Peru’s Northern Desert


Penniless (in local currency that is) and with a busted AC we were gunning it at 120 km/h in Peru’s Northern desert. The fastest we have gone since Mexico.  Our ear drums rattled as the strong winds shook the car and partially pealed the skin off of our faces, but at 37 degrees we were not about to close the windows. It seemed every half hour or so we were being pulled over for a police check, but unlike the corrupt bribe stories we were told to expect, these guys were friendly, with the last cop having us follow him out of town for a shortcut.  None the less these frequent stops extended our travel time past the expected arrival time.


Just before dusk we arrived in Chikama, the host to the largest left breaking wave.  The beach town was unlike those of Central America.  It was set in a desert, void of vegetation, including palm trees and lacking the screaming Tucan’s and other birds that insured everyone was up before dawn.  We were unsure whether the town was half destroyed or half built, but with the sand cliffs dropping off into the ocean it had character.

The wave (s) in all it’s glory, as observed from above
Early morning feeding time photo op

The water was also cold enough for everyone to be wearing wet suites, excluding one local kid and Brett.  After an hour and a half Brett still claimed the water was fine, while I questioned him, wearing long pants and a toque, wondering if he was numb and loosing his senses (not that I am the best reference point for temperature, but still).

DSC05825 DSC05845

From Chicama, we migrated 60 km down the coast to what would turn out to be a longer than expected stay, as we clung to the air’s summer feel, which was about to be lost once we moved again.




  • Ronald Desrochers

    April 3, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Always a pleasure to read your fine text and description. Wish that I would have the guts to do your fabulous trip. I went in Peru in 1978. Memories!!

    • bpainter

      April 3, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      Thanks Ronald. Wonder what the places looked like in 1978, no doubt a lot different.

  • Nale

    April 4, 2016 at 12:03 am

    I can’t wait to see a post about Lima!!!!!

  • Mom

    April 5, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Is that the end of surfing? How sad!!! You had a good run of the waves.