Background. Skin cancer incidence has increased over the last years, becoming a major public health problem. Objective. To describe the awareness, behavior and attitudes concerning sun exposure among beachgoers in the northern coast of Peru. Methods. We conducted a cross-sectional study in the Pimentel beach, Peru. The "Beach Questionnaire" was used and we surveyed all the beachgoers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from March 5 to March 19. For the statistical analysis, sun exposure habits, sunburns history, knowledge, attitudes and practices were crossed with sex using the chi2 test. Results. We surveyed 410 beachgoers, the most frequent phototype was type III (40.5%). Only the 13.66% of the respondents correctly answered the seven knowledge questions related to sun exposure and skin cancer. Men more frequently agreed that ‘‘when they are tanned their clothes looks nicer’’ (p = 0.048). Likewise, regarding the questions "Sunbathing is relaxing" and "Sunbathing improves my mood", men agreed or totally agreed with more frequency than women (63.64% vs. 46.15%, p < 0.001; and 61.36% vs 49.15%, p = 0.014, respectively). Regarding sun protection practices, women more frequently used sunshade (p = 0.001) and sunscreen (SPF ≥ 15) (p < 0.001) when compared to the male group. Conclusion. Sun exposure is a potentially preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Thus, awareness of the risks of UVR overexposure and adequate sun-protective behaviors and attitudes are essential. Our results, however, are not as favorable as expected. Public health efforts should encourage sun-safety precautions and intervention campaigns should be carried out in recreational settings, such as the beaches.