Kitesurfers and Hemingway: Cabo Blanco, Peru


During one momentary wrinkle in time this desert hideaway on the Peruvian coast was the outpost of choice for the legendary Ernest Hemingway. Some Cabo Blanco 1claim that this simple fishing village on a sandswept point was the exact place where inspiration struck for a little book called “Old Man and the Sea”. Down at Restaurante Cabo Blaco, Don Pedro swears that it’s the truth. He should know. He was there. While wrinkles have obscured his once smooth features,black and white photos of him and Ernest adorn the walls of this nondescript shack on the coast. Whether the “Old Man” was in fact conceived in this middle of nowhere town we will never know, but to sit in the same corner of the Earth and dine on the same style of ceviche as old Mr. Hemingway is a humbling feeling to say the least.

Nowadays Cabo Blanco has swapped its place in literary lore for the excitement of being considered one of the most revered watersports centers on the planet. Long heralded by the surfing community as being one of the premier waves in Latin America, Cabo Blanco has recently been overtaken by the throngs of kitesurfers flocking to its windy, wave-riddled shoreline. Brutally exposed to the fury of the Pacific Ocean, Cabo Blanco picks up the perfect combination of heavy open water swell and sideshore tradewinds that make this a playground for those taking to the wind and the waves.

While undeniably epic in its quality, arriving in Cabo Blanco is no easy feat. With most pilgrims opting to stay in nearby Mancora, itself virtually 2 hours from the nearest airport or anything considered a “city”, Cabo Blanco lies another 30 minutes down the kind of bumpy dirt road that keeps the Land Rover workers employed. Once here, however, draining left barrels reel Cabo Blanco 3endlessly down the coast and surfers can barely sit through the process of putting on the neoprene. Though close in proximity to warm water Mancora, the Humboldt current moves its way around the cape and turns the water at least 5 degrees colder than it is just up the road.

Once out of the water, however, it’s just a short jaunt down the road to ol’ Restaurante Cabo Blanco, where an ice cold cerveza is waiting in the fridge, and there is sure to be a succulent plate of ceviche that would make even ol’ Hemingway content to be found in the middle of this desert stop to nowhere.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chip Escoffier October 11, 2010 at 7:22 am

Hi Kyle,Just wanted to thank you for letting my son Troy borrow your surfboards.Love your e-mails ,your living the dream! Hope I get to meet you and Heather some day,be safe.

Kathy Busch October 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm

The kitesurfing is way different here than what we saw in Key West, even during a tropical depression. The guys we saw there were just gliding into and away from the shore; there were no waves per se, just water whipped up a little by the wind. These guys are actually surfing the waves. Great footage!

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