Today it´s been one month that I am living in Huanchaco and once again I am sitting at my favorite place, famous little Chocolate Café. When arriving here on the 28th of February from chaotic, noisy Lima, this quiet little surfer town felt like a huge relieve. The sound of the ocean, the wind blowing through the palm trees, I could even hear birds singing.
The first days I tried to keep the pace slow. I had fresh fruit salads, coffee and free Wi-Fi in the morning at aforementioned Chocolate Café. I pondered the beach, taking pictures of every single sunset that I could get hold of. I took Yoga lessons on the rooftop of Frogs Hostel. About a week or so, I very much enjoyed this peace and tranquility.
But what else is there to do, if tranquility and peace are not enough?
The 4 “S”
- Surfing lessons
Surfing is basically THE thing to do in Huanchaco and amongst all the various surf schools “Muchik” is the one to go to. Run by 2 brothers, both local and national surf champions, they have a well thought-through concept of teaching total surfing novices like me. Standing on wobbly legs I have never had so much fun while drinking half the ocean. More experienced surfers can rent boards and wetsuits at reasonable prices or philosophize over surfing with Chicho, the older of the 2 brothers.
2. Sandboarding lessons
This is probably on of the more unrivaled experience here, though both surfing and sandboarding require similar skills. You will find some offers at Hostels and the tourist office in Huanchaco but I strongly suggest else. I had the great luck to meet a local tourist guide Jhon Yelsit, who, together with his friends, runs a little company named North Dunes Sandboarding in Salaverry. Jhon not only has an amazing amount of historical knowledge, but also is a very good story teller and, most important, a skilled sandboarding instructor. We were 4, booked the 6-hour experience including a bonfire and had a blast. Let me promise you this: you will have an amazing and fun day, even if you fall un your unexperienced butt as much as I did. Watching local and national sandboarding champion Armando doing his tricks, let alone the stunning view of the sunset are worth all the sand in your pants. And you will have a lot of sand in your pats. A lot a lot. Everywhere. Even in your ears. I think I may have brought half the dunes home with me.
3. Spanish lessons
If your Spanish skills need improvement, you should definitely take some lessons with famous Sam Owen. Sam is a welsh language teacher with a very unique teaching style, that is worth experiencing first-hand. It was love that brought him to Peru and it is love that he puts into all of his lessons. He is able to write upside down and his written explanations look like modern art. One time, I am sure, I will be able to sell them at Sotheby´s highest-bidding. If you are interested, just send him an email at email@example.com or just check out his Facebook page.
4. Salsa Lessons
Salsa Dancing is, other than the activities above, only offered at one place in Huanchaco and only done at night. Every Thursday the Surf-Bar-Club Janpix is the place to be for learning Salsa, meeting the locals and having some strong drinks at reasonable prices. The music is loud and the lessons are basic, easy and for free. The most interesting part however, is to watch the social interaction between locals and gringos throughout the night. Initially both groups examine each other awkwardly. Later at night, when the drinks kick in, both sides start to mingle. One shows off their impressive dancing skills, the other their lack of it. But no matter how poor individual dancing skills may be, at some point locals and gringos will leave in pairs to practice and mingle in private.
Huanchaco is the perfect place to take a break in between all the adventures of your South American travels. Stop here, breathe deeply, relax, surf a little and meet people from all over the world. Have a beer with the Australian surfer dude that rarely showers. Meet the 2 irish cousins that, when encouraged with local beer, will sing irish songs from the bottom of their heart. Stuff yourself with burgers for 2,50 Soles at Menuland and have a wine with your friends at the beach. Play Volleyball with the volunteers from Otra Cosa and clink glasses to one of Huanchacos beautiful sunsets.
Rest at Casa Fresh at the end of your travels and play a game of cards with the owner. Tell all the other travelers about your adventures on Fridays “Family dinner” and get yourself a last beautiful hangover after a night at Janpix.
What were your experiences in Huanchaco? How did you perceive it? Did I miss anything?