With more that 1,500 miles (2,414 km) of coastline, Peru is one of South America's hot spots for surfing. Lima, the country's capital, offers a variety of locations for all types of surfers. From the beautiful, serene beaches around the city to the many rugged breakers that jet out on the coast, Peru's beaches offer prime spots for beginner and advanced surfers alike.
Peru, South America's third most populated country, is home to 28 million people, many of whom are hard-core surf enthusiasts [source: New York Times]. The waves here are as big as those found in Hawaii, yet this spot has yet to attract an overwhelming tourist crowd. In fact, some of the best spots are often nearly empty, so surfers can enjoy big waves without swarms of tourists.
Locals, however, are well aware of the waves found in their region. Advertising in the area is dominated by billboards featuring swim-suit clad surfers endorsing everything from cell phones to soft drinks. Surfing seems to run in the blood of the people of Peru. Peruvian Sofia Mulanovich won the World Surfing Championship in 2004, a competition that is usually won by American and Australian surfers. As a result of her victory, surfing caught on as a sport that rivals soccer in popularity among Peruvian teenagers.
One of the great advantages about this area of Peru is the variety of waves that can be found within a span of a few miles. Directly around the capital city, you'll find surfers chasing waves all day and night. At Kon Tiki, waves are so huge that a tow-in is sometimes required. Pros like Mulanovich practice at nearby La Isla. At Pico Alto, waves grow up to 25 feet (7.6 meters) high. Punta Hermosa, 30 miles (48 km) North of Lima, is a center of Peruvian surf culture.