Location – Mancora is a quiet seaside village on the country’s northern Pacific coast.
Best time to go – All the year round for me! Rush to this unexplored territory before the masses make a run for it. If you are into surfing, do check the wind and waves condition.
How to get there – Took a flight from Lima to Talara and then an hour and a half drive from there. The change of landscape and the brilliant rocky terrain is a refreshing sight. Our Hotel arranged for the pick and drop. Also, the locals recommended taking this route over flying in from Piura since that road has been damaged a lot due to the floods.
The best place to stay– Highly recommend Hotel Arennas. It’s definitely the top resort in Mancora and we had to treat ourselves to this luxury after our 4 day Salkantay trek! Also, I was told to be the first Indian to ever come there *sense of accomplishment ;)*
If this falls out of your budget, you can definitely explore other options in the Playa Las Pocitas area. This is the best street lined up with beautiful homestays and resorts giving you a private view of the beach. For more budget stays, you can explore the hostels in the Mancora town – good for backpackers.
Before visiting Mancora, I used to think I am more of a “mountain” person than a beach. My perception surely changed when I stayed here for 3 days. Here’s why:
- Picturesque coastline dotted with palm trees – You can walk the entire length from the main Mancora town to Las Pocitas. Well kept and clean, it is lined with beautiful shacks and plush resorts. You can get a massage done on the beach for as low as 50 Soles, grab a Cusquena for 10 soles or enjoy a horse ride.
TIP – had the best full body massage at Fisiomundo Peru. For Information and reservation call – (01)991102991 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be on a look out for them!
- Kitesurfing lessons – It was by accident that this sport was discovered but you have to see how everyone just loves it here. It was a sight to see pro kitesurfers flying in the air and landing on top of the waves. You can enroll for Kite Surfing lessons – USD 40 per class (recommended 3 class minimum). Highly recommend Kite Club. Best season – Jan to Feb
- Surfing, Quad biking, Turtle Swimming, Whale Watching, Kayaking, Canoeing – surely will make you contemplate the many things you can learn and do in life!
Tip: You don’t need to pre-book any of these activities since there are tons of travel companies lined up in the main town of Mancora selling all these activities at the same rate. Also, there is the advantage of bargaining for the best price when you are booking in person.
Turtle swimming can be booked with one of the tour operators. 45 soles for a tour to El Nuro starting 9.30 am until 1 pm, lunch included. For Whale watching, you need to be up a bit early around 6.30 am. Quad bikes can be hired for 50 soles an hour and you can take it around the town or ride it on the beach.
- Finest seafood experience – nothing is better than a fresh seafood platter along with a Pisco Sour! I had the best Lomo Saltado at Arennas. If you are in Mancora, you have to visit Arennas and enjoy a sumptuous meal of lomo saltado and end it with their speciality Postre – “Coulant”. Also visited Casa La Playa but didn’t really like the food here.
- Refresh your swimwear collection – Mancora town is lined up with swimwear shops and gears. Apart from that, they sell a lot of artifacts from sea shells to take back as souvenirs.
- Greet a seal or a whale right from your room – I had the best time running around to grab my lens to spot a whale or two right from my room’s patio. Never have I seen such an active aquatic life where a seal would just walk up to the shore from nowhere or seagulls diving right in front of you to pick their food.
Things you need to know:
- You can easily get currency exchanged in the town. The exchange rate is definitely higher than the rest of the cities we visited but not a big difference. It’s better to carry less currency while walking around. Also, cards were accepted by most of the shops and restaurants but do carry change for the local street vendors and moto-taxis.
- The main street wouldn’t look as happening during the day but surely turns into a party place post 11 pm. Tuk tuks are available throughout and you just have to wave your hand to stop them. It takes 10-15 soles for a one-way ride from Las Pocitas Playa to the Mancora town.
- PanAmericana is the main street with all the cafes, restauants and shop. You can walk the entire length of the town.
- There is a mudpond on the outskirts of the town- a pool of hot water springs with healing properties around 30-40 minutes from Mancora.
- Moto-taxi drivers approach you with offers for rides, marihuana, etc. Be polite in saying no, they are just trying to earn a living.
- Mancora is near the equator – use lots of sunscreen!
- Just relax – it’s a place to unwind.
Do give yourself a quaint sunset experience, sitting by one of the shacks on the Mancora beach and tripping on the music playing in the background. I still can’t get this song out of my head….been on loop since then reminding me of each moment spent in this beautiful old town.