Tumbes is a gateway for beaches, mangroves, and inland nature reserves and is about an hour north of Máncora, a laid-back town that’s near a number of good beaches. The beaches here are fine places to swim, sunbathe, and surf. Kiteboarding, snorkeling, and fishing are also popular.

Tumbes is also close to an ecological corridor of nature reserves that collectively make up the Reserva de Biósfera del Noroeste. These inland reserves harbor Peru’s only mangrove swamps, which in turn protect Peru’s only crocodiles and a number of endangered species. Parque Nacional Cerros de Amotape, southeast of Tumbes, is another important park in this area. It protects some of Peru’s only Pacific tropical forest, as well as endangered species like the Tumbes crocodile and a local howler monkey called the mono coto. The El Caucho region of this park is spectacular.

Travelers can catch flights from Lima to Tumbes and then take shuttles to nearby hotels or head south to Máncora along Peru’s northern Pacific coast. It’s somewhat isolated location has kept the number of visitors.