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The Pacific coast of Peru is rich in terms of diversity. The cold Humbolt current reaches Piura and meets the warm Equatorial waters. Mancora sits at the confluence. There is a great variety of seafood and fish. You have to try the tuna, mostly yellowfin, but there are other varieties. It is fantastic to eat this fish fresh, be it in a 'tiradito'-style (carpaccio lightly marinated), sashimi-style or seared loins. Doesn't get any better.
The langostinos are great and farmed in Northern Peru and Ecuador. Please remember there are river-shrimp (camarones) and sea-shrimp (langostinos). The camarones are tastier and a far cry from the crayfish of the Gulf Coast. The lobsters have been decimated, so please try to avoid eating baby lobsters that weigh half-a-pound. If you are lucky, you get to try swordfish. Luckier still if you get 'pez diablo' (devil fish) for cebiche. It is rare, but opt for fortuno, cabrilla, viuda, agujilla, cherela or mero--all of them plentiful, except that mero is more expensive. Another plentiful fish is mahi-mahi, locally known as perico. Great fried. Remember, the larger the specimen, the more expensive it is.
The currents oscilate seasonally. The El Nino phenomenon was called due to its arrival in late December (Baby Jesus)--when the warmer waters push South. Fish move about depending on their food sources and water currents. So expect change and discover.
You can eat at the market for a few soles at a stall, but will have to deal with traffic and poor sanitary conditions. Some people cannot stomach it, but few people get really ill. There are more established joints, such as El Muelle or Las Gemelas near the local market, or perhaps the oldest restaurant called El Espada on the main road. There are several restaurants at the Southern part of town, and that's where the young scene goes on. Backpackers, surfers, locals and foreigners mix. Among the most traditional are La Sirena, El Tuno and Beefhouse. For decent pizzas try Mamiferos or Chan Chan. In terms of bars, try the sophisticated Praia Bar or the Hula Hula Hut for inexpensive drinks and great music. Angela serves a very decent vegetarian menu and great breads. For juices, breakfast or light food, Jugueria Mi Jannett is the place. For dessert, opt for La Bajadita--even though service is abysmal,--but if you crave for gourmet ice cream, visit for Don Giovanni, located on the beach facing the surfing point.
To escape the town, traffic, truck-exhaust-fumes and crowds, head half-a-mile South of Mancora to the beach of Las Pocitas for more leisurely appointed restaurants and a more relaxed atmosphere. Walk along the beach or take a mototaxi for a few soles. Mostly hotels that have to serve food for guests, but a few achieve a higher standard, like Sunset (Italian, mostly pastas, best when the Owner-Chef cooks), Donde Teresa at Hotelier (Peruvian, Fusion, and International) or Casa de Playa (Peruvian & International). You can lunch or dine in style, and let the ever-changing-ocean hypnotize your senses.
Be adventurous and try the cabrito (kid goat), very tasty meat. There is lamb in Peru, but mostly in the highlands. Beef is so, so. Not as tender as what you are accustomed in the USA. Pork is great, and chicken is the least expensive protein--grown on a commercial scale. Also try the different grains, such as lentejas (lentils), habas (green broadbeans) or pallares (white broadbeens, called favas in Spain). The avocados, called paltas, are buttery when ripe--comparable to the best Hass you could get in California. In terms of fruits, the diversity is fantastic. Definitely try the chirimoya (cherimoya or custard apple), the mango when in season (November-March) might be the best on the planet; papaya, granadilla (a cousin of the maracuya or passion fruit), different types of bananas and plantains, and granadas (pomegranates) are also lovely and inexpensive.
And always remember that Peruvians eat little salad, and few vegetables. If you want them, ask in advance how the raw veggies have been washed. A regular dish in Peru includes rice, potatoes, and protein. It is always heavy on the carbohidrates and starch. Perhaps, as veggies, you get some chopped tomato or julienned onions. That's about it.