Mancora is Peru's Caribbean beach. Its peak season is during the summer months of January and February. Surfers come here to surf the peak of Mancora wave, partiers come here to live it up on the beach of the ‘eternal summer’, and travellers come here to relax and enjoy life.
I have eaten a lot of Ceviche, and I had the three best ceviches of MY LIFE in Mancora. In fact, this post is inspired by the incredible gastronomic scene of Mancora, and I hope it serves as a basic guideline for those with a desire to travel Peru’s ultimate hot spot.
Where to stay:
Loki’s Hostel: this is the ‘it-place’ to party and to get to know people from all around the world. It's rooms are usually sold out, so I would recommend booking in advance if you want to stay here. However, for those looking for a good night’s sleep, there is a huge variety of hostels and hotel nearby. Parties at Lokis run every night, until at least 3-4am. Entrance to the parties are usually FOC, even for those not staying at the Hostel.
I stayed at Hotel Don Giovanni, which was close to Loki’s great night parties, the closest hotel to the ultimate surf wave, and also very close to Mancora’s best gastronomic scene. Most bedroom furniture from Don Giovanni is imported from Bali, which is why it is self-proclaimed as Balinese Styled Suites.
For those looking for cheaper options, Misfits Hostel and The Point are two other hostels with great recommendations from locals and travellers alike.
Surf and KiteSurf:
Mancora is home to some of Peru’s best surfers and kite surfers. People live here to enjoy the constant stream of great weather, in which no wetsuit is necessary. A rash suit is advisable for surfers to avoid sunburn as you will likely spend long hours out enjoying the waves.
Beginner surfers can get a private lesson for an hour for 60 soles from the main beach. The surf instructors are well-experienced and will ensure all learners catch one of Mancora’s great waves.
Punta Sal and Los Organos are two nearby beaches to Mancora, for those looking for a more chilled-out vibe. These beaches are reputable as some of Peru’s most beautiful beaches and deserve such a reputation. Punta Sal offers no waves for surfers, whereas Los Organos offers some great waves- albeit, this is dependent on the day and climate.
Mancora is a laid-back tourist town, which can sometimes imply that some restaurants are overpriced with poor service. The following restaurant recommendations provided very attentive service and great flavours.
The best restaurant, without a doubt, is La Sirena d’ Juan. Here, I had the best Ceviche of my life. The menu offers some of Mancora’s most refined cocktails. The mastermind chef, Juan, is a Mancora local with a reputation as one of Peru’s finest chefs.
Atun a La Parilla ceviche at El Aji was absolutely mind-blowing. The plate was served with a salted fire in a shell (see picture). The mastermind and owner behind El Aji worked in the fishing industry in the Pacific Islands for over 16 years, then Tex-Mex style cuisine in Hawaii, as it was the closest style he could find to Peruvian cuisine. It is safe to say you will enjoy the best Tex-Mex flavours Peru can offer, and better yet, with the freshest fish found.
For a more simple, authentic Peruvian restaurant, the Restaurant Espada is highly recommended. You will be served ceviche in a more traditional northern-Peruvian style, in which the flavours are faultless.
I also very much enjoyed the Tuna Sashimi at Tokuyo, a restaurant offering international-styled Peruvian and Japanese fusion. Service was extremely attentive.