When you want to enjoy the beach, the sun, and the sea in Peru, you think of Máncora. It is definitely the place you will want to reach if you are looking to spend time relaxing and enjoying the summer. Known as one of the most important spots for surfing in South America, and due to its reputation of having an active and vibrant nightlife, Máncora has a lot to offer. So come and find out everything there is to know about it. Welcome to our travel guide to Máncora, Peru.
Máncora is a small seaside town located in the north of Peru, in the Piura region, about 130 km from the border with Ecuador. It is precisely for that reason that it is a strategic location if you are entering Peru from Ecuador or vice-versa.
So let me start this travel guide to Máncora by telling you how to arrive.
Most backpackers get to Máncora by bus. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be reached by plane.
Although Máncora does not have an airport, there is 3 nearby city that does. Those are Piura, Tumbes, and Talara. Piura is located approximately 3 hours away from Máncora. Tumbes, 1.30 hours away.
Talara’s airport (Cap. FAP Víctor Montes Arias International Airport) is located 1 hour away. It connects all the main Peruvian cities, such as Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa.
Once you arrive at Talara airport, you can reach Máncora by bus. The buses depart every hour and cost about $3. The company that provides the service is called Eppo. You can also arrive with a private transfer, that you will find outside the airport.
Since the Panamericana road passes by Máncora, all the buses that go to and come from Ecuador pass through this town.
Máncora is well connected by land with the main Peruvian and Ecuadorian cities. The particular thing is that there is no real terminal. The buses just stop at the main street. And get ready, because once you get off, you will be “attacked” by a crowd of tuk-tuks drivers. Tuk-tuks are like moto-taxis, typical of the area. They will propose to take you to your hostel. Do not get fooled, never pay more than 8 soles ($2,5) for this service.
As you will understand after a few days in Máncora, Tuk-tuks are the main transportation system in town.
Ayelen and I arrived in Máncora at the end of January with the idea of staying for a couple of weeks. The first impression I got was not very positive. The beach was not as I expected. And we had been to Montañita, Ecuador, and the atmosphere was very similar. Seemed like nothing special.
But in a few days, I would have changed my mind. We ended up staying for almost three months in this splendid and crazy town. And I loved every single day.
So let me tell you about the best things to do while in Máncora. Check them out.
Surfing in Máncora is one of the activities you shouldn’t miss. Even if you never surfed in your life, it will definitely leave you with one of the best memories of your trip.
The waves of the area are among the best in Peru to start in the world of surfing and other watersports, like kitesurfing. Many of the tourists who visit Máncora use the opportunity to embark on the adventure, get on board for the first time, and experience this exciting sport firsthand.
As I said before, it’s one of the main spots when it comes to surf. So people from all over the world arrive looking to face the best waves that can be found in the South American Pacific.
It might be it’s a bit scary at first, but, as long as you do it with a teacher who is experienced in the matter, it poses no danger. Just in case, make sure you have reliable travel insurance covering you.
Máncora beach is full of schools that, for a small price, offer you a course with an experienced teacher. Or also rent boards for those who dare to enter into the sea alone.
Also, many hostels offer the possibility to rent boards during the day. The prices depend on for how long, and what kind of board you want to rent. I recommend this alternative only to people who already have a minimum of experience surfing.
Still, it has an almost endless beach where you can go to relax, sunbathe or play sports.
The main beach, in the town center, has a lot of different bars and restaurants where you can eat the typical dishes of the region or have a cold drink.
If you keep walking to the right, following the sea, you will reach Playa del Amor. It’s basically the same beach, but much less crowded. There are no bars or restaurants there, and you can have more space in the sand just for you.
Don’t forget to stay for the sunset. It’s one of the most beautiful spectacles nature has to offer in Máncora.
The city is small, but it has a center full of shops, bars, restaurants, and a beautiful handicraft market where you can go for a walk and have a good time.
Máncora has basically one main avenue, where the long-distance buses stop, and a pedestrian street that goes down to the beach.
All along the main avenue, you will find restaurants where you can try the daily menu for as little as 8 soles or 2,5 dollars.
The pedestrian street is where you will find also several bars, markets, and restaurants to enjoy on the way back from the beach. After sunset, it gets really crowded there.
If you are looking to buy some souvenirs, go to the handicraft market in the main avenue. But, remember, I always advise you to bargain to find the best price.
Máncora is famous for its crazy nightlife. Many Peruvians go there to spend their holidays all year along. But it gets especially wild during the New Year’s Eve and Carnival seasons.
It also receives a lot of international tourists. As I told you before, people from all over the world arrive to practice surf. But, once the sun is down, they are all signed up to the party!
So if you are looking for a place to party, or simply want to spend a few days of pure madness and fun, Máncora is the right place. That’s why we have included it in our top 5 party beaches in South America. If you’d like, feel free to read that post we wrote.
El Ñuro is a small fishing village located 7 km from Los Órganos and 23 km from Máncora.
Besides its beauty, with the desert tones of its beaches and the turquoise color of the sea, El Ñuro is currently known for its sea turtles who have made the local pier their permanent residence.
Only a few years ago the first sea turtles appeared on El Ñuro beach, searching for food and shelter. Little by little the turtles began to populate the area and thanks to local projects, the fishermen and the people of El Ñuro decided to take care of these animals.
You can go to El Ñuro to visit the turtle’s refuge and swim with free turtles at the pier. It’s a beautiful tourist activity both for young and adults.
The refuge charges an entrance of 5 soles or $1,5 per person. And that money goes to keep helping the turtles, so it’s a good deal.
If your budge is loose and you can afford a day tour, I recommend you take the Puerto Pizarro tour.
Many tourist agencies are offering the tour throughout Máncora. They all offer the same, so compare prices and choose the one that seems most suitable for you.
From Máncora, they will take you to visit the mangroves of Puerto Pizarro and its islands, places full of wildlife.
You will also visit the Island of the Birds, and a Crocodile and Alligator Zoo, where they work to repopulate the area of the Tumbes River.
In addition, the tour offers the possibility of visiting two beautiful beaches near Máncora, Zorritos, and Punta Sal. If you do not want to take the tour, try to visit at least some of those beaches on your own.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this travel guide to Máncora, the town’s nightlife is sparkling and crazy.
The main stars in the scene are the hostel’s bars. In fact, you can find the major South American chains of party hostels located in this city.
But is not every hostel that has a party soul. So, to start the evening, I suggest you go to either The Point or Wild Rover Hostel. Either way, you will find a great party atmosphere and many foreigners looking for some fun.
The party starts in the early afternoon, with pool parties and drinking games involving the guests, which makes it very easy to make friends and meet new people.
We have volunteered in the Wild Rover and I can say that it was fantastic, here we had the opportunity to interact with many people from all over the world. And believe, at Wild Rover, the party never ends.
The hostel’s bars close around 2:00 in the morning. But, don’t worry, it continues at Loki del Mar, another hostel chain that keeps the music and party alive until 6:00 in the morning.
To reach the various points and parties, I recommend you to use those famous tuk-tuks I mentioned. They have an average price of 5 soles during the day and 8 during the night. They will allow you to move safely between the various party’s locations.
So, as I said before, you can find many party hostels in Máncora. But you can also find some quiet hostels to chill and relax. So let me continue with this travel guide to Máncora by recommending you the best hostels in both categories.
If you are looking for a place to make friends and where there’s great customer service, then you will surely want to book one of the following hostels.
Is one of the most famous party hostel chains in Peru. You can find them in Lima, Cusco, and Máncora. If you have already been to one of these hostels, you will surely know crazy it is. And, instead, if you haven’t, I strongly suggest you do it.
Recently, The Point Hostel expanded and updated the one in Máncora. They now have a beautiful swimming pool with a sea view, and it is phenomenal. The prices are $8 for a bed in a dorm and $ 40 for a private room for two.
Another of Peru’s most famous party hostel chains. You can find them in Lima, Cusco, Máncora, La Paz (Bolivia), and Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Loki del Mar was one of the first hostels to open in Máncora and has become a classic for its crazy parties. They are open until 6 am on weekends and high season. It’s located in the town center. Prices go from $10 for a bed in a dorm to $50 for a private room for two.
Is one of the most famous chains of party hostels. You can find them in Cusco, Máncora, Arequipa, Huacachina, and La Paz (Bolivia). We “shared” our journey through Peru with them, and it will always be our favorite one.
It was in Máncora that we discovered the Wild Rover family. And we ended up visiting all the hostels they have and volunteering in more than half of them.
They recently built and updated the one in Máncora. They have a beautiful swimming pool and a modern bar where the atmosphere is truly among the best I’ve ever seen. Here, the prices per night go from $8 in dorms to $44 for a private room for two.
If you are looking for a more peaceful place to spend your stay in Máncora, then I can only give you one strong suggestion: go to the Misfit Hostel. You will love it.
Located at the Playa del Amor, the Misfit Hostel is uniquely charming. It’s located by the shore and has a bohemian colorful vibe. The dorms are all small wooden houses with the doors facing directly to the beach. Super recommended if you want to spend moments of relaxation and enjoy the sea at its maximum.
If you have opted for one of the party hostels, you will not have to worry about where to eat. Besides the best bars in Máncora, they also have excellent restaurants, where you can find all kinds of dishes. From vegetarian food to pizzas, burgers, and typical food, as Lomo Saltado and Arroz Chaufa.
But if you want to explore the local cuisine a little, I suggest you take a tour in the central market, where you can find typical dishes for $2 or $3 and will be able to discover Máncora’s authentic food.
Also, all along the main avenue and the pedestrian street, you will be able to find a lot of cozy restaurants to chose from.
Máncora is a beautiful place, but it is one of those places that need time to get used to and love. I want you to leave some tips to help you get to know it better and enjoy it at its maximum.
The climate in the Máncora is very warm all year around. So, I recommend that you take a big bottle of water everywhere you go, and always stay hydrated. Make sure you use a good sunscreen as well. The sun is really strong at the beach.
Everyone moves around by tuk-tuks in Máncora, both tourists and locals. But that doesn’t mean the drivers won’t try to rip you a little bit off! The average price is 5 soles during the day, and 8 when it’s nighttime or rains. Of course, it depends on the distance you will be making, but that’s the price for a distance of up to 2 kilometers. And there are not many places to see in Máncora farther than that!
If you are lucky enough to be traveling in Máncora towards the end of February, then you might be able to observe the wonderful luminous plankton. As the sea waters are cold, here the luminescence turns on on blue shades, and is fantastic!
You might have arrived in Máncora chasing the best parties, but don’t overdo it. You won’t want to spend all your budget and run out of money for partying too hard. I’m telling you, I almost committed that mistake!
Máncora is a small city that has been developing for only a few tens of years. You will probably not find all the mod cons large metropolitan areas have. So make sure you have everything you need before arriving.
Also, if you have things to arrange concerning your tourist permits, or you have to buy electronic devices, it might be difficult to do it here.
As you must have seen, there’s a lot of things in Mancora while backpacking Peru.
We hope you have found this travel guide useful. And, if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to use the comments below. We will be happy to help!
Have a great adventure!