We booked a night bus (11.05pm) from Huaraz to Trujillo as we couldn’t find a direct bus to Mancora. We used the company Movistar which was honestly a bit of a shit show with multiple buses supposedly leaving at the same time. They ran movies until nearly 2am so trying to sleep was a bit of a mare and we eventually arrived in Trujillo at 6am. Abi and I were travelling with our pal (Alex) from our Hostel in Huaraz whose Spanish is heaps better than ours, and found we all needed to get to a bus station across town for our 8pm Oltursa night bus to Mancora. So we piled into a taxi which raced across town blaring 50 cent at 7am. Thankfully the Oltursa bus station was open so we were able to drop off our bags and go exploring. We made it as far as across the street and booked an all day tour for 30 soles each, followed by the worst breakfast ever which pretty much went untouched.
When our mini van finally rocked up (with blessed air con blaring) we were driven to the Huacas de Moche museum. We had half an hour to explore and find out all about the Moche people and how they made sacrifices to their gods (the moon and the mountain they lived at the base of). Sacrifices were made (from what I understood) when heavy rains came as a way to appease their gods (moon and mountain). Two warriors would fight until one had un-helmed the other. The ‘loser’ would then be presented to the priest, taken to a secluded room in preparation for his sacrifice and later taken to the highest level of the temple for the priest to sacrifice privately – beheading or bludgeoning. The priest later presented the blood of the sacrifice and hey presto, the rain stopped. (I made that last part up).
We then explored the archeological site of Huacas de la Luna, part of the ancient Moche capital built using millions of Adobe blocks which families marked with their own signature.
The city underwent at least 6 construction phases in 600 years by creating platforms and building up.
It took archeologists years to clear and preserve the areas available for tourists to explore today. I have profound respect for the sheer level of effort and patience it took to conserve the site. Conservation included; structural consolidation and cleaning, colour and surface stabilisation, drainage, protective covers, documentation and monitoring of previously excavated and conserved areas.
In 2011 the first phase of a new tourist circuit was opened. Huaca de la Luna has been named as one of the best managed sites in Iberian – America by the secretary of tourism of Spain and was awarded the IV Reina Sofia award for conservation and restoration in 2006.
We stopped off for lunch where our fellow tour buddy Sam joined us and I discovered my new found love for Lomo Saltado.
Next stop was the Rainbow Temple. Once the Moches could no longer live below the mountain they migrated and are known as the Chimu. Firstly we’re told to note the thick walls surrounding the temple, thick at the bottom and thinner at the top, built to withstand earthquakes. The materials used make the area cool in the summer, warm in the winter and do not burn (ideal when you’ve only got one exit).
I had two questions about this temple; why were there no stairs anywhere – only slopes, and, why did none of the storage areas have any doors? The ramps were built so that the elderly had access to all areas by shuffling as quickly or slowly as they pleased. The no doors on the storage rooms meant that it took two people to get anything out of the storage rooms, which discouraged looting.
After this we stopped at Chan Chan the home of the Chimu who were eventually overthrown by the Incans – one of the 10 palaces they’ve discovered in the area covering hectares of land. The one we visited was not the biggest (would be a fantastic place for a game of tag), and not only do I not want to consider the amount of time and effort it took to build, but the amount of patience it has to take to excavate…I want to throw my phone at a wall when Instagram pictures don’t load.
Our final stop was Huanchaco, where our buddy Sam showed us the reed kayaks and convinced us to try some orange looking, carrot waffle with honey thing that neither Abi nor I were too certain of.
When we were finally able to board our bus to Mancora, Abi and I were excited about sitting at the front, LOADS of leg room. Didn’t work out so great when yet again they played movies until dick o clock and we were stuck with no reprieve from the glaring TV screen.
Touched down in Mancora at 6am and straight on to a motor taxi to Loki hostel. We’d done the big city thing, hiking thing and historical tour info thing and we’re ready for some beach time and rum. Unfortunately check in wasn’t until anywhere between 1-2, so completely zonked we explored, napped in the hammocks, found breakfast, found a sweet little cafe and went almost delirious with sleep deprivation before we could check in.
After checking in it was shower time, hot water, fresh clothes…it never felt so good!
We checked out the pool area and got chucked in. Blood Bombs were strongly encouraged..we may not have needed much persuasion but they are pretty disgusting, and you don’t stop at one.
We checked out the beach for drinks in the evening, got back to the hostel but realising neither of us were managing our Rum and cokes decided we needed to call it a night.
We were back at the cafe for breakfast in the morning and went to the beach in the afternoon. Abi’s joke ‘Peru, burn me to a crisp’ proved to be one of those famous last words scenarios. Abi burnt to a crisp and I managed a hilarious hair line sunburn. We need to stock up on aftersun.
That evening we started with a round of beer pong, my buddy was rubbish (sorry Ben) so Abi and her buddy won. It was more Blood Bombs (they started about midday), Slushies (those bad boys are lethal), an Irish couple and feeling extremely delicate the next day. Arf – I promised myself no hungover bus rides.
On to Ecuador…