Pristine golden beaches, exhilarating surf, and a vibrant bohemian atmosphere effortlessly come together in Máncora to create a pocket of heaven that will leave an imprint on your heart long after you leave.
Nestled along Peru’s northern coastline lies a tropical paradise known as Máncora. This idyllic seaside town is often overlooked in favor of Peru’s major players, such as Machu Picchu and Cusco, but skipping this coastal wonder would mean missing out on a real diamond of a destination. Rhythmic waves, laid-back appeal, and lively nightlife are all part of Máncora’s allure. That’s not to mention its abundance of stunning luxury hotels with prized seafront locations offering the perfect vantage point to witness Máncora’s sensational sunsets.
While the compact town center is characterized by dusty roads, souvenir stalls, and a relaxed boho atmosphere, Máncora has its own rustic charm. Tuk-tuks zip travelers to their next hidden gem, while down on the sand, beach shacks serve up street-style seafood and surfing lessons aplenty.
With a buzzing yet easygoing atmosphere, the town’s upbeat restaurants and bars are the place to hang out once the sun goes down, while the days see visitors hitting the waves, riding across the long stretches of untouched sand on horseback, or simply soaking up the sun with a book in hand.
So, is a trip to Máncora, Peru worth it? Absolutely. Our expert guide delves into the many reasons why.
Things to Do in Máncora, Peru
There's certainly no shortage of things to do in the vibrant coastal playground of Máncora. From its world-class surf and untouched stretches of golden sand to delectable seafood and cheerful markets, you’ll find an endless array of activities waiting for you.
Spend the day surfing
Adventure seekers will relish in Máncora’s mighty waves and there’s no better way to spend the day than surfing. Peru’s endlessly popular beach town is known for its warm waters, fantastic waves year-round, and huge seasonal swells, which draw enthusiastic surfers from all over the country and beyond. In fact, Máncora is known for being one of Peru’s top surfing destinations.
New to surfing? This is a great place to learn, with a number of surfing schools offering lessons for beginners of all ages and abilities. Local instructors will share their first-hand knowledge and teach you the best techniques to get up on the board – you’ll be catching waves in no time.
If you’d like to try your hand at this seaside activity, our travel specialists are happy to book a surfing lesson for you as part of your bespoke tour of Peru.
Relax on Máncora Beach
While plenty of Máncora’s appeal lies in its spectacular surf spots, it’s also a popular place for simply relaxing on the beach and watching the sky turn striking shades of pink and orange as the sun sets. And thanks to its yet-to-peak reputation, you might find you have the glorious sandy shores almost entirely to yourself, although that depends on which part of the beach you choose..
Máncora Beach is actually more like several beaches in one. The main section, in front of the bars and restaurants, is where all the action is: think character-packed beach bars, backpackers coming in from the surf for a midday beer, and travelers snoozing in lounge chairs dotted across the sand.
On either side of the main beach, there are quieter stretches that have few or no amenities but are a short walk away from the center. To the south is our favorite beach spot, Las Pocitas, where you’ll find wide swathes of empty gold-sand shores, luxury spa hotels, and plenty of solitude.
Wherever you set up camp, you’ll discover that Máncora Beach is Peru’s answer to an incredibly rejuvenating coastal break.
Indulge in ceviche
While in town, there’s one thing you must do, and that’s sample local ceviche. This ancient Peruvian dish of raw fish cured with citrus dressings, onions, and chilies is a staple of the national cuisine. The chefs here really know how to bring it to life and have helped Máncora become well-known for its tantalizingly fresh ceviche –many say it’s the best in Peru!
With seafood eateries dominating the local food scene and beachfront restaurants serving up freshly made ceviche alongside a chilled glass of your favorite wine, you won’t be short of memorable dining experiences in this endearing beach town.
Follow the Peruvian coastline and you’ll arrive at charming little towns, such as Vichayito, Los Órganos and Cabo Blanco, where you can relax on the beach, test out your new surfing skills, or fish for marlin and groupers. There are plenty of exciting things to do across the coast, from kitesurfing and windsurfing to whale watching and scuba diving.
Explore the coast
Máncora is a top-class destination in its own right, but it’s also a fantastic base for exploring other seaside villages nearby. Much like those in Máncora, beaches on Peru’s northern coast are loved for their idyllic setting with rugged desert hillsides and tall swaying palms leading down to the vast Pacific Ocean.
Follow the Peruvian coastline and you’ll arrive at charming little towns, such as Vichayito, Los Órganos, and Cabo Blanco, where you can recharge on the beach, put your new surfing skills to the test, or fish for marlin and groupers. There are plenty of thrill-seeking things to do across the coast too, from kiteboarding and windsurfing to whale watching and scuba diving.
When to Go to Máncora, Peru
When planning your vacation, you may be wondering: what is the best month to go to Máncora? The good news is there’s plenty to enjoy, no matter what time of year you visit.
For serious surfers wanting to experience Máncora’s celebrated swells, these tend to roll in from October to March, which perfectly coincides with the Peruvian summer (December to March). But one of the main reasons Máncora is known for surfing is that it offers a good mix of different waves all year, so you can still expect decent surf outside these months.
in Máncora, given Peru’s wildly varied climate zones that range from high-altitude mountains to the vast forests of the Amazon Basin. However, sun worshippers will be pleased to hear that in light of its proximity to the equator, Peru’s northern desert coast is known for its reliable sunshine and warm-to-hot temperatures that stay around for the majority of the year.
Another factor to consider is whether you want to avoid the high-energy vacation crowds or join them. Máncora gets pretty busy during the end-of-year vacation season, from mid-December through to February, and is certainly a hit with young partygoers over New Year’s Eve – meaning accommodation tends to get booked up quickly.
Our travel specialist, Julie Norton, offers her advice on making the most of this awe-inspiring destination:
“Máncora is famous for its surf, both the traditional longboard type and kite surfing too – its perfect rolling waves draw both locals and surfers from around the world and are ideal for all abilities. Between July and November, it's possible to go on whale-watching boat trips to catch a glimpse of migrating humpback whales, and you can swim with green turtles too.”
Suggested Itineraries Including Máncora
At Scott Dunn, our travel specialists are on hand to help you create a customized plan for a truly unforgettable trip to Peru. Whether it’s an all-encompassing tour or a pure beach vacation, we’ll make sure you experience everything you want to in this captivating country.
Take a look at our suggested itineraries for some inspiration to get you started:
Where is Máncora?
Perhaps you’re wondering, where is Máncora, Peru? On the map, it sits high up in the very north of Peru, not far from the equator and the border with Ecuador. The country’s Pacific Ocean coastline runs the entirety of its western edge, with Máncora and the rest of the Piura region’s secluded beaches located at the top end.
Máncora is far enough from major cities like Cusco and Lima (both located several days’ drive away in the southern half of Peru) to be off the radar for many tourists, despite its endless wonders. Those who do venture here are rewarded with the opportunity to bask in the warm rays of the sun or relax on Máncora Beach largely uninterrupted, as well as the opportunity to discover many of the beautiful surrounding areas.
If you want to add a visit to Máncora onto your trip, it’s about a two-hour drive from Tumbes, right near the Ecuador border, while Talara is a little closer. Stop by the town of Piura, just over two hours away by car, for even more beach time, surfing, and fishing.
Where to Stay in Máncora, Peru
The best hotels in Máncora, Peru, are located just outside the town in the picture-perfect Las Pocitas area. From the Arennas Mancora with its tranquil vibes and neutral tones to the rustic yet sumptuous Kichic - there’s no denying there are some world-class hotels in Máncora.
Let us book you a splendid stay at one of our hand-picked luxury properties, where you’ll enjoy deluxe amenities, a spa-like ambiance, and ocean-view pools overlooking a private beach. Your very own patch of paradise.
Our Travel Expert, Julie Norton, gives her take on her favorite hotel in the area:
“Kichic is a gorgeous real boutique property with direct beach access and a lovely infinity pool with views out towards the Pacific – the perfect spot to enjoy a pisco sour at sunset.”
Mancora, Northern Peru, Peru
Arennas Mancora is a contemporary boutique beach hotel near to the surf-town of Mancora in Peru's north. It is a relaxing and stylish property from which to enjoy great seafood, spa treatments, whale watching and the endless surf of the Pacific Ocean.
Mancora, Northern Peru, Peru
Kichic occupies a stretch of golden sand, a short distance from the laidback surf town of Mancora in northern Peru, yet remains far enough away from the action to ensure a peaceful stay. Unwind with yoga, sunset movies on the beach and fresh ceviche.
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