Some places simply scream holiday, and Mancora is easily at the top of the list. Take your backpack off, slip into your board shorts, and grab yourself a pisco sour on the beach, your backpacking trip just got a lot more hot and streamy.
Mancora knows how to turn up the heat and the music. Expect days dedicated to sinking into a good book on the beach, or if you prefer a bit more adventure hire a surf board for a mere twenty soles for two hours (that’s only three dollars)! Night time proves to be a party no matter what day of the week it is. So, let your sun kissed hair down, and get a little crazy in Peru’s most infamous surf town.
Parties, however, seem to be mostly contained to the beach and the towns two largest hostels – Loki del Mar and Kokopelli. This means that town remains surprisingly quite and classy. One main drag offers a cluster of enticing eating options with some truly mouthwatering selections. We were blown away by the food at La Serena, which offers cotemporary Peruvian, and Japannese fusion options, for incredibly low prices. We also indulged in enormous breakfasts of waffles, fruit salad, omelets, and hash browns while we watched the morning surfers at Green Eggs and Ham. To satisfy our healthy side we slurped up bowls of homemade yogurt at Angela’s place, the towns only restaurant that is entirely vegetarian.
Beachfront ‘Green Eggs and Ham’- a must try breakfast spot
Places to Stay:
- Loki del Mar: Originally built as a beach side hotel, the Loki family of hostels bought up the location and turned it into one damn impressive hostel. A place where you are bound to meet new travelers, and indulge in at least a couple beers (or why not try a bloodbomb? Just ask the bar, they’ll know what you’re on about)!
- Kokopelli: This great hostel’s best feature is an impressive pool area slightly removed from the dorm rooms, this means that partying as well as sleeping are both viable options for the night. Rooms offer more than a typical backpacker hostel typically does, with hearty breakfasts, comfortable beds, and plenty of areas to help you sink into that holiday vibe.
Things to Do:
- Surf: It’s incredibly cheap to test your skills on Mancora’s famed left point breaker. Private classes are offered as well as board rentals. Surf schools line the main part of Mancora’s beach, we’d be shocked if you aren’t offered a lesson (many, many times).
- Beach bumming: The town is small meaning no matter where you choose to stay you will only be a few steps away from the salty waves. While the main part of the beach can get a bit crowded, it’s easy to find your own sand spot to dig your heels into.
- Santuario Nacional Manglares de Tumbes: Day tours take you north to Tumbes where boats guide visitors throughout the mangroves and to two nearby islands. Trips are advertised all over town, as the agency will take you to one of the worlds more important and fragile ecosystems, make sure that they are reputable and conscious of their trips impact on the area.
- Horseback riding: Horses (and their owners) roam up and down the beach looking for backpackers ready to ride off into the sunset. Met someone last night at Loki? Why not join hands and trot off together.
- Snorkel with Sea Turtles: Trips out of town will take you into known locations where green sea turtles abound. Snorkeling amongst these majestic wonders is quite the experience!
- Mud Springs: Located in the nearby town of Zorritos (about 45 minutes away) is a collection of five naturally occurring mud baths. Each pool provides a different textural experience and healing property.
- Kitesurfing: Kitesurfing schools line the coast along Mancora’s beach. Simply watching these guys ride out to sea and jump high above the crashing waves is entertainment. However, you can also sign up to take classes and test the power of the water and wind for yourself.
Getting There and Away:
- If you are traveling from the south take any bus heading north to the town of Piura, from Piura transfer onto a bus headed the next two hours to Mancora.
- If you are traveling from the north you will cross Ecuador’s boarder at Tumbes, from here the journey will take approximately two and a half hours longer.
Where to Head Next:
- Trujillo: This desert town eight hours south of Mancora, offers travelers the chance to dive into history, with three incredible pre-Incan sights to explore. There is also the nearby beach town on Huanchaco which means you can continue to work on those surf skills.
- Chiclayo: One of Peru’s more impressive northern cities, reasons to visit include the ruins of Sipan and the sprawling market which includes a small section of ‘brujos’ or witches fares.
- Ecuador: Mancora is most travelers last stop before they head over the boarder to Ecuador. Buses leave Mancora and head to Tumbes daily and then continue on to either Guayaquil or Cuenca.
By Tyler Protano-Goodwin