Mancora, Peru is a beach town located in Northern, Peru. I’ve lived in Peru for a collective of a year and have escaped to Mancora several times for a getaway. Some of Peru’s best beaches are in the area. When visiting Mancora, the only important things to do are to surf, lay on the beach, eat, sleep, and repeat. It’s a very relaxed way of life.
This guide features logistics on how to travel to Mancora and the best things to see & do when visiting.
How to Get to Mancora from LimaThe Ho
All international flights going to Peru must stop in the city of Lima first. This means that if you want to visit Mancora, Peru from another country, then you’ll have to have a layover in Lima first. From Lima, you can fly to either Piura Airport (PIU) or Talara Airport (TYL). The driving distance from Piura Airport to Mancora is 3 hours. The distance from Talara airport to Mancora is 1 hour. It’s easier to get to Mancora from Talara airport, but some visitors fly into Piura Airport because there are more flight options to/from Piura and Lima.
Ground Transportation in MancoraThe Ho
There are cabs, caravans, and motor taxis available in Mancora and the surrounding areas. When coming from the airport, you’ll want to take either a taxi or a caravan to get to your accommodation. Both can be booked either in advance or on the spot when you arrive. If you choose to book a taxi or caravan on the fly (rather than pre-booking), then it’s a good idea to negotiate the price before you get into the vehicle. If you try to do so once already in transit, then the driver has the upper hand and can upcharge the price.
Motor taxis are the best method of transportation once in Mancora. Motor taxis usually cost around 3SOL (equal to 1USD) each time you need to go somewhere. The price may vary depending on the distance that you need to travel.
With all ground transportation in Mancora, negotiate. The drivers expect that you’ll try to drive the cost down—it’s a part of their culture. If you don’t negotiate, then you’re paying extra for no reason. Some may not budge, especially for foreigners, but you should always try to drive the cost down.
The Weather in MancoraThe HoT
Mancora is warm year-round. Climate-wise, the best time of year to visit Mancora, Peru is from mid-June to mid-October. Summer in Mancora is from late December to late March and the weather during this time is typically very hot and humid. During the winter months, there is a dryer heat with mostly clear skies all the time.
What to Pack for a Trip to MancoraThe HoWhaWh
Mancora is a hot beach town. Keeping that in mind, pack light and airy clothes. Here’s a list of things that you should take with you:
- Summer Clothes: tank tops, shorts, dresses, breathable pants, etc.
- Bathing Suit(s)
- Sunscreen (the sun is strong in Mancora — the higher SPF, the better)
- Mosquito repellent (the mosquitos are aggressive in Mancora, bring good repellent.
- Beach bag
If you forget to pack an item, don’t worry. Mancora has a lot of stores (convenience stores, clothing stores, etc.) and you’ll be able to find anything from the above list and more if needed.
Top Accommodation in Mancora, PeruThe The Bes
The best way to book accommodation in Mancora is through booking.com.
An important important to keep in mind about Mancora is that it’s a beach town, with generally bad wi-fi and a low supply of water. Expect your accommodation to have sub-par wi-fi (plan to use a phone hot-spot as a back-up), light water pressure, and no hot water. Mosquitos often find their ways into accommodation, as well, so if needed most hostels/hotels will have things like mosquito nets in the bedrooms to help with this.
Here are a handful of my favorite hotels/hostels in Mancora.
- Grand Mar Hotel & Bungalows: this hotel is located in Las Pocitas which is far away from the more hectic area surrounding Playa Mancora. It’s about a 20-minute walk from the Mancora city center, though, which is great because you can walk there easily when needed. The hotel rooms are comfortable and clean. The water pressure is great and the staff is super friendly and helpful. They’ve also got two pools and lots of great ocean-side cabanas that you can relax in on the property.
Location: Antigua Panamericana Norte 1217, Máncora
- Selina Hostel: This is a great hostel for digital nomads in Mancora. They have cute rooms at varying price points, a co-working space, and an on-property bar and restaurant. This is a good hostel to stay in for travelers that are looking to work while traveling, and who plan on being social and meeting others. It’s about 15-minutes walking distance from the Mancora city center.
Location: Au. Panamericana Nte. 1215, Máncora
- Eco Lodge: This is a really nice and homey hostel, located near Playa Mancora. It’s not located directly on the beach but rather, in the “mountains” of Mancora. Visitors that stay here can get to the beach within 10 minutes by walking.
Location: Calle s/nombre, Barrio Industrial, Manc 01 Máncora
- Loki Hostel: I don’t personally recommend this hostel, in fact, I stayed here once and then vowed never to stay here again. However, if you’re looking for a budget hostel in Mancora and plan on going to Mancora to party, then this is the hostel for you. Loki is sort of like the fraternity/sorority of Mancora, boasting night-time parties that last from 8PM – 4AM daily. If you stay here, you won’t sleep much…but if that’s your plan, then go for it.
Location: Av Piura 262, Máncora 20851
The Best Things To Do in Mancora, PeruThe
Mancora is known for its beach, surfing, and awesome restaurants. You’ll likely spend most of your time doing one or all of the three of these activities. Here’s a run-down of some of the best things to do during your trip to Mancora:
1. Relax on one of Mancora's beaches
Mancora, and the surrounding region, is known for having some of the the best beaches in Northern Peru. There’s Mancora City, with a public beach and then several beaches surrounding that moving up and down the coast in other towns. Here are some of my favorite beaches in the region:
- Playa Mancora: This is a public beach in the “center” of Mancora. It’s nestled within a town that has lots of stores, restaurants, hostels, bars, etc. This is what I like to refer to as the “party center” of Mancora. Most of the hostels here, like Loki Hostel, have daily parties and events. There are also a lot of great bars and restaurants worth checking out in the area. The food in Mancora is actually really good, and most of the good restaurants are near this beach. Read down for more info on those.
- Playa Las Pocitas Mancora: This beach is within walking distance of Playa Mancora (where the action is) but is very tranquil and chill. I prefer to stay here when I visit Mancora, and then walk to Playa Mancora and the surrounding area when I want to go to a bar, shop, take surfing lessons, or go to a restaurant.
- Playa Arenillas: This beach is in Vichayito Mancora, which is another one of my favorite sections to visit. My experience of the area is that it can be a bit crowded with families, but still manages to provide a tranquil and fun experience. The town surrounding the beach has got some great local restaurants, cafes and bars. Playa Arenillas is approximately a 45-minute walk, or 15-minute motor-taxi ride from Playa Mancora.
- Playa Los Oreganos: This beach is approximately a 30-minute motor-taxi ride from Playa Mancora. I don’t recommend trying to walk here, as it’s quite a distance away. I experienced this town to be the most local of the four listed here, and the beach here is one of the more beautiful beaches in the area. The water at Playa Los Oreganos area appeared to be a little more green, and calmer, than that of the other beaches in the area, which I liked. The area also felt more tropical to me than the others. Definitely check this beach out if you plan on spending more than a few days in Mancora, and have the time.
2. Watch the Sunset
3. Hit the Waves - Go Surfing
Mancora—specifically Playa Mancora—is a great place to learn how to surf for beginners. Experienced surfers also enjoy the waves. Playa Mancora generally has no waves, but there’s a small section near the city center that always has at least a few small waves to ride on. I’m a newbie surfer and took lessons here. The instructors are excellent— I’ve watched lots of new surfers practice here and have never seen a new student fail to catch a wave on their first try.
There are two places that you can take lessons or rent boards from. They’re both located right in the center of Playa Mancora in front of the Green Eggs & Ham restaurant (you can’t miss them). Both of the surf schools in the section are in partnership with one another, so the cost of renting in both and quality of service from each is equal. The cost of surfboard rental & surf lessons in Mancora is reasonable and varies depending on the time of year. Visitors should expect to pay between 60-100SOL for a 1.5-hour lesson and 20-60SOL/hour for a surf-board rental.
I’m not converting the costs to USD here, as conversion rates vary. However, at the time of writing this article 1SOL(Peruvian Currency) = $3.6 USD. 80SOL = $22 USD, for reference.
4. Check out the Sea Life: Swim with the Sea Turtles or go Whale Watching!
Depending on the time of year that you go to Mancora, you can see some great sea life. Whales hang off of the coast of Mancora and the surrounding region from mid-July until late October. There are many local tours that can take you out on a boat to view the whales. People have also claimed to see them from the shore. The whales hang off of the shores of Mancora a few months a year to mate and train their young ones, before heading up north to feed.
It’s also possible to see and swim with sea turtles in the Mancora area. Swimming with the sea turtles is hit or miss. I swam with sea turtles in Playa Los Oreganos in April and saw tourists swimming with them in Playa Las Pocitas in December. There are official tours that you can book this through in advance, but I recommend going and asking a local if the sea turtles are around. If they say yes, then look for a pier with tourists bobbing up and down in the water with life jackets on next to it—that’s likely where the sea turtles are.
5. Go on a Boat Ride & Catch Your Lunch
Ceviche is one of the most popular foods in Peru. Ceviche is fish, that’s cooked with lemon and then served up with other ingredients like onions & corn. In Mancora, you can ride a boat, catch a fish, have a local prepare it for you as a ceviche dish, and then eat it then and there. The company that offers this is a bit, “underground” and not searchable on the internet (like many things in Mancora). I recommend going, finding a local, and asking them to point you in the direction of the “fishing for ceviche” expedition. If this experience feels too risky to you, then you can also try ceviche at a local restaurant in the area.
6. Go Shopping for Hand-Made Peruvian Goods
Mancora’s got a lot of really cute clothing and tchotchke stores. The vibe of Mancora is beach-town, spiritual, hippie—and the items in the stores reflect that. I recommend browsing the shops near Playa Mancora (if coming from the beach, walk past the Green Eggs & Ham restaurant, onto the street). You’ll see all the stores within a small 10 block radius of the restaurant).
You can also find a lot of cool handmade Peruvian goods in the Mercado (market). The market is next to Playa Mancora, and about five blocks walking distance from the town center. The market has about 50 stalls full of vendors that sell various things such as bracelets made of alpaca thread, hand-made clothing, crystals, hand-made wooden items, and more. I once requested a white crochet bikini, made to order, from one of the stalls in Mancora. The price is right and if you ask some of the vendors, they’ll custom make a lot of different kinds of things for you.
My Favorite Restaurants in Mancora, PeruThe
There are a lot of really great restaurants in Mancora. The most popular cuisine(s) there are: seafood (especially ceviche), Italian food, and of course, Peruvian cuisine. Here are a handful of my favorite spots. Don’t be afraid to blindly walk into something not listed on mine or any other bloggers, “best of” list, though—there’s a lot more to try beyond this.
- Green Eggs & Ham: This is the best restaurant in Mancora if you’re looking for a great view of the beach. They’ve got a large balcony that customers can sit on and eat while taking in the views. They offer a menu del dia (menu of the day), which includes a juice (usually papaya, pineapple, or mango), appetizer (ceviche or similar) and main entree (i.e., chicken and potatoes, tacos, etc.). Their desserts are also stellar.
Location: Pasaje 8 de Noviembre Centro Comercial BirdHouse, Mancora
- Atelier: This is an Italian & Peruvian infusion restaurant, with excellent food and some of the best empanadas that I have ever had in all of my travels. I bolded that statement because you must try their empanadas. They also have live music some nights, which adds to the ambiance and makes it a fun night out.
Location: Av, Piura 36o 20851 Máncora, Peru
- Bananas Cafe: This cafe has an eclectic ambiance full of hand-crafted artwork. They’ve got great coffee, good lunch, and the best mango smoothies ever. Mancora is known for having great Mangos—so definitely try a mango smoothie while in mancora, and if you can, try it in Bananas cafe. Bananas cafe also has excellent wifi, which is ideal for digital nomads in Mancora in search of a good spot to work. Good wi-fi is few and far in between in the region, so I found myself here a lot to get work done.
Location: Av. Piura 224, Máncora, Peru
- PokeGo: Great Poke Bowls. They’ve got the standards (spicy salmon sushi bowl, etc.) as well as things a bit more local to the area, like ceviche bowls. They also have 2 for 1 priced cocktail hours, and will give you a deck of cards to play with while waiting for you food. Fun vibe, good food.
Location:Av. Piura 241, Máncora Principal Avenue Piura 241, Mancora
- Mercado Municipal: If you’d like some Peruvian cuisine and want to get a more local experience, check out Mercado Muncipal. This market is a little off the beaten path—you’ll have to walk a few blocks away from the city center, and through a residential area to get here. There are two floors: the first is an actual market, that sells fresh foods (meats, fruits, vegetables, etc.). The second floor has a few restaurant stalls that you can choose from, each serving local peruvian cuisine at a reasonable cost. This is a good place to go if you’re on a budget.
Location: Máncora District 20850
So, What Are You Waiting For? Vamos a la Playa!The
Mancora, Peru is one of my favorite little beach towns in the world. There’s something for everyone here: the luxury traveler, the backpacker, families, and more. The time that I’ve spent in Mancora has been the most relaxing, exciting and thrilling of my travels. It’s a really authentic beach town that’s won my heart, and I definitely plan on going back to visit much more in the future. If you are planning a trip and have any questions, shoot me a note via the contact me section. Happy to offer more advice directly.