Surf travel features

Surfing Peru: Ride the longest waves in the world

"For anyone interested in surfing empty long left hand waves, the region of La Libertad in Peru is the place to go. Pacasmayo and Chicama are the longest waves in the world."

Location
Chicama is about 560 km north of Lima by air, or 94 km (an hour-and-a-half drive) northwest of the city of Trujillo. is reached by taking 15 km detour at Paijan, at Kilometer 614 of the North Pan-American Highway.

Getting there.
From Lima it's a hour flight to trujillo, from trujillo it's a 50 minute car ride to Chicama


Language:
Spanish, but the friendly local surfers have been hanging with the travelers for the last 30 years, so their english is pretty good.

Season:
Best on South pacific Swells from a southern direction, best is SW swells, that come trough between April and November. Although Chicama and Pacasmayo will also have good waves on North swells, just not as perfect and long connecting rides can be had.
Winds are always offshore and strong.

Positive

  • Extremely long rides.
  • Excellent weather
  • Empty waves
  • Good (sea) food

Negative:

  • Left waves only
  • Dull landscape
  • No nightlife
  • safety issues


The wave at Chicama:
Left handers only.
Total length according to Google earth from sections that connect (from the Cape to the pier)
1.62 Miles or 2.6 Kilometers. This would equal into about 2-4 minutes of surfing on the same wave, and 20 minutes walking back.
For the wave to connect a minimum of 6-8' swell from the SW needs to be present, on smaller or more southern swells, most of the sections don't connect, but even individually the different sections are very long waves.

Type of wave:
From mushy parts to hollow tubes to easy carving walls, Chicama's wave offers a bit of everything.

Quiver to bring:
Chicama can be ridden on standard shortboards and longboards and anything in between. Extra volume is a bonus of you want to make sure you are getting the longest rides, and connect the sections.

Crowds:
Never a problem, could handle up to 100 people at the same time, (although the majority would be walking back to the line up after a long ride). Normal day is about 20 people surfing chicama at any given time, (20 surfing = 4 surfers actually riding a different wave, 4 waiting for the next set and 12 walking back)

Discovery

Legend has it that the surfing potential of Chicama was first seen in 1965 by Hawaiian surfer Chuck Shipman, from the window of a plane when returning home from the world surfing championships at Punta Rocas, near Lima, Peru.
From Wikipedia ( An interesting footnote is that in addition to local fishermen on "Caballitos de Totora", other surfers may have ridden the surf at Chicama long before. Casa Grande, Perus largest sugar plantation is located in the Chicama River Valley. Recently, a Peruvian surfer visiting old warehouses in Casa Grande found several wooden surfboards, appearing to date from the 1930’s or earlier. It is likely that sugar plantation managers or researchers from Hawaii visited or worked at Casa Grande during the 1920s and 1930s. Seeing the fabled waves, they built surfboards to enjoy their sport. They kept Chicama a secret until 1965.)

Accommodation:

A couple of hotels right at the beach in various prices ranges.

 

Surfing Pacasmayo

Another long left handers is found 1 hour North of Chicama in the town of Pacasmayo. The actual wave start at the lighthouse ( El Faro) and surfed along the different sections back to the pier. We have seen wind and kite surfers ride the wave for the full length, but they can get around sections more easily than surfers.

The wave seems to pick up more swell than Chicama does and is also usually a lot bigger. On the same day were Chicama is head high, the first 300 meters at PacasMayo was about 1,5 to almost double overhead. Winds here are the same as at Chicama: strong offshore.

 

Accomodation Pacasmayo: Hotel Pakatnamu and L'estacion right at the ocean front at Pacasamyo overlooking the waves.


pacasmayo

Poemape

In between Chicama and Pacasmayo is a wave called Poemape, also picks up more swell than Chicama does, but surfers need to get there early in the morning, since the wind seems to quickly affect this wave.

More surf travel features:
Surfing Dominican Republic | Surfing Peru | Surfing Lanzarote | Surfing Nicaragua | Surfing Morrocco | Surfing Fiji | Surfing France | Surfing Spain