Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Day in Pacasmayo

“There is nothing to see or do in Pacasmayo.” We’d heard that comment frequently and had come to accept it as fact, but after our visit yesterday we came away with a different opinion. No matter what your interests are, odds are you’ll find something that will make a one day visit to Pacasmayo worthwhile. Here…let us suggest an itinerary to you.

Start your visit at the (I’m only going to type this once) “Paseo de la Amistad, la Paz e Integración Perú – Ecuador” park. If you’re arriving by bus you have no choice; this is where the busses stop. Be sure to time your arrival in the morning or afternoon. There is little shade and the mid day heat will distract from the park’s beauty and uniqueness.

When you’ve finished with the park, walk west on Ave July 28 toward the pier. It’s a six-block walk on a beautiful tree-lined boulevard. Take a few minutes to visit the old train station (the large cupola structure on the right). There isn’t a whole lot to see inside but there are many photos of old trains and train disasters caused by floods.

Walk two more blocks from the train station and you’ll see a kid’s park and the malecòn on your left, and the pier directly in front of you. The malecòn will tempt you, but ignore it for now and pay the 37 cent fee to walk out on the pier. It’s a very long walk and caution is called for. The pier was constructed in 1880 and not much has been done to maintain it. There are holes big enough to fall through, and planks that are loose.

Still, it will give you a panoramic view of the malecòn you’ll visit later, and if you’re lucky you may see a fishing boat being launched. The process is primitive, effective and entertaining. Two men take one end of a very thick rope and walk out on the pier. The rope is at least 100 yards in length. At a given signal, men on the beach push the boat into the water while those on the pier pull at a frantic pace. It takes twenty minutes for the boat to reach the middle of the pier, and during that time the boat we watched looked to be in danger of swamping several times.

Upon exiting the pier turn left and hike up the hill to the cemetery. You’ll be huffing and puffing when you arrive but it’s worth the effort. Not interested in cemeteries? Do you appreciate really good religious art? How about a cheery place with smiling faces? You’ll find both in this unique cemetery. The walls surrounding the cemetery are in our opinion an impressive art exhibit. Inside, many of the mausoleums; instead of the usual plastic flowers have happy faces of the deceased painted on them in bright cheery colors. Rather than the somber, contemplative atmosphere of most cemeteries, this one feels like you’re walking into a party.

Okay…it’s time to walk the malecòn. I wish the civil authorities and population from Pimentel could see this. This is what a malecòn should look like. It is tastefully done in every respect. There are plenty of benches to sit on, a level, well maintained boulevard to walk, and souvenir vendors and restaurant employees who are not aggressive. There are restaurants and snack shops for every taste and budget. Speaking of restaurants, it’s time for lunch.

This is the Hotel Pakatnamu. Take a seat at one of the outside tables to enjoy the view during your meal. Ten minutes later when no one has appeared, go inside and tell the man at the desk you’d like lunch. He will motion you to return to your table while indicating with gestures that someone will be with you soon. After another ten minutes poke your head in once again. The man will motion you to return to your table while indicating with gestures that someone will be with you soon. After a few more minutes of inattention get up and walk to the nearby La Estaciòn Gran Hotel for an excellent lunch.

Following lunch it’s time to take a leisurely walk back to the park to catch your bus. There’s time to vary your route back, and to stop at one of the small ice cream or pastry shops if you wish. Chances are your bus will be a few minutes late, so pick a spot in the shade, relax, and reflect on what was a very pleasant day in a town that has nothing to see or do.

Tom & Maribel

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a lovely town, Tom! It's a spot I have been curious about for a long itme, so am happy I got to see the photos. Thank you.