The port of Matarani is just half an hour from the beach town of Mollendo and 3 hours from Peru’s second most important city, Arequipa. Since it was such a long bus trip inland with just an hour to explore the city before returning to the port, and we saw many postings on cruisecritic.com saying that it wasn’t worth the trip, we decided to check out the beach instead.
The trip there by shuttle was quite spectacular, if not exactly picturesque. Giant cliffs of grey rock, mottled with sodium nitrate surround the port and the bus travelled past what looked like an open pit mine (behind tall walls) and up and down deep gorges to finally arrive at Mollendo.
Once there we decided to do some earnest people watching and strolled down to the very busy beach area. It was obviously a popular area for families (including many dogs) to enjoy their summer holiday by the sea. Evidently many residents of Arequipa come here for R&R.
Part of me was disappointed that we didn’t see the city of Arequipa but it was actually quite enjoyable watching Chileans at play..