When to go
Constant sunshine and balmy temperatures make this a prime beach destination all year round. The trendy youth and surfer sets descend in large numbers in the southern summer, Dec-Feb, so if you like bars, pumping music and people-watching, that’s the time to go. It is quieter outside this period but never totally dead.
Getting local currency
Peruvian Nuevo Sol. Bring local currency with you from a previous larger destination, since notes in local currency or US dollars can be withdrawn from ATMs using a UK credit or debit card in all substantial towns. Numerous money exchange offices exchange US dollars cash (few accept euros or sterling and the rate may be poor).
A couple of daily flights from Lima to Tumbes, the nearest airport, take 2 hours, to Piura (6-10 per day) 1 hour 40 mins.
Zorritos, another up-and-coming beach resort 27 km south of the border with Ecuador; a tour of the archaeological sites of northern Peru such as Chan Chan and Sipán, or the loveliest colonial cities of the north, Trujillo and Cajamarca: drive up the Pan American highway or fly to Tumbes, 85 km from Máncora, or Piura (128 km); any tour of Peru after which you are looking for a beach wind-down, since there are daily flights to and from Lima.
New Year and Semana Santa (Easter variable, 13-20 Apr 2014): A busy time with many Peruvian holiday-makers.
Independence Day (Fiestas Patrias): 28 Jul annually: a busy couple of days celebrated all over town.