Is Mancora Worth Visiting?
Mancora is well worth a visit for several reasons:
- It’s Peru’s most popular surf and destination and has some of the best breaks in the country
- From July-November, you can go whale watching and se humpback whales migrating along the coast
- It’s also a lively party city with great hostels, bars and clubs and hot weather year round
1. Pristine Beaches and Azure Waters
Mancora boasts an impressive coastline adorned with pristine white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, perfect for sun-soaking and leisurely swims. The beach stretches invite you to lay down a beach towel, soak up the sun’s rays, and take a refreshing dip in the ocean.
Whether you’re an avid surfer catching the waves or a laid-back beachcomber, Mancora’s beaches cater to all tastes, making it a haven for beach lovers.
Here are some of the best beaches to check out along Mancora’s coast:
- Playa Mancora – this is the main beach in front of the town. Here you’ll find beach bars, restaurants and wide stretches of sand to pop down a towel and relax for the day.
- Las Pocitas – situated just below Playa Mancora, this is the best place for swimming, seafront dining all situated on a sandy stretch backed by coconut palms
- Playa Los Organos – a 20-minute drive south of town, situated in front of the town of Organos. Los Organos is a tempting option for those who are searching for a quiet place and nice beaches too. Los Organos also has three popular surf points and some of the best waves in Peru
- Punta Sal – a short journey north of Máncora is the small beach town of Punta Sal. Similar to Organos, visiting Punta Sal is a way to escape the hustle and bustle of Máncora. Here you will find a ore private and secluded beach
2. Surfer's Paradise
For surf enthusiasts, Mancora’s beaches offer some of the best waves in Peru.
The warm waters of the Pacific Ocean make it an ideal destination for surfers of all skill levels. Grab a board, ride the waves, and feel the adrenaline rush as you conquer the ocean. Even if you’re a beginner, numerous surf schools provide lessons, ensuring you make the most of your surfing experience in Mancora.
If you are looking to learn, Inka Warrior is one of the best surf schools in Mancora. Located in front of Mancora’s surf break, they offer private surf classes for all levels, surfboard rentals, stand up paddle board classes and rentals, and surf trips.
You can also learn to surf in Lima, Peru’s capital. For more on the best surf schools there and a list of other great activities do try, head to the post below:
3. Whale Watching
Whale Watching Season in Mancora and the nearby beaches of Los Organos, Cabo Blanco and Punta Sal is one of the most incredible activities on the northern coast of Peru.
You’ll be able to see up close the beauty of these gigantic animals – it is one of those experiences that you’ll remember for a lifetime.
You’ll need to be in Mancora between July and November to witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of humpback whales passing through the region during their annual migration.
It is in this period that whales come to the coasts of Peru and Ecuador from the cold waters of Antarctica, making a long journey of several thousand kilometers, to give birth to their young. In late October the whales, many of them with two to three babies, undertake the journey back south again in search of polar waters for food.
Oceana Expeditions is one of the top-rated whale watching companies in Mancora. Tours start at 6.30AM and last around 4 hours. The tour also includes trips to the inactive oil platform where you can observe sea lions and sea birds (pelicans, boobies, cormorants and frigatebirds). After whale watching, you’ll end the day by heading to El Ñuro to watch the turtles and swim with them.
Another great place to go whale watching is the coastal town of Paracas, just south of Lima. Here you have the Ballestas Islands (Peru’s version of the Galapagos) and another fantastic place to catch the whales migrating.
For more on Paracas, check out the post below:
4. Delectable Peruvian Cuisine
Peru is renowned for its exquisite culinary offerings, and Mancora is no exception.
Savor the fusion of fresh seafood and traditional Peruvian flavours at the numerous beachside restaurants and eateries. Indulge in mouthwatering ceviche, a seafood delicacy marinated in zesty lime juice, or feast on succulent grilled octopus while enjoying the stunning ocean views.
Here are some of the best restaurants to check out in and around Mancora:
- Kichic – a 10-minute drive south from Mancora is this incredible Peruvian restaurant.
- Yuka – the best sushi and ceviche in town
- Pokego – peruvian Hawaiian fusion food – the freshest poke bowls with fish caught straight from the pacific ocean
Trying fresh ceviche caught straight from the Pacific ocean is one of the many reasons why you need to visit Peru. For 11 more reasons that include epic hiking and incredible wildlife experiences, head to the post below:
5. Vibrant Nightlife
Aside from being a surf paradise, Mancora is also known as Peru’s party town. The town is frequented by gringos looking to party and Limeños (Peruvians who live in Lima) eager to escape Lima‘s urban hustle.
As the sun sets over the Pacific, Mancora comes alive with a vibrant nightlife. The beach bars and clubs offer an electrifying atmosphere, with live music, dancing, and delicious cocktails to keep the party going until the early hours.
Mancora’s biggest parties happen at Loki, especially on the weekend. You can expect to see travellers drinking side-by-side with the locals here. If you’re looking for the epicentre of nightlife in Mancora, this is your best bet.
After the party finishes up at Loki, if you still want to carry the night on then people head to the beach from bars. Along the main beach front is a string of bars equipped with dance floors and large speakers blasting reggaeton music into the early hours of the morning.
There are so many places to find vibrant nightlife in South America, whether its at the coastal beaches, backpacker hostels or in the cities. For more on where to find the best parties, check out the post below:
6. Spectacular Sunsets
As the day draws to a close, Mancora treats visitors to breathtaking sunsets that paint the sky in vibrant hues of orange, pink, and purple.
You can watch it from several different places in town. Head to the beach and sit at one of the many beachside bars or restaurants and enjoy it with a cocktail. Or if you are looking for more a more panoramic view with views up and down the coast, head to the cliffside viewpoint El Mirador del Faro.
You can climb the hill behind the town to this lighthouse to watch the sun slowly dip behind the horizon, casting a magical glow over the beach and town. The serene beauty of Mancora’s sunsets is truly unforgettable.
7. Amazing Backpacker Hostels
Mancora is home to three of the best hostel chains in Peru – Loki, The Point and Selina.
All three have great pools which back out onto the beach. They also all double up as bars and have a fantastic social atmosphere. The hostel staff will regularly run activities and drinking games which often leads to some epic drinking sessions.
If you want to be fully in the mix and partying most nights, I recommend staying at Loki as this is where the party is found throughout most of the night. If you prefer somewhere a little quieter at night, but still with a good set up to help you meet people and start off the evening, then stay at The Point or Selina.
Loki and Selina are regularly featured in my list of best hostels in South America. Check out the full post for more:
8. Easy Access To Ecuador
One of the unique advantages of visiting Mancora is its proximity to the Ecuadorian border.
For travellers looking to explore more of South America, Mancora serves as an excellent starting point for crossing into Ecuador. The nearby border crossing allows for an easy and seamless transition, opening up a whole new world of adventure and exploration in a new country.
From the border you can head to Guayaquil, the biggest city in the south of the country. Whilst there isn’t much here for backpackers, it acts as a short stop off before heading to more popular places such as Cuenca, Banos or Montanita.
If you are interested in Mancora, then you’ll love Montanita. It’s Ecuador’s very own party and surf town!
To see how you can easily head north and cross the border to include Ecuador into your trip, check out the fully planned backpacking itinerary below:
Mancora’s consistent winds and warm waters create an ideal playground for kite surfers and water sports enthusiasts. Test your skills on a kiteboard, go paddleboarding, or try your hand at parasailing for an adrenaline-pumping experience.
The town’s water sports offerings cater to both beginners and experienced thrill-seekers. Wild Kite have some of the best reviews and their accommodation is also top quality.
They are the only IKO certified school in the whole North of the country which guarantees a level of quality. They also have the most up to date equipment to ensure your learning is unimpeded.
Spondylus is the first 5 star PADI Dive Centre in Peru meaning you’ll be diving with some of the best instructors in the country.
If you are interested in learning to dive, then Mancora is a great place to start. Open Water is usually the first dive qualification people get so that they can start diving on a regular basis. This costs $450 for 3 days of training and you’ll be fully qualified to dive up to 18m anywhere around the world.
If you already qualified, then you can have a day of diving that includes 2 fun dives for $100. You can dive in the reefs of the beaches of Mancora, Organos or Vichayito where you’ll see the diversity of marine life such as octopuses, fish, seahorses, turtles, sea lions and much more.
And if you are diving from July to October, you’ll be able to hear a chorus of whale songs beneath the water as they migrate into the waters.
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