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Don’t worry, I’m not going to draw this one out. The magic of Mancora, quite simply, was that we stayed put there for ten entire days. Mancora is so far north in Peru it’s practically making out with Ecuador, and many travelers use it as a short stop to break up the overland journey between the two countries. I’ve recently accepted that I had far too ambitious an itinerary for this trip, but this ten days —  the longest we stayed continuously in one destination — was one thing we did right.

And it was the perfect spot to do so.

Slowing down in Mancora, Peru

Slowing down in Mancora, Peru

Many travelers that I spoke to before arrival dismissed Mancora as a one hit wonder — there’s an infamous hostel in town called Loki and backpackers tend not to peek beyond its pool. Fair enough, as I myself enjoyed several sessions of sipping pina coladas with my toes in said pool — but there is so much more to Manora than the Loki.

There is non-stop stunning weather, for one thing.

Beach Scenes in Mancora, Peru

Hammock in Mancora, Peru

The Beach in Mancora, Peru

There’s a bohemian beachfront with golden sand and cobalt colored waters, for another.

The Beach in Mancora, Peru

The Beach in Mancora, Peru

The Beach in Mancora, Peru

Birds in Mancora, Peru

And then there are is the plethora of yum-tastic restaurants which I’m salivating thinking about (and will outline in a future post) as well as a diverse selection of accommodation — Loki included (also coming to a post near you soon!) Of course, it would be impossible to write about Mancora without mentioning the surfing for which this town became famous. The wave-worship has extended to kitesurfing, SUP, and other watersports as well.

Surfing in Mancora, Peru

Surfing in Mancora, Peru

Our board of choice was a Stand Up Paddleboard, which I tried for the first time in open ocean — previously I’ve stuck to lakes, rivers, and ocean bays.  Things were a little less than successful. Balance was tricky, and I actually got a little bit motion sick from the waves! That crushed my dreams of starting every morning with an ocean-based workout, though my disappointment was offset by the discovery of an open-air gym and a simple running route.

Stand Up Paddling in Mancora, Peru

Stand Up Paddling in Mancora, Peru

Stand Up Paddling in Mancora, Perutrying out a very advanced new method of paddleboarding

Stand Up Paddling in Mancora, Peru

Stand Up Paddling in Mancora, Peru

Brief attempts at physical activity aside, our days in Mancora were blissfuly relaxed. I would work away most of the day from my perch overlooking the ocean, breaking when necessary to join a round of beach volleyball, snack on delicious beach burritos, or take a dip in the pool.

Being in Mancora reminded me that I belong by the ocean. Falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves and waking up to the smell of saltwater gave me at least a minor recharge from the travel burnout I was started to feel after over two months of sprinting through Peru. I left the country with a warm sandy kiss, and for that reason, this little town will always hold a special place in my heart.

On the Beach in Mancora

On the Beach in Mancora

Stay tuned for more posts about Mancora — from where to eat, to where to stay, to our day of diving adventures!

Mancora, Peru

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39 Comments...
  • Andi
    January 20 2014

    What a charming place! Did you pick up any Spanish while you were down there?
    Andi recently posted..Germany With AirBerlin: Day 2 (Part 1)

    • Alex
      January 20 2014

      Definitely! I had a great base from studying all through high school (I wish I could have stuck with it in college but my school didn’t have a language program) and it came back pretty strong!

  • Rachel of Hippie in Heels
    January 20 2014

    I finally found a SUP shop in Goa, so I’m going to try it hopefully this week!
    Rachel of Hippie in Heels recently posted..7 Ways to Screw up Koh Phi Phi

    • Alex
      January 20 2014

      Nice Rachel! I hope you love it… good luck!

  • Laryssa
    January 20 2014

    Lovely pics.

    I’ve wanted to go to Mancora. It looks like the weather there was way better than in Lima!

    I’ve read so many “traveler beware” warnings and a few scary tales regarding the Peru/Ecuador border area… what was your opinion?
    Laryssa recently posted..Traveler Threads: Living and Working in Antarctica at the South Pole

    • Alex
      January 20 2014

      We took an overnight bus from Mancora to Quayaquil which was kind of a pain because they wake you up a few hours in to go through immigration. I was groggy and half asleep but it was totally painless! Nothing to be afraid of!

    • jon battle
      February 21 2016

      We just crossed Ecuador -> Peru bus border at midnite-ish. It was a pleasant surprise, not much more than an hour for our bus, we were 2nd to arrive around 1am-ish I guess.
      That pleasantry notwithstanding, you should believe the hype about random incidence of horror-stories at these South American road-borders. A month back at the Nicaragua -> Costa-Rica border – specifically, the Costa-Rica inbound office – we waited 4 hours in the sweltering noon sun for the sadistic little pig in the Costa Rica office to do his job. He gratuitously tortured maybe 5 busloads of people – so 300+ of us – with his deliberate work-to-rule tactic. There was just one of him working at an office with maybe 5 desks. Presumably he had some one-man industrial action program going on v his employers. BTW most – by far – of the sufferers were locals – us gringoes were a small minority.
      jon battle recently posted..Playing Canute — Mancora, Peru

  • Tyrhone
    January 20 2014

    I find that when I am in a place with not a lot to see, I see more (if that makes sense) and relax a lot more. No pressure equals a lot of chillaxing. That’s another one for our itinerary thanks 🙂
    Tyrhone recently posted..I have a dream to fly through Central and South America

    • Alex
      January 20 2014

      You’d be crazy not to stop here! If you’re traveling between Peru and Ecuador it’s almost mandatory to break up the long stretches between other destinations.

  • Rika | Cubicle Throwdown
    January 20 2014

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it more than I did!! A few of the shots looked familiar… I did get ONE beach day in there, so I guess all was not lost. And my bf at the time loved the surfing! I’ll have to give Mancora another try sometime. I’m looking forward to hearing about the Loki…we went there and it was way out of our price range, but looked amazing!
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..Things I’m Going to Stop Doing in 2014

    • Alex
      January 20 2014

      Why didn’t you like it, Rika? I’m curious to hear!

  • Hogga
    January 20 2014

    that kid looks like he’s about to bust some serious moves

    • Alex
      January 20 2014

      He was a cutie! Loved watching him on the volleyball court!

  • Colleen Brynn
    January 20 2014

    Looks amazing. It’s always nice when we can discover unique things or have individual experiences in a place everyone already seems to love. 🙂
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..A Study Of Sky (One)

    • Alex
      January 20 2014

      Perfectly put! It was a great vacation from travel.

  • Jimmy Dau
    January 20 2014

    Missed Mancora unfortunately. After spending 6 weeks in Medellin, colombia and then two weeks in the Galapagos I was running out of time and endured the 26 hours to get from Guayaquil to Lima… eeek!

    Looks amazing though….will be back one day!
    Jimmy Dau recently posted..Patagonia Series: Biking in Bariloche

    • Alex
      January 21 2014

      One of my friends has a personal rule to never take a bus ride longer than a rotation of the Earth…. and I have to admit I’ve adopted it for myself 🙂 You’re brave!

  • Melissa
    January 20 2014

    What a great little find! Sometimes you definitely have to ignore the naysayers!
    Melissa recently posted..2 Excellent Reasons to Visit Belize: Caye Caulker & Lobster Fest

    • Alex
      January 21 2014

      I agree Melissa! It’s always best to go see for yourself 🙂

  • TammyOnTheMove
    January 20 2014

    I have never heard of Manorca, so I love it that you always post about less touristy places. It looks like such a nice place. After leaving Nazca I must say, that I am suffering a bit from the cold in Cusco and now La Paz. Think I might need to plan a trip out there when I return to Peru in a month.
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Looking after your travel money – comparing costs and crime in a selection of countries

    • Alex
      January 21 2014

      Thanks Tammy, I really appreciate that! I know how you feel. Definitely add Mancora to the list 🙂

  • Camels & Chocolate
    January 20 2014

    I love that little boy and his pot belly! Also, your bikini is sexxxxxy!
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..The World’s Coolest Shipwreck

    • Alex
      January 21 2014

      Thanks girl! It’s made by a chick on Koh Tao who started her own bathing suit company. Love it!

  • Angie Away
    January 20 2014
    • Alex
      January 21 2014

      SUPing always makes me thing of you, Angie. That was such a hysterical introduction to the sport…

  • Michael
    January 20 2014

    I worked at that Loki for awhile. Stayed for about 2 months. Great time and as you can imagine, a lot of partying. Mancora is also where I started surfing. The waves were insanely rough. A bit much for a beginner but I eventually learned. Looks like Mancora changed a bit since about 4 years ago.
    Michael recently posted..How To Visit The Hidden Marieta Islands

    • Alex
      January 21 2014

      I had no idea! I’m seeing a different side to you now, Michael 🙂 And I can imagine a place like this would change rapidly as tourism increases.

  • Silvia
    January 21 2014

    Mancora looks sooo chilled, I wish I could just jump into the computer screen and be there now.
    Silvia recently posted..Postcards from London

    • Alex
      January 21 2014

      I often wish I could develop a time/space portal like that 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  • Corinne
    January 21 2014

    It looks like a fantastic place to spend ten days relaxing and rejuvenating. Gorgeous.
    Corinne recently posted..Göbekli Tepe – The World’s First Cathedral?

    • Alex
      January 21 2014

      It really was Corinne! I can’t think of a better place in Peru to slow down and soak up the sun.

  • Jessie
    January 22 2014

    Awesome photos Alex! I could spend 10 days there no problem! 🙂 Nice to see some stand up paddleboarding available in these areas!
    Jessie recently posted..The Path More Balanced: 8 Ways to Stay Healthy on the Road

    • Alex
      January 22 2014

      SUP is everywhere these days! The board rentals are a bit more expensive than regular surf boards but totally worth it!

  • Pedro
    February 4 2014

    Hi Alex,

    Luved this post. I’m heading to Mancora in a couple of weeks, and looking forward to do some paddling. Where did u guys rent these boards? And is there a website to that shop? Thx

    • Alex
      February 5 2014

      Hey Pedro, we just rented them from a no-name shack on the beach 🙂 It’s super easy!

  • Rebecca
    February 20 2014

    Never heard of Mancora but it looks great! Glad you got the chance to wind down and relax 🙂
    Rebecca recently posted..Bali sunsets

    • Alex
      February 20 2014

      I had never heard of it before arriving in Peru, either! It’s quite the little gem.

  • Joel
    November 18 2017

    Hi
    I am from Peru, Trujillo but I lived in U.S.A for 11 years
    I came Peru to visit I want to visit Mancora In Peru , and I saw your post page . happy you met Peru and you enjoyed.. I always like to have friends to interact and learn and practice my english. Nice to meet you ..

    • Alex
      November 20 2017

      I loved Peru and would love to go back someday! You have a beautiful home 🙂

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