The north coast of Peru is known for the surf and Máncora is the perfect spot to chill, party and from there discover more of the Peruvian coast. In this part of Peru you will find the more tropical and sunny feeling than anywhere else. You will find resorts here but also cheap party hostels. The places around Máncora are appealing for surfers, here they will find consistent waves in warm water; no wet-suit needed! This part of Peru is warmer and closer to the equator and worth to visit all year round. Máncora is close to the Ecuadorian border from where it is very easy to cross it and continue your journey in South America. See below tips and recommendation on Máncora, Organos, Lobitos and Zorritos.
Both my in-and outbound are with the buses from Cruz del Sur. The distances are far and long here in Peru and perfect for and overnight bus ride. I arrived with the overnight bus from Huanchaco/Trujillo in Máncora in the morning. At the bus stop tuk tuks are waiting for you to bring to your hotel or accommodation. The tuk tuks /motortaxi are commonly used in this area of Peru; very handy!
The Eppo station in the main street (Panamericana Norte 348 ) of Máncora is the basis for the local buses and minivans in the area; from here you can leave to the villages described below.
Máncora is a party town if you want it to be, the Loki Hostel is a favorite among the backpackers. But I was there with my Peruvian friend and my main activity was surfing, chilling and enjoying the sun. I always plan beach time at the end of my travel, relax and chill before heading home and Máncora is perfect for that.
Hotel Las Olas has beach front access with perfect rooms, some with fantastic terraces overlooking the ocean and garden. Rooms are not the cheapest in town, but this is perfect spot to relax on the sunbeds in front of the local surf break.
Talking about the Surf; that break was soooooo busy. Everybody is dropping in on everybody; surfers, body boarders, surf teachers with flippers and helmets (indeed they need them); experienced short boarders; beginners on soft tops, long boarders and SUP boarders! I didn’t really like to surf here, too busy and all on only one break/peak. Waited for ages to get one wave and then the teachers pushed a beginner right in front of me. I found dangerous. That is why we left to the other places below to surf less crowded waves.
In Máncora I will recommend you only one place to have dinner and that is called restaurant La Sirena d’Juan. It is definitely the number 1 restaurant here in Máncora; excellent fusion food and service. We went here two times and regraded that we didn’t go more times. Great fresh food with the best deserts like apple crumble with vanilla ice cream and the chocolate mousse. The ambiance inside and on the balcony are really nice. A must go when you are in Máncora!! Did I already tell you Peru has the best food!! Another great place is Aqua, located in the main street, great food and drinks. In Máncora you have a couple of places to eat nice sushi; fresh fish all over the place.
A nice place to have breakfast and/or lunch is Green Eggs & Ham Milk; this place is located on the beach in an old Victorian mansion with big veranda overlooking the ocean. The food they serve is great and the shakes are awesome! Try the maracuyá milk shake and pancakes, the salads are good too.
Organos is located 20 km south of Máncora and easy to access by local buses. Main reason for me was that I wanted to have empty waves to surf. And indeed here in Organos found a very nice wave with less crowd and more advanced surfers who knew the rules in the water and that helps a lot to feel save.
Warning: The sand of the beach could get very hot and with your bare feet you can easily burn them, like mine did before surfing!
I booked the nice place called Muelle Viego Bungalows, located on the beach in a nice room. I paid 221S for 1 night for 2 persons including breakfast. All is cheaper and more quiet than touristic Máncora, so perfect for a day or two. In the evening we went to Pizzeria La Cabaña de Wilo in the center of Organos; not really special.
If you don’t like surfing or just want to do something else you can go Playa del Ñuro; 7 km from Organos. El Ñuro is a traditional fishing town, where you will find a lot of boats that arrive with fresh fish on the dock/pier; nice to see and to smell of course.
Lobitos is more south than Organos and located about 60 km south of Máncora. From Máncora you take the bus from Eppo to Talara (1,5 hours, 8S); in Talara you have to change to a collectivo (shared minivan) for another 30 minutes to reach Lobitos.
I called Lobitos a Ghost Town and for a reason. Lobitos was owned and by a British oil company and the colony of British residents created homes, oil rigs, roads, church a pier and electricity. Lobitos changed from fishing town to a British colony where no Peruvian were allowed. This developed town attracted large ships that passed on the way to Argentina and Chile. The deep waters and pier made it possible to stop and fuel. In 1968 the government forced the people to leave and made it a military basis but not for long before they left. Lobitos was left with the remainders like the Old General House that is a hostel now. It’s a quiet town with a view people and why it is giving the impressions that everyone left in a hurry.
The surfers are taking over the waves in this desert and abandoned town. Nowadays backpackers hostels, nicer hotels and restaurants are popping up. The waves are consistent, with multiple breaks like Lobitos, El Hueco, Los Muelles and Picinas. One big advantage, the surf is less crowed than in Máncora. If you like surfing, check this town but if you don’t surf, there is not much to do here.
Me and my friend slept at Hotel Lobitos, right in front of the surf spot. Nice hotel with all well thought of servicing the surfer well. We had great ceviche at El Tranqui, great value for money. The boards we rented at Surf Rental & Restaurant Relajate.
Time to head to beach town Zorritos, which is located 75 km north of Máncora and easy accessible by collectivo. I booked a resort this time, because I could not find a nice accommodation. I normally don’t book resorts but I had company which made the choice easier; Casa Andina Select Tumbes. The basis was Máncora for us, but this place is close to Tumbes in the north of Peru. This resort has all the facilities a resort needs to have, luxury rooms, perfect pools and amazing buffet breakfast. What I loved the most was the uncountable palm trees and the free kayak; we went kayaking both mornings.
By tuk tuk we went to Zorritos town and headed to the local beach in town. Some fishing boats out in the water and some kids playing in the water on body boards. Zorritos has smaller waves normally, but during my visit barely any waves. But Zorritos has nice sunsets, enough places to eat your chicharrón for dinner and dance on some salsa music; which is coming out of every house, love this culture!