Huanchaco is a small fishing village on the north-central coast of Peru, just north of Trujillo. It’s a quiet place which is especially known for its unique fishing vessels, the “Caballitos de Tortora”, or little horses of reeds. The reeds grow to the north end of the beach and are weaved and bound into Caballitos by the locals. With these Caballitos they retrieve their fishing nets from the bay early every morning.
But in the afternoon when all of the fish have been sorted and the nets repaired, the fisherman offer the few tourists the chance to have a ride on the back for a couple of dollars. And in most cases will let you paddle around in the small surf too.
It’s something we just had to have a go at and we were soon both sat on the back of a Caballito heading out to sea. The fisherman paddled over the waves with ease and made the whole thing look fairly easy, and after a quick tour around the pier they jumped off, handed us the paddles and swam for the shore.
But it soon became apparent that in actual fact they were not that easy to control. The paddle was a length of Bamboo split down the middle and was a little hard to hold onto more than anything, and when you added a small wave into the equation it got a whole lot more interesting. I found going straight a bit of a problem much to the amusement of the locals and I almost flipped it over but just managed to keep my balance. I think I just managed to keep face.
I have to take my hat off to these fisherman because after about 10 minutes of paddling around my arms were really starting to ache from the shear weight of the boat. By the time we had battled through the surf and landed on the beach we were knackered.
That night we visited a local restaurant to try some of the fish they had caught that morning. And we weren’t disappointed because the seafood here is amazing.
What a great experience! If you are ever in the north of Peru and pass the village of Huanchaco, go and have a go on the Caballitos.