Recharging in Huanchaco

Huanchaco bus

Frequent buses run between Trujillo and Huanchaco. This one sat there for four days.

I have a confession to make: I don’t think I’m cut out for ongoing travel.

It’s hard.

Wah-wah, I’m traveling through South America and it’s wearing me down.

Okay, hard is probably the wrong word. It’s exhausting. I remember now why I like to travel expat-style, using one place as a base to explore the surrounding areas. Four months of decision-making and hostel-staying and money-spending was slowing me down.

But I’ve been doing this long enough to know better – there are solutions for this travel-weariness that I seem to have lost sight of.

Rule #1: Factor in enough time to relax.

Rule #2: Move slowly.

Rule #3: Go to the beach.

Caballitos of Huanchaco, Peru

The famous old fishing boats of Huanchaco are called caballitos – “little horses.”

You can replace ‘beach’ with whatever word describes your happy place – ‘mountains,’ ‘treehouse,’ ‘potato farm,’ I don’t care, just make time to do it.

Finally, in Peru, we got to the beach and I was relieved. Back at sea level, my lungs cheered and I no longer felt like I’d aged 50 years in a few thousand meters. We had nothing to see, nowhere to go, and no agenda.

Huanchaco, Peru is about 15 minutes from Trujillo, a major city on the north coast.

We didn’t go into Trujillo’s city center once. Why bother? we said. For four nights, we bummed around this sparse, dusty beach town. Jared surfed. I paddled around once, but mostly read books, walked aimlessly, and caught up on writing work.

Surfing in Huanchaco, Peru

The only negative is that the water was cold enough to require a full-length wetsuit.

Oh – and we ate.

Peru’s gastronomical scene is booming. I’d missed out in Lima, where I came down with gut-blasting diarrhea and nearly shat myself on a crowded bus.

Sorry about the graphic imagery. It’s one of my specialties.

Luckily, I was largely recovered and ready to try again in Huanchaco. Right across from McCallum’s hostel was a new restaurant called Saksay. It wasn’t in the guidebooks because it was so new – a brightly painted blue and purple building staffed by a German-trained cook and Monik the pastry goddess.

If you ever go to Huanchaco, for the love of god, go to this restaurant.

2016 EDITOR’S NOTE: I think this restaurant has shut down and possibly re-opened under a different name, though reviews indicate it isn’t nearly as good. RIP Saksay 🙁

Saksay Restaurant in Huanchaco, Peru

Apparently they do a big buffet on Sundays but we weren’t there for it.

For 10-15 soles (roughly $4) you can get the menu of the day, which changes according to whatever’s fresh. It often includes a drink like fresh apple juice or a passionfruit cocktail. And dessert – agh, the dessert. It’s so good it hurts.

Examples:

Appetizer at Saksay, Peru

A bonus starter soup with hot chilies and corn.

Hamburguesa de atun

Tuna burger and chips. They roasted some chicken for Jared, who is anti-tuna.

Ceviche

Ceviche, the sushi of Peru – raw fish with onion and squeezed lime.

Strawberry tart

This photo is terrible. The cake was SO GOOD.

Four days later, I was back in the game. Ready for our destination. Prepared to take on the road.

Which was really easy, considering that our next destination was Mancora, Peru: another beach.

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

6 Responses to “Recharging in Huanchaco”

  1. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. Kudos for recharging and just kickin’ back.

  2. Until you are out there traveling day in and day out, you really can’t appreciate just how tiring long-term travel really is! I certainly didn’t, which is surely part of why I spent the first month of my RTW trip (currently in month 5!) stressed out and kind of miserable… I wasn’t giving myself the time to just relax and do the things I loved and missed from back home – reading a book, writing emails, spending time writing for the blog, sleeping in & doing nothing.

    Feeling pressure to pack your days full of activities is really draining, but it sounds like Huanchaco was the perfect place for you to recharge! And surely it doesn’t hurt that the food was so good (& so cheap!) either…

    • That is the longest I’ve ever traveled continuously, and it was draining. I have new appreciation for you & anyone else embarking on a RTW – it’s so crucial to build in that time to just hang out and do nothing!

  3. I think I will be visiting Huanaco just to eat at this restaurant.

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