Northern Peru - A Surfer’s Paradise
Peru is the second most important destination - after Brazil - for surfers in South America, and offers opportunities for every class of surfer. There are world-renowned waves: the largest left-hand point break in the world can be found in Mancora, on the far northern coast of Peru, while the longest left-handed wave in the world is to be found at Chicama, north of Trujillo.
Even the city of Lima is attractive to surfers, because of the variety of its waves, and it is easy to access the water from the tourist centres of Miraflores and Barranco.
Swells are generated far south and most of the beaches get consistent offshore winds. The large number of surf spots make it easy to find uncrowded waves. As a result, in recent years, surfing in Peru has surged in popularity and produced international champions, whose success has inspired an ever-growing numbers of locals to take up the sport.
Among the mega-stars on the global surf circuit is Lima’s Sofia Mulanovich, the first South American of either gender to win a world surfing championship, reach number one in the world tour rankings or get elected to the international Surfing Hall of Fame.
Of Peru's extensive Pacific coastline, the beaches of the north coast offer the best places in Peru to surf - an activity that dates back thousands of years.
As they have done for at least two millennia, the fishermen of Huanchaco paddle out to sea and surf back on reed boats (caballitos de totora) that look like swollen surfboards. Today, surfers can borrow a reed boat in this popular fishing village or paddle out on their own boards.
Dozens of other surfing areas dot the coast, some of which require more expertise than others. Foremost among these are to be found in the provinces of Piura and Tumbes, which includes the aforementioned Mancora, and offers some of the best beaches and range of accommodations on the entire Peruvian coast.
Further south, 70 km (43 miles) north of Trujillo, surfers travel year-round to the small coastal town of Puerto Chicama, which lies 16 km (10 miles) off the PanAmerican Highway. The best time to catch a ride on the record-breaking 2.2-km (1.4 mile) long wave is from March to June, although the water is warmest from January to March.
The fading port town of Pacasmayo, midway between Trujillo and Chiclayo, also has good surfing year-round, and offers more facilities than Chicama.
Both Chicama and Pacasmayo now offer accommodation that overlooks the beach and is fully geared to surfing, kite-surfing and wind-surfing enthusiasts.
A few miles from Chiclayo, the beach resort of Pimentel has decent surfing conditions.