I didn’t expect to like Mancora in Peru, a small beach town on the northern coast known for surfing and partying. I hadn’t planned to go there, but after returning to Lima before going to Ecuador, Mancora Peru was a good spot to break the long journey from Lima to Guayaquil in Ecuador, with spectacular beaches and a more chilled out vibe than I had imagined.
How to get to Mancora
I took a Cruz del Sur bus from Lima to Mancora; a 19-hour journey along the Pan American Coastal Highway. The road was good, some nice views along the coast – and I spent a lot of the time wondering how they built this road that seems to hang off the side of the sand dunes. Any bus running from Lima to Tumbes will pass through Mancora, so there are plenty of options. Cruz del Sur has the best reputation, and is also the most expensive. Other companies include Oltursa and Civa. You could also fly, the nearest airport is Talara to the south, or Tumbes in the north.
Why Visit Mancora?
I’d heard Mancora was a party surf town, crazier than Huanchaco and full of mosquitos. The mosquito part was certainly true! I used my mosquito net for the first time, and was very glad of it, as the bedroom of my surf hostel was full of the little blighters. I wasn’t really feeling in the party mood, so I can’t comment on the party part, but other travellers told me it was a riot!
The big draw for many people is the beach, which is probably one of the best beaches in Peru, and relatively near Lima. During public holidays people from Lima flock here for the beach resorts and surfing – not a bad way to spend their vacation! Try to avoid visiting during the holidays, as it can be difficult to find availability at the beachside hotels in Mancora, and the beaches are will be packed.
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Mancora Peru Accommodation – Where to stay in Mancora
I chose my hostel – Psygon Surf Camp – for its good value, good ratings and location next to the beach. I wasn’t disappointed. The hostel was actually very chilled out, with spacious rooms (no air-con), sturdy bunk beds and lockers. I was lucky enough to have booked a bed in a 6 bed dorm, but had the room to myself for both nights I was there. The room also had its own bathroom, although plagued by mosquitos too (open air, so to be expected I suppose!). It was nice to feel like I had my own space for a while, a luxury you don’t often get in hostels!
Psygon Surf Camp also had a pool, hammocks, ping pong table, and a bar and restaurant, offering various meals including sushi. The sushi was pretty good, and, being a guest in the hostel, I got 20% off the sushi platters making them a good value 40 soles compared to the rest of the menu.
The hostel is 15 minutes’ walk from town, so perhaps 30 minutes to the main beach in the centre, although just 2 minutes from the quieter beach on its doorstep.
You can also check Hostelworld for other options in Mancora Peru.
What to do in Mancora
Mancora town has plenty of touristy shops, some restaurants and bars, and surf schools, but off the main strip it is dramatically quieter, with unpaved roads and rustic houses.
Mototaxis hang around the town and the Point Hostel (opposite Psygon) to take you to & from town if you don’t feel like walking – usually 3 soles during the day, and 5 at night. It is easy to walk around town, but bear in mind that the main road that passes through Mancora is the Pan American highway, so it is busy with cars, buses and big trucks so take care crossing the street.
I spent most of my time in the hostel, or on the quiet beach next to the hostel. The sunsets were beautiful, and the birds, crabs and lizards provide the entertainment. If it weren’t for the mosquitos I think I would have liked Mancora a lot more – sadly the mosquitos love me and despite my best efforts and practically bathing in repellent I still got enough bites to have me scratching like a flea-ridden mongrel.
If I return to Mancora I’d love to try surfing there, in a couple of weeks I’m going to a surf camp in Fuerteventura so watch this space to see how I get on! As well as surfing in Mancora you can also go diving, kitesurfing, and at certain times of the year you might spot whales and dolphins swimming off the coast.
Overall, Mancora was a great stop-off point between Lima and Ecuador, but I didn’t find it special enough to warrant a specific journey. Further south, Huanchaco had a more chilled out vibe, and was close to other interesting spots like Trujillo and the Chan Chan ruins.
Have you been to Mancora? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.
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