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Mancora Travel Guide: Desert, Beaches and Sunsets in Northern Peru

We arrived in Mancora just before the break of dawn after crossing the border from Ecuador. I was sick and we had to wander around in the dark to find a place to stay. It wasn’t the ideal intro to Peru, but over the next few days we slowly fell for this little town by the Pacific Ocean.

Thinking about visiting Peru’s northern coastline? Keep reading our Mancora travel guide tips and a list of things to see and do.

Beaches in Mancora

The beaches in Mancora are similar to ones you’ll find along much of South America’s Pacific coastline. They aren’t exactly tropical — think yellow sand instead of white, desert backdrops instead of palm trees and rough rolling waves instead of calm, blue water. They do have a rugged charm though and are great for a stroll. We visited three beaches in and around Mancora. Los Pocitas, right in town, is a popular surfing spot. It’s an excellent beach but it does get a little post apocalyptic once you venture too far away from the built up part. We saw lots of trash and a massive dead sea lion on one walk. The areas close to town are nice though and there are a few bars and restaurants where you can relax by the ocean.

Mancora travel guide -- a stunning beach right in town

We took a shared taxi along a road surrounded by desert to Punta Sal, around 25 km north of Mancora. It’s a nice, clean stretch of beach and the scenic drive made it worth the trip.

Mancora travel guide -- a trip to Punta Sal

My favourite beach in Mancora is Playa Los Organos. The beach is excellent and we even saw a blue-footed booby, something I figured we would only be able to see in the Galapagos Islands. We spent a few hours at Playa Los Organos and it was really quiet — it’s the perfect place to relax in Mancora. Playa Los Organos is just south of town and can be reached in a shared taxi.

Mancora travel guide -- a blue footed boobyMancora travel guide -- Playa Los Organos

Seeing Mancora from Above

It wouldn’t be a good Mancora travel guide without mentioning a visit to the lighthouse above town. We walked up and felt safe enough, but it was very quiet and it did seem a little rough — a taxi could be a better idea. From the lighthouse we saw panoramic views of the coastline, the town and the desert.

Mancora travel guide -- seeing the town from aboveMancora travel guide, Peru -- the desert outside of town

Sunsets in Mancora

We saw some stunning sunsets in Mancora. The beachfront section of town comes alive during the late afternoon hours and it’s an awesome place to watch the sunset.

Mancora travel guide -- one of the best sunsets in PeruMancora travel guide, Peru -- an amazing beach sunset

Mancora Travel Guide: The Town

Mancora is a cool little tourist town which mostly caters to local holidaymakers. It’s considered to be home to some of the best beaches in Peru and apparently it gets quite busy at certain times of the year. We visited Mancora in September and it was pretty quiet. There were a few foreign tourists around, mostly people travelling overland through South America, as well as heaps of Latin American drifters selling jewellery and clothes.

Mancora travel guide -- the town

  • Where to eat in Mancora: There are heaps of restaurants in Mancora, many of which have very similar set menus. These usually consist of several options for starters and mains. Make sure you try the ceviche (fish “cooked” by the acid in lime juice) — it’s excellent in Mancora. If you’re looking for other options you should head for the main road. There are lots of little restaurants there and many have some great specials. We found a set meal including a delicious plate of pesto / chicken pasta for 15 soles.
  • Where to stay in Mancora: We arrived in the pitch black of night and followed our fellow foreign tourists to Loki del Mar. I’ve heard it’s nice but we waited around for ages to check in and eventually left to find somewhere else. We found a nice little room in the centre of town for 40 soles (I can’t remember the name), but you might not find somewhere so cheap in high season. Mancora gets very busy during Peruvian holidays — make sure to book accommodation ahead during those times.

Mancora travel guide -- beaches, desert and sunsets in Peru

Getting to Mancora

Foreign tourists are likely to arrive in Mancora on the way to or from Ecuador. I wrote a post about the journey from Ecuador (Cuenca) to Mancora — check it out below. From Mancora we caught a night bus (70 soles) to Trujillo in order to see the desert ruins of Chan Chan.

FURTHER READING: The Night Bus From Ecuador to Peru: Cuenca to Mancora

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.
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2 Comments

  1. Madeline
    January 19, 2019 at 11:11 am — Reply

    Hi there! Planning on spending about a month along the coast, if I like it! I have read that there is malaria on the coast of peru… did you come across anything of the sort? Also, on the buses… I heard about the deadly accident along the coastal highway a year ago near lima… do you know if there are safer buses/buses not to take/etc etc? Thanks so much!

    • January 21, 2019 at 10:05 am — Reply

      Hey Madeline, I haven’t heard anything about Malaria, I thought it was mostly in jungle areas but who knows. I’d say you’d be alright (don’t blame me if you get malaria though!). As for the buses, I haven’t heard anything bad about these routes but I’m sure accidents do happen. Maybe travelling during the day is safer? I’ve been in heaps of places with dodgy roads / accident stats so I just try not to think about it haha, it pays to do a bit of research though. Enjoy the trip, let me know if you find any cool off the beaten path places.

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