Máncora is a small fishing village that sits on the northern coast of Peru close to the Ecuadorian border. It’s easily accessible from Lima and Ecuador as the Pan-American Highway runs right through the town. It’s a Pacific Ocean beach resort with year round sun and waves that draw in troops of surfers. It pulls in the party crowd too, with locals and tourists rubbing shoulders especially from December to March when things get a bit out of hand.
What’s there to do?
As you arrive in Máncora you´ll notice that it’s really small. It’s made up of two main streets containing cafés, restaurants, budget hotels and hostels and some beach front huts. If you’re into surfing rent a board from the southern end of the beach. Surfing is good all year round but the best time is generally from November to February. Water temperatures are warm and waves are good for beginners too. If you’re an avid surfer it might be worth your while grabbing a mototaxi and heading to one of the next beaches or even to Lobitos, 64km from Máncora. Mototaxis are cheap but agree a price before you get in and haggle for a fair price. From April to November, try out some Kitesurfing. Winds of 30 knots make it popular around this time. Rent a board and take a lesson.
So other than surf in Máncora what else is there to do? Eat, drink, party and sun yourself! Honestly, these activities seem like the only other things to do. The main promenade, Avenida Piura, has some new artisanal eateries, cafés and places with typical local grub. Angela´s Place is a good spot with exciting vegetarian and vegan dishes ranging from $3-6 and Wi-Fi. There are some top end choices including La Sirena d´Juan which serves seafood and Peruvian dishes. Another is El Espada, offering award winning seafood dishes. On the beach front there´s an abundance of cafés and restaurants that offer local meals for little of nothing. Be sure to try the traditional favourite ceviché while you´re in Máncora. Ceviché is a seafood dish. The fish is usually marinated in lime and accompanied by salad and corn. If you wander northwards up the main drag, Avenida Piura, there´s usually a street market. Locals sell handmade crafts such as jewellery and souvenirs and clothing and some traditional food.
ENTERTAINMENT TIP: If looking for fun at night, or to watch sports during the day, or even a taste of home, visit the Wild Rover Hostels Chain for great food, sports and beer! Entrance to their bars is free even for non-guests
Máncora is famed for its beach. But to be honest I´m not really sure why! There is white-ish sand and blue-ish water but it looks nothing like how it’s described in some guide books. I read once that it rivals some of the Brazilian beaches of the northeast. If so then the beaches in northeastern Brazil must be awful! After that 20 hour bus journey from Lima I was expecting much much more. Perhaps the influx of tourists and local traders has changed the beach in Máncora over the years but in my opinion this beach could never rival a beach anywhere! It’s filthy and quite overcrowded. Swimming is safe here, if you can manage to manouver your way around all the bodies in the water. In the evening the beach is used by party goers and food vendors. The sand is littered with cigarette butts, bottle caps and other miscellaneous trash. Also be very careful of your belongings day or night, clothing and shoes have been known to go missing as well as the usual wallets and phones. A better option to enjoy the sun is to opt to stay in accommodation that offers a pool or take a short trip to one of the nearby beaches by mototaxi.
Where to Rest Your Head?
The famous Loki Hostel chain have a resort like hostel complete with swimming pool and in-house bar and restaurant. It offers dormitory style and some private rooms. If you’re happy and willing to stay up to the wee hours and party with fellow travelers then Loki is a good option. If you’re looking for something quieter but still colourful and fun Kokopelli or Tikki Bungalows might be better options. For more intimate and luxury accommodation you´ll find deluxe bungalows further down the beach away from the town, such as Hotel Arennas Máncora or Máncora Beach Bungalows. These options are more expensive but good alternatives for tranquility and peace. If you’re thinking of traveling to Máncora from December to March be sure to book ahead as places book out quickly or rates shoot through the roof. If you´re looking for something a bit more peaceful altogether go elsewhere. Peru has way more to offer than Máncora.