By Andreas Ambarchian
Despite the abundance of coastline located close to some of the most affluent residential areas of Lima, wealthy locals still enjoy getting away from the center of the city to visit Punta Hermosa, a beachside district in the Peruvian capital. Here’s why you should visit this area—plus some tips on how to get there, where to stay, and what to do!
Getting to Punta Hermosa
Punta Hermosa is one of the most popular beach resorts in Lima. During the summer months—which fall here between December and March—thousands of people from the well-off, central areas of the city make the 25-mile commute down south along the Pan-American Highway. It’s a ritual so well observed that on certain Sundays, as people make their way back home, the entire connecting road is designated solely for northbound traffic.
For those without their own transport, buses direct to Punta Hermosa depart from the Puente Benavides in Surco. The journey takes around an hour and costs about 3 soles. Alternatively, you can take a taxi from the same location in little over half an hour at 5 soles per person.
Despite the popularity of the area, Punta Hermosa is not blessed with the idyllic features of an archetypal beachside paradise. The sand is not pure white and the water is not an inviting turquoise. However, there are a lot of beaches from which to choose along the lengthy coastline, so it’s possible to find a quiet spot to relax in. The sea, meanwhile, provides strong waves that make the area one of the most popular surf spots in Peru.
There are plenty of options for places to stay in Punta Hermosa. Private seaside huts are the closest option by the beach—these should be reserved prior to arrival. There is also a variety of hotels on offer in the area that can be booked in situ. The rates are slightly higher than might be expected elsewhere in Peru, but are far from extortionate.
You also can try out one of the cheap hostels in Punta Hermosa. These are generally reasonably priced for the area, available from about 40 soles a night, but are pretty basic: running water, cold or otherwise, is not guaranteed, while little more than thin blankets are offered by way of bedding.
Food and Nightlife
During the day, the best places to eat can be found on the beach. Small cafes serving fresh ceviche and other seaside favorites provide seating and parasols for customers, while waiters wander across the burning sand ready to take orders.
As the afternoon draws to a close and evening arrives, these eateries pack up and visitors must move away from the coast in search of a meal. There are a few restaurants in town, most of which offer decent food at the slightly inflated prices one might associate with a seaside resort.
The main draw after dark is Dragon del Sur, a nightclub located about a five-minute mototaxi ride out of the main beach resort. The open air club is not particularly spectacular but does a good job of gathering together most of the crowds. During high season, the cost of entrance is about 40 soles for men, while women often are not charged.
Literally translating as “beautiful point,” the name Punta Hermosa could be a little misleading for the area. However, with lots of places to stay, an endless supply of fresh seafood and a decent nightlife, the region certainly has enough going on to make the short trip down south worth the effort.
Andreas Ambarchian is a freelance journalist from England. He writes about a variety of subjects including travel, wildlife and sport. He wrote this article on behalf of Tucan Travel, specialists in tours all over Peru and Latin America. Photo courtesy of the author.