Do not go to Hawaii for good surf, try Peru instead!
Northern Peru: a surfer's paradise!
Peru is on the western side of South America and it has a 2,400 km long coast on the Pacific Ocean! The northern coastline of the country is attracting an increasing number of surfers and even the New York Times and Transworld Surf magazine have featured articles about surfing in Peru! This country is more than just sports though, as it also happens to contain some of the world's biggest and easily accessible archaeological ruins and they are all close to the Pan American Highway.
Assuming that you start your trip from Lima, I will comment about the coast going northwards and then, in a future hub, I will cover the beaches around the capital itself and the southern coast of the country.
The northern region is best known for the remnants of earlier civilizations. One of Americas' oldest citadels, the urban settlement of Caral is located in the Supe Valley, about sixty miles north of Lima. The site, dates back to 2500 BC and it contains eight tomb pyramids.
Further up the coast, the Casma Valley also holds many archaeological treasures. Visitors to the Sechin Alto complex may now view what remains of the city's temples, tombs and plaza, some of which date back to 3500 BC. At nearby Chanquillo, the hilltop set of thirteen towers is thought to be the world's oldest solar observatory.
Three of the Peru's northern major cities: Chimbote, Trujillo and Chiclayo are in this area and they are linked to Lima, the capital, by the Pan-American Highway, running along the coast. All three cities are useful basis for exploring the region's most important archaeological sites, as well as its mountains and beaches.
East of this area are some spectacular trails of the Cordillera Blanca and the Huascarán National Park. There is also mountain climbing and trekking, and the Callejón de Huaylas, boasts some of the most beautiful peaks in South America. Near Huaraz, in the Conchucos Valley, lies Chavin de Huantar, a fortress temple with carved heads and other stonework, belonging to the Chavin culture, one of Peru's earliest civilisations. The complex, dating back to 1200 to 800 BC, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is still being excavated.
After Chimbote, a large fishing port, comes Trujillo, Peru’s most important northern city. It has been described as charming, simple, formal and delicate and is noted for its colourful colonial architecture. The area has some of the country’s greatest archaeological sites, like Chan Chan, a spectacular eight square mile adobe city of the Chimú civilization, which has also been named Unesco World Heritage Site.
Among the Trujillo area beaches, Huanchaco is an outgoing and friendly fishing village. It is unique because the local fishermen's boats are handmade rafts constructed of totora reeds, called caballitos (little horses) and they are ridden surfboard-style. The design of these boats has changed little from the craft used by pre-Inca fishing tribes.
Chiclayo, Peru's fourth largest city, is next and it is an agricultural centre known for its excellent cuisine. The Royal Tombs of Sipan, encased in pyramids, were discovered east of the city in the Lambayeque Valley. These Moche tombs, some in good condition, are being excavated and restored. My hub: http://hubpages.com/hub/Perus-King-Kong-sweet talks about the area, as well as the museum. You might also be tempted to visit the nearby village of Monsefu, known for its music and crafts market.
Some of Peru's most popular surfing destinations are found in the north, in part, because unlike the central and southern Peruvian coast, the northernmost departments do not become covered in the garua mists, so they are more likely to have clear skies. The choice of many advanced surfers is Puerto Chicama, fifty miles north of Trujillo, where the longest wave in the world is supposed to be found, or Bayovar, on the Illescas Peninsula, half-way between the cities of Piura and Chiclayo. Surfing enthusiasts who are looking for more than waves may prefer the white sand beach of Mancora, or the less crowded Los Organos, a few miles south.
For sunbathers, the pristine sands and turquoise waters of Punta Sal, fifteen miles north of Mancora, can't be surpassed. Further down the coast, the town of Colan offers rental beach houses on stilts.
The region's smaller cities include the port of Piura, where 70% of Peru's oil is produced, and collectors of ceramics may also wish to stop off in the village of Chulucanas, near Piura, to view the pottery being made using ancient techniques.
Tumbes is a city near the Ecuador border, where the conquistadors first landed. Its protected ecosystems include Los Manglares de Tumbes, (subtropical coastal mangroves with a wide variety of seabird species) and Cerros de Amotape National Park (for the protection of wildlife-rich tropical dry equatorial forests). The park has no tourist services and is best visited during the winter months from April to September.
White water rafting is popular on the Tumbes River (May to October), where rapids are found between the towns of Figuerosa and Rica Playa. Rafters get the added thrill of encountering crocodiles, otters and iguanas too.
- Go there: Northern Peru
A goofy-footer's paradise. As seen in the June 2009 issue of TransWorld SURF.
- Lord of Sipan, Moche ruins and the King Kong dessert in Peru!
Starts with the Lambayeque historical past, including the Royal Tombs Museum of Sipan. Also talks about King Kong, a typical sweet of the region and the origin of its name.
- Northern Peru surf conditions
Wavehunters gives you information on the main Peru surf breaks so you can make the most of your Peru surfing vacations and surf trips.
- North Peru surfing beaches
Surfing in Beaches of the North Peru: bermejo,cabo blanco,chicama,huanchaco,mancora,nonura,organos,pacasmayo,panic point,poemape
- Peru Surfing
Peru Surfing. Peru Surfing is on the rise, as both the beginner and the advanced surfer can enjoy the world-class waves found at Peru's top beaches.
- Riding the waves of Peru - New York Times
With 1,500 miles of rugged coastline, Peru is poised to become the new it spot on the international surfing circuit.
- Surfing Peru
Talks mainly about Chicama
Surfing beaches in northern Peru
Surfing, just surfing!
More by this Author
I tried Sacher Torte the first time I was in Vienna and loved it. When I moved to Austria bought recipe books, but it was a frustrating experience, as they don't measure ingredients with cups and spoons, but weigh them!...
Author is Peruvian, so llamas are a symbol of her country and the Andean region. Covers llama as food, their milk and their food, as well as trekking and general llama trivia (stamps, jewelry, pottery, stuffed animals).
The role that jigsaw puzzles and their magic have played in three generations of my family. Jigsaws were always popular at Easter, Christmas time, or during school holidays. Compares different sites, like Jigzone,...