Some places simply scream holiday, and Máncora is easily at the top of the list when it comes to Peru! 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 chilled.
Máncora 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 surfboard 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.
Where to Stay in Máncora, Peru
There are plenty of places to stay in Máncora to suit any budget. From party-hardy backpacker hostels like Loki del Mar to surf hostels, luxury beach bungalows and spa resorts! For the budget traveller, here’s our pick of the best places to stay in Máncora…
Top 5 Hostels in Máncora
1. Loki del Mar – From $9 US Per Night
Originally built as a beachside hotel, the famous Loki chain of hostels bought up the property and turned it into one damn impressive backpacker hostel – possibly the most happening spot in Máncora! A place where you are bound to meet fellow travellers and indulge in at least a couple of beers – or why not try a blood bomb? (Just ask the bar, they’ll know what you’re on about!) Loki Hostels are also well-known for their job opportunities for backpackers wanting to stay in Peru long-term and get free food and board. Read more about Loki hostels here. Dorms start at $9 US per night. Privates from $35 US per night.
2. Palosanto Backpackers – From $10 US Per Night
This popular 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. The location is very central and just 10 minutes walk from the beach. (Formerly Kokopelli Hostel).
3. Casa Nomade – From $14 US Per Night (Top Pick!)
If you’re all partied out and are looking for an accommodation choice to reflect that, head to Casa Nomade. This oasis of tranquillity offers everything a backpacker needs to relax, from hammocks in the garden to pretty outside balconies. Just minutes from the beach, you can wake up to the sound of the sea and hit the waves before the crowds draw in. Casa Nomade is a dog-friendly hostel which is a huge plus if you have a furry friend from home that you’re missing! They offer a mix of spacious and comfortable rooms equipped with mosquito nets. Dorm rooms start at 60 PEN per person ($14 US) and a bungalow for two adults begins at 116 PEN ($35 US). You can read our full review of Casa Nomade here.
4. Geko, Máncora – From $8 US Per Night
The small family run hostel Geko offers just four rooms which means it is easy to get to know your fellow travellers. All accommodation options are basic but fully functional, providing a welcome escape from the noise and party of the main strip. It is even possible to organise both surf and kite lessons directly with the owner. Geko won’t be beaten on price! A single room comes in at 27 PEN ($8 US) and a double at a very reasonable 60 PEN ($18 US). All rooms come with a private bathroom and include a good breakfast in the rate.
5. Psygon Surf Camp – From $7.50 Per Night
With a swimming pool, table tennis table, pool table, gym, yoga classes, salsa lessons, jam sessions, bustling bar, bicycles for hire and an on-site surf school, this hostel goes out of its way to provide everything a traveller could need at a budget price! The restaurant serves all you can eat sushi on Wednesdays, which is a must-experience! All in all, a great value for money hostel, 2-minutes walk from the beach. For backpackers wanting to party the night away, ‘The Point’ Hostel (from $8 US per night), nearby, is the place to go!
Top 10 Things to Do in Máncora
1. Learn to Surf
It’s incredibly cheap to test your skills on Máncora’s famed left point breaker. Private classes are offered as well as board rentals. Surf schools line the main part of Máncora’s beach, we’d be shocked if you aren’t offered a lesson (many, many times).
2. Eco Ranch ‘La Caprichosa’
If the waves aren’t providing enough adrenaline for you, then make sure you check out Eco Ranch ‘La Caprichosa’. This adventure park comprises a zip-lining complex, climbing wall and rope circuit which will certainly get your heart pumping! At the ranch, there is a huge emphasis on eco-friendly tourism and the aim is to provide travellers somewhere they can connect with nature and adventure in an environmentally friendly setting. A full day’s adventure will cost you $50 US per day.
Màncora may be known for its surf and vibrant nightlife but many travellers are now journeying to the town looking for relaxing alternatives. As such, there has been an increase in the demand for yoga classes and the community has grown. Instead of fighting a hangover first thing in the morning, it is surely a better choice to rise early and do a yoga class on the beach. Classes are available in both English and Spanish for reasonable prices.
To loosen up after a hard day on the waves, seek out one of the massage therapists on the beach. There are pop-up huts equipped with massage tables and towels directly in front of Green Eggs and Ham cafe. After a few yoga lessons and a couple of massage sessions, your body will be sure to thank you!
5. 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! Buy a coconut, take a good book and watch the beach life go by…
6. Visit 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 and it’s wise to shop around and haggle for the best price. However, as the travel company will be taking 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.
7. Horseback riding on the beach
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!
8. 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!
9. Visit the 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.
10. Try Kitesurfing
Kitesurfing schools line the coast along Máncora’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.
Where to eat in Máncora?
The 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 contemporary Peruvian, and Japanese fusion options, for incredibly low prices. We also indulged in enormous breakfasts of waffles, fruit salad, omelettes, and hash browns while we watched the morning surfers at Green Eggs and Ham located right on the beach in a beautiful wooden building. To satisfy our healthy side we slurped up bowls of homemade yoghurt at Angela’s place, the towns only restaurant that is entirely vegetarian.
How to get to Máncora
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 Máncora. If you are traveling from the north from Ecuador, you will cross Ecuador’s border at Tumbes, from here the journey will take approximately two and a half hours longer. We actually travelled from Cuenca in Ecuador to reach Máncora in Peru. Read more about our experience crossing the border from Ecuador to Peru here.
Where to Head Next From Máncora
- Trujillo: This desert town eight hours south of Máncora, offers travellers 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: Máncora is most travellers’ last stop before they head over the border to Ecuador. Buses leave Máncora and head to Tumbes daily and then continue on to either Guayaquil or Cuenca.
Updated by Sheree Hooker and Nikki Scott.