Huanchaco Beach

Ride the waves on a surfboard, stretch out on the sand and visit an ancient city at this laid-back town on Peru's northwestern coast. 

Huanchaco is an easygoing Pacific Ocean beach town, popular with surfers and close to many historical sites. Learn to surf, tour an ancient city and enjoy seafood specialties in the many fish restaurants.

Founded by the Spanish in the 16th century, Huanchaco was Trujillo’s main port for around 400 years. Today, it effortlessly blends its ancient fishing traditions with the vibrancy of a surfing and backpacker destination. 

The main attraction here is the long stretch of pebble and sand beach framed by a palm-shaded esplanade. It is an ideal place to enjoy relaxed walks and to sit and gaze out across the Pacific Ocean. Go to the Muelle de Huanchaco, the town’s century-old pier and a great location to enjoy the sunsets. Watch as local fisherman enter the ocean on their caballitos de totora. These are boats made from reed, a design which originated more than 3,000 years ago. 

Huanchaco’s strong waves make it one of Peru’s most loved surfing destinations. If you want to learn to surf, book some lessons with qualified instructors at one of the town’s surf schools. A great time to watch experienced surfers on the water is in February when the beach hosts the Huanchaco Longboard Pro surf competition. 

Away from the beach, the town boasts a wealth of bars, cafés and restaurants. Sample a ceviche, a traditional Peruvian plate of fresh fish marinated in citrus juices, chili and spices. Walk to the Santuario de la Virgen del Socorro, a 16th-century colonial church that sits on a hill above the town. Enjoy impressive views of the area before touring the interior. 

Huanchaco is also a good base from which to visit Chan Chan, a fascinating pre-Colombian city that’s only a few miles away. The archeological site was once the capital of the ancient Chimu Kingdom. 

Huanchaco Beach is about a 25-minute drive from Trujillo and is well served by buses. The FAP Carlos Martínez de Pinillos International Airport, which receives daily flights from Lima is only a 10-minute drive away. 

A popular year-round destination, Huanchaco truly springs to life between December and March, the summer season. Expect cloudier days and colder water temperatures from June to September.

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