Surfing in Peru
Peru is located in South America and its known for having the longest left-hander wave in the world: Chicama. Besides Chicama, Peru has many other world-class waves to be explored. The country is also known for having well preserved archaeological sites that thousands of tourists come to see every year. The most famous one is Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan city, high in the Andes mountains. There are also many other ruins in the Sacred Valley and on the Inca Trail, including the colonial city of Cusco.
Peru’s pacific coast is very dry and arid but it’s still possible to find beauty in the desert scenery. There is a huge variety of waves scattered all over the coastline and a lot of them are extremely long left-handers.
Most surfers coming to Peru are seeking the longest rides of their lives, unforgettable adventures and to explore the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. If you haven’t been to this amazing country yet, you have to add it to your list!
Why surf in Peru?
Peru is famous for having world-class waves in the middle of the desert scenery. On the northern part of the country, you will find some amazing surf spots like Lobitos, Chicama and Pacasmayo. These three waves are unbelievably long left-handers that will make your legs burn before you get to the finish of the wave. The coastline of Peru receives swell from all directions, which means that there are waves all year round. The best part of it is that it’s still very uncrowded since the country is still out of the radar of the surf community. The most famous waves might have some crowd, but since there are so many options of breaks there will always be an empty line up waiting for you and/or your crew.
Climate in Peru
Peru has many types of climate. Although the coast is situated in the tropical zone, the weather in Peru is very mild. The coast has a semi-arid weather with very little rainfall. On the mountains of the Andes, you will find a colder climate with very dry winters and rainy summers. The average temperature in the country during summertime is between 20-25 degrees Celsius (December to March). This season is warmer but also wetter. The winter (May to September) is very dry in the whole country with an average temperature between 10-20 degrees Celsius.
Best time to go
Surfing in the winter in Peru
Winter is the most consistent season to surf in Peru although it’s when the water is colder. The average swell height is from 6-8ft from June until September. The biggest swells arrive during this season and it’s the perfect time to surf the waves from the south coast to the north coast of Lima. It’s the best time of the year to visit surf spots like Chicama, Punta Hermosa, Centinelas and many other perfect long leg-burning waves.
Surfing in the summer in Peru
The coastline of Peru is very exposed to many swell directions and has consistent waves all year round. Summer is the best time of the year to surf in the north coast of the country. That’s when the water gets warmer and powerful swells from the north bring waves to places like Mancora, Lobitos, Piscinas, Panic Point, Cabo Blanco, and Los Organos.
Main Surfing areas in Peru
This break is considered the longest left-hander in the world. On a good day, you can catch waves that go for 2 km. In order to do that you have to connect all the sections until you reach the beach. Usually, the surfer starts at the main peak and catch several waves to make their way to the beach where you can either go back walking to the peak or pay the zodiac to take you back. The best time of the year to visit this spot is between May and June when there are consistent 6 ft swell that makes the waves easier to connect allowing you to have the longest ride of your life.
This surf spot is also known as “El Faro” and is often considered the most consistent break of the country. The wave breaks to the left on top of a rocky reef and can be almost as long as Chicama. Most surfers that are visiting the north of Peru choose to stay here and when the swell picks up drive to other spots that are not as consistent like Chicama (only 40 min driving). Since the spot is a swell magnet there is always a crowd but the different sections and the constant sets provide waves for everyone. The best time of the year is between April and October but there is plenty of action all year round.
This classic surf spot is located 70 km south of Mancora. Like most of the famous breaks in the country, this wave is a long left-hander that breaks on top of a rocky bottom. There are 4 sections that work on different tides and with different swell size. The first peak is called Baterias and it's the most consistent one, working from 2-10 ft especially on the low tide when the barrels get really hollow and perfect. The second peak is called El Hueco and is the section that has the best barrel, consequently the most crowded one. Sometimes El Hueco can link with the next section that is the one that is actually called Lobitos because of the many sea lions in the area. The last section is called Piscinas and it’s the easiest one and less crowded, but still can get a bit fast on the inside.
This small fishing village is located in the north of Peru and has a very consistent and long left-hander. The wave has many sections and some really good barrels if the sandbanks are covering the rocks. The best time of the year to go is from November to March.
This surf spot doesn’t work that often. It needs a big north swell to fire up but when it does is probably one of the best in Peru. The wave breaks on top of a reef bottom and the take-off is steep and straight into the barrel. Big rocks stick out of the water dangerously close to the lineup so make sure you commit and nail the barrel. You will never forget this spot if you score a good day there.
Not many people know about this secret spot so it’s usually uncrowded. The wave is an amazing point break to the left with a rocky bottom. You will find the spot on the north coast of Lima, in a city called Huaura. It’s extremely consistent because attract many swells directions.
This surf spot is located up north from Lima. You can see the waves from the highway when you approach the Km 336. It’s a left-hander reef break with hollow waves that can reach up to 15 ft depending on the swell intensity and direction.
This surf spot is located in one central coast of Lima in the famous district of Punta Hermosa. It’s a hollow right-hander that can hold 10-12 ft. The wave breaks on top of a rocky bottom and has a few sections with the occasional barrel. It’s very consistent and one of the most famous surf spots in the capital of Peru
This left-hander breaks on top of a shallow rocky bottom. It’s a fast and powerful wave that can barrel if the conditions are right. Usually, there are many locals so respect them if you want them to share the best waves with you.
This surf spot is often considered the best point break in Lima. The wave breaks on the south corner of the beach and it peaks near the cliffs. It’s an intense wave and it works best on low to mid-tide with a solid 6-12 ft south swell. The beach has many restaurants and "cevicherias" that will be perfect to satisfy your hunger after a long surf session.
This surf spot is famous for the massive waves that break 700m away from the beach. There are several big wave competitions held at this break because it can handle anything from 10-20ft. Be careful if you want to try to tame this beast. Only recommended for extremely experienced surfers.
This is considered the most consistent wave of the area of Punta Hermosa and works from knee-high to double overhead. There are many surf contests in this spot that attracts a lot of attention to the break so it’s usually crowded. The wave breaks near the headland for both sides but the right is better forming long rippable walls. On the high tide, the wave breaks near the rocks and you can find an occasional barrel.
What is your traveling style?
Luxury / Nice / Upscale Surfing in Peru
If you want to disconnect with the world for a while and go on a holiday that you never want to go home from, we recommend you to consider visiting a surf and yoga retreat hotel in Mancora District in Piura. You will experience your vacation in an idyllic location with a zen vibe, combined with exciting action like canoeing and a lot of surfing. The pacific ocean is just a few steps down from your cabin and yoga classes are available for those who want to take a moment to reconnect with themselves.
Price: From 280 USD per night.
Surf boat Charters in Peru
There is no surf charter is Peru. The only boat you will need on your trip is the little zodiac that will take you back to the line up after a long ride in Chicama. There are many boats like these providing this service so you don’t have to walk back on the beach to catch another wave. It’s a bit expensive and some people think is cheating not to paddle so there is this classical dilemma about taking or not taking the boat.
Budget Surfing in Peru
If you are traveling on a budget, there are plenty of alternatives for you as well. You can find friendly and affordable hotels just a hundred meters from the beach where you will find one of the longest surfable left-handers in the world. The friendly staff members will make you feel at home and give you a memorable stay.
From around 20-35 USD/day.
Kids and Teen Surf Camps
If you want to learn how to surf in an exotic scenery, surrounded by white sand beaches, Peru is an amazing destination for you. The country has a high consistency of waves and offers incredible long rides, which is perfect for learning how to surf. There are places that offer surf packages for beginners, intermediates and also coaching, it’s only up to you to tell us what level you are. You would stay in a unique and cozy hotel known for its ecological conception with a peaceful atmosphere and vibe in a secluded beach. Besides the surf, Peru has a very rich culture and amazing local food recognized internationally.
From 90 USD/day.
Peru has a very long coastline (2,400 km) with many uncrowded waves waiting to be found by you and your best mates. The country is still out of the radar of the international surf community and it only has more or less 12 000 surfers. The most famous spots are going to have a crowd, especially near the capital, Lima. If crowded spots is not your thing and you and your friends are willing to have a road trip adventure to find perfect waves in the middle of the desert, Peru will definitely deliver what you are looking for.
Peru Travelling Guide
Packing and equipment
What should I pack for a surf holiday in Peru
If you are traveling to Peru don’t forget to pack your wetsuits. The water can be really cold in the south. Up north the water is warmer, especially at the extreme north close to Ecuador where you can surf just with board shorts.
If you are visiting the country during the winter the temperatures are lower than in the summer and you might need to bring a pair of shoes and a jacket for the nights when the temperature drops a lot because of the desertic and dry weather. This is the season that the water gets colder so you have to bring your steamer to keep you nice and warm during the long surf sessions. If you are traveling there in the summer you might experience a few rainfalls, so don’t forget to bring a rain jacket. If you want to do other activities besides surfing, for example, a hike in the mountains, we would recommend you to bring a pair of suitable hiking shoes.
It might be a good idea to buy a sim card after arriving in the country. Find a store where they sell sim cards from the main companies, Claro or Movistar. The sim card will cost you around 5 USD and you should buy some credit to get started as well (7 USD should be enough).
Electrical plugs are the same as in the US, which is two flat plugs. If you are from Europe or Australia you will need to buy an adaptor.
Basic Info about Peru
After Brazil and Argentina, Peru is the third biggest country in South America. The country has impressive natural landscapes that vary all over the country, from beaches to rain forests and from deserts to mountains. The country is multilingual, which means that the population uses more than one language, but the official one is Spanish.
We would recommend you to learn some basics in Spanish before traveling to Peru since it can be a little bit difficult to communicate with the people in the non-touristic areas. Learning a few basic words and sentences will make your travels easier, less stressful and more fun.
The local currency is called Sol.
1 Sol = 0,30 USD.
Before Going to Country
Visa / Documents
Australian citizens don’t need a visa to enter the country. All they need is a valid visa and a return ticket, and then it’s possible to stay for 183 days as longest (not possible to extend). The same rules go for most American and Western European countries.
Vaccines / Health
According to recommendations from the CDC and WHO, travelers get the following vaccines before traveling to the country:
- Routine Vaccines
- Yellow Fever. It’s not required to have proof of yellow fever when entering the country. Travelers who are just going to areas like Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, and the Inca Trail do not need yellow fever vaccination.
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
There is no great risk to get malaria in Peru. The climate is very dry and arid in most of the coast so you should be safe. However, if you adventure yourself deep in the mountains or in the amazon forest you should use a lot of bug spray to avoid any mosquito bites to prevent malaria.
Getting to Peru
There are over 200 airports in Peru, but the most important ones are:
The Jorge Chávez International Airport which is located in Callao, close to Lima City Center. This is the gateway to the country.
Sydney - Lima - Sydney 830-930 USD
Europe - Lima - Europe 750 - 850 USD
California - Lima - California 650 - 750 USD
If you want to fly to the north of the country you will save a lot of time traveling to one of these airports with Lan, Avianca or Peruvian Airlines:
Capitán FAP Pedro Canga Rodríguez International Airport in Tumbes (close to Mancora).
Capitán FAP Víctor Montes Arias International Airport in Talara (close to Lobitos).
Capitán FAP Guillermo Concha Iberico International Airport in Piura.
If you want to explore the southern parts of the country you should use the Rodríguez Ballón International Airport.
Moving Around Peru
The variety of landscapes in the country and the natural barriers makes it slightly difficult to move around by train. The train service is also very limited to touristic areas. Therefore, the easiest and fastest way to get around the country is by plane. Flying between the bigger cities like Cusco, Lima, Iquitos, and Arequipa is easy, affordable and the most convenient way of getting around. You will also move a lot by car to reach the most secluded and desert surf spots. Having someone that knows the surf spot will save you a lot of time.
It’s cheap to live in Peru since it’s one of the least expensive countries in South America.
Local food: 3-4 USD per meal
Mid-range restaurant: 10-30 USD per meal
Accommodations: Cheap: 21 USD/day. Mid-range: 21-200/day. Luxury: 280 USD/day.
Surf rental: 5-10 USD per day
Sim card recommendations: Claro or Movistar. 5 USD for the sim card and 7-10 USD for credit.
Car rental recommendations: From 15-105 USD/day in Lima. Go to Rentalcars.com and book through there. We strongly recommend you to hire a driver if you are not familiar with the city. Don’t drive at night outside of Lima, it can be dangerous.
Gas price: Around 1 USD/liter.
Other things to do while Surfing in Peru
Eat Lomo Saltado and discover Peru’s famous national dishes
If you go to Peru you have to try their most loved dish called Lomo Saltado. It’s a beef dish where the beef is stir-fried with onion and tomatoes, served with rice and french fries. It has a smoky flavor, so if you like flavourful food you should definitely give this a try.
Peruvians are also famous for eating ceviche which consists of fresh seafood marinated in citrus juices, Tacu Tacu which is a rice and bean pancake with a steak and a fried egg on top, and Aji de Gallina, a creamy and spicy chicken stew flavored with chilies.
There are also a lot of vegetarian local options for those who don’t eat meat, chicken or fish, there is no need to worry. There are plenty of vegetarian alternatives as well!
Sightseeing - Culture in Peru
If you are going to visit this beautiful country, it would be a shame to miss out on visiting Machu Picchu. In the heart of the Andes, you will find the ancient Incan Empire that will absolutely blow your mind. The Incan city is built up on a mountain top and surrounded by temples, water channels, and beautiful landscapes. The easiest way to get there is to fly to Lima and get a connecting flight from there to Cusco, where you will find the starting point for the tours of Machu Picchu.
Type of Risks
It’s relatively safe to travel around in Peru, the risk of violent crime is no bigger than in any other big city in the world. However, poverty is still a problem in the country and you should be aware of that. Do some research before traveling and use your common sense to make the trip as safe as you can. A tip can be to register your passport at the embassy in Lima and save a lot of time if your important documents are stolen or lost. Also, never let your credit card out of sight when buying things.
Peru is an active earthquake zone, so be aware that minor shakes might occur frequently.
How to Prepare
Prepare your body for very long waves that will require a lot of power in your legs. Peru has the longest wave in the world, Chicama, and if you want to be able to get to the end of the ride on top of your board you better start working out your legs. Paddling is also very demanding in Peru since most of the breaks have an intense current that will require a lot of stamina to stay on the right spot to catch the best waves.
In order to get the best waves in Peru you might have to drive to remote places through unpaved or sand roads, so we recommend that you have some driving skills if you consider this.
Lima is a big city and there are a lot of hospitals that you can call or visit if you have any problems:
Saint Bartolome National Hospital
Lima District, Peru
+51 1 2010400
Open 24 hours
BRITISH AMERICAN HOSPITAL SA
+51 1 6168900
Open 24 hours
Hospital Nacional Dos De Mayo
Lima District, Peru
+51 1 3280028
Open 24 hours
If you go to smaller cities or remote places to surf in Peru, the chances to find hospitals and clinics are obviously smaller.
Here are some hospitals in the bigger cities:
Level II Hospital Talara
Panamericana Norte · +51 73 381795
Health Center II Talara
Av Grau · +51 73 382561
Support Hospital Santa Rosa II
Av. Grau Esq Av. Chulucanas s/n, Prol Miguel Grau · +51 73 361075
José Cayetano Heredia Hospital
el telefono actual, Avenida Independencia · +51 73 287970
Open 24 hours
University Hospital of the National University of Piura
Esquina Av. Luis Montero y Av. Andrés Avelino Cáceres · +51 73 344748
Open 24 hours
From 21 $/night • max. 50 people - 20 Rooms • REF. # 230772
Pacasmayo is home to one of the longest surfable left waves in the world, the Surf Hotel is only 100 metres from the beach. Transport and boat services for the local El Faro spot can be arranged with the hotel, board storage and common area with hammocks, pool table, ping pong and table football make this the perfect surf spot.
From 35 $/night • max. people - 10 Rooms • REF. # 142783
Surf and accommodation with full board service, wifi, and all the comforts that a surfer need to explore the wonderful scenary of peruvian surf culture!
From 35 $/night • max. people - Rooms • REF. # 143087
The first Surf Camp in Peru, in operation for fifteen years, the surfhouse enjoys a perfect location in the surfing community of Punta Hermosa.
From $/night • max. people - Rooms • REF. # 397142
Wake up surrounded by Pre-Columbian temples, colorful mansions, and huge colonial cathedrals. Lima Surf Club is Located in Miraflores, close to everything you could desire. We’re also not far from the modern, coastal areas where you can kick sand in the air and enjoy a relaxing walk along the beach. Surfers of all levels are welcome!
From 90 $/night • max. 16 people - 6 Rooms • REF. # 246833
This Lodge is a unique hotel, on the one hand for its ecological conception, and on the other for the quality of the personalized attention provided.
The hotel was built in collaboration with the city and its artisans. The infrastructure includes five rooms and a private two story apartment.
From 280 $/night • max. 24 people - 9 Rooms • REF. # 377476
Get the best of both worlds; enjoy an adventurous and relaxing holiday in Mancora, Peru. We are only a few steps away from the Pacific Ocean; you can easily walk out of your cabin if you're looking for some action like going for a swim, canoeing, or catching some waves. With complete room amenities such as 40″ TV screen, and DirecTV, security safe box, hairdryer, air-condition, fan, tea set, bath products, Bamboo fiber towels. Free access to Wi-Fi, library, mini bar, outdoor pool, designated smoking area, and more.