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Not on everyone’s top 10 Peru list, but that’s exactly what put it on mine. After a jam packed 2 week trip crossing many of Peru’s top ticket items off the list – Macchu Pichu, Lake Titicaca, Lima, etc, I was craving a bit of a different experience.
I wanted something practically left out of the guidebook. A super laid back and quiet spot by the ocean to unwind and relax. To just sip a cold beer on a balcony overlooking the water with a daily sunset to await.
And I found it in Pucusana.
When I first told a couchsurfer in Lima that we were heading to Pucusana he could not help laughing out loud (very loudly). He was pretty much horrified by the fact that the two of us, first time travelers in Peru, would be wasting any time in this small fishing village. Why were we going there he insisted to know, as he continued to softly chuckle to himself while muttering the word Pucusana under his breath.
After that reaction I knew I HAD to see this place.
And I already knew exactly where I was going to stay. El Mirador de Pucusana is a small guesthouse on top of a hill in town run by Erika, a local Peruvian woman, and her family. After reading the JustFly review there was absolutely no question that we were staying here.
We were even able to organize transport door to door from our Airbnb in Lima to the guesthouse itself through Erika’s brother who was on his way there. Now that’s what I call good service from the start. And during the ride I fully enjoyed a deep political discussion over who he was rooting for in the upcoming presidential elections (as this was back in April, the elections have already passed).
Once we arrived I felt like we were in Greece instead of Peru. The white washed walls and blue outlines reminded me of the architecture on a Greek island. We quickly settled into our basic yet clean room and took our seats on the balcony, ready for an ice cold beer and an afternoon of gazing into the sea, while playing cards.
Pucusana is the quintessential Peruvian fishing village. Mass tourism has not quite hit here just yet so you can still wander around freely feeling like one of only a few tourists in town.
A few spots in town have a bit of a grungy feel, but you have to look past all that to see the real charm. This is a fully living and breathing fishing village and the more time you spend there the more memorized and charmed by it you are.
We spent our days walking to the various beaches in town, swimming, people watching down by the port with hundreds of wooden fishing boats bobbing around in the water, and eating tons of fresh fish.
There’s even a spot with a ocean blowhole – which I was obviously drawn to and need to snap 1000 photos of. And since according to JustFly one of the must do activities in town is to rent a small boat to take you around the nearby island and get a glimpse of the various sea creatures, we had to do that too.
This is the kind of place where you can still be pleasantly surprised by a super enthusiastic group of school girls who want to take a photo with you and practice their English (true story – this happened to us)!
We always made the climb back up to the Mirador to enjoy a sunset view – except for the one time when we climbed the hill in front of it during which my fear of steep inclines was slowing starting to poison my mind, but I must say the view was worth it.
More than once I enjoyed a truly heartfelt conversation with Erika, learning all about her family, life circumstances and political views.
These are the experiences and conversations that I travel for. It’s not about crossing sights off a Top 10 book, it’s about the interactions with the living and breathing places in a country and the people with whom you can connect with, even those who are complete strangers to you.
Pucusana stole my heart away and the Mirador and those evenings with a cold beer watching the sunset and chatting with Erika will forever be etched into my heart as one of my fondest memories of South America.
We were only there for a few nights, but I would have happily spent much longer in this small traditional Peruvian fishing village.
If you’re in Peru and have an extra few days in Lima, skip the big city and head to Pucusana for a window into a different Peruvian life. While there may not be too many things on your “to do” list in Pucusana, here it’s all about soaking in the atmosphere and just slowing down – something we all need to take the time to do sometimes.