This once sleepy fishing town is now the best place in Peru to both party and surf. Not too long ago this burgeoning beach town was a small fishing village, home to only a handful of people and known only by surfers who’d travel up from Lima to catch perfect uncrowded lefts. But 20 years later the word is finally getting out about this spot. While it’s not part of the Gringo Trail because of how far north it is, tourists and certainly Peruvians are beginning to flock to the sunny beach town.
Mancora’s ubiquitous sun offers a bit of respite from Peru’s mostly grey and sunless coastline. Especially in Lima, the coastal areas in Peru are covered by thick grey clouds for most of the year—but not in Mancora. Here the sun is always out and it’s always a nice time to hit the beach.
With the endless amount of sunshine, the weather is nearly always nice. You’ll only need a jacket at night and that’s only during the winter. Otherwise, it’s board-shorts and a t-shirt life. Even at night you’ll be comfortable in sandals, shorts and a shirt. Because of its great climate, Limeños make the long travel all year to escape the constant grey of Lima.
Mancora has among the best waves in Peru and also the warmest water. Those two combinations make surfers very happy. It is also a prefect spot for beginners to learn how to surf because of the often gentle inside sets and weak shoulders. The break can also go off with a north swell and you’ll want to be in the water all day.
In Mancora, the party is literally on the beach. There is a line of about six or seven bars on the beach that bump reggaeton all night. You can dance and have drinks all while having your feet in the sand.
Norteño food—just ask any Peruvian—is probably the best food in Peru, and Mancora has plenty of it. Find fresh fish at any menú del dia, or spend some more money at Mancora’s more expensive restaurants, like La Sirena d’Juan, which is a progressive Peruvian fusion restaurant. The ceviche is always fresh and delicious no matter where you get it.
If you aren’t partying or surfing, no problem. There are still plenty of things to do in Mancora like rent jet-skis, get pulled on rafts and giant flotation devices by jet-skis, 4×4, and stand-up paddle board.
A more romantic option in Mancora is to take a couples’ horseback ride along the beach front. It usually runs about 50 sole per person and is the best way to watch a sunset.
Take a short taxi ride to the mud baths in the hills of Mancora. Relax and enjoy all the mud, just make sure to bring a change of clothes because you don’t want to walk around with a brown and muddy bathing suit.
Humpback whales come to the north of Peru from July to October and can be seen breaching from the water. Sometimes you can even see the whales from the beach. The best way to make sure you catch a glimpse of these beautiful giants is to book a tour with Pacifico Adventure, who will arrange pick-ups from your hostel or hotel in Mancora.
Swimming with turtles
Peru’s northern coastline is teeming with biodiversity and turtles are not exempt from this party. You can take tours to see them and even swim with them. Please just refrain from touching the turtles because it removes a thin layer of mucus that surrounds their body and can lead to disease.
The odd phenomenon of afternoon wind and the fact that the wind doesn’t blow out the waves makes Mancora a perfect place to kitesurf. Peru is one of the cheaper places in the world to learn and there are plenty of spots offering lessons all up and down the beach.
There’s nothing like a laid-back beach town and Peruvians do it right. Enjoy the slower pace of life and the fact that everything gets done “mañana.”