On first glance, Lobitos seems like a ghost town full of remnants from its past life as a British-founded oil hub. However, look past the crumbling buildings and the oil rigs out at sea and you’ll find some world-class surf and amazing sunsets over the Pacific.
Beloved by experienced surfers in search of reliable and powerful yet changable waves, Lobitos doesn’t really have much to offer less-than-die-hard surf fans. The land is incredibly arid and weather and water notoriously colder than the beach backpacker hotspot of Mancora further north.
The town itself is restricted to a smattering of tiny family-run shops and a few café/bars in small huts, in the beachfront hostels, or -- in one case -- in a former aircraft hanger. In spite of this, it has an odd charm. It’s a brilliant place to gather your thoughts and keen photographers will love the red glow that sunset casts over the beach, not to mention snapping action shots of top-class surfers and hundreds of side-scampering crabs.
The buildings are a mix of concrete military structures or wooden colonial ones, some with (very subtle) hints of the affluence Lobitos enjoyed during its heyday in the thirties. However most of these old structures have collapsed or lie derelict. "New town" residences up the top end of town comprise mainly of wooden, tin-roofed shacks.
New hostels in Lobitos are cropping up all the time and a lot of building work is going on in the new town. Most Lobitos hostels are along the beach and within very easy reach of one of its top surfing spots. If arriving by public transport then you will most likely come in via bus to the town of Talara, from here you can take a taxi/moto-taxi or, for a cheaper alternative, catch one of the frequent colectivos (collective mini-bus taxi) from near the market. From Talara, Lobitos is about a half-hour drive past the harbor and down a dirt track. The town is owned by the military and there is a checkpoint before you enter.
Basic supplies can be bought at the little kiosks in Lobitos, or from the bread/sweets/fruit vendors who do their rounds through the town. For more substantial offerings, head to Talara, which has a good produce market and a large supermarket, as well as cafes, banks, and stores. Lobitos has no banks or ATMs and getting anyone to change larger bills is a nightmare, so ensure you have plenty of smaller notes before you arrive.
Hi, I'm Laura T,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Lobitos hostels. Welcome.