Peru is better known for its archaeological sites than its white-sand beaches, but the north coast of the country can more than satisfy your quest for sun, surf, and sand. From the Chilean border in the south to Ecuador in the north, Peru has a plethora of wonderful beachside locations along its 1,500-mile coastline. But in the south, most of the beaches are enveloped in fog for several months of the year.
Head to Mancora and the surrounding area and you are in for a treat. Located 600 miles north of Lima, this unique part of Peru is dry, sunny, and hot for almost the entire year. A little further north, rain kicks in for part of the year and to the south, clouds and cold water put a damper on beach activities for several months. But on the north coast, clear blue skies and warm weather are the norm.
Mancora is still more of a holiday destination than a retirement location although plans are underway to change that. A few apartments and other long-term rentals are popping up in the nearby residential areas of Punta Sal and Vichayito, which feature some of the nicest beaches in the country. And the first phase of a large beachside development aimed at retirees is currently underway a few minutes north of Mancora.
You will not find any international fast food franchises yet in this small community. But you will discover a good selection of restaurants featuring Peruvian and International cuisine. Even in this busy resort town, the two or three-course Menu del Dia is available at many small eateries for less than $5. These typically provide a home-made soup or salad plus a main course that includes dishes such as fried chicken to cabrito (goat) to lomo saltado (stir-fried beef).
For finer dining, you can feast on a great selection of seafood and other dishes at la Sirena d’Juan, a restaurant owned by a local boy who has made it big or Aqua, reportedly Mancora’s best seafood restaurant. Even in these more expensive eateries, a couple is unlikely to spend more than $50 for a delicious meal, including appetizers and drinks.
There are no large supermarkets in town, so most shopping is done at the local market. Here you will find a wide variety of fresh fish, meat, poultry, and veggies along with a large assortment of non-perishable items for bargain prices.
Although there is a local medical clinic for emergencies, large modern hospitals are an hour or two away in the cities of Tumbes, Piura, and Talares. Many Mancora area residents make regular trips to these cities to shop in the malls, catch a movie, and enjoy the other modern amenities they have to offer.
If you like laidback beach communities, copious amounts of sunshine and year-round warm temperatures than it might be worth checking out the Mancora area for a short-term or long-term stay. But you will need a sense of adventure to take advantage of the many delights it has to offer.
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