Cerro Azul isn’t one of those spots that blog posts rave about, as not many people know about this hidden beach town. Once one of Lima’s most popular summer getaways, it has since been eclipsed by the upscale beach town of Asia – find a chance to visit though, even for a day, you’ll see that Cerro Azul is a classic Peruvian beach town with a unique vibe. Here’s your ultimate guide.
There’s two main areas of Cerro Azul you want to stay in: either the Plaza de Armas or near the surf point break. The Plaza de Armas lodgings are more basic than the point break spots, but if you’re looking for the best deals then the plaza is your best bet – plus it’s only a short walk to the beach. The beach to the left of the pier, near the surf spot, has the town’s best lodgings. You’ll find expensive Airbnbs and luxury hotels.
One of the town’s main draws is its great surf. It’s truly one of Peru’s great left point breaks – which is saying a lot – and the best part is that it isn’t over-crowded. The best time to surf is early in the morning, when the winds aren’t as strong, and is best during south swells. If you’re looking for a board, a local has a shop and plenty of boards to rent in the alley just outside the surf beach’s parking lot. You’ll pay no more than 20 soles (USD$6.20) a day to rent a quality board from one of Cerro Azul’s locals.
When you’re at any beach town in Peru, there’ll be plenty of fresh seafood, and Cerro Azul is no exception. The locals favorite is jalea, which is fried seafood with yuca fries, and of course Peru’s favorite, ceviche. There is an unfathomable amount of restaurants selling fresh fish so you’re going to be hounded to sit down. A midday Pilsen or Cristal (Peru’s most popular beers) goes perfectly with the fresh fish, and is made all the better by your early surf sesh.
When you’re in a beach town like Cerro Azul there’s nothing else to do but lay out at the beach. It isn’t Peru’s nicest beach, but the beachside service more than makes up for it. Make sure to put on plenty of sunscreen, because the desert sun can be brutal to unfamiliar skin.
Bar D’ Maced is the town’s best place to try artisanal pisco. The bartender and owner runs a bar in the nearby town of Cañete, but on the weekends he serves up some of Peru’s best cocktails and pisco in Cerro Azul’s Plaza de Armas. Located in the porch of an abandoned church, it gives you the best spot to people watch from.