Where Are the Best Surf Spots in South America?

Serious surfers are always looking for the next great wave, and that often requires heading abroad. There are excellent surf spots all over the world, but not all of them boast the same beautiful scenery and welcoming cultures as those found in South America. Read on to find out about the best surf spots south of the Mexican border.

1. Nicaragua

Nicaragua is known worldwide for its beautiful beaches. Recently, it has even become a luxury destination for celebrities and billionaires. Because Nicaragua is a unique, diverse country, though, there’s still plenty of space, and plenty of waves left for everyone else.

For those who want to go surfing in Nicaragua without spending millions of dollars, the northern pacific shore has a lot to offer. Start by checking out:

  • Rocky Point
  • Nahualapa
  • Playa Santa Maria del Mar
  • Aposentillo
  • The Boom

2. Chile

Situated further south on the Pacific coast, Chile also offers consistent surf, countless breaks, and uncrowded beaches. It’s also a goofy-footer’s paradise, with mostly left-breaking waves. Check out the Arica region to the north for warmer water temperatures and be sure to ride the Chilean Pipeline.

For those who want some extra space and don’t mind donning a wetsuit, Chile’s southern coastline is covered with tubing point breaks. Because the water gets colder the further south surfers go, only the most adventurous wind up surfing the breaks on the southern coasts and there’s plenty of space to go around.

3. Brazil

Brazil is the largest country in South America, so it should come as no surprise that it has produced some of the world’s best surfers. Its long Atlantic coastline features a variety of climates and different waves, most of which can be surfed year-round. The downside is that most surfers know that Brazil is a top destination for a reason, so the beaches tend to be very crowded, especially near Rio de Janeiro.

For beginners, popular locations like Praia Joaquina with consistent waves are a good bet. For serious surfers, Guarda do Embau is not to be missed. This river mouth break throws long, powerful waves year-round. Many expect it to become the next World Surfing Reserve.

4. Ecuador

Ecuador may be a small country, but it still boasts plenty of great surf spots. It’s also one of the best places to learn how to surf. For lefties, Mompiche is a world-class point break, but most of the popular beaches are found further to the south. Littered with surf towns, southern Ecuador tends to be crowded not just with surfers but also with tourists looking for a party hotspot.

The central coast of Ecuador is much less crowded. The best time to hit those empty beaches is between November and April when a northerly swell hits the area. There are still waves to be found the rest of the year, too, though.

Start Planning Now

Whether surfers just want to take off for a long weekend of sun and surf or they’re planning world tours, there are plenty of options in South America. From surf camps to epic swells, visitors of all skill levels will find just what they need. Just keep in mind that it can be a challenge finding open space not just on the water but also in hotels and restaurants during each of these nations’ busy seasons, so it’s best to make plans well in advance.


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