SURF SPOTS Huanchaco

Surfing in Huanchaco

The UNESCO World Surf Reserve of Huanchaco in northern Peru is one of the best surf destinations of Peru and even South America. For thousands of years locals have been surfing the waves here using  “caballitos de totora”, fishing boats made of reed. Huanchaco is where surfing in Peru was born. Famous for its long left point (like nearby Chicama or Mancora further north), surfers of all levels will find great surf conditions here all year round.

Map of surf spots and breaks in Huanchaco Peru

Best time to surf in Huanchaco

Huanchaco is well-known for its year-round consistency. Any time of the year you can expect decent surf conditions here. Surfline rates the swell consistency at Huanchaco with 99% or better throughout 8 months of the year, with the lowest rating (for January) still being an impressive 95%. This means you can expect good surf conditions in Huanchaco year-round and chances are high you will be able to catch great waves every single day of your stay!

Expect the biggest waves in the surf season from June to September, when swell consistently averages 7 feet (2.1 metres). The rest of the year the swell is a consistent 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 metres). Most breaks work at all tides, although currents can be strong – but generally not dangerous. If you are a beginner surfer; don’t worry! There are always smaller waves to be found as you can read in our surf spot guide below.

From December to April average daytime temperatures are in the high 70’s or around 25°C. The rest of the year still sees good weather with average daytime temperatures of around 70°F or 20°C. The desert climate in this part of Peru means that there is a low chance of rain all year round and generally a lot of sun!

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Surf spots in Huanchaco

There are 5 different surf breaks in Huanchaco stretching over a kilometre of beach. Some are perfectly suited for beginners (or intermediate surfers when the swell gets big), whereas other breaks generally pick up a lot of swell and are more suited to intermediate to advanced surfers. In September, along with the start of the Peruvian spring, sand movements begin. The rocky beaches can be covered with sand until the summer. These sand movements can cause some small variation in the breaks and their position. Below we list the five breaks in Huanchaco from south to north, their characteristics and when each break is at it’s best.

Location: in front of Hostal Sudamérica

Characteristics: Right breaking wave, point break on rocky ground. It works best with high tide and when the swell is between 1 to 2 metres.

Swell direction: South and north. Works all year round.

Experience level: Intermediate to advanced.

Location: in front of Urcia Surf School

Characteristics: At El Elio you will find a 100 metre long running left wave on rocky ground. There are two to three different points depending on the sand movements and the swell. El Elio works best at high tide, especially when getting in and out of the water as there are a lot of rocks. Here you can also find the occasional barrel. There’s a current from south to north. The bigger the swell, the stronger the current. When a north and south swell arrive together, the waves get really big and it’s not possible to paddle against the current anymore. This is when it is time to go to Chicama! Read more about our surf trips to Chicama here.

Swell direction: South and north. Works all year round.

Experience level: Beginners to advanced (depending on the swell).

Location: From the police station to the pier

Characteristics: a well formed left wave on rocky ground with a run around 30 metres. Here you can also find the occasional barrel. Get out of the wave early, so that the current does not push you against the pier.

Swell direction: South and north. Works all year round.

Experience level: Advanced.

Location: in front of Inkafarma (and the Urcia Surf House)

Characteristics: Left point break on rocky ground (in the summer sometimes partly to completely sandy). The wave here does not get bigger than one metre. That is why La Curvita is a perfect place for beginners to learn how to surf and for intermediate surfers to practice when El Elio is big. La Curvita works with all tides, although it is best with high tide. At high tide don´t go further north than the restaurant “Lucho del Mar” as the shore break can be heavy especially for beginner surfers! Watch out for the stones when getting in and out at low tide. The current runs from south to north and gets stronger as the swell increases.

Swell direction: South and north. Works all year round.

Experience level: Suitable for all levels from beginner to advanced. Beside the pier is a great place to learn surfing.

Location: In front of the restaurant Big Ben

Characteristics: El Boqueron starts at the end of the pier. It’s a well defined right breaking wave with a sandy bottom and works with all tides. Waves get big at El Boqueron, but are very well formed. Due to the smaller current at El Boqueron it’s at its most popular when a large swell creates strong currents at Sunkella and El Elio. The wave gets more tubular closer to the shore. When the swell is good advanced surfers or body boarders can practice riding barrels here. Watch out for the shore break when getting in and out of the water!

Swell direction: South and north, better with north swell. Works all year round.

Experience level: Intermediate to advanced.

Surf trip to Chicama

About 1.5 hours north of Huanchaco you will find the legendary left point break of Chicama. It is known as the longest left wave in the world and on good days you can ride a 2.5 mile or 4 kilometre long wave! Chicama is at its best when the waves in Huanchaco are very big and difficult to surf due to the strong current. It’s not a heavy wave and the break is well-protected by a headland at the point. Therefore Chicama is suitable for all experience levels, from beginner to professional surfers. When the surf conditions are good we offer surf trips to Chicama. Including not only transport but also a boat to bring you back to the point. This way you can save your energy for the waves and catch as many waves as your legs can handle. For more info contact Urcia Surf School via WhatsApp or call +51 979 698 547.

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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.