Huanchaco | A Surfer’s Paradise

Huanchaco Reed Boat

If you google Huanchaco your screen will be awash with cigar-shaped tutora boats or caballitos (Little horses). This traditional reed crafted fishing boat is one of the earliest forms of a fishing boat in civilization. Huanchaco fishermen have been building these reed boats for centuries, certainly long before the Spanish arrived and long before the Inca’s extended their empire out to the Pacific coast. Today they are only used in a couple of countries in the world, Peru being one of them. Today a small number of fisherman maintain this tradition, growing the reeds and crafting them into the boats that have become synonymous with Huanchaco.

Huanchaco Pier

Huanchaco has moved on greatly from it’s quaint fishing village past to what has become a haven for those looking for a little peace and quiet as they pass through the Peruvian Pacific coastline. A world surfing reserve, Huanchaco attracts some of the greatest surfing talents from around the world due to the consistently good waves throughout the year.

There is a preconception here in Huanchaco that the tutora boat was the pre-cursor to the surfboard however historians claim this connection is merely casual.

Huanchaco Waves


For a relatively modest town, there is plenty of accommodation to choose from ranging from hotels through to basic surfer hostels. We stayed at the hostel Casa Fresh, situated opposite the beach, it’s roof terrace provides one of the best spots to watch the sun go down in Huanchaco, whilst the staff provides cold Cuba Libre’s and a relaxing environment to hang out and make new friends.

Accommodation is extremely cheap here you can get a double private room with en-suite for around PEN 30 a night (that’s around £6 a night!)


The beach itself isn’t all that special to be completely honest, however, it’s the waves that make this beach truly unique. Expect a constant crash of majestic waves throughout the day and night. Backed onto the main road this isn’t the most relaxing spot for sunbathing, however, you’ll find the beach mostly used by surfers rather than sun-seekers. You will find a selection of bars and eateries dotted along this sandy beach however you’d be better off saving yourself for the beach facing restaurants across the road which serve delicious food at extremely low prices throughout the day and night.

Huanchaco Beach


The food here is ridiculously cheap and extremely good quality. Here a two course meal plus a couple of beers for two people will cost you around £8.  You’ll find an eclectic range of food in Huanchaco from traditional ceviche to dutch-Peruvian fusion or Italian bistro’s. For a distinctly chilled vibe head to Surf Hostel Meri for the best breakfast of banana and chocolate pancakes or for lunch curry laced chicken taco’s. The service is SLOW, but the food is worth the wait. Another great spot is Chocolate Cafe, serving up a combination of sweet and savoury treats for breakfast and Lunch, this small cafe serves up top-notch food for a very small cost. For the sweet toothed amongst you Argolini is unmissable at any time of the day. Situated on the beach front this small bakery omits the sweet smell of baked bread and cakes along the beach front throughout the day.

Jake Surfing


Well, the obvious way to spend your time in Huanchaco is to embrace the surf. Whether you choose to tame the waves of Huanchaco or head to see the longest wave in the World in Peurto Chicama, there is no shortage of incredible waves to satisfy surfers of all abilities. If you’re looking for something a bit different head to the sand dunes of Otra Cosa for some sand boarding. On Thursday night’s the surf shop Janpix have an evening of Salsa that always a hit. Free lessons are available for anyone keen to hone their Hammerlock flip!

jake Sandboarding


We stumbled upon Huanchaco as a stop off point en route up North to towards Ecuador. We only planned to spend two nights here but ended up extending our stay by two extra days. If it’s even possible Huanchaco encourages an ever slower pace of life than the standard lackadaisical backpacker pace, a definite must on Peru’s northern coast.

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