Caballito tours

Navigating the Waves of History in Huanchaco, Peru

Located on the north coast of Peru, Huanchaco is a magical place where the past and the present intertwine in the waves of the sea. This coastal corner is famous for its impressive caballitos de totora, an ancient form of navigation that has stood the test of time and remains a vital part of the culture and spirit of the region.

The Charm of the Caballitos de Totora

The caballitos de totora are small handmade craft boats, carved from the totora, an aquatic plant that grows in the vicinity of Huanchaco. These singular vessels have a unique and distinctive shape that resembles the figure of a horse, which gives them their name. But these horses don’t gallop on land, they ply the ocean waves with grace and dexterity.

A Link to the Pre-Columbian Past

The history of the caballitos de totora dates back to the ancient pre-Columbian peoples who inhabited this region thousands of years ago. Local fishermen adopted this form of navigation and made it an essential part of their daily lives. It is said that the caballitos de totora were used by fishermen to search for food in the nearby waters and return their catches to the shore.


s/50 per person 

Getting to know the “Caballito de Totora”

Learn about the tradition of the “Caballito de Totora” and how the boat is built. You will take a small tour in the ocean where you will be able to paddle the boat yourself as well! Life jacket is included if needed. Tours last around 30 minutes.

This tour starts at the church with its wonderful view, showing you Huanchaco and teaching you about its culture. Next stop is at the “Totorales” where the reeds grow. At
the beach we show you how to build a “Caballito” boat and have a ride with it at
the sea!


s/90 per person

Getting to know Huanchaco and its traditions


s/120 per person

Fishing and ceviche lunch

You are shown how to take a “Caballito de Totora” reedboat and learn about the tradition. Then we will spend approximately 1 hour on the ocean, where you will first be able to get comfortable with the Caballito and then do some fishing. Afterwards, we will prepare ceviche and enjoy it together.

An Art Transmitted from Generation to Generation

The ability to build and navigate a caballito de totora has been passed down from generation to generation, from father to son. The knowledge and techniques have remained intact, and today local fishermen continue to build and use these traditional boats. The elaboration of a caballito de totora is a meticulous process that involves the collection, drying and weaving of the reeds to shape the boat.

The Art of Riding the Waves

The fishermen of Huanchaco are masters at riding the waves with their caballitos de totora. Paddling with skill and balance, they sail in harmony with the waves and the wind. Fishermen head out to sea early in the morning, when conditions are optimal, and glide along the waves in search of their catch of the day. The dexterity needed to maintain balance and the agility to maneuver in the waves is impressive and has become a distinctive skill of Huanchaco fishermen.

A Cultural and Tourist Legacy

The caballitos de totora are more than just boats; they are a tangible link to the rich history and culture of Huanchaco. Today, this tradition has transcended its original function as a fishing tool and has become a tourist attraction. Visitors have the opportunity to experience this unique tradition by taking a ride on a caballito de totora and feeling the thrill of riding the waves as fishermen have done for centuries.

A Walk Through History and Nature

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Huanchaco, do not miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich tradition of the caballitos de totora. Getting on one of these boats and riding the waves is more than a tourist activity: it is an experience that connects you with the history, nature and culture of this enchanting place. The caballitos de totora are a jewel of the Peruvian coast, a connection between the past and the present that continues to proudly navigate the waters of time.

If you want to learn more about the traditional sustainable fishing in Peru and Huanchaco’s reed boats, get in contact with us. The Urcia team is waiting to show you their roots and take you to the sea.

Caballito tour

For thousands of years local fishermen have been using Caballitos de Totora (reed surfboard-like boats) to navigate the ocean and surf the waves. It’s how surfing in Peru started! During our Caballito tour, Santos Urcia – father of Juninho – will show you how a caballito is made and will explain about this tradition that is still very much alive today. Of course you will have plenty of opportunity to try riding one yourself and catch some fish! Afterwards we will have a traditional Peruvian Ceviche lunch where we will prepare the catch of the day together. The tour takes about half a day in total.

Caballito de totora tour by Urcia Surf School in Huanchaco


After some days of intense surfing a massage can pep you up again! Massages last 1 hour and take place at our masseurs. Let your masseur know which muscles you prefer to be treated.


Start or end your day with a relaxing yoga session! The sessions take 1 hour and take place at the beach. Your yoga instructor will adapt the exercises to your level.


Our hearty and healthy surfer breakfast includes coffee or tea, yogurt, cereals, fresh fruits, bread, cheese, ham and eggs. 

We cater for vegetarians, vegans and or alergies. Please indicate this in the comment area.

Breakfast at Urcia Surf House

Spanish Lessons

Combining surfing with learning Spanish
If besides surfing you are up for another challenge, we also offer Spanish lessons as an option for all our surf camp packages. It’s not uncommon for the friendly locals of Huanchaco to start a conversation or give you surf tips while waiting for the next set of waves. Thus you can directly put your new Spanish skills to practice. What better and more relaxed way of learning Spanish than doing so while surfing?

Spanish Lessons
For the Spanish lessons we work together with Manuel, a local spanish teacher with a lot of experience. In 1-hour lessons in small groups he will help build your confidence speaking and understanding Spanish, so that in no-time you will be able to chat with the locals, be it in the line-up or at the bar. The first Spanish lesson your current level will be assessed and based on that the focus for the rest of the course will be determined. At the end of every class you will receive some homework to continue learning in between classes at your own pace.