Mancora truly is the best place to learn to surf in Peru. Why? Because next to excellent surfing, there is a lot of other cool things to do in Mancora. There are so many activities in Mancora during the day and at night that you can easily spend multiple days in the beach town or visit multiple times. Like we did, and time flew by!
You can learn to surf, watch the sunset from the Mancora lighthouse, participate in some yoga, discover the remote beaches of Las Pocitas and the little harbor of Mancora on a walk to Organos or party till the sun rises again at Loki and more. Just make sure you skip the turtles (we will explain why).
We spent almost 3 weeks in the town, and this is a list of our favorite activities in Mancora, how to undertake them, and some practical, insider tips to have the best experience.
Best things to do in Mancora
1. Learn to surf
A list of things to do in Mancora is not complete without surfing, as it is the main reason travelers come to the town in Northern Peru. In my opinion, Mancora is the best place to learn to surf in Peru. The reason is that the sun is always shining, the waves are predictable and suitable for beginners and the surf schools in Mancora are positioned right at the beach where the surfing happens.
I learned to surf in Mancora myself and after two weeks I was able to surf a 6.3 hard board. It was one of the coolest things I did during my student exchange in Peru. Because there is a lot to tell about learning to surf in Mancora, I dedicated a full article to it with everything you need to know from what it costs and which school to choose to safety and what to bring.
TIP: Bring a lot of sunscreen, because your face will burn badly! More tips?
2. Enjoy the nightlife in Mancora
While surfing might be the number one reason to visit Mancora, the nightlife and beach vibes might be the second. Especially in high season, there are many options to start the night and even some places to go wild until the later hours. We wrote an article explaining the details for who is interested, here we will give a summary!
Watch the sunset in Mancora
Your night in Mancora should start around sunset: with the sun setting in the east and the eternal summer around the equator, you will see beautiful sunsets in Mancora every day. Whether you are watching the sun go down from your surfboard in the sea (which is really cool, so do at least one sunset surf!) or with a cocktail in your hand beach on the beach, the sunset will not disappoint.
TIP: when you are watching the sunset from the beach, you can buy happy hour cocktails: 2 Mojitos for $6 (20 soles). Sit somewhere near La Wawa and they will take orders on the beach.
Drinks and parties in Mancora
In the main street, you will find many bars offering cocktails and some even happy hours. The most popular places for parties are Loki Mancora and The Point Beach Hostel. The Point is more laid-back and has a pool overlooking the ocean. Loki is in town and the most popular, which means long queues.
TIP: You can skip the queue by getting your “visitor” bracelet during the day at the gate with a photo of your passport.
Safety at night
With respect to safety in Mancora at night, make sure you avoid the beach at night and do not walk the smaller streets on your own. These are very quiet and have bad lighting. Fortunately, Tuk-tuks are rather cheap, although you still need to be aware it is a safe tuk-tuk. We advise using the once recommended by the hostels
3. Watch the sunset at the Mancora lighthouse (El Mirador del Faro)
Although each sunset in Mancora will be pretty, there is one location to watch the sunset in Mancora that beats them all: the Mancora lighthouse or El Mirador del Faro in Spanish.
Why should a visit to the lighthouse be on you Mancora to-do list?
Let’s start with the obvious… It is very beautiful: the lighthouse is positioned on top of a hill and it gives you a beautiful view over Mancora and the Pacific Ocean bathed in orange light. The lighthouse is pretty and the huts and benches on top of the hill give the location it a very cozy feeling. Furthermore, not too many people are willing to make the climb/trip to El Mirador del Faro, so it is not too crowded, and you can really enjoy the view. Lastly, it is free, and you can bring your own drinks (at least, they did not seem to mind) and we love that.
TIP: buy some beers in Mancora town and bring them up to the hill to the lighthouse. This is the best place for your late-afternoon beers in Mancora.
How to get to the lighthouse of Mancora?
The lighthouse is positioned on the hill to the right behind the main street. Accordingly, walk the main street until you reach Runasimi hostel, where you will find a small alley. This alley will lead you to the left (which feels wrong because the lighthouse is to the right) but then it leads you to the road behind the main street. Follow this street to the right, until you find a sign that displays the lighthouse and next climb the stairs until you reach a little hut that represents the entrance of El Mirador del Faro. Register your name and all you need to do next is enjoy the warm light of the sun setting.
What does a visit the Lighthouse in Mancora cost?
Nothing: entrance to el Mirador del Faro is free, you only need to register your name. You can, however, leave a little tip for the conservation of the area. It is also possible to buy some drinks (beers for $1.2 and juices for $1.5) and snacks and use the toilet on top of the hill.
4. Relax at the beaches in Mancora
Although Peru has a lot of coastal areas, Peru is not your typical beach holiday country. However, some of the best beaches in Peru you will find in Mancora. Accordingly, this little surf town with good weather all year round is a good summer getaway to work on your tan.
There are roughly four beaches you can choose from: Playa Mancora in the town center and slightly north, Playa del Amor to the north and Las Pocitas to the south. We tried them all out and wrote a detailed review of the beaches in Mancora with a “best beach score”. Spoiler, we really loved the beach in Mancora town just in front of the surf schools and the beach around the Bella Vista hotel the most.
However, going to Las Pocitas (a little further away) is definitely a cool thing to do in Mancora if you have some more time (see our next Mancora to do!)
5. Walk south towards Organos to Las Pocitas
Organos is a surf spot about 10 km south of Máncora and although you might not actually make to the town, walking in the direction of Organos is a good alternative for another beach day. You will first walk past the little harbor with the original fishing boats and LOADS of pelicans. Next follows hours and hours of the Las Pocitas beaches, where you can marvel at the ocean, the palm trees and the grand villas you are passing by.
What to bring to Las Pocitas
Make sure you bring a lot of water and sunscreen because you are walking right at the equator and the risk of burns/sun strokes is real. It might even be better to wear long, loose clothes or a scarf (the UV index here is insane) or to start quite early on the day or make it a sunset walk. Don’t forget your swimwear as well, because after walking for hours, you will for sure find a perfect spot for a swim. Lastly, there are no shops or restaurants in along this beach, so it is best to bring a packed lunch. We really loved the sandwiches at Black sheep, that you could order takeaway as well!
TIP: get a nice takeaway sandwich at Black Sheep for lunch during your hike to Playa Las Pocitas.
6. Eat Waffles, Ceviche and more
After surfing and the nightlife, the food in Mancora is another reason why you can easily stay in the town for a longer period of time. You should definitely try Ceviche at restaurant Cesar, close to the municipality Market. This place was recommended to us by the surf school owners and is the favorite place to eat ceviche among the locals in Mancora.
The best breakfast with a beautiful view you will find directly behind the surf schools, namely Green, Egg, and Ham. Their smoothies and waffles are the best in Mancora. Kiba has some great menu deals for having dinner. These were our favorites!
7. Mancora Yoga, Muay Thai, and Jiu-Jitsu
Wherever you travel, when you find surfing you find other sports. This also applies in Mancora and there are several places to join a yoga class.
Sol Yoga Mancora
Lessons take place at hotel Las Ballistas (on the other side of the bridge). At the time of writing, there were classes all week at 8:30 and 17:00 in different Yoga styles except for Sundays. At the beautiful location, they have a board with current lesson times or check their Facebook page.
Yoga en Mancora
Another option would be Yoga En Mancora with classes on weekdays at 8:30 in hotel la Wawa with view on the beach, instructed by Yogi Patty. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday she also teaches at Psygon surf camp at 10:30 am. Check her facebook page for current lessons times.
Muaythai & Jiu-Jitsu
Fairly unexpected, but you can also practice martial arts in Mancora! Some of the best Muay Thai boxers of Peru come from here. There are several places to practice and the classes are mostly attended by locals. The easiest place to go to is Psygon surf camp, they also offer Jiu-Jitsu.
Not to do in Mancora: swimming with Turtles
Whether we are talking about cuddling sedated tigers in Thailand, riding abused elephants in Cambodia, or swimming with whale sharks that are fed to stay in one spot in the Philippines, the wellbeing of the animals is second priority to the money to be made using them. Swimming with turtles in Mancora is no different.
When googling the activity, the reviews are amazing, and it is described as “an experience you will not soon forget”. However, you also see images and videos of people coming way to close and even touching the animals. The tour companies in Mancora might promise you it is an environmentally friendly trip and offer the tour against even higher rates.
We would recommend you to save your turtle encounter for another time. For instance, when diving or snorkeling elsewhere in the world, such that you can see them in their natural habitat. This is often cheaper, better for the animal and most probably more fun anyways: you will have the experience on your own instead of with a hundred tourists with selfie sticks.
Mancora is one of those beach places that has so much to do, you will not easily get bored. You can learn to surf, chill on the beach and take a walk to Las Pocitas. Done with the sand? Eat delicious food, experience stunning sunsets and have awesome nights out. Just leave the turtles out of your itinerary.
We would definitely recommend some days of Mancora to everyone visiting the North of Peru! We hope our Mancora to do’s are useful to you. Let us know what you think below 🙂