An Insider's Guide to Nothern Peru: The Local's Most Popular Holiday Spot

© Shawn/Flickr
© Shawn/Flickr
Photo of Brandon Dupre
3 August 2017

Peru’s warmer waters and beach towns lie in the north, offering Limeños and Peruvians alike the best summer vacations and an escape form the gray skies that cover southern parts of the country for most the year. With consistent waves and unrelenting sun, the north of Peru is a year-round holiday destination.

Peru’s entire coastline is cold, except for the very north of the country. The combination of warmer waters – about 68-70°F (20-21°C) here – and constant sun has drawn tourists and, especially, Peruvians to this sunny desert coastline. Surf, sun and endless entertainment keeps everyone coming back again and again.


Formerly overlooked, in the last 20 years Mancora has become Peru’s number one vacation spot for locals. Families and partygoers flock to the village in summer and winter time. Right out in front of Mancora’s main beach is a perfect left-hand reef break that’ll give you a long ride if you’re able to avoid the beginners being pushed into the waves by their surf instructors. The beach faces northwest, so it’s best on a north swell, which it gets all throughout the summer time, offering decent waves nearly everyday. If you don’t want to surf, the beach has a seemingly endless list of other entertainment options from horseback riding, jet skiing and kitesurfing to riding 4-wheelers.

© Jonathan Hood/Flickr

Las Pocitas

If you want to be close to Mancora, but don’t like the surfer-party scene, head to Las Pocitas. Here you can lounge at beautiful beachside hotels without all the noise and traffic that Mancora brings. If you do decide to go to town and party, its only a short taxi ride away. You have access to all of Mancora, but also the peace and quiet of a nice beach hotel when you need it.

Vichayito and Los Organos

Another beautiful stretch of beaches along the north coast of Peru. These towns and beaches will be much quieter than Mancora and Las Pocitas but with slightly colder water. You’ll find the same array of entertainment options like kitesurfing, 4-wheeling and horseback riding, but one thing the other beaches don’t lay claim to: turtles. Only a short collectivo ride from Los Organos is the Nuro fisherman’s dock turned turtle swimming adventure. Walk down the dock to all the commotion (you won’t miss it) where people are laughing, cheering and most likely shivering after jumping in and swimming with the turtles who roam the area.

Cabo Blanco

Once famous for its big game fishing, drawing the likes of Ernest Hemingway and inspiring his novel The Old Man and the Sea, this beach town is now more recognized for its surf. Dubbed the “Peruvian pipe,” referencing the famous pipeline in Hawaii, surfers flock to the area to get a chance to catch this hollow, powerful left. A trip here is part historical – if you’re interested in American literary history, you should also visit Gran Hotel Bolivar in Lima – and part surf trip. You can still see fisherman drag their large marlins or tuna onto the dock, which is always a spectacle in itself.

© surfglassy/Flickr

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