The Best of Mancora, Peru
by Nadia Melham
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
One amazing month in Mancora left me knowing the best party spots, the best beaches to lounge upon, the best restaurants to eat at, and the best hostels to sleep at! Mancora is the best beachside party town in Peru, popular with both locals and tourists. You will find a mix of avid surfers, hippies, beach hopping westerners, and vacationing Peruvians. It’s the perfect place to watch a gorgeous sunset, relax and recover after hiking in Cusco or Huaraz, or to party your nights away.
Where to Stay
The three best options in Mancora for budget accommodation are Loki Hostel, The Point, or Misfits Hostel, depending on what your intentions are for your time in Mancora. The hostels are listed above in order from an intense party, to a nice mix of party and chill, to completely relaxed with no party.
Loki Hostel is a party palace with poolside music pumping all day and all night long. It is in the centre of town and if you’ve decided to check in to Loki you better be ready for some intense drinking to take place! You should not book into Loki Hostel if you would like to sleep before 3 AM or partake in a body replenishing detox. They have a great food menu with reasonable prices and also have different themed parties happening each night of the week involving dress ups and drinking games. They are located 10 metres from the beach and the prime surf spot in Mancora. If you are just in Mancora for a couple of nights Loki is a good option to make the most of your time.
The Point Hostel
The Point Hostel is my personal favourite. It is located slightly out of the city centre making it a little more peaceful, whilst still only being a beautiful 1km beach walk away from the action. There’s always upbeat poolside music playing, beach volleyball at 4 PM every day, and in the evenings it’s safe to say the party gets a little rowdier with endless beer pong, drinking Jenga, flanky ball, and many free shots. The bar closes at 1 PM, and the hardcore partiers head to Loki to continue or hit up the beach bars for a dose of Spanish Reggaeton music. The kitchen is absolutely amazing with very fair pricing and huge portions! They also have a ‘special’ on most nights of the week such as BBQ fired Pizzas, tacos, lasagna, and much more. The Point is also located only 20m away from the beach, however, this end of the beach is far less crowded making the sunset especially gorgeous and peaceful. Did I mention the bar staff also make a BOMB pisco sour?
Misfits Hostel is located right next to The Point, also 1km out of town. This hostel does not have a pool like Loki and The Point, however, it is located directly on the beach and has gorgeous beach views from each of the cute insta-worthy colourful bungalows. You can book either a private bungalow if you’re looking to treat yourself otherwise bungalow dorms are also available. They have breakfast included, however, no restaurant for lunch or dinner. They do have a kitchen if you’re wanting to get your MasterChef on and cook up a storm. This is the perfect hostel to take a complete break from partying and get your chill on big time.
Where to Party
As mentioned above Loki is notorious for a good party lasting into the early hours of the morning, and even longer on weekends! The Point is also nice for crazy drinking games and for socialising until 1 AM. If you’re lucky the staff might even do body shots on the bar! There is also another surf camp/hostel opposite the Point Hostel that has a pumping electronic rave most Fridays.
After the hostels close, or even before, you will always find a party happening at the beach bars in the city centre. There is constant reggaeton music pumping and many locals enjoying beers and a dance. It can be a little more dangerous at these bars in the evenings, however, if you’re going in a group there’s nothing to worry about, just be sure to take care of whatever belongings you have with you.
Where to Eat
If you are staying in Loki or The Point, the food is really great at both hostels as mentioned above. This is convenient for those hungover or just super lazy days where you couldn’t be arsed to leave the hostel!
For the days where you can be arsed, you should definitely go to the local market (Mercado Municipal) which is located one block behind the Cruz Del Sur Bus Terminal in the city centre. Here they have a nice variety of fruits and vegetables for cheap, and upstairs on level 2, there are a couple of small restaurants where you can get a very cheap ‘Menu Del Dia’ (Menu of the Day) or order from the A La Carte menu. My personal favourite was a little restaurant tucked away over to the right of the market above the stairs. You could order a large plate of ceviche for 10 soles, and it was the best ceviche I found in Mancora (that is if you like your ceviche super citrusy like me)! I was there at least twice a week getting my dose of ceviche.
There is also a large street market in the evenings running along Auxiliar Panamericana Nte. where you can find a real variety of good street food for even better prices as well as many artisanal crafts and clothing.
Psygon Surf Camp
Ganaha Restaurant located inside Psygon Surf Camp (opposite The Point Hostel) is also well worth a visit! They have amazing sushi prepared fresh to order. My recommendation is the crispy fried Fura Maki roll. All sushi is served accompanied with a selection of dipping sauces including soy, maracuya sauce, and a mixed teriyaki dipping sauce. A real western treat if you’ve had your fair share of Peruvian cuisine!
There are many restaurants in the city centre offering a variety of food, however, they are all a little bit hit or miss with the portion sizes, quality, and flavours. Feel free to try your luck but don’t expect the best meal of your life there.
Where to Beach
Mancora Beach is the main beach that you will most likely spend time. As previously mentioned if you walk along to the right of the beach from the city centre (towards Misfits and The Point hostels) you will find much less crowded areas to relax and enjoy the surf and sand. At Mancora beach, you can paddle board, surf, kite surf, and hire quad bikes to ride along the beach.
If you’re looking for a little more seclusion and a nicer beach I recommend heading to Lobitos for the day! There are natural rock pools to relax in, and if you continue walking either side of these natural rock formations there is also surf beach to enjoy as well. I recommend packing snacks and drinks for a day trip here as there are not so many options for eating and drinking, and things are a little more expensive here. Lobitos is easily reached by tuk-tuk and only takes 10-15 minutes from the city centre.
Los Organos is a beach north of Mancora that is very similar to Mancora beach. It is not an essential bucket list item whilst in Mancora, however, if you are spending lots of time in Mancora it can make for a nice day trip. It takes about 45 minutes or an hour to get to this beach. You can take a car from out front of the Cruz Del Sur Bus Terminal in the City Centre. Make sure you negotiate a price for the taxi to drop you in the street just behind the beach.
Where to Surf
There are many surfing schools in Mancora and every man and his dog will be trying to hire you a surfboard or take you for surfing lessons. It’s best to just use your own judgement for this. They are all very similar priced so it’s best to go with someone who you feel comfortable with. There is one surf shack at the very left end of the beach (in front of Green Eggs and Ham) that I wouldn’t recommend. A few people have commented that the instructors were quite sleazy whilst out in the water so be warned! Also, take note of tide times and be sure to organise a lesson for high tide as at low tide the rocks can become a little dangerous to surf on top of for beginners.
Safety in Mancora
Mancora by day is, for the most part, a safe town. There are a few areas to steer clear of such as the beach further to the right-hand side of The Point and Misfits hostels as it is unpatrolled by police officers/security, as well as the some of the local areas and backstreets which can be a little dangerous by day and a definite no at night. It is best to take tuk-tuks everywhere as they are so cheap, and be sure not to walk on the beach or in any backstreets at night.
All in all, Mancora should not be left off your Peruvian list, it’s the perfect place to catch some sun, sand and surf between the many gorgeous inland towns of Ecuador and Peru.
by Nadia Melham
My name is Nadia and I am a 24-year-old Australian travel addict! I’ve currently been travelling for one amazing year, with hopefully much more to come. Travel is my biggest hobby and I do everything in my power to continue living this beautiful dream. I strongly believe that travel is the most worthwhile investment I’ve ever made. The past year has been heartwarming, transformative, and soul-satisfying beyond imagination.Read more at soultravellers.co