By Hannah Vickers
Sun, sea, and sand. What more could you ask for? Máncora, Peru isn’t just a surfers’ paradise—though it certainly is that, with its reliable swells and perfect waves—it’s also an excellent destination for anyone looking for some rest and relaxation.
Peru is an exciting country to visit—and it’s hastily picking up a reputation as being the ‘new India’ for people seeking to find themselves and search for a new kind a spirituality—but it can be an exhausting place to be. When you’re not trekking, touring cities, or discovering ancient cultures, you’re planning your next outing or ‘new’ ancient culture to discover. Sometimes it’s good just to stop, take a step back, and enjoy. Máncora is the perfect place to do that. With its white sands and clear skies, you could almost imagine that you had actually died and gone to heaven.
Máncora, in the northern Piura region of Peru, is a small town, but with a very busy main street: the Pan-American highway, which runs up and down the coast of Peru, is the town’s main street. The most popular activities are beach and sea-related—surfing, diving, and lounging on pale sands—but there are plenty of other things to do. There’s a pulsing nightlife, as well as several other nearby beautiful towns and beaches to visit.
Summer sees hot days (sometimes over 38 °C) and often rainy nights, while the rest of the year is sunny and dry, though breezy. Even in winter and spring months the weather is fair, the temperature rarely dropping below 25 C° during the day.
As it’s right in the north of Peru, Máncora is a fair trek from Lima: it takes between 18 and 20 hours by long-distance bus. You also have the option of flying, which takes just two hours. It’s 34 hours by bus from Arequipa (around three to four hours by air), 42 hours by bus from Cusco (three to four hours by air), and 10 hours by bus from Trujillo (an hour-and-a-half by air).
If you’re looking for something more active to do than lounging by the pool or on the beach all day but you’re not so interested in sea-related activities, try an adventure tour with Iguanos. They offer trips to local waterfalls, mudbaths, and horserides. There’s also a hot spring just 11km east with powder-fine mud (recommended by one Lonely Planet user as being perfect for an ace mask). You can find this magical place in the wooded Fernández valley by mototaxi or by trekking.
Máncora is a popular destination year-round for people looking to get their surf on or those just wanting to kick back and relax. For such a small town, it has a surprisingly large amount of restaurants, bars, and hotels, but still manages to maintain its chilled out beach vibe.
The wind picks up in the afternoon, so make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen if you’re on the beach—as the cool breezes may make you forget how strong the sun is!
Hannah Vickers has lived in Lima, Peru for a year-and-a-half and is the editor of Peru this Week. You can read more of her work on her blog http://hanwyn.blogspot.com or on the Peru this Week website. She wrote this article on behalf of the Tambo Blanquillo, a family-owned lodge in the Peruvian Amazon, the perfect place for an outdoor adventure in Peru. Photos courtesy of the author.