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 coastline 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 water isn’t that cold.
Here’s everything you need to know about surfing in Chicama, from what the wave is like, how to get to Chicama, where to stay, where to eat, and some helpful tips for surfing the world’s longest left.
Table of Contents
Where Is Chicama?
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 tell anyone you want to go to Puerto Chicama, or Playa Chicama and they’ll understand.
How do you get to Chicama?
Getting to Chicama is still tricky even by plane. There is no major airport close to Chicama so your best bet would be to fly to Talara and either take an 8-hour bus ride south or hire a car.
There is an airport in Trujillo, but flights are fairly in-frequent. If you were to find flights to Trujillo from elsewhere in Peru, this is by far the best way to get to Chicama.
Because my trip to Peru was very much a budget surf trip, I skipped the rental car. However if time is not of the essence and you want the fastest way to get to Chicama, hire a car in Trujillo or Talara and make the drive. Check out the best rental car prices here.
Whether you’re coming from the North or South, get to Trujillo first. From the North, you’ll need to turn off at the town of Paijan to reach Puerto Malabrigo (Chicama) an hour before Trujillo.
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 here, take a taxi to Puerto Malabrigo.
From the South, aim for Trujillo, and get a bus from there to Paijan and then a taxi to Puerto Malabrigo.
Getting to Chicama sounds confusing and it is a little, but for the clearest Bus times and routes, check out Bus Bud. (It’s my go-to bus booking site).
Chicama Surf Spot Info
Chicama Surf Season
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.
Chicama Water Temperatures
Water Temp (°C)
Air Temp (°C)
Chicama Surf Spot Breakdown
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, Peru - Surf Spot Map
Chicama Surf Forecast
Where To Stay In Chicama?
Chicama Boutique Hotel & Spa
One of the best, top-quality places to stay and surf in Chicama. Chicama Boutique overlooks the point has a beautiful interior and provides excellent food. Slightly more expensive but ideal if you’re coming to Chicama with a non-surfing partner.
Delfines De Chicama
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 Hospedaje La Ola Azul if you’re a digital nomad and want a decent place to stay on a budget.
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 Cost Overview
Tips For Surfing Chicama
One crucial thing to know about 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.
While it’s a fantastic problem to have, it’s actually pretty tough to surf (and rip) a wave that you’re riding for two minutes straight! You’ll find that after tearing into a few turns after take off, you’re legs will get tired and you’ll have to trim for a bit until you catch your breathe before going again. It also pays to chill on the walk around (it’s a 15 minute walk at least) so walk steady and take deep breaths between each lap!
Chicama as a Surfing Digital Nomad Location?
While you could, in theory, live the digital nomad surfing lifestyle in Chicama, it doesn’t have a culture for it as such. As in, there certainly aren’t any co-working spots like other digital nomad surf hotspots (such as Ericeira in Portugal, or Florianopolis in Brazil).
That said, most hotels have decent wifi and there are several cafes where you could whip out the laptop to write emails between surf sessions.
Surf Lessons & Schools in Chicama
Surf Shop Malabrigo
Situated on the wooden lookout structure looking across at the point is a small surf shop where you can hire boards and wetties. For lessons ask the guys running the desk.
Whether you need a boat, ding repair or surf lesson, this is your go-to!
Chicama Surf Camp
While Chicama Surf Camp is also a great spot to stay in Chicama, they offer boards, wetsuits and lessons as well!
What's the Town Like?
Aesthetically, the town of Chicama (Puerto Malabrigo) is pretty bleak and run down. However one of the main reasons for this is that many Peruvians leave their homes unpainted to save on tax, so all the buildings are bare brick and look unfinished.
In Town, there are plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes and people are friendly and welcoming. You will need to speak a little Spanish though and even just a few basic phrases will go a long way here.
Chicama - Cost Breakdown
As a rough guide, here’s a breakdown of a 1 week surf trip to Chicama…
One week total = $295
Non-surfing Activities in Chicama?
In Short, no, there is not much else to do beside surfing in Chicama. It’s a place you go to experience one of the longest waves in the world and focus solely on surfing. But if you’re incorporating Chicama and the rest of Peru into a larger South America surf trip, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to for non-surf related tourist sites! Across Peru, there are so many incredible things to do, but in Chicama, you come here for one thing, and one thing only–to score the longest lefts of your life!
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 unique surf spots and can’t wait to share it and inspire your next trip.
Yes, beginners can surf in Chicama. While on a small day, a beginner surfer could head out at the point, the beach break in town is suitable for beginners.
Yes. You will need to wear 3-2mm wetsuit in Chicama.
The water temp hovers around 18c in Chicama, so you’ll need a 3/2 in winter.