Imagine a perfect wave peeling endlessly down a left hand point break, overlooked by boulder-strewn cliffs and surrounded by desert plains. Now imagine a 5-star resort perched on top of the cliffs overlooking this wave with views from your private balcony all the way up the point.
Welcome to Chicama surf break … the world's longest left!
Off to a shaky start
We arrived into Puerto Malabrigo late at night after a hellish 15 hour bus journey from Máncora in northern Peru. Alternatively, the easiest way to get there is to fly from Lima to Trujillo and then take a taxi for another hour north.
I hardly remember checking into our hotel as I was deliriously tired, but I’ll never forget waking up the next morning in a supremely comfortable king size bed, opening the balcony doors and being greeted by clean lines of 3ft swell all the way to the horizon. I'd been dreaming about this part of our trip for weeks, now we were finally here ... and praise the surfing gods there was swell!
Just as I was about to suit up for a surf I got a wicked cramp in the stomach that sent me rushing to the bathroom. Noooooooo - damn that dodgy bus food! I couldn’t believe my rotten luck having to sit out my whole first day in this surfer’s paradise with a severe case of gastro.
Thankfully after raiding our medical stash I came good the next day, but the waves were a bit smaller, so I hired a standup paddle board. From my sick bed the day before, I'd watched a bunch of paddle boarders tearing up the break and had always wanted to try it - but man did I suck!
I spent two hours just trying to get up on my feet, let alone paddle around for a bit and quickly ruled out any chance of catching a wave. So I paddled back in, disappointed and exhausted (both from my exertion and earlier illness) and was too knackered to go out again that day.
Two days into my dream stay at Chicama and I still hadn't caught a wave! This was not turning out as well as I'd hoped ...
A Dream Come True
The third day was when it all came together. I woke up with a spring in my step and checked the surf. Yes ... there was still swell rocking in and it was the best I'd seen yet!
So after a quick breakfast I raced down to the board rental room with the idea that I'd try a long board this time. As I scanned the room I could hardly believe my eyes when I spied a beat up old bodyboard and a pair of fins buried in the far corner. Bugger the long board - with a bodyboard I was certain a catch a few waves!
That morning I scored a few medium sized waves as I got familiar with the take off zone and navigated the crowd of about 20 guys in the line up. Here’s some footage of me on one of the smaller waves...
But it was the afternoon session of that day that will go down in my memory as the BEST SURF EVER!! With clean 3-4ft waves rolling in and only 10 guys in the lineup, I managed to score some of the biggest sets and rode them all the way to the shore.
Thank you Chicama for living up to your name and making my dream come true!
Where we stayed
Puerto Malabrigo is only a small village with very limited facilities for travellers. There are a few basic hostels to stay in if you’re on a tight budget, but we splurged and stayed at the Chicama Boutique Hotel and Spa.
The resort is ideally positioned with the best views of the wave no matter where you are - in bed, on your private balcony, in the pool or jacuzzi, restaurant, bar or games room. The spa room features a Turkish bath, sauna and massage service to sooth those tired muscles after a marathon surf session.
If like me you're not travelling with any gear, the surf rental room stocks wetsuits, short boards, long boards, stand up paddleboards and thankfully even one lonely beat up old bodyboard with fins. Best of all, the resort also offers a zodiac boat service which picks you up after each wave and ferries you back to the take off zone. This way you can devote all your energy to catching as many waves as possible... Yeeewww!