Vichayito- Hard to spell… easy to love.
Northern Peru’s Coastal Gem!
Last night I fell asleep to the sound of surf in my ears without another bit of noise within earshot. I slept almost 10 straight hours, uninterrupted. I can’t recall the last time that happened. I’m visiting the Marcilia Beach Bungalows in Vichayito on the north coast of Peru just 20 minutes by moto-taxi from the party/surf haven of Mancora and about an hour from the nearest airport, Talara, where I had hailed from.
Marcial, the owner and host, greeted me when I got out of the moto-taxi , camera in hand. He had been filming the whales jumping in the ocean amid a perfect, bright orange sunset.
I remember living and working in New York City when so often it felt things were going comically wrong (i.e. late for the airport, just missed a free taxi and it started raining the moment I was leaving, etc.) and I would wonder if God wasn’t messing with me, conspiring against me. Getting some laughs at my expense perhaps? Yes, a bit self important I’ll admit, but I also admit I wasn’t thinking rationally.
I’d try to tell myself there were no coincidences and that perhaps it was my guardian angel working overtime to possibly save my life or for some other greater societal good. Maybe had I actually caught that taxi there would have been a horrible accident or maybe the flight was doomed to crash, etc. but deep down I didn’t believe that stuff. It was just a run of bad luck and I was pissed off about it.
Well, last night, after a journey that began in Lima, Peru at noon, with me once again almost missing my flight, but eventually arriving at Marciela at the pitch perfect time, I was wondering if God was conspiring FOR me (as I’m sure he has done many a time just to have me not notice). Well this time, God, I noticed.
I could not have arrived at a more picturesque moment and a more perfect spot. Backpack in hand, watching the whales jump at what seemed just a few hundred feet away and hardly any other souls around, I knew I was in the right place at the right time and there was for once, nowhere else, I craved to be. No other person I craved to be with. No what ifs… just a sunset, a beautiful beach, jumping whales and good energy all around.
I only booked one night at the Marcilia, once again by accident. My accommodations in Mancora had been booked up for my first evening so I needed another cheap spot to spend the night. I had assumed that Marcilia was within walking distance of Mancora and… it is if walking an hour one way is your idea of walking distance!
What a happy accident! The hosts, Marceil and Cecilia (hence the name Marcilia) both hail from the cruise ship industry and it shows in their hospitality. They could not have been nicer or more attentive. The food was excellent and the accommodations immaculate, especially for bamboo beach bungalows (and especially for around $15 U.S. per night).
I thought I was the only guest until a young, traveling couple from the north of England bounded up from the romantic bungalow just below mine (right on the beach) the following morning. They had already edited together a nice little video of the whales from the evening before. They, like another British couple I had “coincidentally” met on the way from the airport were raving about their previous trip to Bolivia? Hmm.. 2 young British couples in a row raving about the same spot? Is God telling me to go to England or Bolivia? I’m confused.
Shortly after my arrival and subsequent sunset I ran on the beach for 40 or so minutes. I could have gone for much longer but my tender bare feet were getting sore from the course sand. Towards the end I was no longer jogging, I was sprinting but I swear I wasn’t even breathing hard and it was so mild and cool that there was no sweat coming out of my pores whatsoever. The stars were bright and beautiful and everywhere! I felt really strong, healthy and full of vigor.
There was not another soul around, I couldn’t help but do the “Rocky… getting stronger” dance.. and while I didn’t scream “Adrian, Adrian!” I felt like screaming “I’m free. I’m free!” The joys of travel have never felt more tangible than this night.
Today I head to Mancora. A totally different vibe, an actual town full of surfers, partiers and hippies with restaurants, bars and ATM machines. That’s cool too. But if it gets too noisy or touristy or bad energy I’ll head back to Marciella’s in Vichayito in a heartbeat.
I have a feeling I’m going to be revisiting the place many times in the years to come, either physically or in my mind for sure. Especially when God inevitably starts to mess with me again!