The extreme north of Chile showcases a string of gnarly reefbreaks, breaking close to the shore, on the wave-rich Alacran Peninsula. When groups of Peruvian and southern Chilean surfers discovered the potential in the late '70s, skills and equipment prevented the pioneers from tackling the reefbreaks, so the surfing scene was focused on the friendlier beachbreaks north of town. Since then, brave locals and visitors have ventured into the shallow, hard-breaking line-ups like El Gringo and have paddled or towed into the outside bombs of El Buey. When the pro circus arrived in 2007, even the world's best struggled to tame the tubes, so this is definitely not a zone for beginners. It is super-consistent for swell and light winds so late summer may be the ideal time to visit this city of eternal spring in the world's driest desert, the Atacama. Only 20km (12.5mi) from the Peruvian border, Arica has become a tax-free party town with lot's of Chilean and international tourists drawn to the city's beaches and nightlife.
© ~Low Pressure~
S-SW swells from the Antarctic's lows are super-consistent and send plenty of large swells in winter and a reasonable amount in the summer. It's advantageous to be located in the north of the country to avoid being pounded by constant storms. Breaking waves vary between 3-15ft (1-5m) year round. Some of the spots will break even better with the occasional summer NW swells between November and March. S-SE wind dominance remains around 65% year round, with more SE, except between Oct-Nov. Annually, 10-12% of the time it is calm. Mornings are typically windless, then light offshores pick up till noon when gentle S sea breezes create a little chop on the wave face. Some spots are really wind sensitive and are only surfed in the morning. Tidal range never exceeds 6ft (2m), but is relevant for the shallow Alacran reefs.