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- 12 Jul 2020, 3 nights
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Surf's up in Máncora, a seaside town on Peru's northern coastline known for its consistent waves and laid-back beach vibes. You can take to the water, sunbathe on the sand and seek out wildlife. There are whale-watching trips that head far out into the ocean and turtle-spotting forays at fishing piers. The cocktail and culinary scenes are also thriving, making Máncora just the place to relax with a tangy pisco sour (a typical Peruvian cocktail) and a plate of lime-soaked fish ceviche.
Choose from hostels in Máncora that have pool steps from the sand. Or go for iconic party places offering spacious common areas and family-style dinners. If you want to relax, there's accommodation leading out onto relaxed gardens where you can chill in the shade of native carob trees. Live for surfing? Many Máncora hostels organise trips to help you take to the waves like an old hand, including tours to Cabo Blanco beach. It's a 45-minute drive away and is considered Peru's answer to Hawaii's world-class Pipeline.
To have the sand tickling your toes for most of your stay, you'll likely spend a decent chunk of time on Máncora's bustling beach. The town sits just back from the shore, its central Pan American Highway lined with modern bars and restaurants luring both locals and travellers. Other areas to check out are quieter beachside neighbourhoods like La Pocita, a 15-minute drive away. Further along the coast are the rustic fishing villages of Vichayito, Los Órganos and Punta Veleros.
There are quite a few fun (mainly water-based) activities in the area, including seeing the amazing sight of huge turtles, sea lions and pelicans compete over scraps discarded by the fishermen at the pier in El Ñuro. Whale-watching trips offer a high chance of spotting humpbacks and can be organised by your hostel, while ziplining over the dusty yellow hills at Eco Fundo La Caprichosa gets the adrenaline pumping.
The nearest airports to Máncora are in Talara and Tumbes (both an hour and a half's drive). Most people who visit tend to come from down south in Lima (a 17-hour ride) or up north in Ecuador (it takes just over 2 hours to drive from the border). Motorbike taxis are easy to flag down in town and buses run from the main bus station to local beaches like El Ñuro, 30-minutes away.