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Rambling Peru

Since Nick and I have both visited Peru in the past, we decided to primarily drive down the Pan-American Highway, which is mainly vast stretches of desert and coastal lines.  Therefore, we skipped Cusco, Machu Picchu, the small towns on Lake Titicaca, and tours of the Amazon jungle, all of which are amazing sights to explore.  Machu Picchu is above and beyond one of the most incredible landscapes I have ever seen, so I strongly encourage you to visit Machu Picchu during your rambles.

Due to the desolate deserts that run along the Pan-American Highway, camping opportunities are abound.  All that is required is a willingness to explore off of the roadways, and to remain observant of the highway’s view of your vehicle.  To learn more about pirate camping, and, in particular, camping Peruvian landscapes, read Nick’s article, “Pirate Camping 102: A How-To Guide,” and watch the VIDEO.

Mancora is a small surf town with a similar hippie vibe to that of Monanita, Ecuador.  Young surfers stroll down the streets, and beach-shack bars and restaurants accommodate the many tourists that meander the town.

If you are looking for a hearty but affordable American breakfast, check out Green Eggs & Ham, located on the beach.  The owners, who are from the south, are incredibly friendly, and their menu will be a welcome change from the regular sweet bread and jam  free breakfasts offered by most hostels.  Green Eggs & Ham serves up golden hashbrowns, omelettes, fluffy pancakes, and fresh juices.  Lunch is available as well.

While you may not want to stay in Catacaos, you may want to stop by this town famous for it’s sterling silver jewelry as you head south from Mancora.  Countless shops offer a dizzying array of silver earrings, pendants, necklaces, and other jewelry.  Prices, which are a steal in comparison to American silver jewelry, are determined by the jewelry’s weight, and, as always, your bargaining skills.

TIP: An easy way to bargain is to ask, “¿Tienes un mejor precio?” (Do you have a better price?) after the initial price of the item is stated.

If you have trouble finding Catacaos on the map, look for Piura, which is the larger town located close-by.

Huanchaco, a surf spot located outside of the large city of Trujillo, is a simple, pleasant town with a beachfront that is safe to camp on.  Look for lunch deals further into town, where you can enjoy a fresh fish plate for about $3 USD.

Lima, the capital of Peru, is a congested city that can be extremely difficult to navigate by car.  However, if you plan to stay in Lima, the barrio Miraflores, it’s richest neighborhood, is clean and pleasant, offering modern amenities, grocery stores, and high-end restaurants.

One of my all-time favorite restaurants is located in Miraflores, La Trattoria di Mambrino.  Located on Calle Bonilla, 106, it is across the street from an archeological site and park.  La Trattoria di Mambrino offers fresh pastas, delicious pastries, and great espresso drinks.  I ordered my favorite dish, the artichoke ravioli with a mushroom cream sauce, which I also enjoyed during my first visit to Peru about two years ago.

You can read reviews of La Trattoria di Mambrino and locate it on Google Maps at the Trip Advisor page: www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g294316-d945355-Reviews-La_Trattoria_di_Mambrino-Lima.html.

A great hostel in Miraflores is the Albergue Miraflores House, located on Avenida Comandante Espinar.  Francis Chauvel, the owner of the hostel, is always available to give tips about your stay in Lima, offering free maps that are filled with restaurant, shopping, and tourist recommendations.  Ramble Writer would like to thank Albergue Miraflores House for contributing as one of our sponsors, and also for the wonderful pisco sours!

Albergue Miraflores House

Av. Comandante Espinar Nº 611 |  Miraflores (L18)  |  Tel: (511) 44 777 48
(between Avenue Angamos and the Avenue Comandante Espinar)

Huacachina is literally an oasis surrounded by sand dunes, offering a picturesque, palm tree-lined town that sits within a vast desert of golden sand.  The camping within the sand dunes is incredible, and driving up and down these soft hills make you appreciate having the luxury of a 4×4 vehicle.  The town itself, which is tiny, is quite touristy, but it does offer dune buggy rides, and snowboards for sandboarding, which is definitely worth the hour rental!

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