By Katie Kurtessis
It was a Saturday afternoon with a cloudless sky, temperatures in the low 90s, and I was one of only five people on the beach in Vichayito. I reclined back in my lounge chair, sipping frozen pineapple juice, and stared at ocean in front of me. To my right, a family from Sweden drank Cusqueña, the local beer. In the distance I could see two horses and a guide making their way down the beach to offer romantic horseback rides on the beach. On occasion, an ice cream man would push his bike cart down the beach, or a walking vendor would passively try to sell me sarongs, dresses, or straw baskets, but otherwise I was completely at peace.
The biggest decision on my mind was whether I should lie in the sun or if I should seek shade on one of the daybeds beneath coconut leaf thatched roves. In other words, it was the epitome of relaxation.
I arrived in Vichayito on a Saturday morning. As a budget traveler, I had opted for the $4, 6:30AM bus ride from Piura that provided me with thumping bass beats and crying children for the three-hour journey.
After a series of harrowing switchbacks with gorgeous views of the coast, I arrived in Mancora to a gaggle of mototaxi drivers all clamoring to be at my disposal. After nearly instigating a fight, I chose a trustworthy-looking driver and began my trip Vichayito. The trip was only about 10 kilometers, but the washed out dirt road made me grateful I hadn’t eaten any breakfast as we bumped up and down through potholes. I both smiled and grumbled at myself for picking the most obscure beach I could find.
After the longest 10km ever, I arrived at my hotel. My angry stomach quickly calmed as I saw the textbook image of paradise. Lounge chairs dotted the beach, and I immediately wanted to be on one, sipping something fruity and cold. After a quick tour of the hotel: perfect room with ocean view and private balcony, two pools, two bars, and two restaurants- complete with a stove to wood-fire pizza, I was content to plant myself in one of those chairs for my two days in Vichayito.
I only moved for my two meals. Lunch was a piece of fresh fish for me and a perfect tuna tartare for my companion. Dinner was a traditional Peruvian barbeque of chicken, steak and chorizo, paired with a national red wine. Completely relaxed and full at the end of the day, I resigned myself to stargazing and a deep sleep, accompanied by the sound of rolling waves and a sea breeze.
Had I wanted to be active, I could have enjoyed kayaking, snorkeling, four-wheeling, or even a mangrove tour, but after a long week of work I was more than content to surrender to tranquility for the weekend.
My companion even indulged in a massage on the beach. I spent two days staring at the water with occasional walks and dips in the water. The outside world had slipped from my mind both instantly and completely.
After a weekend of such solitary peacefulness, my return to the populated cities of Peru was jarring, but I reminded myself that an escape from the chaos was just a bus ride away.
There is much more to Peru than the sites covered on the regular trips to Machu Picchu. If you’re interested in exploring more of the country on a tour of Peru, talk to a travel agency or do some research on some of Peru’s countless alternative destinations.