Peru is becoming more and more popular among surfers eager to test the waves on the long Pacific coastline. With 250 kilometers of surf in Lima, there is a wide range of surfing options. While there is some surfing in Lima proper, most of the best surfing is to be found further south. The best swells hit from May through August, and water temperatures range from 16o C in the winter to 21 o in the summer (about 60 o – 70 o).
In Lima, there are several beaches popular among surfers. You can usually find boards in the water in Miraflores at Waikiki beach – so named by Carlos Dogny, a Peruvian sugarcane heir who returned to Lima from Hawaii in 1942 with a surfboard in hand. Waikiki and Makaha beaches in Miraflores are considered good places for beginners and there are several surf schools in the area. Pukana Surf School comes highly recommended in our forum, as does Olas Peru. For a decent instructor, expect to pay around S/.40-50 per hour.
A little further down, in the district of Chorrillos, lies the beach of La Herradura. More appropriate for experienced surfers, La Herradura is known for its strong left break. If you’re patient and wait for a big swell, the waves at La Herradura are worth it.
Serious surfers will want to head down south to the district of Punta Hermosa. Located near KM43 on the Panamerican Highway, Punta Hermosa has some of the best surfing in Peru. Famous as the birthplace of world champion surfer Sofia Mulanovich, Punta Hermosa is where you’ll find Pico Alto, a beach for experts where waves average 4 meters in height. Nearby Cabelleros is a good beach for the average surfer, with tubular waves that average 1-2meters.
If you’re willing to travel outside of Lima, in the north you can find some of the world’s best surfing. For more information on beaches to the north, check with WannaSurf’s guide to North Peru. The beaches around Mancora have been a favorite among our forum members, but note that it can get crowded during the high season.
What you should know if you are just starting out
If it is your first time surfing, chances are you won’t catch a wave on your own and will require a push from the instructor to get you on your way. That is nothing to be ashamed of – that’s how we all start. Just wait, a few lessons in and you will find yourself ripping your own waves.
Most beginners start with a 10 foot plastic board, these float much better than the smaller fiber boards, making paddling an easier task. Children will most likely start with a 8 foot plastic board. You can rent these boards for 20 soles (approx.) at the beach, although some places tend to overcharge tourists so make sure to ask around.
Know that surfing is hard exercise for your arms and core, so you will probably be sore for the next 2 days. If you wear a wetsuit, you will get tired faster due to more resistance against your movements.
You should know too that if you wish to surf in Peru, you have to prepare for temperatures. In the summer most people in the water wear nothing but a swimsuit, but in the colder months (from May to December) you will want to rent or purchase a 3/4 inch wetsuit. This wetsuit is 3/4 of an inch thick around your chest and back, while the rest of the wetsuit is usually about half an inch. You can also rent a wetsuit for about as much as a board and you can always try and bargain a deal while renting both.
If you are new to the game I recommend that you stick to renting until you’ve found a passion for the sport. If you have decided to invest in gear you should try and get your first board used; if there is a board you like that you have been renting from a school, chances are they can sell it to you at a good price and you’ll get a board that you are comfortable with. You can also purchase boards new from stores but they are usually quite pricey, and this is a step you should take once you have some experience and you really know what you want. If you are just getting started, why not try visiting mercadolibre or joining a surfing buy and sell group on Facebook, where you can find boards both used and new in a range of prices, usually starting from S./300.
As for a wetsuit, we recommend that that you buy new and in your size. A great store for wetsuites is BOZ. They handmade wetsuits in Peru and have lifetime warranty. You can find wetsuits on their You can find wetsuits new for as little as S/.170
We’d like to hear from the surfer dudes and dudettes on this page. Where are the best beaches for beginners, and for pros? Other recommendations? Share your experience in our forum topic: Where to surf in and around Lima