During holidays, Peruvians come all the way from Lima to spend their holidays at the beach. It turns into a real party town with an overcrowded beach and bars competing for the loudest music day and night.
Most buses stop a couple of blocks north of the main tourist area. You can walk or take a mototaxi for S/.1.
EPPO has several buses (~20 times per day) to Piura, Sullana, Talara, El Alto and Los Órganos.
For surfers, ITTSA have frequent buses from Sullana, Piura & Chiclayo to Trujillo. Buses leave Trujillo for Huanchaco frequently, & Trujillo's Santa Cruz terminal for Puerto Malabrigo (aka Puerto Chicama) every 2 hours.
LCPerú and LAN have regular flights from Lima to Talara.
There are several bus companies that run between Ecuador and Mancora including Civa, Cruz Del Sur and CIFA. CIFA is offered from a range of locations such as Montañita, Baños and Quito whereas other companies only offer fares from Guayaquil. This being said CIFA has less luxury service and can include several bus changes not mentioned when buying the ticket. Their buses also do not wait for you at the border when you stop for immigration.
Bus from Cuenca to Mancora: Direct buses run through Super Semeria or Azuay, $15. Departing at 22:00 and 21:30 respectively, this service will provide you with paperwork for the border, the driver will enter the immigration building with you and wait for everybody to process. The same bus will then take you to Mancora. Travel time, including the border process, is circa 7hours, so make sure you have accommodation with 24hr reception/staffing. Most hostels are pretty good about letting you wait in the common area until you're beach-ready.
Most of the bars, restaurants and hotels are clustered on two blocks along the PanAmericana. Mototaxis are everywhere but the town is small enough for walking.
The beach. In addition to tanned bodies, you might spot some pelicans and crabs there. At certain times of the year Humpback Whales & Dolphins can be seen from the shore.
- Huge waves break along the beach during December and January, making for good surfing. Some surfshops won't rent out boards during this time, afraid it won't come back as one part.
- Also popular is kiteboading. You can rent a kit at a few places. For first timers, a 3-day certification course is requirerd and is about $360. You spend the first 2 days on the beach learning how to handle the kite.
- Enjoy the sun and take a swim at the beach.
There are many stalls set up near the main road, touristy items can be obtained here.
There are a lot of restaurants, most of them serving fresh seafood. Service is generally very slow but the seafood is fresh, cheap, and delicious.
On the beach, restaurants will bring a mini-tent, table, chairs, menus, and food to the sand for you. The main road is lined with restaurants but for the cheapest meals (5 sol), go to the road leading to the beach.
If you don't mind loud music there should be enough bars to still your thirst.
- WooHoo Bar. Has a party atmosphere downstairs and a chilled out open upstairs terrace with a dart board and good views of the town, playing great music at a volume that won't make your ears bleed. They serve domestic & imported beers & ales, and make good strong cocktails. They also have possibly the nicest toilets in Mancora.
During holidays it can be hard if not impossible to find accommodations. Most of the accommodations are located next the bars, making them very noisy.
There are several hotels along the beach where to stay. Some are very basic while others offer more comfort. The nicest hotel in Mancora was used by world famous writer Mario Vargas Llosa's daughter - Morgana - for her wedding.
- Mancora Peru Beach House, ☎ +51-996802692, e-mail: email@example.com. Natural ambiance on Las Pocitas Beach, a good place for whale watchers and dolphin lovers. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, dining room kitchen, terraces. US$250 week for 2 people/US$500 week for 8 people.
- Hostal Sol Y Mar, ☎ +51 73-258106, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Recommended by the locals, private rooms around a central area, all with private bathrooms. Also has a pool. Rooms are a bit shabby, hotel needs some renovations. No hot water. Single from S/15pp.
- The Buena Vista is a very beautiful hotel located just a little bit north of the main beach area. It has its own direct beach access, and the rooms are excellent. For about $50 a night they have simple rooms with double beds, private baths. No hot water, but during the day the water is pretty tolerable, it's hardly cold even in the colder season. It's a very nice resort, but the service is a little strange. You have to purchase toilet paper at 2 soles per roll, and to rent a beach towel costs 8 soles. Also towels for bathrooms have to be requested. And at least one traveler reported receiving a surcharge when the handle to the shower faucet broke quite easily. Has a pool and jacuzzi, and friendly staff.
- La Posada (Close by to the bridge). A basic hostel with a pool, a nice yard and hammocks. S./15 (dorm).
- Loki Hostel (Loki del Mar), Avienda Piura #262 (Located on the main road through the town.), ☎ +51-73-258484. The newest member of the Loki chain, with a prime plot of land stretching from the main drag to the beach. Good clean rooms, internet, hot water and fully equipped with all the backpackers facilities. To chill there is also a 26-meter swimming pool and a big bar. Dorm : S/25 to S/32 Twin : S/76.
- Guacamayo Bed + Breakfast, Prol Ave Arequipa Playa El Amor, ☎ +51 1 995558414, e-mail: email@example.com. Nice rustic-style privates as well as dorm rooms, with rooms in a bamboo building with hammocks outside, and a breakfast area (eggs, bread and coffee included) in another building across the way. Really nice couple running it. In a quiet area located 5 minutes to the nicest stretch of beach in town (on the north side). Very cheap, S/30 person for a private. Take a moto-taxi, only 1-3 soles, and much easier than trying to find the place on your own.
- Kokopelli Beachpacker's, Calle Piura 209, ☎ +51 73 258091. Brand new hostel, with a fun but genuinely chilled-out atmosphere. Spotlessly clean rooms, fantastic restaurant-style food (try the fresh tuna steak sandwich with camote fries), freeform pool with swim-up bar (3 happy hours a day and excellent pisco sours). S.30 (dorm) to S.90 (priv ensuite).
- The Point Hostels Mancora Beach, Playa El Amor, ☎ +51 73 706 320. The Point Hostel is right on the beach. Brand new swimming pool. The hostel is Bali-inspired with lots of greenery and rooms of bamboo. Infamous for Mancora's best full moon parties.
- Royal Decameron Punta Sal, Vía Costanera Norte km 187 - Canoas de Punta Sal - Contralmirante Villar - Tumbes, ☎ +51-72 59-6730. Punta Sal is a beach place (30 minutes to Máncora). Royal Decameron has the All Inclusive System. S/.228.00 per night per person - all inclusive system.
The usual recommendations :
Always respect the ocean, observe and learn about the local characteristics of the sea before jumping in. Have extra care, especially under the influence of drugs, alcohol and, or fatigue and lack of sleep. Calm seas can hide strong currents, or seasonably develop dangerous tides and currents.
Stay within busy areas of the beach and town, preferably in good company, observing drug and alcohol intake especially when partying... Don't become an easy prey to predators of any kind. Don't flash any valuable stuff when taking a moto-taxi as long as some of the riders might be thieves. Be aware specially if you're carrying a bag with you.
Good idea to stay away from illegal drugs in this town, as the dealers and police have been known to work together and will extort a hefty bribe if they even suspect something.
Use skin protectors, sun glasses and hats. Mancora is near the Ecuator border.
- Los Organos is an upscale beachtown 15 minutes away from Mancora. It is great if you are looking for a quieter town and a lonely beach. You can also practice some water sports like surf, kitesurf, deep sea fishing and scuba diving. The food is cheaper than in Mancora, but the accommodations are a little bit more expensive, with a large variety of four and five star hotels and restaurants. If you don't mind the cold water, you can find a cheaper place to stay.
- Eppo is a bus company which offers short distance buses. From Mancora, they go to Los Organos (for 1,50 soles), El Alto, Talara (for 5,50 soles), Sullana and Piura, from 04:00AM, every half an hour. The buses are comfortable and somewhat new, but the service is really good as they are very punctual and the rates are cheap.