Mancora Peru is a perfect seaside getaway! Whether you’re local or a tourist, life focuses on the sea and beautiful beaches. Getting to Mancora from Alamor Ecuador involved another long and complicated bus ride. The original plan was taking a bus route from Alamor through Piura and Machala, with gazillions of out-of-the-way stops in between.
The hotel owner in Alamor heard me complaining about frequent stops and long bus rides and said there was a faster route via Huaquillas. He said I would need a guide to tell me what to do, and luckily another traveler at the bus station agreed to help.
Luis Rene Gonzalez was my friendly guide. On the way to Huaquillas, he talked about Ecuador and his six-member Ecuadorian band – Revivencias Alamor. Click on their name to see them on YouTube (takes them a minute to get tuned up) – buen sonido!
A faster route to Mancora involved taking a bus from Alamor to Huaquillas, bypassing Machala and Piura. Rene explained that the complicated part was connecting with a local bus to get to the Peruvian border and then crossing into Peru at a city called Tumbes. There wasn’t a direct connection to Tumbes, so the bus driver dropped me off at a solitary taxi stand along the highway. Taxis were waiting at the drop point, where I caught a two-minute, $5 ride to the immigration point to get my passport stamped.
Never in a million years could I have figured it out on my own. On the local bus a woman asked where I was going and told me Peru was very dangerous at night for a woman traveling alone – all I needed to hear, right?
I whine about border crossings, because they’re never fun, but this time it went well, and I got a 90-day Peruvian visitor visa stamped in my passport. The next step was finding a taxi driver (no buses available) to drive me from the immigration stop in Tumbes to Mancora – a three-hour drive along the Chilean coast in the dark – yikes!
I talked to an immigration guard and asked for help finding a trustworthy taxi driver. Together, we walked together toward a taxi, and the guard asked the driver to present his “official Chilean ID” which I scrutinized. The taxi driver agreed to drive me to Mancora for 180 Peruvian Nuevos Soles (PEN) – about $60 – and loaded my luggage into his taxi.
As we began the drive I realized that I was hungry not having eaten for over 12 hours. I asked the driver (Ricardo) to stop somewhere so I could get food. We went to a local café in Tumbes and had sandwiches and then continued on our way. Tumbes is a vibrant city and at night the streets, parks, and major buildings light up creating a fun, festive atmosphere.
During the moonlit drive from Tumbes to Mancora I could hear, smell, and faintly see white surf along the coastal highway. We passed through several small seaside towns, including Zorritos and Puente Punta Sal. The beach towns along Peru’s northern coast are popular surfing spots.
Beach Hotel NAIF
My hotel – NAIF – is a block from the beach, tucked away from the hubbub of Mancora’s main drag. The bamboo bungalow / cabana is spacious and cozy with WiFi, a small private deck, hammock, and view of the beach. Mosquito netting is essential at night.
Mancora Chilean Beach Town
Mancora epitomizes a small Chilean beach town, and it’s a good place to recharge. It’s hot during the day (90s+) but cool at night. The afternoons are usually windy. The sun is very strong, so you have to be careful and protect yourself with adequate gringo sunscreen.
While exploring and learning my way around, I noticed lots of beautiful sea birds at the beach. The strikingly gorgeous sunsets are very vivid! Hope to capture one before I leave – of course precise timing is important.
I got spoiled in Ecuador where their currency is the US dollar, and the electricity outlets are the same as in the US. In Peru, there’s the adjustment of learning the local currency and using electrical adapters, but I’m not complaining. One Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN) equals about $0.33 and the cost of living in Peru is very reasonable.