Surf Nomad - Chicama, Peru
Chicama. Permanent offshore winds, a perfect, mile long peel, nearly deserted seas and Peru’s alien landscape rising against the sky. Legend has it this natural wonder was discovered by Hawaiian surfer Chuck Shipman on his way back from the World Surfing Championship held in Punta Rocas in 1965. Shipman was so stoked by the waves he saw from the plane window that he raced up to the cockpit and asked the pilots for the coordinates. Chicama continues to inspire the same passion today.
If you have the legs for it, Chicama can take you for a mile long ride on its powerful, fast and tubular waves - from the point all the way into town and right up to the fishing pier. This earns it the title of “longest left in the world.” Despite its fame, though, you’ll find there’s plenty of space to spread out amid the sparse crowds. Since the wave is so long, its different sections challenge surfers of all levels.
After your legs have turned to rubber, you’ll be wanting to head back to your digs, and the aptly named Chicama Surf Hotel is at the top of our list. Its ochre colored buildings face the surf, so you can gaze out and relive your best rides of the day while downing a Pisco Sour, Peru’s most famous libation. The usual niceties (spa, pool, gym, free wi-fi) are all here, as is a towing service so you can avoid that mile long hike back to your starting point.
At its core, Chicama is a fishing village (they’re the original surfers here), so you’ll have no problem finding the freshest ceviche, most likely from the day’s catch hauled in at the fishing pier we mentioned earlier. Miguel Sanchez, the chef at Chicama Surf, offers his spin on Northern Peruvian cuisine, including his famous Tiradito en Salsa de Aji, a type of ceviche similar to sashimi with lemon and Aji pepper sauce. The hotel can also point you in the direction of a local seafood joint called Chicama, which is located next to the cliffs and offers stunning views of the sea.
For ocean vistas from someplace other than your board, have Chicama Surf arrange an ATV tour of the desert. Gazing at the swells from such a distance will make diving back in after a couple of hours spent roaring through the sand that much sweeter. Catch another ride, and give thanks to Mr. Shipman for scribbling down those coordinates.
Room w/ Double Bed & Breakfast: $130/night
Room w/ Double Bed & All Meals: $190/night
Tow-back Service: $30/ session
When to Go:
Conditions peak between April and October, when the southern swell rolls in, although the northern Swell between November and March is also promising.
How to Get Here:
Flights from New York to Trujillo layover in Lima, and start around $800.00. A car from Trujillo airport to Chicama can be arranged through Chicama Surf for $30/person and takes approximately 1 hour