Disdain and Loathing in Mancora

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Day 231:Mancora, Peru

I finally left Ecuador and took a night bus to Mancora, Peru. I’m always a bit sad when I leave a country; it feels like leaving a relationship.

After the rain and chilly Ecuadorian air I thought Mancora’s summery weather would help me survive the blues of missing Cuenca.

I arrived at 5am on the side of the Pan American highway and thankfully a taxi driver was willing to overcharge me by taking my US dollar to drive me to a hostel.

Without much sleep on the bus I counted on sleeping in but at 8am I woke up on cue as my internal clock kicked in and decided 3 hours was enough sleep.

I schlepped my way to the hostel pool to bask in the morning sun and as a break I walked across the street to the beach to watch the surfers.

But as my skin quickly darkened from the Peruvian sun, do did my mood.

Man walking down street


Mancora is like so many other surf towns, with its rows of seashell selling cabanas and beach side sunglasses sellers.

The “surf all day and drink all night” crew suddenly annoyed me.  

On any holiday I’d consider this heaven but I had such negative thoughts running through my head as I walked by other gringos.

Why do you need to go barefoot in town? locals don’t do it, does that tell you anything? the street is dirty and you’re probably going to get a fungal disease and pass in onto me in the shower
In a restaurant, even in a hole in the wall, put on a t-shirt, I don’t need to smell your sun-baked body odor
Why are all tourist clothes really pyjamas in disguise?


Had I started to hate tourists and in return begun to hate myself? I’m no different than them…well I do wear shoes and a shirt so maybe I’m a bit different.

In the sulking I realized that arriving at 5am and only on three hours of sleep I needed to go to bed early and sleep off the self-loathing.

I woke up today feeling refreshed, Peru isn’t only a surfing town and it will get better.

Besides those gaucho shorts they were selling at the tourist stand did look really comfortable and a big salad from a tourist restaurant kind of sounds nice.

I promise to keep my shoes on.

Join the Conversation

  1. I hated Mancora too. of course, for a slightly different reason – it’s where we discovered we’d gotten about $150 in fake Peruvian soles, and where we had to lock up (ie chain) our belonging in our private room (our ecuadorian neighbours had their room broken into and all their valuables stolen). Overpriced, overrun and ugly. The beach and mojitos were nice but not nice enough to make us stay for more than two nights.

  2. So the trick here is for anyone meeting up with you on your adventures is that they should join you on day two not day one….lol

  3. appreciate your honesty here, my dear. And lots of wisdom in the loathing of others, at some point either becoming or indicating a loathing directed at ourselves =)

  4. Ewwww… I hate the no-shoe tourists. I had this kind of day today in Chiang Mai — all the creepy old white dudes were making me annoyed. At least they were all wearing shoes or I would have lost it.

  5. I have so been there and can totally relate to that distain and loathing. And as I get older, it seems to irritate me more, LOL.
    Unfortunately, those tourists exist all over the world, especially in South East Asia. What really peeves me is that they are also the ones who always have a holier-than-thou attitude regarding the way they travel.

  6. It is always better to have a good sleep- 3 hours is not near enough. This said sometimes I do hate reaching towns over populated with tourists…and about the shoes for some reason way too many people don’t use shoes in Australia when the weater is warm…even in big supermarkets!

  7. Shannon O'Donnell says:

    I’ve had those days too and no doubt the sleep didn’t help, but so many times tourists just schelp around and it’s easy to get frustrated. I’m from Florida, so it’s home to the “shirts and shoes required signs” in just about every single establishment near the beach!

  8. Marc Guitard says:

    Weird, I felt exactly the same way about Mancora. I was really annoyed with the place and I got out of there realy quick.

    In your bullet list about surfers, you forgot:

    – Dreadlocks
    – Shorts revealing tops of asscracks.

    And Peru DEFINITELY gets better.

  9. Michael Hodson says:

    agree with you on all this — people, wear clothes. This also goes for walking around in the hostel. Jeez.

  10. You’re wearing flip flops in the shower, right???!!

  11. I feel so out of the loop regarding beach towns. Shaun and I have only been to one beach destination and I luckily felt the need to wear clothes around.

    I wonder how I will react to people like that.

  12. I’ve had those days too! There was a girl who went barefoot in the Cape Town airport and her feet were black on the bottom. I’m all about people living they way they want to… but isn’t it a hygiene issue? Hope you are well rested and enjoying your latest adventure!

  13. Lack of sleep can definitely put you into a funk, although all of the things that annoyed you are definitely loathable.

  14. My time in Mancora was a bit better thanks to staying in a tranquilo hotel, meeting some lovely Peruvians, and meeting up with a friend I made in Ecuador. Plus, I like to surf, or at least make attempts at surfing. I can at least relate to being sad when leaving a country. I just arrived in Puno and will be heading to Bolivia soon so I am about to experience it again.

  15. Dave and Deb says:

    The no shoe tourists drive me crazy too.

  16. DTravelsRound says:

    I had the same experience in Lagos, Portugal. Sometimes you just need a break when traveling to get over the little things that start to grind your gears. Great post. And, LOVE the photo!

  17. Don’t blame it on the sleep, your rage is well earnt! Reminds me of when I used to go clubbing and all the big, beefy, overexuberant mong heads would insist on frugging about shirtless all night. I don’t wnat your sweat dripping down on me from the ceiling! Why’s that so hard to get?!

  18. Natalie - Turkish Travel Blog says:

    I too hate tourists who don’t put their shirts on when they go into restaurants. Height of rudeness IMO.No manners.

  19. Cathy Sweeney says:

    Good post. I don’t like rudeness from tourists or locals. Never a good thing.

    Glad you finally got some rest. Enjoy!

  20. im going to break from the popular consensus and support no shoe wearing! michael franti is one of my all time favourite artists and probably one of the best guys in the world. hasnt worn shoes for a decade or so. if you dont know him check out his video “i know im not alone”. inspirational stuff.
    i actually get more peeved at tourists that wear their full mt everest hiking kit, zip off pants included, when they leave their hotel to get a coffee down the road.
    feet freedom!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:


      I do know Michael Franti and have seen him in concert. I haven´t seen the video though, I´ll check it out.

  21. Great honest post! I agree sometimes the tourists can get really annoying. The backpackers suddenly live in some kind of alternate universe where they are so cool that shoes aren’t required (I assume they think it makes them more attractive) and the others dress in the most hideous clothes they can!

    But I think you made a good call putting the loathing off until you’ve had more sleep, maybe in the end you still felt the same but at least you know you gave it a chance!

    It’s easy to get annoyed when you’ve been on the road so long or when you suddenly change places like that. Looking forward to hearing how day 2 went!

  22. I’m sure it will get better. Lack of sleep kind of skews a lot of things. The no shirt thing is ugly though. In China this summer (and this was the locals) it was either no shirt, or the shirts were rolled up to the stomach. I guess it was “instant” a/c 🙂

  23. Christy - Ordinary Traveler says:

    I have a feeling I wouldn’t really like Mancora that much. Scott has been there for surfing and has said it’s a little too touristy for him. I’m sure you will find many places in Peru to love!

    I second the flip flops in the shower. I never go without!

  24. I feel a little bit like the bets on good behavior are off in beach towns. Don’t get me wrong, I share your frustration/disdain, but there is a sense of, yeah, you can dine in your beach towel and swimsuit and get away with it.

    But take that to religious sites. I blew a gasket at the Killing Fields memorial. Dude, this is essentially a graveyard, a funeral home, a place choked with ghosts and sadness. It is not the place to pose your smiling girlfriend in her stretchy pink microshorts in front of a pile of skulls of murdered Cambodians.

    A-hem. Rant rant rant. I feel this.

  25. maybe its just travelling fatigue… 🙂

  26. It’s funny what lack of sleep will do. You had a good point, they should’ve been wearing a shirt & shoes, but exhaustion can exaggerate things & make them seem worse. I’ve definitely done that!

  27. Kyle Morgan says:

    I love how you added in the ‘Loathing’ portion. It is funny how one can get that way after traveling long term. You begin to pick up on the local culture, or begin to become more ‘in-tune’ with the people around you. Those that truly set out to travel long term are looking for the culture, the experiences, the people. Those on holiday tend to ‘walk the streets barefoot’ and ‘surf all day, drink all night’. Glad to see you’re of the prior traveling type!

  28. I got that same loathing/self loathing for tourists while we were in Europe — like PLEASE people, stop making fools of yourself, stop talking so loud and dressing so sloppily!!!

    But I am one of them. Though I do try to dress a bit better, my (Chilean) husband constantly tells me how loud I talk. Six years of living outside the U.S. and nothing’s changed 🙂

  29. ciki/agentcikay says:

    not fear and loathing eh? just loathing X2! LOL. yeah lack of sleep and hunger represent rose tinted glasses for me too.. of the “Seeing red” sort!!

    hope the trip turns out good for you:D

  30. I think it’s about respect. If the people who live there are not walking around 1/2 naked and unshod…then neither should you! I expect no less from people who come to visit my home country.

  31. Sounds like it’s time to get out of there and explore the rest of Peru! Those surf towns can be pretty generic, and rude tourists are found just about everywhere!

  32. Allison Suter says:

    Hahaha. The trustafarians in clown pants. They drive me crazy even when I AM well rested.

    My husband wrote a great post about them a couple of years ago here. I’m pretty sure it would speak to you today. You can being reading at Begin Rant.

  33. Yes, I occasionally have these feelings. But I try hard not to let it get me a bad mood. You are right, there is no excuse for the no shirt/bare feet. You know everyone of these barefooters has flip flops/thongs back at the hostel. So why not just put them on?

  34. I totally get where you’re coming from… I ran into similar types in Mexico in the beach town of Mazunte. Beyond the pajamas or no clothing at all, my real distaste for the type you describe comes down to a lack of respect for/understanding of the local culture… a new kind of gringo takeover that often comes with a dash of self-proclaimed superiority over other visitors because of their oh-so carefree surfer hippie ways.

  35. Zablon Mukuba says:

    your loathings are funny. i have never though about those things like that

  36. Migrationology says:

    Hehe, great observations. I remember passing through this town on a bus a few years ago, but I can still recall a few of these same vivid images.

  37. I enjoyed Mancora; the lounging and relaxing on the beach. I do understand some of your frustrations however. I tried to not let it put me in a bad mood; often using the beach to escape and unwind. As someone mentioned above, Peru will get better!

  38. Claire (Travel Funny Travel Light) says:

    I also found much to disdain in Mancora. Never shall I return.

  39. I love Mancora
    Why are all tourist clothes really pyjamas in disguise?

    lolzz^^ it’s true

  40. there is a wondrful deserted nudist beach north of Mancora, few people know it; so much the better, if not it ould become crowded wih tourists. The sea ia wonderful, and lovemaking over a big towel with the warmbreeze all ver you, is HOT. Take with you a good sun blocl cream. Matt.

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