Peru: Máncora - Surf, Sunsets and Dusty Shoes

Peru: Máncora - Surf, Sunsets and Dusty Shoes

Oliver had a date with a Peruvian woman, and I had a date with steak. Máncora is only an hour away and makes for a nice weekend getaway. Yet, the trip over can take a lot more - that’s because we planned to take the public minivans to save money. Let me explain, in rural Peru, this is the cheapest way to travel, but there are no timetables. It costs 10-12 soles one way (NZ$5.40), which is the same price as a local’s lunch menu. Is it safe? Yes, and because of the language barrier, most people just leave us alone. Just smile, and if you don’t understand say politely,
“No hablo español.”

Are there alternative transport options? Definitely, but you will pay a lot more - like the taxi driver that wanted 80 soles ($36). I haven’t been on the buses, but I do know they get stopped for longer at the “checkpoint” between Zorritos and Máncora. The minivans get stopped too, though because they have less luggage, generally they don’t stop for long? What are they looking for? Anything illegal I guess, these buses often cross the borders so maybe it’s their equivalent of local customs agents...Peruvian style.



Peru: A Month in Zorritos, Tumbes (Week Two)

Peru: A Month in Zorritos, Tumbes (Week Two)

It’s Monday, just before 8am and I’m writing this post poolside - there’s an air of tranquility at this time that helps me write. We’ve had more overcast days than sunshine this past fortnight, which doesn’t bother us as much when we’re in class during the week. Then as soon the sun comes out, it’s like we’re rats in a cage who can’t wait for the day to be over. Our classroom is on the veranda above the restaurant - where a cool breeze insists that we wear pants and jumpers.

Our second week brought the added challenge of teaching three night classes, an hour for each trainee. We taught primary aged students to adults at all levels, though last week I only had primary and adults. Although free to the community, they are real classes and we’re observed by our course trainers. The TEFL method is essentially total immersion learning - that means without the use of the native language. That suits me because my level of Spanish is less than most of the adults’ level of English! What’s been my biggest challenge? Getting reacquainted with grammar!



Peru: Máncora - Beach, Sun, Ceviche and Cremoladas

Peru: Máncora - Beach, Sun, Ceviche and Cremoladas

The minivan stopped as traffic came to a standstill, now adding to the snake of various vehicles making their way out of town. It’s never a good sign when your driver gets out and starts to have a chat with someone on the road. You know you’ll be awhile. There is only one road to Máncora from Zorritos, and being only an hour away made a nice getaway for us TEFL Zorritos students.

Máncora is a surfing town. Popular with locals and tourists for its clean breaks and great weather, it reminds me of the vibe in Mount Maunganui before they built the beachfront high rises. Any town that draws in tourists also means tourist pricing. We didn’t stay overnight to party, but I have heard of cocktails at 30 soles, which can be price of dinner for two.



Peru: A Month In Zorritos, Tumbes (Week One)

Peru: A Month In Zorritos, Tumbes (Week One)

Zorritos is a small town in the province of Tumbes – a 2.5-hour flight from Lima and a world away from the one I was living in just a week ago. Even though Whakatane has roughly the same population as Zorritos, there is a vast change of pace and lifestyle. Where there were pine trees, I see coconuts and papayas. Not all roads and footpaths are paved, and without regular rain, dust nuisance is something you have to accept as a fact of life. I can’t say there has been much of a culture shock (except for the language barrier), because there are many towns in the Philippines that look just like this one. Maybe it will be an advantage, or it could hit me later.



Coastal Kayaking Adventure With
KG Kayaks

Coastal Kayaking Adventure With <br>KG Kayaks

A moonlight kayaking tour with KG Kayaks was my introduction to ocean kayaking two years ago. Since then, I have been out on Ohiwa Harbour to check out the little islands - which make great picnic spots by the way! Most recently, I joined him on the Whale Island tour - where we encountered some decent swells due to the Winter months. There was even a curious seal pup swimming alongside us for part of the trip. This blog post covers an awesome morning exploring the beautiful coastline between West End in Ohope and Whakatane.

It’s only been a couple of weeks of New Zealand’s Spring and I officially have a tan line thanks to this adventure. Kenny McCracken, from KG Kayaks, was already unloading the kayaks at West End when I pulled into the car park. His good friend, Jim Robinson of Motu Trails, made up the trio on this morning trip. Both are experienced kayakers so I knew I was in safe hands, besides, we had picked a beautiful day to be out on the water (read ‘very little chance of me falling in’).



Road Trip With The Canadian: Hitting The West Coast Of
New Zealand

Road Trip With The Canadian: Hitting The West Coast Of <br>New Zealand

My friend Tamizan is a surfer, and this trip came about from a conversation about her wanting to surf some of the famous breaks in New Plymouth. I’m not into surfing, but I do like road trips and hiking. I’ve never been to the West Coast, and people have told me about some nice walks in the region. We were lucky with the weather, even though there was chill in the air (being Winter of course), the sun was out apart from the Monday we headed home.

The only other road trip I’ve done late was with my friend, Jemma, when we checked out the Coromandel on the first day of Spring last year. Torrential rain stalked us for most of that trip, which was the complete opposite of this one.



Glow Worm SUP Tour With Rotorua Jetboard Tours

Glow Worm SUP Tour With Rotorua Jetboard Tours

Every month I try to challenge myself to try something new or to take me out of my comfort zone. April, being my birthday month, I decided to try stand up paddle boarding (SUP). What’s more exciting than SUP? A twilight glow worm tour on a beautiful lake of course! I managed to convince eight friends to give it a go too.

I met Nev from Rotorua Jetboard Tours a couple of months ago at the Rotorua Night Market. He and business partner, Matt, had just started and were keen to get the word out, especially to the locals. SUP was one of those activities I wanted to try over the Summer, but never quite happened. Unfortunately Matt wasn’t able to join us on the tour, maybe next time.



Okere Falls
Scenic Reserve:
Three Waterfalls
In One Day!

Okere Falls <br>Scenic Reserve: <br>Three Waterfalls <br>In One Day!

As I drove into the Okere Falls Park parking lot, I immediately felt a sense of deja vu. I couldn’t quite put my finger on that feeling until I was walking down Hinemoa’s Steps that I realised I came here a few years ago to do river sledging.

Okere Falls is a small town on SH 33 between Rotorua and Tauranga, along the Paengaroa Gorge. Google Maps told me that the SH 30 or SH 33 (from Rotorua) drive is about the same time, and being a beautiful day, I decided to take the more scenic lakes drive. If you’re coming from Rotorua, the turn off to Okere Falls is a left turn on Okere Falls Rd, just minutes down the road from the Okere Falls Store. It’s very well signposted, and I didn’t get lost once. That’s saying a lot!