Over the last decade, Máncora has gone from a small fishing town with a few beach hotels to Peru’s surfer mecca. During the summer late December–March, and during vacations such as Easter week and July 28, the town of Máncora overflows with surfers, hippies, Rastafarians, and young sun worshippers from both Lima and around the world.
Máncora has become such a summer scene that it is hard to say which is its biggest attraction: the daytime waves or the parties at night.
In response to the crowds, quite a few low-budget hostels, along with surf schools, restaurants, and bars (some of which are only open during the summer), have sprung up at the south end of town. During the off-season, Máncora is one of the few Peruvian beach towns that still receives a good flow of visitors and has a variety of restaurants to choose from.
To get a better sense of the area, check out its fantastic website (www.vivamancora.com).
Getting to Máncora
The closest airport to Máncora is Tumbes, reachable from Lima by a morning flight. Taxis can then be rented for US$29 for the 1.5-hour, 127-kilometer journey from Tumbes to Máncora. Once at the Tumbes airport, you can also take a US$2 taxi into Tumbes to Transportes Carrucho, at the intersection of Tumbes and Piura, where US$2 buses leave every half hour for Máncora and nearby beaches.
High-quality overnight buses, with bathrooms and food service, travel from Máncora to Lima in 14 hours. Oltursa (inside Roviluz market, 8 a.m.–9 p.m. daily); Cruz del Sur (Grau 208, tel. 073/25-8232, www.cruzdelsur.com, 8 a.m.–7 p.m. daily); and Cial (Piura s/n).
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition