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Surfing in Peru
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Surfing in Peru

Surfing in Peru

My bro always dreamed of going to Peru. He is a goofy-footer, and he mainly surfs rights in California. I myself love rights, but once I ventured down to Peru, my vision of going left changed, and once I left that country, I had a new fondness for going backside.

Surfing PeruIf you are going to Peru on a surf trip, I'd recommend taking a few days to head into the mountains to visit Machu Picchu—now look, I am a lover of the ocean, but I highly recommend that you take some time and visit this magical place.

Machu Picchu is one of those places that you'll never forget. You'll be transported to a different time, and the feelings that you'll have while walking to the ruins will remind you of the history of humanity.

Here's A Quick Guide Of What You Can Find On This Blog:

The Basics

Peru has a lot of great beaches, but when it comes to surfing, it has mainly three surfing areas—the points in beaches to the south, the waves around Trujillo (this includes Chicama, which is reported to be the longest left in the world, which I would agree with), the third area is to the far north and includes the beaches of Mancora.

Surfing in Peru

Ballestas Islands ~ Photo courtesy of Chimu Adventures

I like the beaches around Trujillo, which offer an excellent selection of beach break and point break. Trujillo is a short flight from Lima and that you should book it as part of your original trip. Once you get to Trujillo, you need to take a taxi to Huanchaco—a town full of plenty of great places to eat and inexpensive accommodation right in front of the surf break.

Several breaks to the north, including Chicama and Pacasmayo, serve up excellent waves and plenty of cultural distractions.

Peru's jewel is Chicama, any any surf trip to Peru should be focused on this excellent wave.

We got fortunate on our trip because a primary south swell slammed into the Peruvian coast, and Chicama lit up like a Catholic Easter service and a Latin country. See the picture below.

Surfing Chicama, Peru

Surfing is a viral activity in Peru, especially after the emergence of the Peruvian Surf Champions. It has produced worldwide champions such as Sofía Mulánovich, 2004 female world champion, Luis Miguel "Magoo" De La Rosa, ISA World Masters Surfing Championship 2007 leader, Cristobal de Col, 2011 World Junior Champion.

Best Time to Visit Peru

All south and southwest spots have very reliable swell from April to October. And from October to March, north swell hits the coast. This means that you'll be surfing around Lima or Trujillo during the south swell season, and during the north window, you'll want to head to the northern region.

Map of Peru

Water Temperature

Short sleeves are fine during spring and fall, although long sleeves will work for the early or late sessions. During wintertime, a 3/2mm rubber is OK. Booties are a great help to keep feet warm and protect them from rocks and shelves.

The water temperature is not as cold as northern California but cold enough. From Trujillo down, you'll want a 3/2, and if you get up north to Lobitos or Mancora, you can shed the suit and surf in your shorties.

Surfing in Peru

Peruvian surfer Domingo Pianezzi rides the waves with an alpaca ~ Photo courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk  

Going north or south? There're tons of waves around Lima, but I wouldn't hang too long in that city—it's kind of a shit hole. No offense to any Peruvians that might be reading this, because you have so many beautiful places in that country, but Lima isn't one of them. If you get stuck in Lima, there are some waves in the city, but the water is nasty, and the crowds are horrific.

Now once you get out of the city and drive to the south, you'll find yourself in an entirely different situation with tons of surf along beautiful shorelines scattered amongst the small villages of the countryside. My advice is to get the fuck out of Lima as quick as possible.

You should always be prepared to charge large waves if you are going south of Lima, but if you do not surf this size, there are still many breaks with fun waves. South of Lima is a perfect party place during summer, and weekends are hectic.

If you wake up early, you can surf while everyone is going back home after the night-long party.

Your main decision when visiting Peru is to either go north or south. The decision is to either go south to the southern part of the north section or to the extreme north.

If you've read this article, you know that I favor the beaches around Trujillo, but if you decide that you want a different kind of trip (and one not including Peru's best wave), then you can choose to go south of Lima or to the beaches around Lobitos.

For a complete breakdown of the specific waves in Peru:

Current Conditions

North of Peru is one of the best places on earth to surf—many of the locals from Lima have moved to the north for this purpose. There are plenty of warm water waves in the north, excellent seafood, and not as many crowds as around the big cities. However, there are a few beaches where the public can be extreme, like Cabo Blanco and Mancora.

If you avoid the high seasons, you will be surfing great waves with only a handful of surfers.

Suppose you happen to be surfing during a very well-publicized swell during the height of the surf season. In that case, you will have lots of company, including gangs of Brazilians—not something you want to see when you and your bro are surfing solo on that middle peak at Pacasmayo.

Chicama has sound waves whenever the big south shows up. Some people swear that the extreme north of Peru is pure magic, but I love the waves around Trujillo.

Side Trip to Machu Picchu

Surfing in Peru

The beautiful ruins of Machu Picchu ~ Photo courtesy of Jeison Spaniol, Unsplash

If I were you, I would try and plan my trip for a 3 to 4-week window and leave a few days to fly back to Lima and up to Cusco, which will put you at the doorsteps of Machu Picchu. It'll cost you a couple hundred dollars to get to Cusco from anywhere in the country by plane.

Once you're in Cusco, Machu Picchu is a few hours away. You could make the whole trip in a few days and get back to the coast if you see a swell coming.

Getting to Peru

Surfing in Peru

Getting around Peru by Land ~ Photo courtesy of Dani Loves Cats Blog Post

Peru enjoys a privileged location in the heart of South America, turning International Airport Jorge Chavez in Lima into an international hub for tourism and several airlines that reach many destinations in South America.

Several domestic flights are connecting the local destinations.

There are direct and stop-over flights to Lima from the main capitals of the world. I'd get a direct flight to Lima and connect to Trujillo, not even stepping foot in Lima from LAX. When you decide to visit Cusco, you can book your flight online when the swell drops. No need to lock everything in before your trip—leave some flexibility for swell conditions. The entry points by land are:

  • From Ecuador: Aguas Verdes (Tumbes) via the Pan-Americana Highway and La Tina (Piura) from the city of Loja (Ecuador).
  • From Bolivia: There are two crossings— Desaguadero and Kasani— for travelers from La Paz and Copacabana.
  • From Chile: Paso the Santa Rosa (Santa Rosa Pass) (Tacna) via the Panamericana Highway.

Accomodation

Peru has accommodations to suit every budget, especially in tourist hubs and cities. There are several hostels at an affordable price and on a shared basis.

But when it comes to surfing, you would always want to stay near a beach that offers sound waves and is less crowded, and in such cases, it is best suited to go look for surf camps who will better understand your surf needs.

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