Located in Northern Peru, Mancora holds the title of my favorite beach town in the world. During my two years of living in Peru, I frequently enjoyed long weekends in Mancora.
The center of Mancora is bustling with an abundance of fantastic restaurants, lively bars, intriguing Peruvian markets, and thrilling activities such as surfing. It’s a unique blend of a tranquil beach town and an energetic party destination. Additionally, just a short distance from the center of Mancora, there are smaller local beach towns that offer a slower and more relaxed pace for those seeking that during their trip.
Throughout my time in Mancora, I had the opportunity to explore all the popular bars and restaurants, as well as experience various accommodations, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels. This comprehensive guide provides everything you need to plan your trip to Mancora, catering to any budget.
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How to Get to Mancora, PeruThe Ho
When visiting Mancora, you’ll either be coming from another country or from within another city in Peru. Here are three of the most common scenarios that tourists visiting Mancora find themselves in:
Visiting Mancora from a Country Outside of Peru by Flight:
If you’re planning to visit Mancora from a country outside of Peru by flight, you’ll need to make a stop in Lima. All international flights heading to Mancora are required to have a layover in Lima. This means that if you want to visit Mancora, Peru from another country, you’ll need to stop in Lima first. Once you’re in Lima, you have the choice to fly to either Piura Airport (PIU) or Talara Airport (TYL).
The driving distance from Piura Airport (PIU) to Mancora is 3 hours, while it takes approximately 1 hour from Talara Airport (TYL) to reach Mancora. Usually, it’s more convenient to reach Mancora from Talara Airport, but some visitors opt to fly into Piura Airport because it offers a wider range of flight options between Piura and Lima.
Visiting Mancora from Within Peru by Flight:
If you’re planning to visit Mancora from another city within Peru by flight, there are affordable flights available from almost every major city. However, due to the flight routes in Peru, it is highly likely that you will have to make a transfer in Lima to reach Mancora. Similar to flying to Peru from an external country, as mentioned earlier, you will fly directly into either Piura Airport (PIU) or Talara Airport (TYL).
Getting to Mancora by Bus from Within Peru:
One of the strengths of South America, specifically on the western coast, is its ground transportation. It’s possible to get to/from most major cities within Peru by bus.
Since Lima is the most common first destination for tourists visiting Peru, there are several bus options that will take you from Lima to Mancora within 20 hours. It’s a long jury, but worth it if you’re a budget traveler looking to save some money. My favorite bus transportation company in Peru is Cruz Del Sur—I used them many times and they are very reliable and affordable. Pro tip: if you can afford it, upgrade to a VIP ticket! It’s just a few extra soles and will provide you with a much more comfortable experience which is worth it if you’re taking a long trip.
Getting to Mancora by Bus from Ecuador:
Since Mancora is located close to Ecuador, you might consider taking a bus from Ecuador to Mancora. In such cases, there are numerous buses that offer direct transportation from Ecuador to Mancora, Peru.
Additional Tips for Ground Transportation to Mancora in any scenario:
As Mancora is a small town, you may need to take a bus to Piura first and then transfer to a local bus company for a further 3-hour journey to Mancora—whether you’re coming from within Peru or from Ecuador. Fortunately, there are several bus companies available in Mancora that can safely and affordably take you to your destination. Once you arrive, simply follow the signs and choose the first reputable option that catches your eye.
If you prefer, you can also opt for a communal van to travel to Mancora. If you decide to go this route, make sure to negotiate the price with the driver as it is common practice and expected.
Ground Transportation in MancoraThe Ho
In Mancora and the surrounding areas, there are taxis, caravans, and motor taxis available for transportation. When arriving from the airport, it’s recommended to take a taxi or a caravan to reach your accommodation. Both options can be booked in advance or on the spot upon arrival.
Motor taxis are the preferred mode of transportation within Mancora. Typically, motor taxi rides cost around 3SOL (equivalent to 1USD) for each trip. The price may vary depending on the distance you need to travel. These can be hailed easily by throwing your hand in the air to hail them down when you see them coming down the road.
With all local ground transportation in Peru, and specifically Mancora, make sure to negotiate the price with the operator before getting into the vehicle. This is a common practice in Peru and will help you save money. Regardless of whether or not you negotiate, it’s important to agree on a price in advance. Once you’re in transit, the driver has the upper hand and may raise the fare—charging you far more than you should pay.
Top Accommodation in Mancora, PeruThe The Bes
The two best ways to book accommodation in Mancora is through booking.com or hostelworld.com.
One important aspect to keep in mind about accomodation in Mancora is that it’s a beach town, and as a result, the Wi-Fi connection can be generally poor, and the water supply may be limited. Expect your accommodation to have subpar Wi-Fi (consider using a phone hotspot as a backup) and light water pressure, with no hot water available. Additionally, mosquitoes are often present in accommodations, but most hostels and hotels provide mosquito nets in the bedrooms to address this issue.
Here are a few of my favorite hotels and hostels in Mancora at varying price points to satisfy any budget.
- Grand Mar Hotel & Bungalows: This hotel is situated in Las Pocitas, a tranquil area away from the bustling surroundings of Playa Mancora. It’s approximately a 20-minute walk from the city center, which is convenient if you need to access it easily. The hotel rooms are comfortable and clean, providing a pleasant stay. The water pressure is excellent, and the staff is exceptionally friendly and helpful. Additionally, the property offers two pools and a variety of delightful ocean-side cabanas for guests to relax in.
Address: Antigua Panamericana Norte 1217, Máncora
- Selina Hostel: This hostel is an excellent choice for digital nomads in Mancora. They offer charming rooms at different price points, a co-working space, and an on-site bar and restaurant. It’s a suitable option for travelers who intend to work while on the move and enjoy socializing and meeting new people. The hostel is located approximately a 15-minute walk away from the Mancora city center.
Address: Au. Panamericana Nte. 1215, Máncora
- Eco Lodge: This hostel is a lovely and cozy accommodation option situated near Playa Mancora. While it’s not directly located on the beach, it is nestled in the “mountains” of Mancora. Guests staying here can reach the beach within a short 10-minute walk.
Address: Calle s/nombre, Barrio Industrial, Manc 01 Máncora
- Loki Hostel: This isn’t my favorite hostel in Mancora because it’s a party hostel, and my party days are behind me. But, if you’re on a budget and looking for a hostel in Mancora with a vibrant party atmosphere, then this hostel may be suitable for you. Loki is known for its lively night-time parties that run from 8PM to 4AM every day, making it akin to a fraternity/sorority scene in Mancora. Keep in mind that staying here may result in limited sleep, but if that aligns with your plan, then go ahead and give it a try.
Address: Av Piura 262, Máncora 20851
The Best Things To Do in Mancora, PeruThe
Mancora is famous for its stunning beach, incredible surfing opportunities, and extensive dining options. Chances are, you’ll spend the majority of your time engaging in one or all of these activities. To make the most of your trip to Mancora, here’s a rundown of the top attractions and experiences to consider:
1. Relax on one of Mancora's beaches
Mancora, along with its surrounding region, is renowned for boasting some of the best beaches in Northern Peru. The area encompasses Mancora City, which features a public beach, as well as several other beaches stretching along the coast in neighboring towns. Here are a few of my personal 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 wouldn’t recommend attempting to walk here, as it’s quite a distance away. In my experience, this town was the most local among the four listed here, and its beach is one of the most beautiful in the area. The water at Playa Los Oreganos appeared slightly greener and calmer compared to the other beaches, which I personally enjoyed. The area also gave off a more tropical vibe. If you have the time and plan on spending more than a few days in Mancora, I definitely suggest checking out this beach.
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
TThere are many excellent restaurants in Mancora that offer a variety of cuisines. The most popular ones include seafood, particularly ceviche, Italian food, and, of course, Peruvian cuisine. Here are a few of my favorite spots. However, don’t hesitate to explore other places that may not be listed in my or any other “best of” lists—there is a lot more to discover beyond these recommendations and sometimes the best things are discovered unexpectedly:
- 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.
Address: 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.
Address: 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.
Address: Av. Piura 224, Máncora, Peru
- 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.
Address: Máncora District 20850
The Weather in MancoraThe HoT
Mancora is warm throughout the year. The optimal time to visit Mancora, Peru in terms of climate is from mid-June to mid-October. Summer in Mancora lasts from late December to late March, and during this period, the weather is generally hot and humid. In the winter months, the heat is drier, accompanied by mostly clear skies.
What to Pack for a Trip to MancoraThe HoWhaWh
Mancora is a scorching beach town, so it’s essential to pack light and breathable clothing. Here’s a list of items you should bring with you:
- Summer Clothes: tank tops, shorts, dresses, breathable pants, etc.
- Bathing Suit
- Sunscreen (the sun is strong in Mancora)
- Mosquito repellent (the mosquitos are aggressive in Mancora, bring good repellent!)
- Beach bag
If you happen to forget to pack an item, don’t worry. Mancora has numerous stores where you can find everything you need, including convenience stores and clothing stores. You’ll have no trouble finding anything from the aforementioned list and more if needed.
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.
Read More Inspiration for a Trip to PeruThe
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3 thoughts on “Visiting Mancora, Peru: What to See, Know, & Do”
I spent a while in Peru, but didn’t make it to the beaches. It sounds like I need to go back!!
Vamos a la playa que a mi me gusta bailar!
Looks awesome! Had never heard of Mancora before but it has been added to my list! Sunsets look amazing and love the idea of swimming with turtles and whale watching. Thank you for sharing!
I would love to go fishing for my own ceviche!!!