Cabo Blanco- a safe haven in Peru.

Cabo Blanco, Peru


By the time we left Mancora, our first stop in Peru, Dan and I were feeling pretty down. Although nothing terrible had happened, we'd spent too much time in tourist hell-holes, been ripped off a bit too often and just felt a little out of our Spanish speaking depth in the dirt-cheap campsites we'd been staying in. To make matters worse, a manic, middle-aged Australian woman approached us in Guayaquil bus station asking for $10, quickly changed her story and ran off with the money without saying thank-you. The final straw came when, after only managing to hitchhike about 50km all day, our final lift turned out to be an unmarked taxi. 


We were on the edge of the mountainous desert- out of sight coastline on our right and the desolate town El Alto on our left. Both directions seemed like a long hot walk, so when a truck stopped to ask us if we wanted a lift down the cliff road we jumped straight in the back. 


cliffs, Cabo Blanco, Peru
fishing boats, Cabo Blanco
Cabo Blanco town


After the long winding descent, I was happy to see the sleepy little fishing village of Cabo Blanco appear around the corner.


Although it's definitely fine to camp anywhere above the tide-line, we were invited by a small girl and her family to pitch-up in front of their bamboo house. 


Over the next couple of days we cooked in a hole on the beach, relaxed and explored the coastline. The family even gave us some of their food- freshly caught fish and octopus, rice, vegetables and an egg with bread for breakfast. It was lucky really as everything we cooked for ourselves was always crunchy with sand.

camping Cabo Blanco Peru
camping on the beach, Cabo Blanco Peru
beach, Cabo Blanco, Peru
Pier, Cabo Blanco, Peru
Ernest Hemingway, Cabo Blanco, Peru

Cabo Blanco's main claims to fame come from Ernest Hemingway. According to the family he lived here for ten years, during which time he was inspired to write The Old Man and the Sea


The village is also respected for the enormous marlin and other fish which can be fished off the coast. In 1953, Alfred Glassell caught a record breaking 1560 pound black marlin- that's just ridiculous. 


More recently, Cabo Blanco has been known for hosting one of the most committing surfing competitions in the area each December. The fishermen told us that at times the waves can be up to 5m tall and crash right over the pier. I guess it's not a time for camping on the beach!



pier, Cabo Blanco, Peru
beach wildlife, Cabo Blanco, Peru


For a village surrounded by desert, Cabo Blanco has an amazing selection of animals and birds, the likes of which I'd only really expect to see on the Galapagos.


There's a rich sea-life, crazy crabs and all manner of coastal birds which flock to the pier for the fishermen's scraps. Most excitingly walking around around the Southern headland, we were surprised by several sea-lions. I'd never seen them up close before and think they would be intimidating if they weren't so eager to escape- floundering towards the sea they're just quite comical.


The birds however will happily poo on your head as you pass, so watch out!




Sealion, Cabo Blanco, Peru
Red crabs, Cabo Blanco, Peru


On our final night the family invited us up for a drink and some food. Although our Spanish was stumbling, they were so friendly it didn't matter- we were told how the the father used to fish for a living, but now mends engines throughout the night to pay for his oldest two children to get through university and to support the younger girls.


Seeing his children get into university was what he called the 'fruits of his labor' and the couple were very happy with how their lives had worked out. Looking around, it's easy to see why. 




-To find Cabo Blanco, you will first need to catch a bus to El Alto in the North of Peru and then find a pick-up truck to take you down the hill. There's one slightly ageing hotel or it's perfectly possible to camp anywhere on the beach. Just ask the owner if you are near a house and be sure to clean up after you leave. 


wild camping on the beach, Cabo Blanco, Peru

Write a comment

Comments: 8
  • #1

    Rod (Sunday, 21 September 2014 22:58)

    Wow, hot off the press for us this time. Sorry to hear about your downers, but looks like you hit gold in Cabo Blanco!

  • #2

    Janet (Sunday, 21 September 2014 23:13)

    Beautiful pictures. Love the seal lions.

  • #3

    Franca (Monday, 22 September 2014 09:24)

    I love the amount of animals you saw, the peace and quiet of the lovely beaches, it looked like you had the entire place for yourself. I like these kind of areas, not crowded (apart from the surfing competition I believe) they look more special to me 'almost' untouched by the mass tourism, lovely!

  • #4

    featherytravels (Monday, 22 September 2014 16:39)

    Thank-you everyone! Yeah, the animals were the thing that excited me the most too, but it was also just lovely to meet such genuine people who were just interested and wanted to help. We promised to go back one day!

  • #5

    Mary-Ann (Monday, 22 September 2014 18:19)

    It's like a David Attenborough programme! I remember the soldier crabs running up the beach and burying themselves. As for sea lions they can be very vicious in the mating season, it makes our 3 otters and common seals off Islay seem a bit tame, but they are very cute all the same. No whales either, but a few porpoise from the ferry. Amazing photos!

  • #6

    Lily Lau (Wednesday, 01 October 2014 22:40)

    I love to see places through other's eyes, I'm so excited to accompany you in these travels through your blog! :)

  • #7

    Duke Stewart (Thursday, 14 January 2016 23:00)

    Wow, Katie! This place looks awesome. I had no idea that it inspired Hemmingway but I can see why now. My favorite pic here is the one of that cliff and those birds. They almost look like penguins in the distance. Are those seabirds, you said? Anyway, I really want to visit this side of Peru. Thanks for sharing and exposing me to another somewhat unspoken place. Cheers, Katie.

  • #8

    Katie Featherstone (Friday, 15 January 2016 00:03)

    Various seabirds yeah, there were some blue footed boobies about! Thanks for dropping by Duke!

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