Sandwiched on South America’s west coast between Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, and the Pacific Ocean, Ecuador is a diverse country with beautiful beaches, amazing scenery and culture galore.
It’s rich in history and home to the ancient Inca culture too – the largest and most advanced civilization in the pre-Colombian Americas.
So whether you’re looking to hang-ten with your buds, explore ancient ruins, or just go wherever the spirit takes you, Peru and its beaches will be enchanting and fulfilling destinations.
Below are 15 Peruvian beaches that offer a little something for everyone.
1. Las Pocitas
Peru has so many picturesque beaches that it’s impossible to say which is the most beautiful.
Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, but Las Pocitas would certainly top anyone’s list.
The aquamarine water rippling over soft, golden-white sand is hard to beat here, as are the little pools that form among the rocks at low tide, which make the perfect, tiny marine ecosystems for children to explore.
Bring a good book, a cold beverage and stick your toes in the sand, because peace and beauty are the main attractions here and there isn’t much else to do.
2. Playa Roja
Playa Roja, or red beach, gets its name from the red sand made from the erosion of ancient, solidified lava in the area, which beautifully contrasts with the blue sea and the dramatic rocks jutting from the ocean just offshore.
In many places, the beach is ringed by tall, jagged cliffs that give the area a fascinating, almost surreal feeling, like you’ve been teleported to another world.
Surrounded by a protected national reserve, Playa Roja’s beauty should remain unchanged for generations to come.
The area abounds with wildlife too, but to get the most out of the spread out attractions, it’s best to hire a local guide.
Boasting more sunny days per year than Arizona, Mancora is another popular spot for surfers and pleasure seekers of all types.
The Pan-American Highway runs straight through town, making it easily accessible and a favorite getaway for those who don’t want to take planes, trains, and helicopters to get to a decent beach.
Considering its population of only 8,000, it has a large number of restaurants, resorts and hotels.
Get here as soon as you can to take in the long beaches, cloudless sky, and blue waters, as tourism has been steadily increasing.
If you’re a surfer, Lobitos should be on your Peruvian itinerary.
Considered among the best surf beaches in Peru, Lobitos is blessed with ideal shaped waves, which often swell to 8-feet or more, thanks to the powerful currents that collide just offshore.
If you’re not a surfer but would like to give it a try, there are a number of classes available.
You’ll also appreciate the colonial architecture and abandoned oil rigs that seem to stand sentinel to an era long gone.
5. Punta Sal
Perhaps the quintessential beach, Punta Sal is located on the Pacific coast in northern Peru.
Thanks to the equatorial El Nino current, the water is warm and inviting year round, as is the local climate.
Due to its soft sand beaches, mesmerizing vistas and blue water, Punta Sal is considered by many tourists and Peruvians to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
At 6.5 kilometers, it’s the coast’s longest beach, so there should be plenty of room to spread out, get away from the crowds and enjoy all it has to offer.
6. Playa de la Mina
Ringed by a magnificent, stratified rock formation jutting from the sea and coiling behind the beach, Playa de la Mina will take your breath away from the moment you see it.
Depending on when you come, it could be empty or overcrowded.
Its popularity with tourists during the beach season can lead to unpleasant congestion, but you may have the place to yourself at other times of the year.
The water is very clear but can be cold too, especially in non-summer months.
If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the local sea lions, which like to bask in the sun after swimming in the cool water.
7. Cabo Blanco
Even if books aren’t your thing and you’ve been living in a cave since birth, you’ve probably heard of an author named Ernest Hemingway.
If you have, his famous book, The Old Man and the Sea, was inspired by the sport fish-rich seas surrounding Cabo Blanco.
Sadly, many of the big marlin that made Cabo famous in the ’50s and ’60s are gone, but the beautiful beaches, gnarly rock cliffs, blue sea, and sky are just like they were in Hemingway’s day.
You won’t see many old men struggling with massive fish, but you’ll see lots of surfers and scenery second to none.
Known as the birthplace of the fresh seafood dish ‘ceviche,’ Huanchaco is a beloved beach in the city of Trujillo.
Named a World Surfing Reserve Site in 2012, it draws surfers from near and far.
Once a quiet fishing town, Huanchaco is becoming a destination due to its laid-back vibe, wonderful beaches and proximity to the Chan Chan ancient ruins – one of the largest cities in pre-Colombian South America.
The archeological site is only three miles from Trujillo, and guided tours can be booked from the agents in town.
Let’s face it, the term ‘urban beach’ sounds a bit strange, like jumbo shrimp or civil war.
If you step back for a moment though, you may see that beaches like Miraflores are really the best of both worlds.
Below high, rocky cliffs adjacent to Lima’s ritzy downtown, you’ll not only have access to sun, sand, and surf but beautiful parks, wonderful restaurants, and the city’s fascinating museums and architecture as well.
There aren’t many places like it, where you can cram so many diverse and enjoyable activities into one day.
There’s a boardwalk, surfing and even paragliding too.
10. Paracas National Reserve
‘Where the mountains meet the sea,’ would be a great way to describe the beaches in Paracas National Reserve.
Framed by the desert and majestic Andes Mountains, the beaches here are remote and breathtaking.
Don’t expect to find a crowd or pesky vendors, as you’ll need to hoof-it to many of these unnamed beaches.
Once you’ve soaked up all the sun, surf and serenity you can handle, head to into Paracas and book a boat tour to the Ballestas Island Bird Sanctuary.
Though you can’t actually enter the island, the scenery from the boat will be more than sufficient.
11. Los Organos
Famous for its slow pace, marine life and surfing, the town of Los Organos is a good choice for those looking to decompress.
Punta Veleros is its most popular beach, but there are others nearby that are just as beautiful.
Hang around the docks and watch the local fisherman bring in their catch – most of which will end up in the quaint town’s family restaurants, and if you’re lucky, on your dinner plate.
Whale watching tours can be booked from town and sea turtles are pretty common too.
Easy and affordable lodging is available, as are more upscale, private bungalows.
12. Paita District
The Paita District is in the northwest corner of Peru, not far from its border with Ecuador.
Its most popular beach is Colan, which is known for its clean, white sand and flat, wave-free surf.
Noted for its beachside bungalows built on foundations of chunky boulders, its jagged, rocky cliffs and serene harbor filled with anchored boats, the scenery is nothing short of stunning.
Lodging won’t be a problem, no matter your budget, and a wonderful and inexpensive seafood meal is always just a short walk away, so ask a local or follow your nose.
Less than 15 minutes from the town of Chiclayo, Pimentel is notable for its traditional fisherman who still use the same reed boats their ancestors have for centuries.
Called, ‘caballitos de totora,’ which translates into, little reed horses, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time watching the locals launch them through the surf.
Known for its surfing and amazing sunsets, you’ll also find budget-friendly lodging, excellent food, and moderately crowded beaches.
Check out the Museum of the Royal Tombs of Sipan in Chiclayo for an afternoon change of pace.
14. Santa Rosa Beach
In southern Lima, in the Punta Negra District, lies Santa Rosa beach.
Noted for its large and perfectly formed waves, it’s a magnet for local and foreign surfers alike.
Surfing lore has it that the best waves appear from April until the end of the year and that it’s really not a good place for beginners.
So if you’re a novice, don’t show up with an outdated board and cheesy wetsuit like Keanu did in Point Break.
Instead, grab your shades, some sunblock, and a cool drink and watch the pros make it look easy.
15. Lima Beaches
Words like peaceful, clean and relaxing aren’t often used to describe the beaches in Peru’s capital and most populated city, Lima.
Rumor has it there are roving bands of inconspicuous thieves who specialize in nicking the belongings of careless tourists frolicking in the surf, so it’s always best to go with a friend or two.
Depending on the tide, pollution can be an issue as well, so an alternative would be to find a hotel with a nice pool, avoid the beach altogether, and spend the day checking out the city’s cultural attractions.