Punta Hermosa: Why This is Peru’s Best Big-Wave Shrine

| © Steve Corey/Flickr
Brandon Dupre

Don’t skip out on Peru’s best stretch of coastline for the warmer waters of the north—you’ll miss out on some epic surf and your only chance to surf a right hand wave in Peru. Pack your big-wave gun and a short board and get ready to surf until your arms turn to rubber. Here is everything you need to know about Peru’s big wave capital.

Peru is home to a coastline filled with world-class waves, from small ones for beginners to the giants of Pico Alto. In the north of Peru you have the warmer waters near Mancora and the consistent swell magnet that is Lobitos, while Lima has La Herradura. But the best stretch of coastline—definitely the biggest—may be found in the south of Peru in a stretch of coastline called Punta Hermosa. This coastline hosts Peru’s most prestigious surfing events and, of course, its big wave surf contests.

The breaks

Punta Hermosa is home to a stretch of beach that has both lefts and rights and works on most swells. You find anything from beach breaks to point breaks, and the giants of Pico Alto.

Pico Alto

Only the best of the best brave the cold water slabs at Pico Alto. The waves can get upwards of 40 feet and deliver crushing blows if you don’t make the drop. The spot now holds the best surfers in the world for big wave contests. Even if you don’t surf, the giant waves are quite the sight to behold and worth checking out from the shore, where you are safe and dry.

Punta Rocas

This is the most consistent break and one of the most crowded in all of the Punta Hermosa area. You’ll want to catch it on a south or west well when it catches every bit of the swell. Norths tend to miss it a little more. This wave hosts a lot of Peru’s national championship events and is best during the winter months. Bring your short board and maybe a gun because the break can hold big swells.

La Isla

This is the other famous spot in Peru’s Punta Hermosa. Along with the other waves, it is best during a south swell, which hits in the winter. This wave is right out in front of Punta Hermosa hotel, so if you are lucky enough to stay there you can wake up, check the waves, and stroll out to the lineup.


The size

How else can we say that the waves can get huge, especially on a big south swell. Probably the most dangerous aspect of this area is how big and strong the waves can be. These aren’t for the novice or beginner—go to the warmer waters or Lima for that.

Rocks and urchins

Like much of Peru’s coastline, there are a lot of rocks and getting out into the lineup can be difficult and taxing, especially on your feet. It’s a good idea to bring booties, not just for the rocks, but for the sea urchins too—the last thing you’ll want to do is step on one before you even make it to the lineup.

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