Is Máncora worth a visit?
Dragging myself onto a bus at midnight, hours after the scheduled departure time, I wasn’t too pleased to see a woman with a chicken in her bag sit across the aisle from me. I guess they’re not called chicken buses for nothing! Hoping it wouldn’t be noisy I just wanted to get some sleep and wake up at least partly refreshed in the town that backpackers couldn’t stop talking about, Máncora.
Six hours and a short mototaxi ride later Zach and I made it to our pre-booked beds and crashed for a couple more hours. We woke to find that our hostel was literally on the beach and this section of it was free of crowds. Only a 15 minute walk from the centre of Máncora, close enough to experience the town but far away from the noisy nightlife, or so we thought.
Chatting to a German girl we discovered why there weren’t many people on this part of the beach. She had gone out onto the beach to watch the sunset, not too far away from the hostel and with a few other people around she felt fairly safe. However when approached by a group of guys with knifes she had no choice but to hand her bag over. She reported it at the local police station and accepted a lift back to the hostel, the policeman stopped the car part way and tried to kiss her!
I know muggings happen all over South America, but I heard so many stories of it happening here. I’m not saying this should stop you visiting, but you need to be extra careful here. Máncora definitely has a dark side.
That night we went to bed while the music was still pumping, no biggie, I thought, it’ll stop soon. Well, I gave up sleeping before the music stopped playing. It carried on until 9am! I’m still not sure exactly where this music was coming from… but the bamboo huts that made up the hostel offered zero insulation from the noise.
Máncora isn’t all bad. I enjoyed the selection of restaurants and bars in the centre and along the beach. I discovered the joy of tequeños, little fried parcels of cheese, heavenly! However, for me Máncora was too much of a destination based on excessive alcohol consumption, drugs and parties. If that’s your thing you’ll probably love it. If not, definitely look elsewhere.
How to get there?
I used the El Dorado bus from Chiclayo, supposedly there are a few departures every evening but only the 12.30am materialised for us.
Where to stay?
I stayed at The Point. Bit unorganised, relatively clean, being out of town obviously has benefits of less crowds and presumably usually less noise but you’ll need a mototaxi to get to the centre in the evening.