Surfing in Lima isn’t going to be the best you get in Peru but it’s still pretty varied and reliable, with spots for beginners in popular Miraflores giving way to some heavy point breaks further south.
An introduction to surfing in Lima
A lot of people will think to start their surf journey in Peru in the big, ocean-bashed capital of Lima. Why wouldn’t they? Most long-haul flights over to the South American nation end here. There’s oodles of swell-sucking coastline running along the side of the metropolis. And there’s a pretty decent surf scene that’s growing.
Here’s the headline: Lima’s surf isn’t the finest in Peru by a VERY long stretch.
But it’s also not bad. Yes, the water isn’t the cleanest and you do risk a bit of Montezuma’s revenge paddling out, especially if you happen to guzzle some H2O. Yes, you don’t get the same clean left lines that grace Chicama or Lobos – the ones that really put the Peru surf on the map. But don’t let that put you off a sesh here.
There are about four or five very decent beaches with fat, mellow waves and a surprisingly mellow crowd for a capital city that has breaks. There are also loads of affordable rental spots, plus good access to nearby beach towns in the Lima vicinity.
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This guide is just one part of our complete guide to surfing in Peru
surfing in Lima at a glance
- Fun, fat waves
- Generally happy, welcoming crowds at beginner locations
- Easily accessible spots
- Pollution in the water – especially nearer the port on the north side of town
- These aren’t the best waves in Peru by a long shot
What’s in this guide to surfing in Lima?
Where is Lima?
Lima is almost dead on midway up the Peruvian coast. It’s plonked on a triangular bend in the shoreline with the Pacific dominating one side of town. In case you didn’t know already, it’s also the capital of the country, so is super easy to get to – basically all of the long-haul flights to Peru come in here and it’s a cinch to get short haulers over too.
Notice that Lima is kinda perched on a high plinth above the ocean. The beaches – though they are hardly beaches in the Mancora sense – are below, with an ugly highway and a few bars here and there. That’s where you’ll be doing your surfing.
Lima surf spots
The surf spots in Lima that are best known cluster around the stylo area of Miraflores. That makes it easy for learners who drop by because most of the hotel and hostels are there, and it’s now basically the town’s main backpacker hub (along with Barranco to the south).We list all the spots in Miraflores itself, plus the ones – including the more advanced ones – that stretch south of town.
Although it’s named after the jewel in the crown of south Oahu, Peru’s Waikiki shares little with its Aloha namesake. The one thing it does have in common? It’s the most famous break in downtown Lima and a great option for total beginners.
The flatter shelf of sand and pebbles helps to really temper the swell here, which, even when it’s big on the outer buoys, tends to come in fat and mushy at Waikiki. You’ll find tons of board rental stops. Just be sure to Google them before committing because the tout game is strong!
Playa Makaha would actually be our pick for beginners and learners in the Lima area. It’s not got the crowds of Waikiki, which is just to the north, is far enough from the port to dodge most of the pollution (though the water is hardly pure), and the sets here are fat, crumbly and forgiving.
There are three main take offs in the bay. One comes off the pier at the south end of the beach, making a short, quick left. There’s an A-frame in the middle that’s where most will hang, catching fairly decent and rippable rights and lefts. Then there’s the thick left at the top end of the beach, which needs some extra size to work and tends to be more shifty than the other take offs. We like Rastasurf guys here – they do unlimited-time rentals for 50 soles per person.
Redondo is one of many in a steady string of all-level beginner waves that stretch down Miraflores and into Barranco. We think it’s one of the better ones, too, mainly because the sets here tend to be 1-2 foot smaller than all over the rest of town, plus they are forgiving as hell, crumbling nicely off the lip into deep water. If you want to learn, it’s a top choice.
The end of Barranco’s run of beaches is marked by the quality left reef brekas of Ala Moana. They’re quite fickle, needing decent W or SW size in the half a meter or more range. That said, they can hold well – up to 2 meters is normal, when you’ll be able to rock up and see the local rippers smashing overheads in style in these parts. Jetty constructions in the last 20 years have created some mega rips in the bay here, so be prepared to be moved back and forth off the main take off point if you don’t keep paddling.
Named after the El Regatas club that’s on the headland just above, this is a spot that needs some real size to work. It’s also known as La Boca after the concrete-rock jetty that creates the wave, a rare right in the Lima suburbs that can be steep, fast, and fun, if you don’t mind a super sucky take off and dodging your fair share of bodyboarders.
La Herradura is Lima’s contribution to the line up of epic lefts that makes this country one of the very best goofy surf destinations in the world. It’s probably still not the pedigree of Chicama simply because it demands over 1.5 meters to work and it’s very much a performance wave, period. Good timing, good crowd navigation, and a decent understanding of positioning at a shifty point break are musts. The walls will be 150 meters when at their best, broken into a famous trio of sections – starting steep and heavy, then fattening out into a bowly middle before barreling like a slab for the grand finale.
If you make so far south in Lima that you actually loop around the Herradura headland, then you’ll be confronted with a few kilometers of straight SW-facing coast. It’s a hoover for all the summer swells that push up from down south and the beaches here – known collectively as Villa – are basically pounded by consistent closeouts that will break boards and faces. Wait for it to be very small to non-existent in the city, though, and this could be the only spot that’s working. When it’s huge, you can come to see 5-meter walls and the bravest of the brave.
Surf camps in Lima
Lima does have a couple of surf camps that are worth considering if you’re limited to the capital. (If not, we’d certainly reccomend looking further afield, as the best surf camps in Peru aren’t in these parts).
- Surfari – These guys offer the best beginner package in the Lima region. It’s around 50 minutes’ drive south of the main town but that means opening up breaks that are generally more accessible (and less polluted). They have a comfy, chilled camp and offer packages that are 7 days in all with 1.5 hours’ of surf lessons each day.
- Bravo Surf Camp – The one to go for if you’re more of an advanced surfer in Lima, Bravo is more like a mate who’s waiting to surf with you. Good guys, decent gear, and unrivalled knowledge of the more challenging breaks in the city for sure.
Where to stay when surfing in Lima?
There are plenty of people who come to Lima for just a day or two and want to sample what the city has to offer on the surf front before hopping off to Cusco or Arequipa for trekking. That’s actually a good way to do things, though a surf camp is probably overkill. Our suggestion? Opt for a hotel in Miraflores and enjoy that hipster area with a surf sesh thrown in at Waikiki or Playa Makaha. Easy.
- Lima 18 Boutique – A highly rated pad with just a handful of very nicely crafted rooms. We love the hot water bottle that’s added to your bed at night. We love the indoor-outdoor café space below. You’re looking at an Uber fare of about 10 soles ($2-3) to the surf beaches from here. Easy.
- Llaqta Wasi – Make it simple by booking Llaqta Wasi. You can stroll from the door to the main beginner beaches in Lima in like 2 minutes. The hotel is smack dab in buzzing Miraflores, offering its own small pool and quirky outdoor play space.
Surf rentals in Lima
There are shed loads of surf rental options dotting the beaches along the main coast road below Mirflores. It’s a bit like Kuta Bali has come and shown them how to do it. Not all are relaible. Most are.
We can definitely reccomend Rasta Surf on Playa Makaha. We dropped them a message the day before we came in and they were super helpful, particularly with larger funboards in mushy surf. Easy to rent, no time limits on boards, and at reasonable rates of 50 soles for the sesh.
There are also more rental options up on Waikiki Beach. Our two cents would be to Google search the name of the company beforehand – the touts are about!
Step-by-step guide to planning your surfing in Lima trip right now
Step one: Book flights to the surfing in Lima…Lately, we like Omio for searching flights. It’s a nice interface and has lots of airline options. We also use Skyscanner because that sometimes offers deals that even beat going direct to the carrier!
Step two: Book your surf camp Book Surf Camps is the numero uno online booking platform for fully-fledged surf-stay packages on the internet right now. Then there’s Booking.com. That has consistently unbeatable rates for hotels and a nifty map feature that lets you check EXACTLY how close your hotel is to a surf break.
Step three: Get insuranceThis is kinda’ important. Not just for surf trips but for any trips. SafetyWing is great for nomad travelers. They offer rolling contracts that cover amateur surfing.
Step four (optional): Rent a car If you’re surf camping then you might not need wheels. If you’re not then we’ll just say this: We’ve never been on a surf trip that wasn’t improved by having our own car. Use RentalCars – they’re the best.
Step five: Enjoy!
When to surf in Lima?
Lima – like all of Peru – gets peak swell in the summer season between May and August, which also happens to be dry season here, so less rain and – crucially – less pollution run off in the Pacific around the capital. This is high time for those strong S-SW swell conditions that really power up the whole of Latin America right the way to Baja, so expect lots of action. Early sessions are the best idea, because the wind can get up.Don’t be too put off if you’re coming in the winter. Lima is a swell magnet of a metropolis, with stacks of waves to be had even when the southern sets aren’t pulsing.