Anyone who considers themselves a lover of waves has unfinished business until they visit Puerto Chicama, the small and charming village where the world's longest left-hand wave appears. Here, you can surf among sea lions, disconnect with its beautiful sunsets, enjoy delicious and affordable dishes from the Peruvian sea, and meet friendly and tranquil locals. Chicama is surf and much more.
Puerto Chicama is commonly known as the village of Puerto Malabrigo, on the northern coast of Peru, about 1.5 hours from Trujillo. It is a small fishing village that experiences a shake-up in its tranquility only when the ocean brings the longed-for waves. Throughout the rest of the year, the residents of Puerto Chicama enjoy the calm of a place like this, nestled within the desert, watching the fishing boats bringing in the day's catch to their restaurants and cevicherías, greeting occasional travelers, chatting leisurely along the promenade, or going about their daily tasks.
This tranquility is disrupted when the currents, tides, winds, and storms of the Pacific Ocean decide so. Dozens of surfers from all over the world come when the wave forecast is confirmed. You'll see everything from 'gringos,' Australians, and Germans to French, Spanish, Israelis, and people from all over the globe. Many Peruvians take a flight from Lima mainly to get here.
And it's not without reason. The coastline with its various beaches and bays creates the perfect conditions for the famous wave of Chicama, which, on its best days, you can ride for more than 3 kilometers. The sea bottom is mostly sandy, although there are some sections with rocks, so it's highly recommended to wear a helmet, especially on days when the Pacific shows its full potential. Unfortunately, the wave only appears when the perfect conditions align, so if you're traveling and decide to stop by Chicama, there's a chance the wave you seek won't be there. Still, the sea conditions and the bottom ensure very enjoyable waves almost always from March to November.
Despite being a small coastal town, Puerto Chicama has managed to balance its quiet life with moments of surf excitement. Here, you'll find all the amenities to make your sessions and stay perfect.
For accommodation, we highly recommend Hotel Sueños de Chicama, a privileged place being the last lodging on the promenade, where you can wake up, open the balcony, and have the best view of the waves of Chicama right in front of you. This is where we stayed every day we enjoyed Chicama, and it was a delight. Both Giovana and Junior made us feel at home and even provided us with contacts to rent surfboards. The rooms are spacious, with all the necessary amenities, and a private bathroom with hot water, ideal for ending the surfing session.
If you want to eat a good ceviche, seafood rice, or other typical Peruvian dishes, we highly recommend El Rinconcito Chiclayano, offering excellent value for money. If you prefer to dine with a sea view, there are also other very good options along the promenade; just take a walk and ask around. Another option when you're tired of so much fish, ceviche, or tiradito (if that's even possible) is to visit the small restaurant Burgers and Brownies, where you'll find delicious, generous, and reasonably priced hamburgers and pizzas. You can end the day with a delicious homemade brownie. Special mention to Mariela, the hostess, who will make you feel at home.
As for surfing, you'll have several options. It's best to ask where you're staying or approach a surfer in the area. Prices can vary quite a bit. Some people offer the option to rent a boat service that takes you to the waves. It's more convenient as you won't have to paddle to reach the lineup, and on days with rough seas, it may be the only option to catch good waves. Of course, the surf session will be more expensive, but for 80 soles (about 20 euros), you can get this transportation. We didn't choose it as we were told it wasn't necessary; you simply have to walk along the beach for about 30/40 minutes. However, we can definitely recommend whom to rent the surfboards from: El Zorro. He's a local photographer and surfer who has been enjoying his beloved Chicama all his life and has a range of well-maintained surfboards and wetsuits at the best prices in town. Don't hesitate to ask for him when you're there; you'll notice how kind he is and how much he enjoys sharing his knowledge with anyone who asks. Greetings from here; we had a lot of fun sessions thanks to his advice and the suitable boards he rented to us based on the type of wave available.
In conclusion, Chicama is a place with great charm, where time seems to stand still until the waves arrive. Similarly, the famous wave of Chicama only appears when the perfect conditions align. It's possible that when you go, that wave won't be there, but you can still enjoy very good surf sessions most of the year. Moreover, there are many more attractions to come here, such as its cuisine, sunsets, or simply seeking a few days of disconnection while listening to the sea in the background.
If you want to learn more about the Chicama wave and how it became the first wave in the world protected by law, we recommend reading the following article we wrote in 2018: