Las Aldas is a long beach separated by a rocky point that lies at Km 347 of the Panamericana, 30 kilometers south of Casma at the fishing village of La Gramita.
Clean, simple Italian-owned bungalows at the northern end of the beach, named Las Aldas (tel. 01/440-3241, US$22 pp), serve as a good base for exploring the nearby, deserted beaches. There are a few ruins in the hills above the bungalows.
Casma’s good budget option is Hostel Ernesto’s (Garcilazo de la Vega, tel. 043/41-1475, US$6 s, US$9 d), with basic, clean, and quiet rooms.
The best value in Casma is the Hostel El Farol (Túpac Amaru 450, tel. 043/41-2183, hostelfarol [at] terra [dot] com [dot] pe, US$12 s, US$18 d), a spacious hotel laid out on landscaped grounds complete with caged monkeys and tropical birds. The bungalow rooms surround a courtyard with a pool and have cable TV and plenty of hot water.
On the north edge of town is Hotel Las Poncianas (Km 376 of Panamericana, tel. 043/41-1599, ponciana [at] terra [dot] com [dot] pe, US$20 s, US$25 d), a large hotel with nice views from the second floor and similar amenities, plus a sauna, pool table, playground, restaurant, and a very friendly owner. Larger, more comfortable rooms are also available (US$30 s, US$35 d).
The best lodging option around Casma, however, is El Farol’s sister hostel at Tortugas, a beach town 22 kilometers north of Casma that is marked by a huge blue arch at Km 391 of the Panamericana. El Farol (tel. 043/991-1693, US$20 s, US$26 d) is perched on the hills at the southern end of Tortugas’s stone-and-sand beach and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding desert hills and the clear blue waters. There is good snorkeling, safe swimming, a fine assortment of seafood restaurants, and a secluded beach that is a short walk over the hills to the south. Make reservations during summer and holidays.