Pretty cool people! Chan chan is the biggest pre-Columbian City in America – now basically an outdoor city of crumbling mud walls with fishing nets carved into them (they loved fishing!). We also went to a couple of smaller sites with similarly impressive carvings.
After a whole day of traipsing round in the heat we were pretty pooped. We’d planned a Big Night Out on the beach (Thursday being the busiest night) and after getting my makeup on and everything (this is a rare occurrence now) I was struck by food poisoning. Again!!! After an absolutely agonising night of cramps, vomming and pooping, I started getting worried it was something more serious and after extensive research I discovered I may have a parasite living inside me. Gross huh?! Have worked out all the food poisoning is pork-related (wehaaay!) so I’m off the sausage for a while (that’s what she said).
The offending chorizo!
The last couple of days were pretty dull. I laid in bed, moaning (not in a good way), watching films, booking up jungle stuff, whilst Sam lovingly dosed me up on painkillers, got me water, cooked me soft noodles and reassured me that I wasn’t going to die (no matter how bad the pain was!) Bless him. This is becoming a worryingly regular part of our relationship. Once you’ve seen your girlfriend vom and poo at the same time, you’re into a new zone.
Poo aside, we booked a bus out of there, and into THE JUNGLE!!!!!! An 18 hour bus, delayed by 6 hours (lights went off, bus stopped, everyone went to sleep… In a random road in the jungle. I didn’t ask questions) so 24.5 hours later, we arrived in Tarapoto….!