Why Everyone's Flocking to Mancora, Peru's Surfer's Paradise

Mia Spingola
Mia Spingola | © Culture Trip
Brandon Dupre

Once a sleepy fishing spot, the northern coastal destination Mancora is now Peru‘s vacation of choice for both Peruvians and backpackers alike. Find out about this little party-surf hotspot and why it has become Peru’s go-to place to escape.

Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip

Background

In the north of Peru, about an hour and a half bus-drive from the border with Ecuador, lies Mancora, a fisherman’s village turned surfer and backpacker destination. Once a quiet spot along the Pan-American Highway like so many others seen from the bus window on the way to your next destination, today it bears only traces, little bits here and there, of its humble fishing village past.

Mia Spingola /
Mia Spingola /

Nowadays, the beach town reflects the atmosphere of its most popular hostel, Loki: a surf all-day, party-all night beach town. A Corona billboard rises above the town as a reminder of its new iteration, reading: “This is living”.

Mia Spingola /
Mia Spingola /

The surf

Though the village has changed, the waves have remained the same. 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 beginning surfers being encouraged 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 rideable waves nearly everyday.

Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip

During the winter, when the swells are mostly coming from the south, there will be a few days each week with up to 5 foot (1.5 meter) waves whenever there is a significant touch of west swell in the water. Perfect lefts can be snagged year-round, so if you head there in the winter time you’ll definitely catch something fun. If it’s high tide and there’s a decent sized swell, just down the beach south of the main break is anther, less crowded, wave just that’s just as good.

The weather

Peru’s entire coast line 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 Mancora.

Mia Spingola /

Formerly forgotten about, in the last 20 years Mancora has become Peru’s number one vacation spot for locals. Both families and partygoers flock to the village in summer and winter time. The vacation spot is especially popular amongst Limeños, who, to escape the constant grey of a Lima winter, head to Mancora, which is only a short plane ride away.

Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip

Party town

The town has also gained a reputation as a partying spot. If you look younger than 40 then you’ll most likely be asked if you want drugs – by everyone. The village has plenty of beachside bars and restaurants that offer beach service, so you never have to get up from the sand to get whatever you may want.

Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip

There is also a row of clubs along the beach that, once the sun begins to set, start pumping out the tunes. Once you’re done with the beach, head to Loki hostel, where people will be partying and playing beer pong all night. Surf all day, drink into the sunset and then drink some more once night falls until it’s time to surf the next day. Mancora will always be a fun time.

Mia Spingola /

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