Budget travel to the beaches of Máncora, Peru


This does not happen necessarily with all consumer goods, many of which are brought in from other parts of Peru (except for fish and seafood). That is why some prices may seem ridiculous.

“Sunblock for 60 soles? Are you out of your mind? I can get that in Lima for 39 soles at Wong!” “Then go to Lima and get it yourself sir, because we also get them there,” responded the vendor.

“That’s how it is, everyone thinks its cheap…but we are very far away…Piura, which is the closest city, is three hours away,” said a lady who sold sandals for 50 soles (25 soles in any market in Lima).

However, ceviche at the Máncora market is only 2.50 soles, while in a restaurant in Las Pocitas (with a better view, better service and a cold beer, of course) it can cost ten soles more. There is variety for all tastes and budgets.

Even at night, there are bars and restaurants for all palates and types of travelers. There is a famous franchise of traditional pizzas located (literally) on the side of the Panamerican highway.

Despite the fact that Máncora is still a very poor fishing town, there are many businesses (particularly services) that aim to satisfy the domestic and foreign tourists’ demands. A little like Cuba, the local people seldom have access to many of the attractions that the town offers.

Vacation in Máncora: Some prices

Getting there from Lima: You can find roundtrip plane tickets for $150. Deals drop as low as $50 roundtrip during the low season. (Foreigners: check the fine print. LAN airlines charges an extra $175 for economic domestic flights.)

By bus, about 270 soles roundtrip (just under $100). The trip lasts 18 hours.

Hostals can be as cheap as $10 per night. Nicer hotels run up to $120 per night (see two options here).

A ceviche costs 2.50 soles in the city market, and 35 soles in a hotel in nearby beach Las Pocitas. Some other prices:
S/. 10 for a ceviche and S/. 12 for fried seafood in Punta Ballenas, the town beach
S/. 6 for a 610 ml. Cusqueña beer in Punta Ballenas
S/. 39 for fried seafood in Las Pocitas
S/. 8 for a 355 ml Cusqueña beer in Las Pocitas
S/. 12-19 for a sandwich or hamburger
In the town discotecas and bars, a large beer costs S/. 5-6.

Much to do
But Mancora is not just sun and partying. There is a lot to do: “Between August and November, it is whale season,” says Javier Ruso, artist and owner of a Hotel in Las Pocitas. “Hundreds swim by every day and one can observe them.”

During the low tide, once can walk from Las Pocitas to Los Organos to the south, watching the sunset and the colors in the sky. If you are too tired to walk back, you can take a mototaxi – the main way of transport for those of us without a car in Mancora – which will take you back down the old Panamerican highway (full of potholes) to the door of your hotel for 15 soles or maybe even 10 soles, depending on your ability to barter (and your conscience, of course).

If you do not want to walk, there is a wide range of motor vehicles to rent, from jet skis to four-wheelers and trucks. The daily cost to rent a jet ski is around 200 soles, and 450 to 500 soles for a 4×4 Prado. If you choose to rent a car, someone will bring the car to you but you must pay the driver’s ride back (25 soles at the most).

There’s also surfing lessons for 50 soles for two hours (surf board included) and kitesurf lessons for 150 soles an hour (more expensive because it involves a lot more equipment). (See related article on kitesurfing.) There also fishing (Ernest Hemingway once lived here) and horseback rides (unless you head north, it is not advisable for the beach in terms of hygiene). You can also take a walk through the riverbed, where everything is green and you can observe the local wildlife which includes the spectacled bear.