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In the north of Peru lies Mancora, the country’s only warm water break and one of its most popular. Every summer, tourists and Peruvians flock to Mancora for perfect weather and impressive waves, when the coast is hit by big and warm north swells. While it is a great place to surf, you’ll want to know some things before paddling out in the water.
Get prepared to be in perfect position for a wave and then, at the last second, get dropped in by a local. The locals in Mancora take many liberties and dropping in on tourists is definitely one of them. There’s nothing you can do, but get up on your board and paddle back out. Locals will get off the wave if you make the section and are right behind them on the wave—just make sure that they know you’re behind them.
Mancora is a great place to learn how to surf. The waves aren’t too steep, making for an easy drop-in, and the surf instructors will make sure you get your waves. The local surfers are also the surf instructors, so they aren’t afraid to have their students drop in on you, which they will do often. During midday, the learners dominate the inside section, making it impossible to catch a wave on the inside without getting dropped in on. Surf school Inca Warriors is highly recommended having a great selection of boards to rent and a helpful staff of instructors.
Many surfers make the mistake of buying boards in Ecuador, where it’s more expensive, before entering Peru. If you can, hold off buying a board until Peru. Peru in general has a great selection of boards to buy, both used and new, and Mancora is no exception.
Three surf schools filled with boards crowd the Mancora beach. Between the three schools you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. They offer both high performance boards as well as foam boards. Prices for rentals vary, but normally range from 10 soles for a couple of hours to 20 soles for the day.
If you’ve never surfed here before—this goes for any break you’re surfing for the first time—watch what the locals do. The safest time to surf in Mancora is during a mid- or high-tide, when the dangerous rocks are covered by water. During low tide, the rocks begin to show themselves right in the middle of the line you’re drawing on the wave. For people who haven’t surfed before this can be very dangerous and can cause serious injury. It’s best to surf during the higher tide until you become familiar with the break.
If there’s any break in Peru that really tries on your patience it is Mancora. The mix of people who have no idea what they’re doing and locals willing to drop in on you is frustrating—just let it go and enjoy yourself because when you get one it is always worth the wait.
For half the season you’ll never need to surf in a wetsuit at Mancora and the other half you’ll really only need it in the early morning hours. Most the locals never even wear a wetsuit no matter the season or time.