Surfing in Peru
Looking to catch some good waves? Peru has endless options for you. The entire coastline of Peru is filled with amazing surfing destinations for surfers who range from beginner to pro. Whether you go surfing in Lima or in Chicama, you will not be disappointed. There is nothing more amazing than hitting the waves in the morning and then coming in to eat a delicious serving of ceviche. Here you will find all you need to know about surfing in Peru.
Peru in the surfing world
Peru has made a significant impact in the surfing world and offers the best surfing in South America. Many pro surfers flock to the Peruvian shores to catch these waves. In addition, Peru has hosted numerous high-profile surfing competitions right here in the land of the llamas, including the Champions of the Latin American Surf Association.
The man who brought surfing to Peru is no less than Carlos Dogni Larco. During his trip to Hawaii in 1937, he was introduced to the sport after visiting the island for a polo tournament. When he returned from Hawaii after his second visit he had his surfboard in arms and was ready to introduce surfing to Peru. Along with others, he opened up the Club Waikiki in Miraflores.
Eduardo Arena is another Peruvian that had a huge impact on the surfing world by compiling many of the rules used in international competitive surfing.
Of Peru’s well known surfers, Felipe Pomar won the 1965 World Champion in Puntas Rocas, but more recently, Sofia Mulanovich has come into the spotlight. She is the first ever South American woman to win a world title: Women’s World Champion in 2004. She is a winner of an Espy Award, the best woman surfer by the Surfer Magazine Poll awards, and many more. She was also the youngest and first South American to be inducted into the Surfer Hall of Fame.
Learning How to Surf
New to the sport? No problem. People of all ages and abilities are welcome to hit the waves. Lima, Peru’s capital, is a great spot for beginners to learn. If you are interested in surfing whilst in Lima, it is as easy as walking down to the shores. You’ll find many different surf schools lined up along the coast who are eager to show you how to ride the waves.
It is typically 60 soles for a class, which is about 20 US dollars. Lessons usually last 90 minutes and consist of both land and water skills. You will first warm up with land drills and stretches. You will then proceed to the water to work on actually standing up and catching waves. Instructors will start from the basics teaching you the best techniques for paddling, positioning, and body balance. Whether it is your first time or your 20th time learning, they are very patient and willing to help you learn.
If you are looking for one-on-one instruction, expect to pay 40-50 soles per hour for private lessons.
Where to Surf
Peru’s coastline stretches for about 1,555 miles or 2,500 km and some of the best surfing in the world can be found along this incredible coastline. There are plenty of surfing destinations for you to check out all along the coast. You will notice that the water temperature tends to be on the cold side, especially in the winter. This is when many people flock to the north. There the water is about the same temperature, but the air temperature is generally several degrees warmer.
The north is famous for having some of the longest waves in the world; In the south, the waves are shorter yet consistent and a lot less crowded.
Lima is definitely the hotspot for anyone who wants to go surfing in Peru, especially beginner surfers as it is a main hub for travellers. From the airport it is about a 1-2 hour taxi ride to the main touristic district of Miraflores. Miraflores is a thriving metropolitan area with lots to offer, including many restaurants, clubs, parks, Inca ruins and things to do. The prime location of Miraflores makes it easy to enjoy city life as well as ocean side viewing. Even more, its beaches are some of the best places to learn to surf in Peru.
|Cabo Blanco (Piura)||Makaha (Miraflores)||La Isla (Punta Hermosa)|
|Pacasmayo||Pico Alto||Cerro Azul|
|Punto Huanchaco||La Herradura (Chorrillos)||Peñascal (San Bartolo)|
|Chicama (Puerto Malabrigo)||Puntas Rocas||San Gallan (Paracas)|
When to go
Obviously, the summer is when it is going to be the warmest. Peru’s summer is from December-April and is full of people enjoying the clear skies and good weather. Although, it’s not only a summer sport: people do surf year-round. In fact, the best swell is generally April-October. In the winter season (June – August), the water tends to be pretty cold and you will definitely need a full-body wet suit. Other times of the year shorts will suffice.
Water temperatures usually range from 16-21ºC or 61-70ºF. The air temperatures will vary throughout the seasons depending on your location in Peru.
|Winter (June – August)||21-29ºC||21-29ºC||17-30ºC|
|Summer (December – April)||70-84ºF||70-84ºF||63-86ºF|
Take notice of when the holidays are celebrated in Peru. During these times expect the beaches to be very busy and crowded.
- January: New Years
- March/April: Semana Santa (Easter weekend)
- July 28-29th: Fiestas Patrias
In general, early in the morning and during the week is the best time to go. If you go during the weekend, it tends to be packed with people wanting to learn.
Surf Travel Peru
Another option is to do surf travel. Take a trip with the sole purpose of going to the best spots in Peru and catching the best waves. Peru is filled with surfing destinations, so whether you want to go surfing in Lima or surfing in Chicama, there are always plenty of trips you can take to explore each of them. In addition, there are also opportunities where you can work/volunteer and in your free time you can surf. These are a great way to experience the Peruvian waves along with getting experience and meeting others.
If you already know how to surf and you just need to rent a board for your time here in Peru; you can rent a surfboard, leash, and wetsuit for about $10 (30 soles). If you just need the board, it will cost you about $6 (20 soles).
Spending some time in Peru/South America and looking to buy? You can buy new boards for around $250 (830 soles) and around $150 (498 soles) for used boards. Wetsuits will cost you approx $200 (664 soles).
- Always surf with other people
- Watch out for rocks and urchins: good tip is to wear water shoes
- Wear sunscreen: the sun is very strong in Peru and you don’t want to get burnt
In the north: be careful of stingrays that hide under the sand. Always shuffle your feet when you have your feet in the sand. If you do get stung: hot water will help reduce the pain.
The good thing about surfing in Peru is that shark attacks are extremely rare!
Really, what it comes down to is being sensible and respecting the water. Who knows, you might just love it and want to come back. Don’t be afraid to try surfing in Peru. Don’t worry about your ability compared to others. Just go out and enjoy the waves!!
Have you been surfing in Peru? What are your top tips?
Lima and Cusco might be the most visited but Arequipa has style. Whether it is its spicy cuisine or its majestic architecture and fine people, Arequipa is to be discovered, tasted and enjoyed like a fine piece of art. Don’t miss out on the hidden gem of the South when you visit Peru.