Peru is one of the most popular backpacking destinations in South America right now. Not surprising, because you will find beautiful nature, sights such as Machu Picchu and colorful towns. But did you also know that surfing is intensely popular in Peru? Peru is characterized by more than 2400 kilometers of coastline with perfect waves, you will even find the longest waves in the world! Novice surfers can go here, but surf spots in Peru are also loved by the pros. At Pico Alto you can find some of the highest waves in all of South America. Surfers are particularly popular in the north of Peru, but the south also has a few surf spots and you can actually catch good waves all year round. Curious where exactly to go during your surf holiday in Peru? Check out the top 5 of the best surf spots in Peru below:
5 Places to Surf in Peru
1. Máncora: The cosiest surf spot in Peru
Mancora is considered Peru’s favorite surf spot by many travelers and surfers. You can not only enjoy surfing, but also party or chill at campfires on the beach. Most hostels can be found here a few meters from the beach, the town of Mancora consists mainly of the Panamericana Highway which is close to the beach and most ho (s) tels, surf schools and restaurants can also be found here. Compared to Organos (also a well-known surfing destination), Mancora is a little further in the north of Peru, about 15 kilometers away, and like many other places in this country, it is a tropical paradise. You will find very good surfing conditions here, the weather conditions are almost perfect and the waves wonderfully long. If you are a novice surfer, you can go here very well because it is slightly less rough than Organos or Lobitos. If you want to try something different, you can also go here for a session of kite surfing or go to the Los Pilares de la Quebrada Fernández nature park.
2. Cabo Blanco
Cabo Blanco on the north coast of Peru was originally a fishing village, but the good waves make it a surfing spot. Cabo Blanco, also known as the “White Cape”, is a favorite surf spot for advanced surfers. The waves can get meters high here and they break near the reef. It is a place where many advanced surfers practice for competitions and train themselves. In principle you will find good surfing conditions here all year round, but the best time is from October to January. Pay attention to the temperature, because it is slightly lower than in Mancora.
Are you an advanced surfer or do you do Stand Up Padding (SUP), then you go to Lobitos! This is Mancora’s heavier brother. You can find this surf spot an hour’s drive from Organos. There are actually three surfing beaches you can go here: Lobitos, Piscinas and El Hueco. It can be tropical and dry here, but also suffocatingly hot (above 35 degrees) or nice and cold (almost 10 degrees). Check the weather forecast before you go here. The beach itself is not too beautiful here, from the coast you can also see a large oil platform in the sea, so go here if you really want to surf.
4. Huanchaco: Surfing Caballitos instead of surfboards?
Further south, or rather in the middle of Peru, you will find Huanchaco. This is also a good place to find surfing beaches. Both novice surfers and advanced surfers can go here. Can’t or don’t you want to go into the water with a board? Then you will find another attraction here, namely the caballitos. For about 4,000 years, these small wicker fishing boats have been handmade in the same way (they are beautiful, aren’t they ?!) and used for surfing. According to the locals, these were the first real ‘surfboards’ in the world and it is impressive to see how the young generation in Peru still knows how to use them. Check out some photos below:
5. Chicama: The longest waves in the world
In Peru you will find the longest waves in the world, the surfer who made the video below (Ben Herrgott) could sometimes even stay on it for 1 to 2 minutes. You’ll find Chicama halfway between Lima and the Ecuadorian border, north of Trujillo. The waves here stretch for 4 kilometers and paddling back out to sea is actually not an option. So you have to keep catching waves until you are back on the beach and then walk back and then go back into the sea.
How do you get to these 5 surf spots?
It is best to fly to Lima from the Netherlands (or another country) and from there continue to Piura. This domestic flight takes about 1.5 hours. From there you can then go to the coast. Do you want to go to the surf spots that are more in the middle of the country? Then take a domestic flight to Trujillo, which is a 1-hour flight from Lima. Check prices of domestic flights here.
Best time to surf in Peru?
It differs a bit by area, which is the best time to travel, so that’s why we’ve broken it down into south and north:
Best time to surf in the South
You can basically catch good waves in Peru all year round, but if we have to mention the best travel time, it would be in the south from May to August. Waves are powerful and high, only the temperature of the water and the air is slightly colder than the rest of the year, so you have to wear a good wetsuit.
Are you going to the north of Peru to surf?
When you go to the north of Peru to surf, it is best to go from November to February. The sea is also slightly warmer here and the waves are high enough. According to experts, here you will find the best surf spots in Peru and perhaps even in all of South America. In these months you can also surf with a boardshort and without a wetsuit, because the temperature is a bit higher.
Want to see surfers in action at one of the surf spots in Peru?
There are often tournaments or other surfing events in Peru, such as the annual Billabong Pico Alto event. But be sure to watch the video below from Quicksilver that was filmed at Playa Chilca in Peru: