A Peru weekend getaway: The beaches of Mancora

Travel to Mancora, Peru
A bungalow in Máncora.
See more photos of the Mancora getaway

We left our house Friday at 10:45 a.m. and landed in Piura at 2:15 p.m. after which we had to look for transportation. We were lucky to find a taxi that was supposed to head back to Mancora empty, so we got the ride for S/. 150 (a 2½ hour drive). Normal price is starting around S/. 220 for a taxi, a van is S/. 35 per person.

At 5:15 we arrived to the Grand Mar hotel in Mancora, which is located just five minutes south of Mancora city. The hotel is very convenient located right on the beach with a great pool, if you are not too crazy about swimming in the ocean.

The hotel has bungalows with air-conditioning, TV, a private terrace and a view to the sea. Rates starts at $70 for a double room and the suite is $200, but it is always very nice with jacuzzi, 42" t, stereo system big enough to organize your own beach party and more.

The city of Máncora is really nothing special. It is one of those cities along the coast that has been allowed to develop without a plan and unfortunately it probably will never change. There is a small variety of restaurants, all facing the Panamerican highway with buses and trucks moving by just a few meters from where you are supposed to enjoy dinner. We chose to have dinner at Chan-Chan, which is known for its pizzas. Our pizza familiar, enough for two people, with mushrooms was OK, but it also took them about 50 minutes to bring it over. The waiter, who seemed to serve at all 20 tables alone was very tired and maybe a little to irritated, when it finally become our turn to have dinner at 11 pm. The price, with two beers: S/. 49.

Mancora and its surrounding beaches in northern Peru. (Map: El Comercio/LivinginPeru.com)

So where is the beauty at Mancora? Just south of the city there are many beautiful beaches with great hotels, private villas to rent and lot’s of offers to have a good time, whether you want to surf, kite surf, sail, snorkel or are interested in deep sea finishing.

I didn’t want to do ANYTHING. I was only looking for the perfect escape to get away from the crazy days at the office and relax 100% with my wife without getting interrupted by my kids or a phone call asking me to go somewhere or do something that I wasn’t in the mood for. I got what I came for. Long walks at the beach, wonderful ocean water, drinks with friends at the beach and a SUPER wedding at sunset with fireworks, delicious food, great music and good company until 3 in the morning, after which we walked along the beach back to our hotel.

Maybe I hadn’t chosen the best weekend to go to Mancora, as the night before there was an earthquake in Japan and a Tsunami was on its way to Peru. Nevertheless with the information available to me, I convinced my wife to leave our children (our house is also located a 100 meters above sea level, so …)

In March there are normally many tourists as the weather is always good, which is why we expected the beaches to be crowded, but that was not the case. First of all the beaches are long and there is room for everyone, but also the Tsunami alert made some stay home that weekend.

Besides a very nice American breakfast included in the room rate, the hotel offered a large variety of lunch and dinner dishes, but after having tried two of them, I can only recommend the owner to evaluate his kitchen staff and raw materials that didn’t at all live up to my expectations. Only the good service from the staff at the hotel saved this experience, but I doubt that will be enough in the future.
All in all, it was a great trip to Mancora that finished Sunday afternoon, where a taxi with so-so air conditioning took us back to Piura. We landed in Lima at 8 and hugged our kids at 8:40, just to say goodnight and pass out in bed.