Tortugas and Rincón de los Piños
At Km. 395 of the North Pan-American Highway lies this splendid bay of turquoise waters and beach houses of the Tortugas resort in the department of Ancash. Just 10 minutes from Tortugas, down a dirt road, one finds the Rincón de los Piños, a beach with curling waves in front of the La Viuda island. The island earned its name, La Viuda (The Widow), after the frigate Mercedes sank off its cliffs in 1852, drowning 1,200 soldiers, including the ship's captain, whose wife survived the tragedy.
When visiting any beach in Ancash and Peru remember the following:
Accessibility: Several of the beaches along the Peruvian coast lack services for visitors, which for many is part of their charm. So when visitors travel to unfamiliar beaches, they should always bring enough food and water. Don't forget sunblock and a light windbreaker for the afternoon winds, as well as plastic bags for garbage.
Driving: Do not venture onto dirt or sand roads unless accompanied or experienced in rough terrain driving. When driving on sand, let out some air from the car tires to avoid getting stuck in a rut.
Services: For those who are fond of their creature comforts, many beaches, especially those located near the big cities, feature restaurants and lodgings that are generally open from December to March. Visitors should bear in mind that these spots are packed with visitors during national holidays, so make your bookings with anticipation.
Stingrays: On some beaches, such as Paracas bay and some further north, swimmers risk being stung by stingrays, known locally as pastelillo. In these spots, the best thing to do is to enter the water dragging one's feet, which frightens them away, or to use closed rubber sneakers. If despite taking precautions you get stung, the best thing is to wash the wound with plenty of soap and water, and then bandage the spot. While the effect of the sting varies according to the person and the size of the ray, the local solution is usually the most effective: to bury one's foot immediately in hot sand or suck the poison from the wound.
Camping: Campers have a wide range of beaches to choose from. Excursionists are recommended to always camp in groups, especially when visiting remote or isolated beaches. The hundreds of fishing villages are good spots to rent boats and buy fresh fish and supplies, as well as for repairing outboard motors.
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