Beach surfing in Huanchaco, Trujillo, Peru
May 18, 2008
|Arriving early at 5AM in Trujillo, a large city next to the coast, we debated whether we should catch a day bus that afternoon to Piura near the border of Peru and Ecuador. Trujillo is very famous for its many large pre-Inca ruins. But since we have already visited many ruins the past 2 weeks, we weren´t sure if we should stay a day in Trujillo.
Then Jon read that 10km away from Trujillo is a small beach town Huanchaco where fishermen go fishing using a small reed boat which one can ride on. There are also surfing schools there. So we decided to first take a taxi there (12 Soles) to see if we like the town, then decide whether to move on or to stay for a day or two.
So we arrived around 6:30AM in Huanchaco where we saw fisherman returning back to the beach after bring their catch of fish from the morning. The cigar-shaped boat called Caballitos (little horses) made entirely of reed look so interesting that we started to like this place. Then we saw the surfing school welcomes children of all age to learn surfing. This got the kids excited. Huanchaco is also a good size town that there are plenty of local food but not too large that one gets lost. So after some debate, we decided to stay a day or two. Looking back, it was one of the best choices we had made. We dread to think that we had almost skipped such a wonderful place as Huanchaco.
FISHING AT THE PIER
One of the first thing we noticed at the beach was a pier where many people seemed to be fishing. On the pier, there were few venders selling baits, fishing line, and hooks attached to a small piece of wood for only 3 Soles total. It almost sounded too good to be true. The children had never fished in the ocean before so they were very excited.
At first, Jon was skeptical whether fish can really be caught like this. However, with the very first bait Olivia put into the water, Olivia caught the first of the eight fish we eventually had caught in just an hour. Everytime we put in the bait, we can feel fish nibbling on the bait. It was so gratifying. At first we thought Piranha fishing was too easy to be true, now fishing in Huanchaco was just as easy. Eventually all of us caught few fish, some large some small.
We were excited by the idea of eating the fish we caught so we went to by salad oil and salt and began to clean the fish in our hostel. Jon taught the children how to clean the fish and each try a few. Then we pan fried the fish. Hummm...the fish was delicious, especially given that we caught them ourselves.
That was a wonderful way to start our time in Huanchaco.
After looking at few surf shops, we signed up for surfing lesson (2 hours)at the Waves because they promised to have 3 instructors for the 5 of us for 130 Soles total.
Our lesson began at noon when the tide began to come in. First, we warmed up by jogging and stretching. Then the instructors drawed surfboard diagram on the sand and we learned by pretending to surf on the sand. We learned how to paddle, how to stand up on the board without losing our balance. After 10 minutes, we were off learning in actual waves on the ocean.
Initially, the instructor which help us catch the wave by pushing the surf board for Jon and Annie. For the children, they would stay at the end of the board and to help the children catch the wave and to stand on the board.
The first time we stood on the surf board riding the wave felt awesome. Now we understand why so many people love surfing. The feeling of being pushed by the wave is hard to describe - it`s unforgetable.
The children`s quick ability to balance and surf on the board surprised the instructors. They all learned quickly and without fear. Soon they were able to stand and sometimes all by themselves. Even Joani was standing on the board with the help of the instructor. Everyone on the beach stop to watch our unique family of Chineses surfing on the boards. The children enjoyed the lesson and surfing so much that they beg to stay another day in Huanchaco to surf more.
So we decided to stay another day to fish and to surf.
The 2nd day, Olivia and Nathan had another lesson while Jon only rented the board to try surfing all by himself. The waves on the 2nd day was larger so it was more scary for the children. But they still had fun (see pics and videos). Jon improved in his skill in catching the wave. However, he realized that after 1-2 hours, it is very tiring to paddle out to the waves, to paddle to catch the waves only to fall or be crushed by the waves. His arm and chest muscles were very sored. Howeer, when Jon was finally able to catch a wave and surf, it was all worth it.
RIDING ON REED BOAT
Before we left Huanchaoco, we wanted to try riding on the reed boat (little horse). Since Joani didn`t surf that day, we let her try (5 Soles). The fisherman took her in the back of the reed boat and they went first against the wave towards the shore. As the wave pounded on the boat, the boat rushes up over the wave. In the ocean, the reed boat floats up and down with the gentle ocean wave. Coming back to shore, the boat can surf along the waves (see video). Joani was very happy.
The second night, we took another night bus to Piura.
1) We stayed in Casa-Hospedaje Aleman House (Jr. Librtad #115, 044-462488)in Huanchaco after checking up many other hostels in Huanchaco. Although it is not right next to the beach, it is quite new with nice interior and balcony views for an excellent price of 50 Soles for 2 rooms each with a large queen size bed and private bathroom.
2) We took Linea bus company for the trip to Piura for 30 Soles/seat at 11PM (6 hour ride). It was an excellent experience as the semi-cama seat felt like cama seat, going all the way back. There was snack, movie, blankets, etc. Highl recommended.