The curving, gray-sand beach here is fine for swimming during the December to April summer, but expect serious teeth chatter during the rest of the year. The good surf, perfect for beginners, draws its fair share of followers and you’ll see armies of bleached-blond surfer types ambling the streets with boards in hand. Expect decent waves year-round. The beach break starts about 800m south of the pier – with a rock and sand bottom. It rarely connects for longer rides, but you can get plenty of fun lefts and shortish rights anywhere on the beach.

There is a S0.50 charge between 10:30am and 6:30pm to enter the town pier, a picturesque sight with a gazebo at its terminus.


You can rent surfing gear (S30 per day for a wetsuit and surfboard) from several places along the main drag. Lessons cost about S50 for an hour-and-a-half to two-hour session. Check at Otra Cosa restaurant for local volunteering opportunities.


Most guesthouses are located in the southern end of town in the small streets running perpendicular to the beach. You can get discounts of up to 50% outside festival and holiday times, so be sure to ask.


Not surprisingly, Huanchaco has oodles of seafood restaurants, especially near the caballitos de tortora stacked at the north end of the beach. Entertainment is of the reggae and beer variety. On weekends, trujillanos descend on the town and things are a little more lively.