I initially found out about the existence of Mancora via my google search “Best places to learn surfing in Peru”. It’s praised for its consistent point break, suitable for beginners and for pros. Not unimportant, it has an eternal summer: sunny, 30 degrees… all year round, its heaven. Accordingly, we spend 2,5 weeks there in July and loved it. In this article, we tell you all you need to know if you want to learn to surf in Mancora from the different surf schools in Mancora to the set-up of the surf lessons.
Surf schools in Mancora and which one to choose
There are multiple surf schools to choose from, but there are three main surf schools in Mancora. The first two are located on the beach, namely Inca Warriors Mancora and surf point Mancora. The third one is recommended a lot on the internet, namely Laguna surf by Pilar. When it comes to which school to choose to learn to surf in Mancora, it really does not matter a lot in case you are starting from scratch and you want to learn the basics. In truth, all three provide good quality classes, which can be expected as some instructors help out by at other schools as well if needed.
The main instructors stick to their respective schools as do the owners, of course. That makes that I have a personal preference for Inca Warriors in Mancora. This school is owned by two brothers, Esau and Genaro, who are both slightly older, more experienced and do give classes as well. I ended up taking two lessons a day with Genero and by the end of the week I was surfing a board of 6,5 feet. Besides, their team included competition surfers and the staff seemed older. The other school’s instructors are good surfers too though, certainly for the beginning. So, you can learn to surf at both schools, but it mainly depends on which atmosphere you prefer. Inca Warriors is a little more relaxed, so they have my preference.
The quickest way to learn surfing: same instructor
Regardless of the school, you chose though, if you really want to learn to surf (in Mancora or Lima or anywhere), the main point is to ask for the most experienced instructors. Tell them your ambitions and then take multiple surfing lessons with the same person such that he knows your progress.
Surf lesson in Mancora, how does that work?
There is no formal way of making a reservation for a surf lesson in Mancora: you simply walk up to a surf school and say you would like to take a lesson. They almost always have an instructor ready for you. Or, in case you really want a certain instructor, you might have to wait a few hours. In the case of multiple lessons, it is possible to plan the next meeting with your instructor after finishing your lesson. It is all very informal and relaxed, so be prepared to take it slow in Mancora.
TIP: the quickest way to learn surfing is having multiple lessons with one surf instructor. Plan the next lesson during your current lesson.
Set-up of surf classes in Mancora for beginners
Classes take around 80 minutes. The first 20 minutes convey an instruction on the beach on how to stand up and other surfing theory for beginners. This part sometimes happens in a small group of people that have lessons at the same time. However, after the instruction, you enter the water with your instructor with one board for the two of you.
Wait what, one board? Yes, because in Mancora all instructors have adopted the technique of accompanying their students on the back of their boards during the first lessons. They hang on to the back (helping with peddling as they have flippers on their feet) and they push you into the waves. If the waves are too high or in the very first surf lessons, they will hang on to your board in the wave as well, stabilizing you. In this way, you are able to stand up from your very first wave.
The part of the surf lesson in the water can take around 60 minutes or even longer if you are fit enough and having a good time. The fact that the instructors hang on to the end of the board in Mancora makes that possible as it a lot more fun than struggling on your own. This is what makes it so great to learn to surf in Mancora.
Cost of surf lessons in Mancora
The surf classes in Mancora are some of the best value surf classes in Peru. You pay only $15 (50 soles) for a private lesson of 80 minutes. This is nothing compared to Europe where you easily pay €60 or even Lima where you pay 80 soles for a private surf lesson. Fortunately, you do not have to worry about bargaining either, as the surf schools in Mancora have agreed to not give discounts on the standard fare. Lastly, the price includes a wetsuit, you pay in cash and pay per surf lesson.
TIP: it is cheaper to learn to surf in Mancora, but in case you live/study in Lima, there are great lessons there too. Check out this article with everything you need to know 🙂
How many surf classes do you need?
Always an interesting question, and opinions differ. Personally, I would say take between 3 and 5 lessons before paddling out on your own. With each lesson, the instructors will push you into more waves instead of hanging onto your board. But even then, paddling for your own waves without a push is a whole different story. Morover, having a good basis gives you more confidence and makes surfing more fun in the long term.
TIP: as lesson are really cheap in Mancora, it does not hurt to take multiple lessons. It will benefit you in the long-run.
What do you need to bring to your surf lesson?
Obviously, swimwear, as that is what you wear underneath your wetsuit. Fortunately, the wetsuit is included in the price of the surf lesson and sometimes the surfboard rent. But hey, it was 30 degrees all year round, right? Yes, but the water is still quite chilly and furthermore the wetsuit helps to protect you from cuts from the sharp rocks on the bottom when you fall. Lastly, but very important you are so close to the equator that the wetsuit is also useful in protecting you from burning.
That brings us to the most important bring-along during your surf lessons in Mancora: sunscreen or even sunblock. Really, if you do not use that you will burn alive. The valuables you can store at the surf school where they are safely kept (we never heard complaints about theft). Fortunately, because that means you can bring money too to pay AND to spend on food for after your surf session: you will be starving!
TIP: want to eat the perfect waffles after surfing, a vegetarian burger or the best ceviche in town? We tell you our favorite restaurants in Mancora!
Is surfing in Mancora dangerous?
Not really! Especially when you take lessons and listen to your instructors, nothing will happen. The reason is that they will tell you when the conditions are good and when the waves are too high. Furthermore, you do not have to worry about other surfers: in Mancora surf classes have the highest priority on the waves. The surf instructors seem to own the sea and they just push you into the waves they think you should surf.
Accordingly, if you surf on your own, surf classes are one of the main things to look out for… Do not get in their way. Furthermore, you then have to consider line-ups (a sort of queue who gets to surf the next wave, read more here) and more experienced, local surfers that do not have a lot of patience with beginners, although this never was a big problem to us.
With respect to the surf spot itself, what we can tell you that the ocean floor in Mancora’s is covered in sharp rocks. Therefore, it is better to stay away from the sallow parts in case of low tide. The rocks also ensure the waves break exactly at the same place and thus a clear line-up can be formed.
TIP: Avoid low tide and wear a wetsuit to protect yourself from scratches when falling on the rocks.
Surfboard rent in Mancora
Once you are ready to go out by yourself, you can rent boards at the surf schools. The ones at the beach are the most convenient when it comes to surfboard rent simply because it is closest. Inca Warriors Mancora asks $3 (10 soles) for one session and $6 (20 soles) for a day and this price includes a wetsuit. Surf point applies the same prices, but you pay another 10 soles for a wetsuit.
Note! The materials in Mancora are generally not great. It is therefore really important that you check your equipment before entering the water. Especially the leach, and the attachment of the leash to your surfboard you need to check because if this breaks, you lose your board which can damage it badly in case it hits the rocks (speaking from experience we lost 3 boards in 2 days).
TIP: check your materials before entering the water for safety and to avoid cost because of damage.
Remarks on surfing for girls
I doubted whether I wanted to include this part, but an article on surfing in Mancora is not complete or honest without it, so forgive me. Being a girl traveling and surfing on my own, the surf culture in Máncora and Peru is quite interesting. Surfing is namely a quite male-dominated sport in Peru and in combination with the South American machismo culture it gets uncomfortable at times.
Is this a real thing? Yes, there are whole academic studies on it. So, when you learn to surf in Mancora, the surf instructors will probably try to make a move on you. Nothing wrong with that necessarily, but some of them are also very possessive, proud and in some cases even aggressive. There have been some issues between girls and surf instructors when I was in Mancora, so my only advice is to watch out a little and do some asking around before you start your summer fling. In general, people are really cool and respectful, fortunately 🙂
There are more advantages though as well. Namely that as a girl you are more likely to get advice in the water, even when you are not taking classes. Locals will accept you taking waves, even when they are not yours (which is hard to know in the beginning).
Is Mancora the best place to learn surfing in Peru? I would say yes. It is cheap, you get private lessons, the water is blue, the sun is shining, and the waves are consistent. Furthermore, there is a lot to do in town in case there are no waves, there are great places to eat and good places to party at night. I am certain you will not regret your decision to learn to surf in Mancora! Hope this article was useful to you, let us know if you have any remaining questions 🙂
Are you excited about surfing and you want to read more? Fortunately, we wrote a lot more about surfing in Peru. Or are you traveling trough Peru after your visit? Read our articles on traveling Peru here!