Máncora and Las Pocitas:
Piura is home to the legendary beach of Máncora (Km 1,161) a favorite with the surfing set, particularly from November to January, when the best waves are to be found. Beach-goers who are not surf-mad head for Las Pocitas, a rock formation near the beach, where natural pools have formed, an ideal spot for a quiet swim. Vacationers fond of hot springs will find them at Quebrada Fernández, natural thermal baths where hot mineral-laden water bubbles up from underground.
At the town of El Alto, a detour peels away through the cliffs, giving visitors superb views of the Pacific Ocean until it arrives at Cabo Blanco. This fishing cove in Piura is ideal for surfers, while the rest head for nearby Restín, a small beach which is protected from the wind.
Some 16 km north of Paita lies Colán, also known as La Esmeralda, one of Peru's most scenic coves, where the houses have been built on top of wooden pilings by the seaside. Colán also features a small airstrip. Just 10 minutes away on a desert plain lies San Lucas de Colán, the site of the first church built in Peru, the work of Dominican friars in 1536.
Bayóvar - Nonura:
The beaches of Bayóvar in Piura are Peru's last virgin beaches, and without a doubt the most beautiful. Hemmed in by sweeping bays or white granite rocky outcrops which hang from the sand dunes, the area features a clear blue sea teeming with dolphins, turtles and flocks of seagulls. To reach these beaches, visitors need to take the detour at Km 886 of the North Pan-American Highway which leads to Bayóvar and then head down the coast.
When visiting any beach in Piura 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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