When you hear “Peru”, I’ll bet a bottle of Pisco you think “Machu Picchu”. Well here at AYT, we’d like to broaden the spectrum and introduce a hidden gem…Mancora.
A coastal town that’s just north of what’s considered “the most productive marine ecosystem in the world” – Humboldt Current – warm waters collide to create a deep sea fishing haven as well as a surfing mecca for locals and international visitors. Yet there’s more than meets the eye to this unpretentious town. Here are 4 reasons we love Mancora…(why 4 and not the typical 5? Because this quad-tastic number deserves some love, too!)
1) Fresh Deliciousness from the Ocean
On our way to our final destination, we cruise along a small paved road that passes by bare hills and open skies, into a remote town with but a few faded storefronts. We turn left down a street with what appears to the naked eye to have no name, and stop at a residential home that appears to the naked eye to have no address. This is the place, I’m told. We stroll into someone’s living room, head to the back, and behold, the best place on the coast of Peru to pick up fresh fishy deliciousness for our stay in Mancora.
Due to the mysterious of this location (don’t go knocking on random doors now, ya hear?), I cannot tell you where this diamond in the rough is. But I can tell you that Peru has ridiculously amazing fish that melts in your mouth, which you can find in the quaint restaurants throughout town. Many dishes offer ceviche-like creations, perfect after a warm day at the beach.
*Psst! I can also tell you that when we lead an AYT Experience to Peru, you will most certainly experience this fish (including from this mysterious location!) Sign me up and call me a slippery scallywag!
2) Local Experience
If you google the coastal town of Mancora, you’ll read that it’s a beach resort town. Just like every other adjective we use daily, the meaning of these words can vary to people dependent on one’s own experiences and lives. When I hear the word “resort”, I tend to cringe; Lots of tourists, inauthentic, expensive, structured, predictable.
Ha! What a relief to find my perspective is totally off from the reality of this “beach resort town”! In fact, I find it to be: unique, culturally authentic, historical, and well-priced. Yet this up and coming area where properties and land are being bought left and right from not only well-off Peruvians but foreigners, as well.
I can never predict the direction in which a town, city, or country will go. Yet I can say that it is absolutely worth it to visit Mancora right now. (and not just because of the fish and cocktails…)
3) The Maracuya
Peru is known for their Pisco Sours, a cocktail made of pisco (local alcohol made from grapes), lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, bitters, and ice. Yet when we walked into the Sirena Cafe Bar along the main street – which also serves as the Pan-American highway that takes you down to Chile – the waitress firmly stated “ya, that’s what tourists get. But locals seem to prefer the Maracuya.” The mara-what? Ahh, the tropical fruit also known as passion fruit. But the Peruvian version comes in the size of, well, let’s just say it’s large. Bring it on: passion fruit, pisco, simple syrup (for less sugar, ask for no syrup), and ice. Cheers!
Let us warn you, these cocktails are sneaky and pack a punch. You might have to take a tuk tuk home (yep, they have those in Mancora, too).
4) Local Entrepreneurs
For such a small town, there’s a surprising abundance of local shops and entrepreneurs. Inspired by the ocean, Artesania Los Tallanes creates intricately-detailed shell chandeliers and decor. For a more dominant statement, they also carve unique shapes out of pumice stone for eye-catching garden or wall pieces.
The Sirena Boutique (conveniently next door to the Sirena Cafe Bar) designs and locally creates women’s clothing including swimsuits and brightly-adorned coverups.