Photo: Theodore Scott
For our neighbors to the north (Northern Hemisphere, that is), spring break is here and summer is just around the corner. For those hoping to get away for a little vacay, now is the perfect time to start planning it.
One region that I recently discovered is Northern Peru. Its pristine beaches, endless outdoor activities and cuisine all its own make it a great getaway for the entire family. Plus, Northern Peru already serves as a playground for Peruvians, so the infrastructure for family-friendly activities and accommodations are already in place.
Perhaps the most developed city to visit in Northern Peru is Máncora. Called the “Hawaii of Peru,” Máncora is one of Peru’s most popular beach towns. Consistently warm weather and clear skies mean vacationers flock here year-round.
This may come across as a bit of a surprise, but I am not a camping kind of gal. While the idea of sleeping in a tent beneath the stars intrigues me, the idea of sleeping in a tent beneath the stars also terrifies me. You see, even though I’m an adventurer at heart – I like to surf and white water raft and mountain climb as much as the next adrenaline seeker – I much prefer to come home to running water, flushing toilets, and a plush mattress draped in luxurious linens when the adventure is over.
That’s why when I heard about glamping in Máncora, a beach town on Peru’s northern coast, I jumped at the opportunity.
There are few reasons I would ever post a photo of myself in a bikini … on the internet … for all the world to see. After all, the internet is forever and I’m not sure I want the anthropologists of 3014 seeing my bum. That said, I can name a few reasons and proof that I shredded waves in the Pacific Ocean is one of them.
Photo: Laura Cahnspeyer
Blessed with two very different coasts bordering two different oceans, Colombia is a surfer’s paradise. From the white coastline of the Caribbean to the more intense, dark-sand beaches of the Pacific coast, there are beaches for all levels of surfers, from newbies to those who grew up in the water.
Some 20 year ago, the surfing world discovered Ecuador, and conversely, Ecuador discovered surfing. We can’t really say that ‘hoards’ of surfers from every corner of the globe suddenly flooded Ecuador’s beaches to surf… That would be grossly inaccurate. But such things as ‘surfing towns’ did bud from out of nowhere and exes were placed on the map identifying where the best waves brewed.
Photo: Crystian Cruz
To call Brazil Surflandia would be a gross understatement: Anywhere boasting a coastline of over 4600 miles is bound to have a swell or 50 to satiate the most avid of surfers.
Your resident Brazil expert happens to be close friends with professional Brazilian surfer Sergio Lima, who runs Island Style Surf School on Hawaii’s North Shore. Lima hails from Fernando de Noronha, one of Brazil’s surfing Meccas, an island 200 miles off the coast of Recife in Northeastern Brazil, and he knows a thing or two about Brazilian ondas (waves).
Chile’s long, narrow geography with 3,000 miles of coastline, mean visitors and locals can have beach access almost any time they want, and even go from the Andes to the Pacific in a single day. Every beach, from north to south (and on Easter Island) has its own personality, with some being connected to fishing villages, while others are right outside of cities, and bring together families on weekends and all summer long. Some are protected, shallow coves with calm water, and some frothy and rocky. And then there are the surf beaches.
Photo: Sofia Salom
Argentina’s surf scene is relatively low-key: there’s no doubt that there are bigger and better waves crashing along the beaches of Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. Travelers seeking sun, sand and salt water within national borders usually head to the coastal city of Mar del Plata, located five hours’ drive south of Buenos Aires. Here’s what to know before you go.
Photo: Maia Gambis
For several years after I graduated from college, one of my favorite things to do was take extended periods off from the humdrum of the city and travel up and down the Ecuadorian Pacific Coast, visiting different fishing villages, beaches, staying in friends’ beach homes or cheap 5 dollar-a-night rooms way back when 5 dollars for a room on the beach was actually not only a possibility, but a heavenly retreat.
If the snow isn’t to your liking, or it’s out of season, or you’re just itching to try a new sport, there’s a great option in the north of Chile, that might remind you of snowboarding, with a touch of surfing, and a whole lot of desert. That sport is sandboarding.