There's a spot down in South America where it's summer every day and the waves break with the consistency of a perfectly timed clock. This is a spot that wave riders and kiteboarders who dream of quiet kite beaches should have at the top of their 'must do destinations list'.
On this edition of Destinations, we're visiting Mancora, Peru.
Peru has recently sprung onto the radar of the world kitesurf community. If you've seen magazine covers of picture perfect barrels and videos of endless lefts, you may have already seen a small slice of what the northern shores of Peru have to offer.
In this article, we'll give you the low down on Mancora, Peru iwith a detailed guide on getting started kiteboarding in this Destination. Scroll down to see some travel trips to help you plan your trip.
Spot at a glance
Mancora Kite Club (Lessons & Rentals) - https://mancorakiteclub.com/
WIND BY SEASON
The best time to kite is between July and December, with wind anywhere from 14 to 30 knots and average of 4 days of wind per week in Mancora. Come prepared with a variety of of sizes and a willingness to drive to find the best wind and waves. You can also connect with the local kite centers to go on group trips.
Mancora Kite Club (Kite Lessons) - https://mancorakiteclub.com/
Wild Kite (Kite Lessons) - https://www.wild-kitesurf-peru.com/
Samana Legacy Adventures (Kite Trips to Peru) - https://www.samanalegacyadventures.com
Peru's north coast definitely has epic wave riding conditions. Whether you're a beginner wave rider or a pro level rider, this is a spot where you have endless waves that will help you work on your progression! Conditions are swell dependent, so keep an eye on the forecast.
There aren't many flatwater spots near Mancora, but there can be semi-flat or small chop conditions in spots like Los Organos, and you can get fairly flat sections between the waves in Mancora. There are great lagoons in Peru, but you'll need to get on a plane or be ready for a long drive!
Mancora offers solid beginner level conditions and it's a great place for riders of all levels. Mancora Kite Club is a great local school to connect with for lessons and they will typically take riders to the spots where the conditions are best and the shorebreak is the smallest.
When it's not windy, Mancora is an awesome place to go surfing. There's a nice point that's a short walk up the beach to town that's great for beginner to advanced level surfers. There are also some general beach tourist activities available like horseback riding and ATV's, but beyond that there are limited other activities beyond eating ceviche and drinking a Pilsen!
It takes a little extra effort to get to this spot, but it's definitely worth it. You can fly into the international hub of Lima and get on a connecting flight to Talara. From Talara, it's about a 90 minute transfer to Mancora, but you'll want to organize a taxi or transfer. You can rent a car in Peru, but a 4x4 is ideal. If you do taxi to Mancora, you can get by on foot and taking the occasional tuktuk or mototaxi.
The best months to kite in Mancora are between June and December, though potential for wind exists year-round. On Mancora's kite beach, you can expect at least 4 days a week of kiteable wind in their windy season.
When the wind doesn't come through in Mancora, you've still got the rest of the coastline to explore. On the days that it's not windy in this spot, you're between 20 minutes and 2 hours away from a spot where the wind will be blowing. Local intel is critical in this area, so be sure to link up with a local kite center (like Mancora Kite Club) or go on a group trip or kite retreat (check out Samana Legacy Adventures) to ensure that you're not missing out on the best spot on any given day.
In this area, wind strength can vary greatly based on the spot and forecast. You'll want to come prepared for wind anywhere from 12-30 knots. Most riders will get by with 6m-12m kites, especially if you're traveling with both a directional board and a twin tip. While the wind speed can vary, the direction is almost always SW or something close to it, and you can count on very stable wind conditions.
Peru is an equatorial country so you can expect arid conditions with warm weather throughout the year. You are not likely to need a jacket in this spot, but a windbreaker will come in handy. In the water, a wetsuit is recommended, though you'll be happy to know that a shorty or summer suit is all you need. Bring a warm water option and up to a 3mm wetsuit just in case you happen to hit the water on a cooler day.
LAUNCH SPOTSWhile there are launch spots all along the coastline, the focus on this guide is on the kite scene right in Mancora, which is a great place to start your kite holiday. Some of the other spots in the area are best discovered by connecting with some of the local riders or fellow adventurers on a spontaneous mission for the best wind and waves.
In Mancora, we spent our time with the crew Mancora Kite Club,ased right on the beachfront in the hotel zone. Their kite center is on the northern end of Mancora's beachfront, which is also in the downwind part of town. While it is possible to kite near the town's promenade, that's a spot you'll want to ride upwind to. There are no safe places to launch or land your kite in the tourist zone in Mancora. The further downwind you go the more space you'll have on the beach.
The area by the kite club has a clean, sandy beach that is either small or large depending on the tide level. The wind is side shore to side onshore and this spot can get a solid beach break. The size of the waves can vary from ankle high to overhead. If there's swell in the forecast, you can get sizeable waves in this spot. This also means that the shorebreak can be difficult to manage for beginner riders. If you're not ready to ride in waves, you'll have the entire Pacific Ocean at your disposal if you can make it past the shorebreak!
This is a spot that sits firmly on the quiet side, especially compared to some of the other spots that we've visited during Destinations. In our two weeks in Mancora, we never saw more than 15 kites on the water at any time. This can change with the season, but it's safe to say that you won't be running into too many crowds in Mancora.
If you're not having luck with the wind or swell in Mancora, you can venture further south to the protected bay of Los Organos (with an easy entry for all levels of riders) or go on a longer adventure to a spot like Tres Cruces or Lobidos (if you're on a mission for big waves). If you're going past Los Organos, we highly recommend linking up with the locals. Some of these beaches are difficult to find and we'd hate to see you lost in a Peruvian oilfield!
RIDING LEVEL & STYLE
This is a spot for riders of every level, from pro level wave riders and freestylers (there are flat sections between the waves) all the way down to beginner level riders. This is a great place to learn, even if beginner riders may have some difficulty with the shore break. After all, a little extra work in the learning phases of kitesurfing will make the rest of your kiting journey a breeze. Many of the kite schools like will take their students to whichever beach bests suits their lesson, and will often go to Los Organos where it's much easier to get into the water.
Peru is really a dream for wave kiters, so bring a wave board! If you're not ready to commit to that strapless life, this spot is friendly for kiters of every style, including twin tip and foiling. While it's not well known as a big air spot, the potential for a great big air session exists when the strong wind and big waves line up just right!
On the facilities side, there are limited facilities for kitesurfers. This is a trip where it's best to come prepared. There are no fully equipped kite shops in the village of Mancora, but the kite schools and centers will often have gear available for rent and the capacity to repair equipment if needed.
There are a few hotels right on the beachfront near the kite launch zone which are a great place for kiters to stay. Both Mancora Kite Club and Wild Kite are based along the beachfront and in areas which are ideal for kiters to stay. Think of Mancora as a sweet surf town, with great food but very slow internet!
The main thing to watch out for in Mancora is the size of the waves. While it's not always a big wave day, those days are best saved for kiters who are confident in their kite skills and comfortable in heavy surf. Don't forget to check in with a local kite center for local tips and things to watch out for, like fishing boats and submerged rocks!
In Mancora, be careful if riding further upwind close to the surfing spot or close to the tourist promenade. Watch for swimmers and other beach users.
If you're driving elsewhere, be prepared with food, water, sunscreen, and a phone. Driving on sand may be necessary in some kite spots, so it's best to go with an experienced crew. Don't go on any kite adventures alone! After all, who will believe that you got that epic wave if nobody is there to see it?
Fly into Lima (LIM) and take a connecting flight to Talara (TYL). If possible, book your entire trip on one itinerary to avoid paying baggage fees twice. Most trips to this spot include an overnight layover in Lima, but you can find several affordable hotels and guest houses online on Google or AirBNB.
Once you arrive in Talara, you'll need to organize a transfer to Mancora which is approximately 90 minutes. You can take a taxi from the airport, but it's usually easier to book a transfer in advance. Your accommodation in Mancora should be able to help you organize your transfer.
In Mancora, you can get to most places on foot or by taking a tuktuk or moto-taxi which will cost between 2-3 soles (not more than $1 USD).
Mancora has plenty of options available from villas to beachfront hotels to hostels. Expect to spend between $20 and $100 per night if you're traveling solo or as a couple. You can find hotel options on your favourite travel site and there are even a few spots on AirBNB.
We recommend staying on the beach or a short walk from it. If you want to be able to get out on the water as soon as the wind is blowing, stay near the downwind side of Mancora which is on the northern end of the area. If you look up Mancora Kite Club and Wild Kite Peru online, these are both excellent areas to be in for a kiteboarder.
MONEY: Always have cash on hand in Mancora - especially coins! Not all restaurants accept card, and cash is always the most convenient. You can withdraw Peruvian Sol and US Dollars at most ATMs. Carrying Sol is recommended over USD. There are a few ATMs on the main drag in town including a Scotiabank ATM (which is from a Canadian bank!).
Brush up on your spanish skills before you come to Peru. This is a spot where no knowledge of spanish will make for a difficult trip. Your kite instructors and kite school operators will (probably) speak english, but you'll be lucky to find hotel and restaurant personnel that do. If spanish isn't your forte, make sure you've downloaded the spanish language pack on Google Translate.
Don't drink or brush your teeth with the tap water. Buy bottled!
Whatever you do, don't miss out on a great meal at La Sirena d'Juan - this will be the best food you eat on your trip! Reservations recommended! Yuka (just up the street) is a must do for a poke bowl, sushi, and other incredible seafood dishes. There are plenty of local favs in this spot, but you'll never go wrong with a ceviche and a Pilsen.
Mancora and Peru's northern coast are an absolute must visit for the passionate wave rider, and an amazing place for a warm(ish) water session for riders of every level. This is definitely a dream group trip destination, and whether you're joining a kite retreat like Samana Legacy or just traveling with your own crew, there are conditions and launch spots that will suit every level of rider.
Don't forget to watch the video spot guide to see our experiences on the spot. If you have any questions about kitesurfing in Mancora, Peru or need recommendations for wave riding equipment, shoot us a message here or reach out to Crystal on Facebook or Instagram.
We'll see you at the next Destination!
Duotone Kites USA team rider and a MACkite team rider. Originally from Canada, she now calls the entire world her home, playground, and her workplace. She goes where the wind blows - so if you see her at a kite beach somewhere in the world, say hello! Her primary goal is to share her love of kiteboarding and travel and all the lessons learned along the way with the world.
Facebook: Crystal Veness
Written and produced by Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic and Crystal Veness