After five weeks of travelling around Peru, hopping from town to town, experiencing absolutely everything there was to experience everywhere we went, AJ and I were EXHAUSTED, and clearly suffering from traveller burnout. We were out-museumed, out-churched, just totally out-travelled. What we needed was a break, and we found the perfect haven in Máncora.
Máncora is a little beach town in the north of Peru; it has one main street full of hostels, cafes, restaurants, market stalls, and a couple of grocery shops. It’s the perfect place for travellers who are searching for sun, waves, food, and a place to kick up your feet and do nothing. AJ and I spent a week relaxing there, and here are my favourite things about it.
There are barely any tourist attractions.
Like many people, I suffer quite badly from FOMO (fear of missing out), which means that when I get to a city, I need to see EVERYTHING, and hate the thought that there was something interesting that I missed out on. What this means is that most of my days are jam-packed full of things to see and do, and ultimately leads to me being absolutely burnt-out from all the researching, planning, city wandering, and immersion in all the sites. In Máncora, everything centres around two things: the beach and food & drink (unless you want to go off on day tours). Hence no planning, no lists, no rushing off to see something I absolutely cannot miss. I spent the week getting up when I felt like it, having a lazy breakfast and then either body-boarding, swimming, lying out on a beach, or chilling out in a coffee shop. It’s not something I could put up with for very long, but for that week it was BLISS.
There’s gorgeous street art to be discovered.
I was pleasantly surprised by the pieces of beautiful street art I found dotted around the town; along the main street and around the beach. It was great fun to find these random pieces as I walked around the town, not knowing what I might spot.
The beach is beautiful and the waves are constant.
After my experience with the beach at Chorrillos, I was a bit wary of the reviews I’d read about how good the beaches in Máncora were. However, I needn’t have worried; the beaches were lovely (except on one day after a storm when a lot of junk got washed up on the beach, including a dead sea bird, ugh) – the sand was nice, aside from getting unbelievably hot during the day, and the water was lovely and not too cold once you were in for a while. The waves were great too; we got ourselves some bodyboards for the week and spent nearly every morning out on them, battling the current and riding the waves back to shore – great way to work up an appetite!
There are so many nice places to eat and drink!
Given how small Máncora is there is a large variety of places to eat and drink, from quirky beachside restaurants to swanky Asian restaurants to cute little coffee shops. I especially loved this after my time in Cajamarca where there was such little choice in where to eat; this definitely highlights the impact that tourism has on a town. I loved going out and trying somewhere new to eat every day, and was delighted with everything I tried. Here are my favourite places that I tried out:
- Buda: this is a swanky Asian restaurant which has food at a range of prices, although it is on the more expensive side. The food was as beautiful to eat as it was to look, and after hearing that their cocktails were “the best in the world,” we decided to try some (mojito and bloody mary) – they were delicious!
- Green Eggs and Ham: this is an adorable beach-side restaurant with a milkshake bar downstairs, and we tried both breakfast and lunch there. HASH BROWN FOR BREAKFAST; not like hash browns back home (they were flat as a pancake), but delicious all the same. The only thing I wouldn’t recommend are the sweet potato fries – they’re deep fried in batter and taste more of grease than sweet potatoes.
- Café del Mundo: this is a Peruvian-French café that does really nice food. Get the menu del dia: garlic bread, juice and a main with two side orders for 17PEN.
- Gordo Gorila: this is a vegan restaurant that does a great lunch menu – massive sandwich and juice for 12PEN. We got the BBQ burger, and I’ll be honest, I couldn’t tell you what the burger was made out of, but it was delicious!
- Monkey Coffee Shop and Bar: this is an adorable café that does REALLY nice tea and coffee and amazing chocolate brownies (didn’t have any other food there, but it looked really nice). It’s also really chilled out and a great place to hang out when you need to get out of the sun.
- Beef House: This is a BBQ restaurant and the food is just delicious! I almost wish I had discovered it earlier in my time there so I could have gone back again.
It’s the perfect place to chill out with a drink and watch the world go by.
After a “hard” day of lounging on the beach, splashing in the waves, trying out different food, and perusing the markets, there’s nothing better than sitting out on the beach watching the world go by and enjoying the sun set. There’s a bunch of bars on the beach front that have outdoor seating and offer great happy hour deals on their beers and cocktails. You get to sit back and watch people kitesurfing and regular surfing, riding along the beach on horses and quad bikes, splashing around in the waves or just hanging out on the sand (some of them with super cute dogs as well!). As the day draws to a close you get to enjoy a spectacular sunset. Word of warning though, if you’re going to stay outside around this time make sure to bring insect repellent – our legs got bitten to death the first night we stayed out on the beach!
So that’s what I loved about Máncora; the perfect little haven for those looking to chill out, live the beach life, worship the sun and waves, and have a different culinary experiences every day. The only minor downside was that none of the hostels have hot water, but after a day of sweating in the sun, a cool shower’s a bit of a relief! For anyone feeling a bit of travel burn out it is the perfect little haven to retreat to and regroup in; after our week AJ and I emerged ready to travel, explore, and throw ourselves back into discovering everything we could about the next little bit of the world we went to.