During the summer months hotel prices are about 1.5 times more expensive than the rest of the year. And on the busiest weeks (New Year’s, Carnaval, and July 28), tariffs double.
Our first budget recommendation is Kimbas Bungalows (Panamericana Km 1164, tel. 073/25-8373, www.vivamancora.com/kimbas, US$15 pp with hot water, US$12 pp without). The setting here is so peaceful that guests don’t mind the five-minute walk to the beach. There are 12 bungalows along a stone walkway shaded with palm trees. Each bungalow has a private, open-air bathroom filled with tropical plants and a terrace with hammock. Decorations come from Indonesia and South Africa, where Lucho, the mellow Peruvian owner, has traveled widely. The cool blue pool and surrounding lounge chairs make for a quiet and secluded afternoon of sunbathing. There is also a nighttime guard.
Wedged between the most happening bars, you might think that the noisy location of Casa Blanca (Piura 229, tel. 073/25-8337, casablancamancora [at] gmail [dot] com, US$10 s, US$12 d) is the trade-off for its budget prices. But climb up to the spacious rooms on the third floor, catch the panoramic sunset view, and you might have another reason to stay. Not all rooms are the same, so check out a couple before deciding. Breakfast is included; mattresses are firm, but sheets are the only bedding. Some rooms have cable TV, and laundry service is available.
Hostal Las Olas (tel. 073/25-8099, www.lasolasmancora.com, US$15 pp) is a beach-side spot popular with surfers. Painted in cream and green, the hotel has 16 rooms each with a private balcony. Surfboard use is free for guests. Breakfast included.
Hotel Punta Ballenas (entrance just south of bridge, tel. 073/25-8136, www.puntaballenas.com, US$35 s, US$40 d), named after the pods of whales that head south along Peru’s coastline August–October, is in a quiet location at the southern most end of town. Since the mid-1980s, Harry Schuler, whose Swiss father was a well-known hotelier and entrepreneur in Lima, has run the hotel. The 10 large rooms feel a bit dated, but the mattresses are firm, the nightstands hold literature about the area, and the walls display the paintings of regional artists. From the hotel bar, pisco sour in hand, you can watch the fiery sun set into the ocean.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition