Lobitos could be considered a ghost town by many standards with skeletal structures left behind by the oil company that founded it. Lobitos Oil Limited was an English company that struck oil in the late 19th century and here they created a home away from home for their workers with a local church, school and meeting hall. Not much remains of the main drag that hasn’t been worn by time; with boarded buildings sagging at their seams and remnants of squatters littering their hallways.
It was named for sea lions that once resided here yet now the beaches are mostly vacant only footprints bearing the evidence of others having walked here before. Oil rigs perch high in the ocean in the distance, an ominous sign presiding over the natural beauty. Mother of pearl litters the sand accompanied by pebbles of various hues glistening like gems in the sun. Turmeric colored crabs shuffle to quickly dig themselves into the warm wet sand at a foreigners approach.
Lobitos is a well know surf town in Peru with surfers traveling enormous distances to come surf at the long left that stretches for almost 400 meters. Each area of the beach is named for the specific break that hits the shoreline, from Lobitos directly in front of the cabins we stayed in to La Piscinas at the far end of the beach. this is a town that doesn’t get moving until the heat of the sun cools down and even then, there isn’t much going on in this sleepy little nook. Life moves a little bit slower here with nothing rushing the pace set by the waves.
There is an part of town known as “New Lobitos” which consists of freshly constructed beach cabins that litter the sandy hills just meters from where the high tides leaves its watermark. An area that stretches only as far as the massive fading monument on a hill overlooking the sandy stretches known as La Casona. It’s an aging hostel frequented by surfers, perched high on a crumbling hill like a hardened soldier unwilling to relent to the passage of time. Further North, construction quickly regresses to colonial English style homes and buildings that line a barren main street. Vacant windows display deserted interiors and molding walls, graffiti peppering many of the desolate roofless structures.
During my exploration, I located a school complete with a punishment closet under the stairwell as well as an old hotel that was in dire need of a facelift. With a caved in roof sagging as if it had been hit by a plunging meteorite, its entire facade melted down as if the heat were too much to bear. Stray dogs aimlessly amble down the center of the road, tongues long in the mid day heat. The occasional moto-taxi honked while passing the scraggly mongrels, trying to avoid a deadly encounter. A brief exploration of some of the larger skeletons yielded evidence of squatters in the roofed structures, yet no one was present as we toured the eerie halls.
After our mournful tour, we headed towards the ocean, hoping to find cool relief from the beating sun. The briny mist rose off the waves rolling in urging us to undress more quickly its whisper cool and refreshing on our shoulders. Hurrying to dive under, we are instantly transported to a liquid world, one where we are but visitors. The heat immediately was cleansed from us as we frolicked in the clear waters.
While black and white Sea-Sprays circled over our heads we watched them mesmerized by their drifting to and fro in a column of warm air. They rarely needed to pump their wings while gliding effortlessly in the heat. We soon clambered for our camp on the beach and we dozed off in the warmth of the sun. Most of our our days spent here were spent in this lazy fashion with the beach never more than just a few steps away. Lobitos was a marvelous secret to discover, all but deserted in the middle of the summer and a welcome relief from the crowds south of Lima and north in Mancora.
A huge thank you to Christian at Tres Cabanas for the hospitality, our days spent with you felt like being with family.