We arrived in Mancora at 6 a.m. The bus dropped us off, and we were immediately surrounded by 10 locals trying to grab our bags and hustle into their buggies for a ride to wherever we wanted to go. I can usually handle hawkers trying to sling me stuff, but at that time in the morning, and after a 12 hour bus ride, I really wasn’t in the mood. These guys where also trying to out maneuver each other, making the scene that much more chaotic. I ended up snapping at one of the guys and Jon took over and selected one guy. The driver threw my board on top of the tricycle buggy and zipped down the road to the Blue Parrot Hotel. This place was recommended by Gustavo, and was suppose to be right in front of the Mancora break.
We got our room, and took a nap for a few hours. The place was pretty much deserted, and quiet. We were in town during the winter and this being a very tourist town, we knew it would be quite this time of year.
The surf was flat, which was fine with me, as I knew it would give me a few days to get the bus out of my legs.
The hotel had great internet, and Jon and I ordered breakfast and sat up top on the second floor of the outdoor bungalow and ate and skype’d friends. The weather was warm, and the shallow point / beach break out front of the hotel looked like it would light up and get crazy fun with a good swell. I was getting more and more excited to be here, and could feel my body and mind revitalize. On top of all the good feelings and warm weather, today was my birthday, and I couldn’t think of a better place to be. If only all my friends in the world were with me. Having Jon there, a good, old friend helped fill the gap and loneliness.
We walked the beach, and into town, just exploring. I really started to love this place, and really felt comfortable here. Some places just have a great energy, Mancora has more than almost anywhere I have ever been.
After a sunset photo shoot, Jon and I sought out a restaurant for my birthday dinner. Andrea, the manager of the Loki Lima hostel had recommended an Italian restaurant in town. Mancora is a fishing village, and the main catch is Tuna. Each morning the fisherman head out and by mid-day they return with their catch of Tuna. There is nothing better than fresh tuna, and everywhere in town you can get massive tuna steaks, tuna sashimi, and any other tuna combination dish you can think of at a great price.
This particular Italian restaurant served amazing tuna sashimi pizza. I know it sounds weird, and it was, but it was also amazingly tasty! I also had a gnocchi in white cream sauce with seared tuna steak that may go down as my favorite dish on my adventures so far.
My birthday ended as a mellow one, but an amazing dinner, with a good friend, in a great location will make it very memorable.
The next day was lazy, we just hung out at the beach, walked down to the pier where the fisherman unloaded their daily catch. We walked the beach, and went for a swim. We noticed that night that the Loki Hostel next door was rocking. We decided that we would try and stay there for a night. We went over and checked to see if there where rooms and signed up for the next day. During the day, we met a suburbia guy named Ica. He had just moved to Mancora from Columbia and was setting up a kite boarding school.
Little did I know that this ordinary, cool guy would become a bit of a shaman for me. He happened to say just the right thing, at just the right time, that helped me get back on track. Its funny how some places and people can make an experience memorable.
For the night John and I stopped into one of the small bars along the main town road which happens to also be the Pan American Highway. We went into the Surf Bar, as I guess any surfer should. There was only one other table of people, and us at the bar, a pretty quiet night. We talked with the owner, and a guy that called himself Jonathan, who was the bar back, or something….I’m not sure if he was actually even worked there. Turns out the that the guy that owns the bar also owned the main surf school in Mancora. He also plays hilarious music in his bar, and Jon and I drank a few pints and rapped with the boys about the town, the surf, and general BS.
In the morning we moved to the Loki Hostel at Mancora to see what it was all about. Lets just way, we where impressed!
The bar area here just rocked. Each night something crazy went down. Mostly it was drunken white people dancing on the bar. Great business model though, keep the travelers inside the hostel and take their cash for booze.
This place just kept getting better everyday we where there. After a day at Loki, we had made a few friends. I met a few surfers and some local long term travelers that where living in town from The States, and New Zealand.
One thing that has really become apparent after living in communal housing around the world has been the set up of a place really determines the vibe and social aspect of a place. Some hostels or guest houses really have a feeling of seclusion, while others are set up for meeting and socializing. Believe it or not all it really takes is a common area near or around a kitchen or dinning area. Like I have always said, if you want a great space to socialize in, make it a kitchen, its where the party always ends up. Loki does this best out of anyplace I have been.