Máncora, Peru

Photo: KiChic

Peru is the perfect destination for nature lovers. Mountaintop ruins. Deep canyons. Massive lakes. Hidden hot springs. Endless deserts. There’s one thing missing from this list, though. Gorgeous beaches. Despite having nearly 1,500 miles of coastline, this South American country’s beaches are always overlooked.

At least by the rest of the world. South Americans—particularly Argentinians, Brazilians, and Ecuadorians—already know that Talara, the northwestern corner of the country, has endless sunshine. People from Lima use the region of Piura as a weekend escape. Plus surfers, always the first to discover new spots, have descended upon Máncora.

Máncora, along the Pan-American Highway, used to be a tiny fishing village. It’s quickly becoming the next big surfing destination and, in the process, a party town. It has 15 miles (miles!) worth of beaches. Huge waves pound them in December and January—the middle of South America’s summer. The rest of the year, the warm, turquoise water is calmer. Humpback whales and dolphins frolic offshore. While little hotels keep popping up just steps from the sand.

Photo: KiChic

KiChic is one of those new hotels. The boutique hotel is the perfect balance of, well, everything. It’s outside of town, but it sits on Las Pocitas de Máncora, the area’s prettiest beach. It’s small—there are only nine rooms—but just steps from the popular stretch of sand. It’s design-focused inside, but its living space extends well beyond its doors. Plus it concentrates on wellness—only pescetarian and vegetarian dishes are served in the restaurant—but none of them lack flavor.

You feel at home as soon as you arrive. The open-air lounge is full of white couches, wicker furniture, and hand-woven rugs. Breezy white curtains have been pulled aside, so you can see even more cozy nooks outside. The rooms have a safari-lodge vibe with white canvas chairs, outdoor showers, and shady terraces. You splurged and upgraded to Suite Balance, which also has a plunge pool. There’s a long infinity pool overlooking the beach, as well. While the restaurant looks like a treehouse surrounded by greenery.

That’s where you’re heading first. A lazy lunch of Maracuyá (passion fruit) Sours, zucchini carpaccio, and tuna ceviche will fortify you for an afternoon in the sun. Beaches might be the first things that come to mind when you think about Peru now.

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