The clients are so chilled at the Casa Grillo Tres Puntas Eco-hostel that I’m sure the vultures think they’re dead. Why else do they hang around here? Often spotted loitering on the gnarled tree roots lining the beach, I can only assume they are watching for a pulse. Which set me thinking: perhaps the Peruvian Ministry of Tourism might consider an image of these birds as a new rating system for their tourist facilities. Why not just do away with a star system altogether and have vultures instead? For example, a Five Vultures rating might indicate to the prospective holidaymaker that his chosen property offers nothing less than a near-comatose experience. Perfect, you might say, for that over-stressed executive. At the other end of the scale, a property with a One Vulture rating might provide a little more activity, maybe including such diversions as a game of darts, or a donkey ride, or perhaps even a self-service bar to waddle back and forth to. As I swing back and forth in my hammock here, half an eye on these scraggy necked creatures eyeing me from the beach, I can certainly attest to the fact that Casa Grillo would be right up there in the vulture ratings.
Leon, the owner of Casa Grillo, is originally from Barcelona. That he is a little eccentric is without doubt. He absolutely loves to construct things: if a hammer is striking a nail you can be sure Leon is on the end of it, the rim of his big straw hat fluttering with every blow. In between the cabanas, the thatched sun shades and the seaside bar that Leon has built, a second passion is revealed: a collection of the curious and the downright bizarre. But it’s all part of the charm of this place. Here’s a few examples:
We’ve just returned from three months in Europe, a land of snow and rain, a place where the only sure means of transport seems to be a boat. Coming back to northern Peru, where there is a drought and the temperature is in the 30s, is quite a shock to the system. In our absence the car has been parked amongst the trees and, whilst we had every faith in Leon taking care of it, it’s always a relief to find the wheels are attached to the axles, the windows are still keeping the birds and the spiders out and the door needs a key to open it. Even reinstating the vehicle’s temporary import documentation has been relatively painless, requiring only two trips to the customs post at the Peru/Ecuador border, which has also been quite a relief, considering the heat. For overlanders needing a place to leave their wheels in northern Peru I can recommend Casa Grillo. And the customs at the border were most helpful should you need to suspend your documentation.