Huanchaco- surfs up

Trip Start Jan 07, 2013
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15
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Trip End Aug 01, 2013


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Flag of Peru  , La Libertad Region,
Sunday, February 24, 2013

At first the 9 hour bus ride didn't seem like a bad idea. We were scheduled to leave Lima at 1130 pm and arrive in Huanchaco early the next morning. Unfortunately that wasn't the case... About an hour in the AC died and the bus just stopped along the side of the road (the windows were so fogged I couldn't tell where we were). The bus stewardess couldn't contact the driver, who was in his own locked compartment, nor could she even open the door. 40 of us were trapped in a sauna with literally no way of getting out other than breaking a window. Restlessness quickly set in and I thought the passengers were about to overthrow the bus stewardess. She managed to open some windows and the roof compartment until a new bus came 2 hours later. I'm pretty scared as to what would happen if there was a fire and everyone was trapped inside like that...

Huanchaco was a short cab ride away from Trujillo, our bus's final destination. With the help of our driver we trolled up a few streets looking for an open hostel and ended up in casa suiza, which turned out to be pretty nice. It was a short walk to the beach, where the life of the town lies. In my guidebook, Huanchaco was dubbed a "surfers paradise" and I'd say that's pretty accurate. The waves were extremely long with a perfect break, and it was only ten bucks a day to rent a board and a wetsuit! Nearby in Chicama you can get a ride on the longest left hand breaking wave in the world, i want to say 2km but don't quote me on that. For those who don't want to surf there is some amazing ceviche with seafood caught by local fishermen in their iconic reed kayaks, as well as many inca ruins near by.

The "go big or go home" philosophy I usually bring to board sports doesn't work as well with surfing... After renting our equipment the first day, our move was for the professional area of the beach. I got some great video of the waves breaking on my face, and Greg got some great video of the bottom of the ocean. He's 3 for 4 on losing cameras so far (4 for 4 upon writing this). But yeah, we learned our lesson. A few sets with the smaller waves ended in much more agreeable way. After learning how to read the ocean and position myself better to catch the waves, standing up, turning, and speed pumping were no problem. Using a wetsuit made a huge difference in comfort and warmth. The ocean temp here is very similar to California, which was usually way to cold for me to stay in the water long enough to really practice surfing. With this discovery I am
much more motivated to surf back home too.

After 3 straight days of surfing 2-4 times a day I can say that the rocket power lifestyle is definitely for me. Between sets we would nap on the beach, do yoga, or eat at surfer burger (best burgers I've had in South America so far, although not a ton of competition). The lack of control and total dependence on nature for good waves turned from my most despised into my favorite part about surfing. It's all about being in the moment: taking advantage when the break is good and resting when it's not. Each day ended with a great set right around sunset, as the sky went from gold to red to violet.

Thankfully, the bus ride back to Lima for our next flight was much much more comfortable than the first. We almost missed it, but our taxi driver must have been an amateur racer in his spare time. There are literally no rules on these small town roads. However there are also no accidents that I've seen, anarchy driving kind of works.
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