Surfing in Lima

Peru has 2,414 km (1,500 miles) of Pacific coastline, and dotted along it are some of South America's best surfing spots. 250 km (155 miles) of that coastline is in the Department of Lima, offering a wide range of surfing options ... even within the city of Lima itself.

Probably the best-known beach to visitors is Makaha in Miraflores, a short walk from the many tourist hotels in the district, and next to the iconic restaurant, La Rosa Nautica which is located on its own pier. Makaha, and the adjoining Waikiki Beach, have a number of surf schools, such as Pukana and Olas Peru, that offer equipment rental and good instructors, and lessons can be arranged on the spot. 

These two beaches are shingle and not large, but are probably the most convenient place for beginner surfers, with small, regular waves. This is where my son learned to surf, in fact! 

Slightly further south, in the District of Barranco, is Barranquillo, with another well-known Lima restaurant, Cala, overlooking. This is a sand beach, but is narrow and does get inundated at high tide. There are fewer surf schools here, but boards and wetsuits can be rented. 

Moving further south, in the District of Chorrillos, La Herradura beach. More appropriate for experienced surfers, La Herradura is known for its strong left break. If you are patient and wait for a big swell, the waves are well worth it.

Generally, the best swells are from May to August, and water temperatures range from 16ºC (61ºF) in the winter to 21ºC (70ºF) in the summer (December - April).

While surfing in the city of Lima can be enjoyed all year round, most of the best surfing is to be found further south, with numerous popular beaches dotted just off the PanAmerican Highway, which follows the coastline. 

Serious surfers will want to head 40 km (25 miles) south to the seaside town of Punta Hermosa. Famous as the birthplace of Peru's world champion surfer Sofia Mulanovich, here can be found Pico Alto, a beach for expert surfers, with waves averaging 4 m (13 ft) in height; and Cabelleros, with tubular waves that average 1 - 2 m (3 - 6 ft), so suitable for the less accomplished. 

Other surf spots along 'Lima's Riviera' include El Huaico, Punta Rocas and - Buesst family favourite - San Bartolo