7 breathtaking beaches in Peru for culture, thrills & chills

best beaches in peru - Playa roja red beach of paracas national park

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While the vibrant country of Peru is world-famous for its ancient ruins and rich cultural heritage, the absolute gems of beaches in Peru speckled along its expansive coast are sadly often overlooked. I’m here to take you through what I consider to be the 7 best beaches in Peru, and where to stay in each of them on both a luxury and frugal budget.

Most of the best beaches in Peru happen to be in the north of the country, thanks to the warmth of El Niño’s current coming in from the Pacific Ocean, and actually, many are quite close to each other. I feel a beach-hopping roadtrip coming on…

After reading this guide to beaches in Peru, you’ll also enjoy:

7 of the best beaches in Peru:

1. Máncora Beach

Loud and proud, this most popular of the Northern beaches in Peru beckons backpackers with its golden sands and clear waters. Máncora beach is a coastal hub for travellers as they escape Peru’s hilly cities for a spot of basking in the sun, sipping on fresh cocktails, and trying their manos at surfing or kiteboarding.

Once the sun sets, the beachfront huts start to teem with vibrant nightlife, and bonfires are lit across the beach. It’s cheap, it’s a little tacky, and sometimes it’s exactly what you need on a long backpacking trip.

Where to stay: Villa del Sol for luxury, Kimbas Bungalows on a budget (or La Pachamama Hostel on a super budget!)

mancora best beaches in peru máncora

2. Canoas de Punta Sal

Just a piedra’s throw away from Máncora beach lies Canoas de Punta Sal, a tranquil little stretch boasting stunning beaches and unrivalled tranquility. With a few swanky luxury resorts like Qalma and Decameron, it’s not quite untouched, but it is generally away from the rowdier crowds found on some beaches in Peru.

It’s a place to prioritise yourself and enjoy doing absolutely nada.

Where to stay: Qalma for luxury, Hoje de Palma Bungalows on a budget(ish).

3. Vichayito Beach

Vichayito beckons travellers with its beach bungalow vibin’ along a peaceful coastline. This little oasis provides the perfect backdrop for forgetting anywhere else in the world even exists.

Take your chill-out a step further with a beachfront massage or yoga session as palm trees swish over you in the breeze.

Where to stay: Vichayito Bungalows & Carpas for luxury, Kasa Pelikanos on a budget

best Beaches-in-peru-vichayito-at sunset
Big thanks to Liam of Travels Around Spain for providing this image!

4. Zorritos Beach

Right near the border with Ecuador, and just a little up from Máncora, Zorritos beach is a coastal paradise blessed with pristine beaches. Being nearer the equator means warmer Pacific waters which absolutely no one will be complaining about, and those waters just so happen to be crystal-clear, making them perfect for snorkelling.

A little less-known on the Gringo Trail, Zorritos is an ideal destination for those seeking tranquility away from the tourist crowds that beaches in Peru can sometimes attract, and a lovely place to reconnect with nature in the nearby thermal springs.

Where to stay: Bungalows & Suites Punta Camarón for luxury, Qeru House on a budget

5. Playa Roja, Paracas

Our southernmost of the best beaches in Peru! Venturing down to the coastal town of Paracas, home to some of the most dramatic landscapes of all beaches in Peru, you’ll be hit by the beauty of seeing the reddish-sanded desert meet the sea. Unfortunately, as this is part of the protected Paracas National Reserve, you can’t go onto the famous red beach of Paracas (Playa Roja), but there are other favourites nearby, like Playa Lagunillas, and the beach of El Chaco town.

The Paracas National Reserve is far more than Mars-like landscapes, though. It’s also home to sea lions, dolphins, and plenty of birds, and a boat tour to the Ballestas Islands, (aka the Galapagos of Peru) will bring you to see colonies of penguins and seals in their natural habitat.

Where to stay: Atoq Paracas Reserva Hotel for luxury, Viajero-Kokopelli Hostel on a budget

 best beaches in peru - playa roja red beach paracas national park, peru

6. Playa Agua Dulce, Lima

Alllllright so this one is cheeky because it’s not really a paradise beach, nor is it an ecological wonder, but it’s one of the better beaches in Peru’s bustling capital of Lima, and for that reason, I feel it earns a place in this list of noteworthy beaches in Peru.

Backed by the stunning cliffs that hold the city, this little sandy expanse offers a necessary respite from all noise and dust, as long as you can zone out the hum of the main road 😉

Where to stay: Hotel B for luxury, Puriwasi Hostel on a budget

 best beaches in peru barranco agua dulce lima

7. Huanchaco Beach

Again, not the most beautiful spot when it comes to beaches in Peru, but there’s more going on here that makes it worth a mention. Tucked into the outskirts of the city of Trujillo is where surf enthusiasts and history boffins find themselves sitting side-by-side, as Huanchaco’s unique blend of thrilling waves and cultural heritage collide.

Huanchaco is the amcestral home of caballitos de totora, surfboard-like reed boats that have been used (or ridden!) by local fishermen for millennia, and are often used recreationally, most notably in surfing competitions at the Festival of the Sea in late July. You’ll see these caballitos (little horses) propped up all along the beach.

 

Not only that, a traditional fishing culture also means… ceviche! Dig into the classic citrus-marinated seafood dish on this Peruvian beach as you watch fishermen come in with a fresh catch.

But make sure you don’t miss out on the non-beachy elements of the culture & history whilst in Huanchaco/Trujillo, too. A decent full-day tour can safely take you round all the best sights, from Chan Chan to the Dragon Temple.

Where to stay: Casa Las Lomas for luxury (relatively speaking), Surf Hostel My Friends on a budget

Now if I’ve done my job right, you’ll agree that beaches in Peru offer a hugely diverse bucketlist of experiences waiting for you to shimmy on down and explore. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures or precious moments of peace, you’ll find it all along the stunning coastline of this South American gem. So pack your backpacks, grab your (reefsafe!) sunscreen, and embark on a coast-hopping trip around the beaches in Peru, you won’t regret it!

Now that you’ve finished reading this guide to beaches in Peru, you’ll also enjoy:

 

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Last Updated on 15 March 2024 by Cuppa to Copa Travels

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