Author: Christine Collins
Date of Trip: October 2013
How do miles of beautiful, white sand beaches with few people around and lovely temps sound to you?
If yes, welcome to Mancora, Peru.
Already living in Cuenca, Ecuador, we’d heard a lot from other expats about the “best beach experience”
ever! Unfortunately, they all said the same thing – it wasn’t to be found on the coastal beaches of Ecuador! So where was it? Ah, all of the kudos went to the the beautiful, picture perfect beach in Mancora, Peru.
Mancora is a town and beach resort located in northwestern Peru. The town is small (about 10,000) but attracts people from all over South America and the world. The area is known for its turquoise beaches and good waves, and has the reputation of being the best surfing beach in South America. . This beach location is favored by two ocean currents year round: the cold Humboldt Current combines with the warm Niño Current, giving it a tropical-dry climate with ocean waters averaging around 24 C°.
It’s easy to get to Mancora from Cuenca, EC or Guayaquil, EC. If you’re flying into South America, you may want to go to Guayaquil (biggest city in EC and a gulf port city), check it out, and then head straight down on the Pan-American Highway. Driving time is about 6 hours. From Cuenca, we hired a modern van and professional driver and the trip was around 8 hours.
Crossing the border was no problem for us, even though I’ve heard horror stories about it from other travelers. The border facility is huge, modern and signs are easy to understand, even if you don’t speak one word of Spanish. Students dressed in special tourist uniforms, all of whom speak English to one degree or another, are there to help you fill out your forms. It was a much nicer experience than going through customs in any of the border towns of Mexico. Other options for reaching Mancora include flying to Lima and taking a bus, hiring a van or if you are really craving a thrill, you can fly on a prop plane into the airport at Tumbres. Going through Tumbres will make your appreciation of Mancora even greater.
Mancora is essentially divided by an “invisible” line. You can stay in town, right on the beach, and be in on all of the action and nightlife. Most of the surfers and party people hang there. If you are craving a more relaxed and peaceful experience, I’d suggest the beaches just south of Mancora called “Playa Las Placitas.” We stayed in a lovely, small hotel right on the beach and had most of the place and the beach to ourselves because we went in the off-month of October.
Sun, beautiful sand, warm breezes and a fantastic hotel called Claro de Luna combined to provide a lovely environment. Ricardo, the owner, could not have been more accommodating or helpful. He speaks English. Breakfast is included in the price and if you’ve never had a Pisco Sour before, well try one from the bar there! Because we went in an “off season” month and because we were not Peruvian citizens, we received a 10% discount on the total bill.
Once you get settled into your hotel in Las Placitas, you never really need to go into town (Mancora) because you can walk up or down the beautiful beach to find lunch or dinner spots in other resort hotels. Peaceful, perfect, simply wow! If you do choose to go into town, the only method of transport will be your feet on the beach or a “tuk-tuk” which is a motorcycle driving contraption with a board across the back upon which you sit. Hang on because it makes for a rather bumpy ride. If you have any mobility issues, that may not be an option for you. Mancora town has a few nice restaurants and lots of place to buy liquor. It’s easy to exchange your currency for Peruvian currency at the many banks on the one-and-only main street of the town.
So if you are in South America and the beach calls to you, I heartily recommend Mancora. You will never regret it!