As you drive into Chicama, Peru it is the last place on earth you’d expect to find anything considered “surf paradise” or “world’s longest wave”… quite the opposite. While your driver avoids potholes and you gaze at piles of plastic, rubble, and barren desert hills, you begin to wonder if surfing Chicama is really all that.
Northern Peru must have some of the ugliest coastlines you’ll find in Latin America but turn your attention to the ocean, and things get interesting. We’re talking serious corduroy. Lines stacked to the horizon, ruler edge whitewater peeling for hundreds of meters, minimal crowds, and the waters not (that) cold.
Let’s discover everything you need to know about surfing Chicama, from what the wave is like, how to get to Chicama, where to stay, where to eat, and some helpful tips for surfing what is still considered the world’s longest lefts.
Table of Contents
Where Is Chicama? (And How To Get There)
The place is surprisingly tricky to get to for somewhere as established on the surfing map as Chicama. Firstly, the name Chicama isn’t the name of the town itself but rather the name given to the wave.
However, the town of Puerto Malabrigo, as labeled on the map, is where you’re aiming for, but ask anyone you want to go to Puerto Chicama, or Playa Chicama and they’ll still understand—confused yet?
Whether you’re coming from the North or South, get to Trujillo first. Coming from the North, you’ll need to turn off at the town of Paijan to reach Puerto Malabrigo (Chicama) an hour before Trujillo.
On the bus (which is how I traveled), take a bus from Talara to Chiclayo, then another to Trujillo.
From Trujillo, you need to get another bus (I told you it was a mission, right?) back to Paijan, a town you will have passed on the way to Trujillo, from which you can get a taxi to Puerto Malabrigo.
Chicama Wave Information
Best Time Of Year For Surfing Chicama
Chicama receives swells year round. However, during the Southern hemisphere winter of May to October, large south swells march across the Pacific and up the coast of South America and wrap around the headland to light up the points of Chicama.
The Wave - What’s Surfing Chicama Actually Like?
The points at Chicama are separate waves and only link up on the biggest of swells. That said, each section is ridiculously long. Surfing Chicama is a unique experience, and if “El Point” works, you can ride waves for 1-2 minutes.
Malpaso is the furthest out of the points and picks up the most swell. It’s 4km from town, and the break here never links to the rest of the points, even on the largest swells. Consider Malapso a separate wave for when the swell drops.
Moving down the point is Keys or El Cape. This section is a 30-minute walk from town to take off spot and has two sections that can link up. The wave offers various sections with fat spots you’ll have to pump through and steeper sections to lay into.
Chicama’s main attraction and the reason you come here. You can see the point from town, and when the swells above 4ft, the point offers rides for hundreds of meters, and if you snag the right wave, negotiating speedy sections, fat spots, and feathering sections, you can make it to El Hombre, the closest wave to town. The wave is incredible, and although it’s no freight train barreling down the point, the wave is super fun for turns.
El Hombre is the last part of the point before the pier, directly in front of the town. While unlikely, it is possible to make it from the top of El Point through El Hombre, a 2km ride that’ll have your legs burning and your heart pumping. The wave is fun and a fantastic option for lazy afternoon sessions.
Chicama Surf Forecast
Where To Stay In Chicama?
One of the best, top-quality places to stay and surf in Chicama. Slightly more expensive but ideal if you’re coming to Chicama with a non-surfing partner.
Delfines De Chicama
Right on the front overlooking the point, this is a dreamy spot to stay in Chicama, and if you can snag a room in the front, you’ll see the waves from your bed. Not bad, ay?
Hospedaje La Ola Azul
This is where I stayed for two weeks in Chicama, just one street back from the water in town. Although there’s no sea view, the place is fantastic, with daily cleaning, a super friendly owner, and $17 for a private room with wifi and a hot shower. I highly recommend it if you’re a digital nomad and want a decent place to stay on a budget.
Discover surf accommodation in Chicama here.
Where To Eat In Chicama?
Also a hostel, Los Burritos is a solid go-to spot for a decent burrito (you don’t say) or a large pizza, perfect after surfing. They also make awesome cookies, and they are epic snacks between sessions at one sola ($0.25usd).
Breakfast - Hospedaje El Hombre
Also, a hotel, this spot directly in front of El Hombre is the ideal spot for breakfast; with seats outdoors; check the waves, sip coffee, and tuck into eggs, bread, and Papaya juice after your morning session. The owner, Maria, is super friendly and speaks English and Spanish.
Chicama, Peru - Surf Spot Map
Tips For Surfing Chicama
One crucial thing to know about surfing Chicama is the current is fricking gnarly. The bigger the swell, the bigger the sweep; when it’s over 4 feet, it’s impossible to paddle against. Thankfully you can just walk back up the point.
If you don’t fancy the runaround, you can take a boat ride for your entire session with lifts back up the point. I was too tight to splash out on this but watched in envy as boat drivers ferried surfers up the point in front of me. Boats cost around 60Sol ($15usd) for a 3-hour session.
Getting a boat makes your session way easier. However, I found the drivers drive very close to the waves, which means it ruins any wave that comes through, with ribs coming up the face, not ideal after you’ve just done a 1km run around. I know the drivers are picking up their paying surfers, but drivers could at least drop the surfers a little further out.
Rocks On The Inside
There are some sharp rocks on the inside, which isn’t a problem in the lineup; just watch your toes as you get in and out.
If El Point is working, you’ll get stupidly long rides, rides 1.5 minutes long! You’ll have to navigate fast sections, deep spots, and the odd foiler on the shoulder, but unless you’ve been to Skeleton Bay in Namibia, you’ll get the longest waves of your life here.
Boards To Bring
As a devoted short boarder, I only ride shortboards. However, Chicama is great for any craft. Many longboarders, sups, and foilers were getting decent waves during my trip. Although it has fast sections, it’s super easy to surf.
Surfing Chicama - Summary
While the waves in Chicama may not offer tubes and the power of other waves in Peru or South America, come here in winter and get some of the longest, most user-friendly waves you’ll experience anywhere on the planet.
Chicama is affordable and super easy to hang out in (once you’ve got there), and there are great places to stay. If you’re already in Peru, I’d recommend surfing Chcima for a fix of long, forgiving waves. You won’t regret it.
If you have questions about surfing Chicama, please contact me via email, Instagram, or Youtube. I create blog and video content for the world’s best travel destinations and unique surf spots and can’t wait to share it and inspire your next trip.
One of the only places I have traveled to that could rival Chicama is southern chile. Surfing in southern Chile is a colder but equally epic Latin American surf trip.