Relax and surf: Peru offers the beaches of Pacasmayo


We left Lima at 7 p.m. It was a night bus, no options to see the landscape but no big deal since the Peruvian coast is mostly a desert. It was around 5 a.m. when we arrived to Pacasmayo. My first thought was: “This is definitely a small beach town.”

Relax and surf: Peru offers the beaches of Pacasmayo

A small town with colonial touches
Coming from a city with more than eight million inhabitants, a town with about 27 thousand people was tiny, but they all are very friendly. They let me check in to my lodging although it was very early, just because they assumed I would be tired.

After a nap and a quick shower I was ready to explore the area. Streets are narrow, there are few cars but a lot of mototaxis, not only because of the small size of the town but also due to the warm weather which lasts all year long. It was really quiet. I was expecting a bright sunny day, but it looked a bit gloomy. The positive side: Walking around was more comfortable.

In Pacasmayo you will find very pretty colonial houses, similar to the ones you see in Trujillo. Unfortunately they are not that well preserved, but the charm is still there. and surf: Peru offers the beaches of Pacasmayo
Jesus overlooks Pacasmayo. click to enlarge

Sure, a beach town is different than small towns in highlands, just think about the houses with flat roofs. But I could also notice differences in the locals. I found people more outgoing and ready to talk to you, while in highlands they could be shy at the beginning. I think people in Pacasmayo are like the architecture of the area, a mix of lovely colonial buildings, nostalgia for a wealthy past, new buildings and high expectations for the future. Everyone seemed to know to each other here and I felt a bit like an outsider, but this feeling didn’t last very long thanks to the people’s warm welcome wherever I went.

Well, it was time to look for something to eat and I knew exactly what to get: a ceviche! I found a small and cozy place selling ceviche, which cost not even half the price of a similar dish in Lima.

Beach time
Pacasmayo is blessed with nice beaches, but there is one, El Faro, which is especially attractive for surfers. It wasn’t a big surprise seeing young people running to the beach to check the waves and then coming back carrying their boards. (One of the most popular and maybe also the biggest store was a surfshop.)

Surfing is becoming more popular in Peru, not only by Peruvians, but also foreigners looking for the perfect break. They like it here because it’s still uncrowded and there are plenty of places to discover. The best waves can be found from April to October. To entice surfers even more, the fishing village of Chicama has waves that stretch two kilometers wide, and is located 30 kilometers from Pacasmayo.

Next morning was Sunday and the sun came out very early, a perfect beach day. But first I went to the highest point in town to get a nice view. As in many other places in Peru, on top of the highest point there was a tall white Christ, arms wide open, like if he was guarding the whole town. From there I saw the pier and couldn’t help it walking along it, which is one of the longest in Peru.

The beach was getting crowded, mostly with locals who wanted to enjoy a quiet day. The only noise I heard came from the waves and children playing. After a couple of hours at the beach, sitting on the porch of the hotel with a cold drink and a book was perfect.

A tip: Pacasmayo is still a small town, so if you miss lunch time, you’d probably have to wait until dinner. Sunday evening is so quiet here. It seems to be everyone goes to bed early either to wake up early to start the work day or to look for waves.

Next morning I left Pacasmayo. There was no bus going to Lima, so I went to Trujillo and from there back to Lima. It was a great opportunity to walk around this lovely city. Pacasmayo will suit you if you want to stay away from the crowded beach areas and prefer a beach town lost in time.

Click here to read about Yadira’s recent trip to Huancayo.