A busy, gritty and charmless port city, BUENAVENTURA is the only gateway to the region, so you will end up overnighting here. The boats to various coastal destinations run from the muelle turístico (tourist wharf); the area around it is reasonably safe (which is more than can be said for much of the rest of town), and you’ll find a number of guesthouses and eateries nearby.

Buenaventura doesn’t lend itself to sightseeing, though if you’re a surfer it’s well worth visiting Ladrilleros, an hour’s boat ride north, where enormous 2–3m waves lash the shore during the August to November rainy season and where you can stay in a number of basic digs. To reach Ladrilleros, take a boat to Juanchaco, from where you can either walk the 2.5km or get a ride on the back of someone’s motorbike.