Calling all surfers, body boarders, and wave enthusiasts! For your next surfing adventure, Peru has it all: superb beaches and point breaks, spectacular views, and a surf-friendly atmosphere. Whether you are new to the surf culture or convinced you had gills in a past life, Peru’s scenic coastline is spotted with pristine surf breaks that have something to offer any water-happy traveler. For more know-how about surfing in Peru, be sure to check out these top five surf spots before planning your Peru get-away.
Top 5 Surf Spots
Chicama, where waves go for miles (literally!)
Lobitos, a small town surfing get-away
Máncora, a northern Peru hot-spot
La Herradura, arguably the best point break in Lima
Punta Hermosa, a variety of waves for every skill level
Playa Chicama is internationally recognized as the longest, left-breaking wave in the world, known for its perfectly-shaped waves and crisp barrels. Chicama is a popular surf destination for professional and leisure surfers alike. Located in the northern coastal desert of Peru, about 20 miles north of Trujillo, the weather is mostly sunny and dry all year with an average temperature of 75°F. However, the sun can get pretty intense in the spring and summer months (November to May), so pack extra sunblock. The water is cool at approximately 68°F, so you would probably be most comfortable wearing a wetsuit a 3.2mm suit to keep you warm in the water, but not too hot in the sun. It’s also a good idea to bring booties to protect your feet on the rocky parts of the seafloor.
A small surf town located just northwest of Talara in the northern region of Peru, Lobitos has a consistent left break that reaches more than 10 feet when a north swell fills in. Within a 2-mile stretch of the beach’s sandy coastline, there are more than half a dozen points with chest- to head-high waves and perfect conditions to catch a barrel. Blessed with beautiful sunshine and clear waters, Lobitos is a popular destination for surfers to get away from the crowded beaches of Lima and enjoy a little R&R. Not only is it warmer than other coastal cities in Peru during the winter time (June to September), but there are also strong southerly winds that make it a haven for kitesurfing fanatics. Lobiteños are very friendly people and love the surf culture. While it is a popular surf destination, the town is small and surf supplies are limited. The locals are always willing to help out a fellow wave-rider, however, it would be a good idea to pack extra wax, fins, and a leash, just in case. A 3.2mm wetsuit will keep you at the perfect temperature while in the water.
Just a few hours north of Lobitos, Mancora is a lively tropical paradise where travelers can catch a few waves and enjoy the scenery. Known for its beautiful beaches and flourishing nightlife, Mancora is a destination you definitely want to include on your next surf trip. This reef break has hollow, fast left waves that range anywhere between 3 and 12 feet with some sections that make the ideal conditions for barrels and tubes. The combination of consistent waves and perfect weather ensure there is never a dull moment in Mancora. This popular surfing spot has it all, whether you are into kitesurfing, shortboarding, longboarding, body boarding, or just enjoying the cool, clear ocean water and the sand between your toes. While it may get a bit crowded in the summer and on the weekends, there is plenty of wave and beach to go around. The water stays around 68°F, but the sun is powerful since Mancora is closer to the Equator. Depending on the time of day you decide to paddle out, anything thicker than a 3.22mm wetsuit might be a bit toasty. Lost of surfers even leave their wetsuits at home when they surf the waves of Mancora.
With at least a dozen points to surf in Lima, La Herradura is arguably the best point break in Lima, this beach offers a steep-faced wave that forms when it breaks on the cliffs of the south end of the horseshoe-shaped bay. An intense left wave, La Herradura reaches 6 to 12 feet when a south swell comes in strong, making it a bit unpredictable if you don’t regularly check the surf report. But when the swell fills in, get ready for the ride of your life. You will catch the best waves at low to mid tide. La Herradura is also lined with top quality restaurants and cevicherías to satisfy your afternoon surf hunger. One of which is El Salto del Friale (The Jumping Friar) which is positioned on the north side of the bay on a rocky cliff overlooking the sea. The restaurant gets its name from a centuries-old legend of a young monk who leapt to his death rather than suffer the loss of a forbidden love. Today, a professional diver dressed as a Dominican friar jumps from a small bridge more than 40 feet above the sea as a reenactment of this tragic tale.
Home break of World Champion Sofia Mulanovich, Punta Hermosa is the perfect town to get a variety of different waves. From beach breaks to point breaks, Punta Hermosa has every kind of wave for every skill level. If you enjoy body boarding, bring your flippers to Playa Arica and shred the steep wave that breaks on the soft, sandy beach. After a long day, you can treat yourself to some fresh ceviche and a cold beer while sitting beachside. For a clean point break, paddle out at Señoritas or Caballeros. These points typically need a south swell to fill in, but it can be lots of fun when it does. Experienced surfers keep and eye on the Humboldt current swells for the infamous Pico Alto wave that hits Playa Norte. This wave is massive, reaching as high as 40 feet as it breaks about a mile off shore. Only pros attempt to tame this beast.
These are just some of the many surf spots along the Peruvian coast. No matter if you are an avid surfer or just learning, there is a wave with your name on it. So grab your sunblock and hit the beach. Surf’s up!
Photos, videos and more
Peru Surf Spots – a detailed description of the surf spots in Peru, including location, wave and beach conditions, and how to get there
Peru Surf Report – daily reports of surf conditions for each surf spot in Peru, including swell charts
Surf News in Peru – get the latest news in surf culture, including new laws, building projects that affect surf, and contest champions
Video footage of the world’s longest wave – Check out Cristóbal de Col ride get more than 34 cut-backs on a single wave in Chicama
Tour Peru’s coastline and catch a wave
Chat with an expert travel advisor at Latin America For Less to customize your beach bound trip to Peru. And don’t forget to check out our Peru travel packages to popular destinations throughout the country.
Katy is no stranger to the life of an international traveler. After graduate school, Kathleen worked in California in the legal field, but later realized that life was calling her in a different direction. After a short time in Peru, she fell in love with the culture, the people, the food, and the way of life. Now Kathleen calls Lima her “home away from home,” although she frequently visits the warm, sunny northern Peru to see friends and surf.