Category Archives: Surfing

Montañita labeled as one of the world’s “coolest surf towns”

For those travelers in search of the aquatic component in their journey throughout South America, Montanita offers a little bit of everything for those interested in traveling to the coast while visiting Ecuador.

The Town and Surf

The Town and Surf
Photo by: Andrew Magill

Surfing in particular seems to be the main draw of the town itself, but as a consequence of this near-universal sport, the town itself has become a magnet for foreigners from all parts of the world looking to bask in its laid-back vibes. As all things seek to balance themselves here however, you’ll find the night life here is over the top to the point that certain clubs in Quito can’t even hold a candle to just how crazy things get here after sundown.

Fire Twirling

Fire Twirling
Photo by: Carlos Adampol Galindo

Great waves, mellow locals and an abundance of international restaurants scattered throughout the town turns Montanita into a rather interesting getaway; one which almost becomes a wormhole into another place entirely, given the diversity of the people here. You’ll find artisans selling their wares on the side of street, and once questioned you’ll find they hail from the likes of either Argentina or all the way from Germany!

Town Streets

Town Streets
Photo by: Jonathan Hood

You’d swear it wasn’t even Ecuador anymore.

Dusk

Dusk
Photo by: Gabriel Argudo

So in a sense, dear traveler, we’re asking you to do yourself a favor in regards to getting your feet wet – head to Montanita should you feel compelled to check out Ecuador’s coast and ride a wave or two before the party starts!

via Travel + Leisurehttp://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/worlds-coolest-surf-towns/9

Read up with our guide to Montanita at: http://www.vivatravelguides.com/south-america/ecuador/the-southern-coast/montanita/ 

On the Road – Peru: Surfing Safari

Anthony Walsh (Australia) and Eala Stewart (Hawai'i) conquered El Gringo. Photo by Lorraine Caputo

 

 

As the announcer began the awards ceremonies for the Maui and Sons Arica World Star Tour surf competition in Arica, Chile, the winners craned their necks to see the waves coming high and thick. Third place was a tie between Cristian Merello of Pichilemu, Chile, and Lucas Santamaría of Mar del Plata, Argentina. Eala Stewart from the cradle of surfing, Hawai’i, in came in second. The grand prize of $8,000 went to Anthony Walsh of Australia. As soon as the formalities were over, they hit the mighty El Gringo, to give it one last go.

 

These surfers were amongst the 69 who came from 12 countries to challenge El Gringo, also called the Chilean Pipeline, which forms off Isla Alacrán. Why is it called El Gringo? Because it is the man-eater of waves: a perfect A-frame, with barrels forming to the right and left, rolling over an uneven, submerged reef seabed and crashing upon a rocky shore. It has serious power and is fast. Hazards are impalement, death by drowning and having your ego bashed. Needless to say, this gnarly wave is only for experts.

 

Over three-quarters of the competitors came from Latin America, including eight Peruvians. But not even that country’s greatest surfers, Gabriel Villarán and Cristóbal de Col, could make it to the semi-finals. They packed their boards and headed back north to hit the surf in their own country.

Máncora has Peru's most famous waves. Photo by Lorraine Caputo

Peru’s surfing safari trail stretches from south of Lima to the Ecuadorian border. Internationally, the most famous is Máncora, in the extreme north of the country. Legends like Fernando “Wawa” Paraud have schools here—in fact, novices can chose from over a half-dozen  places where they can learn to hang ten. The cold Humboldt Current veers off the coast here, making a wetsuit necessary some months of the year.

 

Several other good surfing spots are near Máncora. To the north, a mere 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the Ecuador border, is Zorritos. It is the only place where a wet suit is not necessary. Travelers may take lessons at Hands & Surf Escuela, established by the international organization Surfing Solidaridad.

 

Cabo Blanco, to the south of Máncora, hosts a Billabong competition ever year. It is an expert wave, with reef and riptides. This small fishing village has very limited services.

 

Ancient Peruvian surfing at Huanchaco. Photo by Lorraine Caputo

Further south is Huanchaco, where travelers can not only hit the waves on board, but also caballito de totora, the local reed boats that date from ancient times. This is another place where Peru’s great long boarders have opened schools and surf shops.

 

It may seem surprising, but some of the country’s other surfing beaches are right in the nation’s capital, Lima. The Miraflores district’s Costa Verde has several beaches perfect for beginning to intermediate surfers: Redondo, Makaha, Waikiki and La Pampilla. All breaks are fairly consistent year round but best with a swell from the southwest.

 

The better beaches, though, are to the south of the city. Experienced long boarders can hit the waves at Punta Hermosa, Punta Negra and Cerro Azul, immortalized in the Beach Boy’s song Surfin’  Safari.

 

Peru’s surfing team is one of the highest ranked in the world, not surprising since this is considered one of the birthplaces of the ancient sport. It has had several world champs, including Sofía Mulánovich of Punta Hermosa, who was the first South American to win the Association of Surfing Professionals women’s world title, in 2004. In 2007, she was the first South American to be inducted into the Surfers Hall of Fame.

 

So, let’s go surfing now. Come on a safari, hitting the shores of Peru.

 

 

 

Lorraine Caputo is one of V!VA’s longest-tenured writers. These days, she’s back on the road, updating our 2012 edition of  V!VA Peru. Check the blog for more of her updates from the road.