The beachside of Peru is a happy place – littered with children laughing and playing together, tanned, salty and sandy, active and peaceful, this happy demeanour easily rubs off on anyone walking along the beaches at Máncora.
I had never planned to come to Peru so quickly and early in my trip, and never expected to be in Máncora – a place that is advertised as a surf, beach, party resort town. But here I am! In unexpected Máncora, and it’s a fun place! There is a lot of things to do around the area if you’re willing to pay the money. Ranging from snorkelling with sea turtles, visiting a crocodile park, and kite-surfing lesson, it’s basically impossible to feel bored. That being said, only boring people get bored and if you’re creative and up for adventure and on a budget, there is still a lot to do in Máncora.
I spent the days here walking the long stretch of beach, collecting shells and avoiding the dead washed up sea turtles, sea lion, and fish, watching kids playing in the water, throwing sticks for the beach dogs, and I even joined in a random game of soccer with some local teenagers on Christmas afternoon.
If you’re after a quiet retreat it’s no problem to read a book in a hammock or on the beach under an umbrella. On the contrary, if you want to have some loud fun there are an abundance of party hostels and bars within the town, and you’re sure to find somewhere with music and cheap alcohol (if that’s what you’re after). Be sure to try the Pisco Sour – the national cocktail of Peru (though it was not my favourite cocktail).
If you’re looking for food, there are some nice cafes such as the Monkey Cafe, which boasts the best coffee in town, and vegetarian food specialists ‘Angelas’ have some delicious meals (and a good variety of books for book exchange). The market out the back of town is great too with a variety of seafood, fresh(ish) veggies and cheap and delicious mangoes – it’s cheap to cook up your own dinner, and it was possible to make a yummy Christmas lunch!
The surfing was fun when I tried it, although a tad scary as there were rocks everywhere! The water is super warm, and the sun is hot and the sand is hot – basically, I hope you like being hot if you plan on coming to Máncora.
The town to the north – Punta Sal, was very lovely, quiet, peaceful and almost ghost town like when I was there. It was a nice place to swim without waves and sit in the shade on the beach, and it was an adventure getting there and back. It should cost 5 soles per person in a taxi to get there, but they will wait until the taxi is full before they go. On my way back it was supposed to be the same although after an hour of waiting for any other person to join in the taxi, my driver decided to take me back to Máncora, but not until after we had had a cup of tea with his parents and eaten a pear each at their house…. maybe it was because it was Christmas Eve, but they were generous and happy people, and didn’t seem put off by my confusion about what was happening and the little Spanish I could talk!
I had a good stay in Máncora, even though it was unexpected. Like they say (I’m not sure who ‘they’ are exactly) “you can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”.