Is Chicama the longest surf wave in the world?

Chicama, Peru offers some of the longest surfable waves in the world

The longest and most perfect left-hand wave in the world can be found off the small coastal town of Puerto Chicama, Peru.

The spot is an extremely popular surfing destination due to the endless series of swells breaking on the left. For this reason, the pressure is not as high as in other destination hot spots. If you’re tired, or need a break, the next wave is waiting for you.

The incredible surfing potential in Chicama was discovered in 1965. Hawaiian surfer Chuck Shipman claims he looked out of a plane window when he noticed the Chicama wave. He then asked the pilot where exactly they were flying. When he returned to Hawaii, he did his research. For this reason, he identified a few promising spots.

Shipman then encouraged his surfing buddies in Peru to explore this region. A group of surfers finally found their way along an unmarked dirt road to the promising spot.

Chicama has been both a famous and popular surfing destination ever since.

How long does the wave last?

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The wave stretches for more than 2 km from the point. It breaks at a secluded rocky section, then ends at a long jetty on the barren coast.

The most common question locals ask themselves is: Was the entire distance traveled on one wave?

The answer is yes!

However, the entire cape where the waves break is actually 4 km long. It is safe to say that no one has walked this distance yet.

Everything you need to know about Chicama surfing

Image: @ the.unknown.surfer on Instagram

How to get there

The easiest way to get to Chicama is to fly to Lima. From there you’ll want to take a bus or a short flight to Trujillo. Then you will take another bus or rent a car and drive to Chicama from there.

Usually most surfers / travelers end up spending a night in Lima. Even locals find the area around the airport dangerous. If possible, try to find a route to a location outside of this area. Start your journey in the safest way possible.

Where to stay

Miraflores is a super touristy place to stay, but that’s for sure. Barranco is also a bit touristy, but it’s a bit sketchy and therefore cheaper.

There is also a town called San Isidro which is quite expensive as it caters to the wealthier locals. It’s a bit more of a stylish place to stay if you’re concerned about that sort of thing.

You can also stay at Surf House Chicama. It’s simple and clean, reasonably priced, and has a shared kitchen. The place only has ten rooms, so they often sell out.

Chicana Boutique Hotel is a more sophisticated option. Since you will be resting a lot between surf sessions, this is a truly glamorous and relaxing option.

When do the waves break

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For surfing, the area is constant all year round. However, the best season is between March and November. It’s fall and winter in the southern hemisphere.

During this time, you will get an average of two swells per week. Those coming from the south and southeast tend to bring bigger waves.

Difficulty of the Chicama wave

Chicama is an accessible wave for surfing! There is open space, so you don’t have to worry about reefs and barnacles. The waves themselves are well shaped for relatively easy riding (with a bit of experience). And luckily, the shark factor doesn’t have to be a concern.

Yet it is a wave that requires endurance. The point which helps to create the wave is subjected to a lot of wind and current. There is a lot of paddling and trying to stay in one place takes a lot of effort.

Once you get up the ride is smooth. And you’ll want to catch the waves all day.

Nearby places to surf

Image: @junglesurfsafaris on Instagram

Nearby breaks are also great places to stop if you plan to ride this epic wave.

Huanchaco and Pacasmayao are among the best spots for surfing near Chicama. The towns for these breaks are a bit more rowdy and you might want to have a bit more fun.

You can also experiment with renting a small fishing boat called Caballito de Totora. These small reed boats have been used to break waves and go fishing for almost 2,500 years!

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