Peru has over 2500km (1553 miles) of coastline decorated with plenty of impressive beaches to enjoy. From the edge of the Andes, where the rich ecosystems brought by the Humboldt Current washes against the coasts, to the dry tropical forest of the northern coastline, Peru's beaches are as diverse as its people and culture. Here is a pick of Peru's best beaches.
In the coastal desert of Ica, brimming with colonies of sea lions and seabirds like the Guanay cormorant, is the town of Paracas. This eco-rich peninsula hosts one of Peru's most important marine wildlife sanctuaries. A wide range of beach hotels offer the perfect setting to practice windsurfing and kite surfing. Close by is the national reserve, La Mina, Mendieta, Playa Roja or Yumanque, secluded beaches exposed to amber desert cliffs facing clear blue waters.
Anyone looking to feast on some sea bass or lenguado, from the sole family, you should definitely consider visiting Barlovento. Located between the limits of Pisco and Ica, this is one of the best spots to travel to if you’re looking to line up some of the most delectable fish dishes on the Peruvian coast.
Lobitos is an old fishing settlement with a history of oil extraction dating back to the late 19th century. It was recently developed as a tourist destination for surfers, with waves that satisfy beginners and professionals, Lobitos is considered a hub for those who seek the perfect waves that hit the westernmost point of continental South America.
If you’re looking for a complete beach experience that includes tranquil waters, lazing around in the warm sun and surfing, this is the perfect spot. The small fishing village of Los Órganos, has a lovely stretch of sand providing activities for all ages. Whether it is a surfing lesson, a snorkeling session, fishing or whale watching, beach lovers will find boundless opportunities to have fun. With a few frontline beach hotels and plenty of houses to rent, there is something for every taste. Consider preparing your own ceviche by buying fresh fish from local fishers.
For those looking for warm waters and tranquility, Punta Sal is a serene setting with long stretches of sand open to explore. Located at Peru’s northern tip of the Tumbes region, this is also a dream destination for fishing enthusiasts. Whether it is spearfishing, sea-fishing or taking a deep-sea fishing charter, Punta Sal offers an ideal spot for luring tuna or barracuda fish.
Also known as Puerto Malabrigo, Chicama is a long stretch of beach with waves that can be ridden for more than one km (0.6 miles). Located north of Trujillo in the valley and the birthplace of major pre-Columbian civilizations, Chicama’s waters have some of the best waves, even for beginners. Because the wave distance is so far, there is a boat service is available to avoid paddling back. To shore! There are plenty of accommodations and restaurants along its beachfront, which are great for warming up after surfing, as the water is chilly in the cooler months (May-November). Be sure to bring a wetsuit and enjoy the ride!
Located in the Punta Hermosa region, and attracting a large crowd of Limeño beach lovers is the sandy beach called El Silencio. With refreshing water temperatures that average 20ºC (68°F) during summer months (January-March), visitors can enjoy a dip in its waters with no breaking waves. Only a 40-minute drive from Lima, El Silencio is the perfect full-day seaside escape from the city.
Many will say the main draw of Puerto Viejo is the surfing, but this beach is the perfect weekend getaway. Only an hour and a half from Lima, the seemingly never-ending beach hosts a fun spot for families and friends. Wetlands by the beach at Puerto Viejo result in a natural ecosystem that hosts a number of migratory birds. Take the family or a group of friends for a picnic on the shore before heading out for a surf session. If lucky, you may catch a wave in the company of dolphins!
The Beach Boys mentioned this surfing hub in their first major hit, “Surfin’ Safari,” released in 1962. This picturesque town is at the edge of the fertile valley formed by the Cañete River and is graced with a long pier, an extensive stretch of fine sand and great hospitality. Known as a popular family destination, Cerro Azul’s charming fishing village also attracts visitors to hang out near the beach and enjoy fresh ceviche and seafood.
Punta Hermosa is on its way to becoming a newer version of Asia. The beaches here have been developed in recent years to have many of the same luxuries, such as accommodations, restaurants, and nightclubs. Although still not quite as glitzy as Asia, it’s at least a more affordable option for a beach weekend. Plus, it’s closer to Lima at only a half-hour drive away.
Mancora in the last few years has seen a major transformation from a quiet fishing town to a major beach destination. Although most famous for its party scene and bohemian backpacker vibe, Mancora is becoming a global tourist attraction with a variety of activities. Travelers come from all over the world to enjoy the soft sand, the surf, and the seafood. There is a variety of accommodations from super cool hostels to romantic beach resorts.
Huanchaco was a fishing center and port for over a thousand years for the Chimú and Moche peoples; the archaeological site of Chan Chan, is just down the road from the beach. To this day you can still find caballitos de totora, traditional fisherman’s rafts used for over 3,000 years. Not only is this area a historical treasure, but also a surf haven. In 2012, Huanchaco gained status as a World Surfing Reserve.