We had a very mixed experience at Mancora. We spent a week here on the Peruvian Coast after a gruelling week long trek through the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. One of the first things to be said about Mancora is its stunning beauty and the wide, long, sandy beach that stretches for miles. We rented private accommodation through VRBO. The apartment was very clean, well furnished and had an open air kitchen that was well stocked. The water is not potable so we were supplied drinking and cooking water in large containers. The area is mostly a place where Peruvians have holiday homes. We were there in October prior to the start of the tourist season and we found it to be sparsely populated. However, apparently it gets very busy during typical holiday periods. There are no supermarkets and maybe one or two grocery stores in town. Most people shop in the local markets where there are fresh meats, fish and vegetables in abundance. Also, to get around town, you flag down pedicabs as the main source of public transport. As is true everywhere in Peru the restaurant scene was fantastic. No shortage of excellent places to eat and at very reasonable prices. There are no major hotels that we saw, only small hostels, pensions and B&Bs. This all adds to the undeveloped and undiscovered charm of the area.
The difficult part of Mancora for us was that we had to pass through an armed gate to get to our housing complex in addition to only being able to walk for perhaps two miles along the beach before being turned back by armed guards stationed at the end of the “safe” zone. Clearly there is a possibility of danger here that is being well controlled but nonetheless exists. The other issue was that about every 100 feet or so along the otherwise pristine beach we would encounter dead seabirds and sea lions. In fact, the beach was littered with carcasses in various states of decay. When we looked into the cause of this we discovered that the local fisherman use poisonous fish to kill the sea lions. If you have ever been fishing and had a large fish stolen by a sea lion you will understand the animosity fishermen have toward that species. The sea lions eat the poisonous fish as do the marine bird life and the dead animals end up washed onto the beach. I’m not sure what the government is doing to prevent this practice but until that is resolved, Mancora has a long way to go before fulfilling its amazing potential to become a world class beach resort.