Surfing in South America, Brazil

Surfing in South America – The Ultimate Guide

Sharing is caring!

Surfing in South America – The Ultimate Guide

A surfer’s paradise. A typical sentence to describe the best places to surf. Nonetheless, surfing in South America is not typical, far away from that; it is memorable. 

How so? 

In this post, WWB Writer and resident expert on South American travel, Ana will share popular must-know surf spots and less mainstream surfing spots with essential surf spot information, instructions for you to get there, and surf camps in South America whether you want to learn or receive local guide advice. 

After reading this post you’ll know which beaches are best suited for your current skill level and how warm Caribbean waves can be a BIG deal. 

Don’t worry, If you want a quick glance I’ve got you covered here is a concise list of the best surfing South America spots: 

Map Tip: Did you know? You can feel the beach like you were there! Just expand the little map window located in the left bottom corner. Then click on ‘Street View’ orPhoto Sphere’ and enjoy the 3D view!

Surfing in Peru, South America

Surfing in Brazil, South America

Surfing in Ecuador, South America

Surfing in Chile, South America

Surfing in Colombia, South America 

Related Posts on Traveling in South America

Why Surf in South America?

Beaches for any skill level 

The best surf spots in South America have waves suitable for any skill level.

Whether you’re a beginner, eager to learn surfing while eating delicious Latin American food; intermediate surfer, seeking to improve your technique and party, or an experienced hungry for exhilarating waves. 

For any travel style

Lively or quiet. Whether you would like a city surf spot or a rural surf spot there is an option for you. Go to parties, explore nature, or learn Spanish while you surf in Ecuador. It’s up to you!

Warm sea temperatures 

If you’re a beginner this is a perfect condition for you to learn as the Caribbean beaches are much warmer hence better to practice. However, keep in mind this doesn’t mean water temperatures can’t get cold! In Pichilemu, Chile you need wetsuits to go in, as the beach spot can get very windy which makes this pot more suitable for experts.

Surf schools and camps 

Even though surfing wasn’t as highly important in South America 5 or 10 years ago, this is not the case anymore as more school surf, surf camps, and surf enthusiasts rise every year. Getting classes is now easier than ever in spots where surfing lessons did not exist, such as the case with Palomino beach.  

Additional activities 

If you come to South America only to surf that would be a total waste, surfing trip to South America is not complete without exploring different adventures such as going for a relaxing yet fun time in the Palomino river, sightseeing whales, or eating delicious empanadas ( a delicious crescent-shaped pastry filled with chicken, meat, shrimps,etc.) 

Ready for your quest? Let’s go!

Surfing in South America

Surfing in Brazil, South America

Surfing at Barra da Tijuca beach, Rio de Janeiro 

Surfing in South America, Barra, Brazil
Surfing in South America, Barra, Brazil

Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on Unsplash

Who is this beach best for?

Surf, beyond the city noise.

Let’s be honest, Copacabana and Ipanema beaches are iconic surf beaches in Rio de Janeiro, if you have time and can stand the crowds, visit them. 

But, if you want to visit Rio de Janeiro, one of the best places to surf in South America, learn or practice surfing, and want a less centric surf spot; Barra da Tijuca it’s a not-to-be-missed surf beach in Brazil.

With 18km of fine white sand (yep, a really loooong beach!), a fun vibe, and green glistering clear water for you to enjoy Barra da Tijuca has strong currents, but don’t be discouraged if you’re a beginner as this surf spot can be enjoyed for different surf skill levels.

Barra da Tijuca surf spot information 

  • Experience: Beginners-Intermediates
  • Crowd Level: Medium 
  • Consistency: High
  • Best Season: In Autumn
  • Sea temperature:  22°C (May)
  • Best Tide: All Tides
  • Seabed: Sand 
  • Type of Wave: Peaky Beach Break
  • Wind Direction: Northerly
  • Swell Direction: Right and Left (NE-S)

Learning to surf in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro

To surf in Barra da Tijuca, a good option can be:

  • RioAdventures: As a tour operator Rio Adventures offers guided adventure, trekking expeditions, and outdoor activities like scuba diving in Rio de Janeiro at $83.79. The surf lessons they have in Barra are especially for beginners and available in Portuguese, English, and Spanish language. The class is 1 hour long and costs $30.56, in Posto 2 and 3 in Barra da Tijuca. 

Note: As a beginner, if you go with a school they may take you to Posto 2 (based on sea and wind conditions), but usually, one of the best surf spots for advanced surfers begins in Av. Lúcio Costa, 6900 – Posto 8, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro.

Posto ( Beach sections)

It’s important you know that Rio de Janeiro beaches are divided into sections called postos (lifeguard stations) and each one has a different activity and vibe to offer. As your main goal is to surf, the best posto in Barra da Tijuca is Posto 8, however depending on wind and sea conditions, the other postos could be good choices too.

How to get there

Address: Av. Lúcio Costa,6900 – Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, Brazil

Google Maps: Barra de Tijuca

Transportation

By car: From Rio de Janeiro in Albino Pinheiro, the quickest way is to go via Av. Governador Carlos Lacerda/Linha Amarela (39 min) to Av. Lúcio Costa. Route map: Barra da Tijuca.

By bus or taxi: 

  • Rio de Janeiro: You can get a taxi and expect to pay $13-$16 (23min).  You can take a bus line 309 or 957 from Avenida Presidente Wilson próximo ao 113 to Avenida Sernambetiba próximo ao S/nsuch from $1-$2 (2h) with Fetranspor services. Check for more info in:rome2rio and fetranspor . Google bus route: Barra da Tijuca  

Surfing in Madeiro Beach, Pipa (Rio Grande do Norte)

Surfing in South America, Pipa, Brazil
Surfing in South America, Pipa, Brazil

Photo by Matheus RibeirãoNet on Unsplash

Who is this beach best for?

All in one beach surf spot. 

The full package beach: surf, take lessons, kayak, swim with dolphins, relax, eat delicious shrimp, does it get any better? Welcome to Madeiro Paradise. 

Madeiro Beach (Praia do Madeiro) is a paradise in Tibau do Sul,  far from the road. The only downside? Accessible only by walking up and down through 162 steep stairs (sometimes paradise is harder to reach)

BUT, what you’ll get as a recompense is absolutely worth it.  

As one of the best places to surf in South America, you can get the best of nature, surrounded by cliffs, a vibrant scenery where nature overhangs. Swim with dolphins and surf in warm water temperatures, ideal for beginners. You can enjoy facilities such as a grand variety of surf schools and seafood restaurants.

And, if you’re tired and just want to swim, go to the far right high tide where you can enjoy calmer waters, and little warm natural pools, does it get any better? 

Madeiro surf spot information 

  • Experience: All levels
  • Crowd Traffic: Medium-High 
  • Reliability: Inconsistent
  • Best Season: Summer  
  • Sea temperature:  27.6°C ( May)
  • Best Tide: All Tides
  • Seabed: Sand 
  • Break Type: Beach Break
  • Wind Direction: South
  • Swell Direction: NE-S

Learning to surf in Madeiro, Pipa  

Thanks to their ideal waves for beginners there are a lot of surf schools available in Pipa:

  • Pipa Surf School: Located at Baía dos Golfinhos, a perfect beginner spot in Pipa surrounded by dolphins. The school offers surf lessons and equipment rentals for SUP, surf and kayak activities, and rackets to play frescobol. Check for info in:  @pipasurfschool and their contact page pipasurfschool

How to get there

Google Maps: Madeiro Beach  

Address: Madeiro Beach, RN-003, 1339-1089, Tibau do Sul – RN, 59178-000, Brazile. Referential pints: Santuário Ecológico and the beaches Pipa and Cacimbinhas. 

Note: The entrance is through long steep stairs so it’s not advisable for people with mobility or heavy knees problems.  

Transportation

By car: You need to go via BR-101 to RN-003 in Tibaou do Soul. Route Map: Madeiro Beach

By bus or taxi: 

  • Natal: The taxi can cost between $40-$55 (1h).  By bus, the cost is $3-$4 (3h) with Viação Riograndense transportation, then you have to walk 2.5km to Madeiro Beach (30min) via Av. Baía dos Golfinhos and RN-003. For current prices, routes, and more information check:rome2rio and livepipa.com.

Surfing in Joaquina beach, Florianópolis (Santa Catarina)  

Surfing in South America, Florianopolis, Brazil
Surfing in South America, Florianopolis, Brazil

Joaquina, Florianopolis by Papa Pic/flickr

Who is this beach best for?

With top world-class waves and thrilling sandboarding around the corner, what else can you ask for? 

As one of the best surfing in South America, this is a do-not-miss surf spot. 

Ideal for experienced surfers, Joaquina Beach has been part of world surfing championships, holds good facilities to park, eat seafood, sightseeing birds, and sandboarding!!! (If you get bored, Joaquina is not the problem, is you.)

Joaquina surf spot information 

  • Experience: Experts
  • Crowd Traffic: High
  • Reliability: High
  • Best Season: Winter
  • Sea temperature:  20.5°C (June)
  • Best Tide: All tides
  • Seabed: Sand 
  • Break Type: Beach Break
  • Wind Direction: North Westerly 
  • Swell Direction: E-S

Learning to surf in Joaquina, Florianópolis 

Joaquina may be best for experienced surfers but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to surf in this paradise. If you’re a beginner these are some good socially rated schools that have classes in Florianópolis.

  • WSL Pro: Karina Abras – Learn to Surf!: Located just in front of Joaquina beach you’ll find Easy Surf School, a school where you can learn to surf with Karina Abras; a Brazilian Longboard Champion, with 3 accredited certifications. 

The sessions cost around 90 mins from $23 per person. You can find updated information here: Airbnb experience. (btw the lessons can be in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese; so you won’t get lost with instructions!)

  • Surfing Lessons with a Qualified Instructor: Located in Barra da Lagoa ( an ideal beach for surf beginners in Florianopolis), you’ll find Sea Wolf Surf Club, a school hosted by Victor; a qualified surf instructor with 5 years of experience. The sessions can last 120 mins for $19 per person. Available in English and Portuguese. Check for updated info here:  Airbnb Experience-Surf with Victor    

How to get there

Address: Joaquina Beach, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina. Referential points: Hotel Joaquina Beach (just in front of the beach) on Av. Mayor Acácio Garibaldi’s. Thiago , 2323, Lagoa da Conceição, Florianópolis, CEP 88062-600.

Google Maps: Joaquina Beach  

Transportation 

By car: If you go by car from Florianópolis you have to go via Rod. Admar Gonzaga to Av. Pref. Acácio Garibaldi São Thiago. Route map: Florianópolis

By bus or taxi

  • Florianopolis center: Taxis prices are around $11-$14 (24min-35min). By bus, take the executive line 2120 of  Consórcio Fênix in Rua Tenente Silveira,162, then take the bus line 363 in Av. Pref. Acácio Garibaldi São Thiago, 157-1 – Retiro (1-2h). Check for more information on: rome2rio and consorciofenix. Google bus map: bus route.
  • Lagoa da Conceição: Taxis prices are around $4-$5 (10min). By bus, take the line 363 in  Avenida Afonso Delambert Neto (22min-25min). Check for more information on: rome2rio and consorciofenix. Google bus map: bus route
  • Retiro: You can go by car or taxi in a 4 min ride. Taxis prices are around $2-$3. A practical example: rome2rio. But, if you’re this close, the best way it’s to walk, just 25 min away from the beach 🙂 

Surfing in Peru, South America

Surfing at Makaha beach, Lima (Miraflores)

Surfing in South America, Miraflores, Peru
Surfing in South America, Miraflores, Peru

Miraflores, Lima by ArtDiNo/flickr

Who is this beach best for?

Learn to surf in the morning, and be sunset enchanted in the afternoon.

In Lima, Peru’s capital Makaha beach is the place to go for beginners surfers. On a short walk to Miraflores, this surf spot it’s perfect for those who want to be in the sopping lively district in Lima, visit archeological sites, beautiful parks, and of course, learn to surf!

Makaha surf spot information 

  • Experience: Beginners – Intermediates
  • Crowd Traffic: High
  • Reliability: High
  • Best Season: Summer 
  • Sea temperature:  20.2°C (February)
  • Best Tide: All tides
  • Seabed: Boulders and sand 
  • Break Type: Beach 
  • Wind Direction: NE 
  • Swell Direction: S-NW

Learning to surf in Makaha, Lima

Some of the best-rated schools are:  

  • Peru Sobre Olas Surf School: This school works with certified instructors, offers classes for groups and individuals, and has a proper team for first aid emergencies. They have different classes packages from $78 for 4 sessions a month or private classes from $22.28. They have rental equipment. Check them out: FB Peru Sobre Olas. Map: Peru Sobre Olas
  • Willy’s surf school: Offers surf rental and classes with certified CPR and first aid surfer instructors. Their Facebook page is available in English, check for more info on FB: Willy Surf. Map: Willy Surf

Prices: The majority of surf schools in Lima can charge you between 22$-25$ for classes, including gear such as surfboards and wetsuits. 

How to get there

  • Address: Makaha Beach is in the Circuito de Playas of Miraflores, Lima District. The nearest referential point is Park Antonio Raimondi, where the iconic Marine Miraflores Lighthouse is located. 
  • Google Maps: Makaha Beach

Transportation 

By car: From Lima District, take via Av. Brazil to Av. del Ejército (31m). Route map: Makaha Beach

By bus or taxi 

  • Lima District: To enjoy Makaha Beach the best place for you to stay is within the Lima district. A taxi can cost between $17-$21 to Makaha Beach. By bus, the lowest price is from the company Metropolitano Lima from $2 (45min). You can check for detailed information in: rome2rio and metropolitano

If you stay in Miraflores Center you could walk via Calle Coronel Inclán and Calle Bellavista or Calle Atahualpa and get to the beach in approx. 30-35 min. 

Surfing in Máncora beach, Piura (Máncora)

Surfing in South America, Mancora, Peru
Surfing in South America, Mancora, Peru

Máncora by Esmée Winnubst/flickr

Who is this beach best for?

The sunniest surf spot on the Peruvian coast.

Located in Piura, this is one of the warmest surf spots in Peru. 

Máncora waves are suitable for all kinds of levels. Also, if you’re a beginner this is one of the cheapest places to surf in Peru, (and a cheap region in general!) so after Makaha, you should definitely come here to surf. 

The only downside? It gets very crowded, but hey every gem comes with a price 😉

Máncora surf spot information 

  • Experience: All levels.
  • Crowd Traffic: High
  • Reliability: High
  • Best Season: Autumn 
  • Sea temperature:  27-29°C (February)
  • Best Tide: Mid and high tide 
  • Seabed: Flat rocks with sands
  • Break Type: Rocky left-hand point break
  • Wind Direction: S, SE
  • Swell Direction: SW-NW

Learning to surf in Mancora, Piura 

In Mancora beach, there are various schools however the best-rated one is Inka Warriors. 

Prices: The prices normally range from $15 for an 80min class.

How to get there

  • Address: Located in Talara Province, Mancora District.  Mancora beach is just in front of  Auxiliar Panamericana Nte. 262, Máncora 20851, Peru.
  • Google map: Máncora Beach  

Transportation 

By car: From Lima District go via Auxiliar Panamericana Nte./Carretera Panamericana Norte/Route 1N (17h). Route map: Mancora Beach

By bus or taxi

  • Lima district: You can take a bus from $16-$53. Taxis prices are around $-$The cheapest price is from the company CIVA at $19-$28  (19h). Check out for updated prices and info on: rome2rio and civa
  • Piura city: You can take a bus from $5-$12. Taxis prices are from $90-$110. The cheapest price is from the company Eppo S.A. at 5$  (3h). Check out for updated prices and info on: rome2rio and eppo
  • Talara city: Talara is the nearest city to Mancora town, the lowest price for a bus is from  $2 Eppo S.A (2h). Taxis prices are from $30-$45 (1h). The cheapest price is from the company CIVA at 19$-28$  (19h). Check out for updated prices and route info in: rome2rio and eppo.

Surfing in San Gallán Island, Ica (Paracas) 

Surfing in South America, Paracas, Peru
Surfing in South America, Paracas, Peru

Peru, Paracas Island by Alessio Spinaci/flickr

Who is this beach best for?

A special surfing experience.

No easy joke waves. San Gallán island is for experts. 

On this spot, you’ll catch the most powerful right breaking waves in Peru from 2ft to 8 ft. Not only that, this surf spot has a special feeling since you’ll catch waves in the Paracas National Reserve Parks surrounded by gorgeous scenery and curious young sea lions trying to see what you’re up to! 

San Gallán surf spot information 

  • Experience: Experts
  • Crowd Traffic: Low-medium
  • Reliability: High
  • Best Season: Summer, in February 
  • Sea temperature:  28°C (February)
  • Best Tide: Mid and high tide 
  • Seabed: Boulders
  • Break Type: Reef (Rocky)
  • Wind Direction: East, NorthEast
  • Swell Direction: SW-S

Learning to surf in San Gallan Island, Paracas

Sadly, learning to surf in San Gallan Island is difficult for beginners. However, there are expeditions for advanced surfers such as: San Galland Xpeditions. This company has high rating reviews on Tripadvisor and can give you an experienced local guide!  Check out their FB page: Sangallán Xpeditions 

How to get there

  • Address: Located in the Pacific ocean, the island is found in the south part of the Paracas National Reserve in front of Paracas Peninsula, Pisco Providence. 
Transportation 

By car: From Lima, Centro Cultural De Ate, you have to drive via Carr. Panamericana Sur/Route 1S to El Chaco-Paracas (3h). Route map: Paracas

By bus to Paracas-El Chaco Port: 

You need to take a boat in El Chaco, Paracas Port to get to San Gallan Island. The best way is by bus. 

  • Lima: You can take a bus from Lima to Paracas (4h-29) from $9 with Peru Bus. Check for updated prices and routes in: rome2rio and perubus. 
  • Pisca: You can take a bus from Mancos to Lima, and then to Paracas (15h) from $29-$51 with Movil Tours. Check for updated prices and routes in: rome2rio and moviltours.
  • Paracas: If you stay in Paracas town the best way to get to the port is by walking or taking a taxi through Av. Los Libertadores from $1-$2.  Check for info on: rome2rio.

Google Maps: El Chaco Port

Tip: It is advisable you stay in Paracas near the Chaco beach the night before you go to San Gallan Island, this is because you have to rent a boat found in the port at The Chaco Beach. The time taken is approx. 30-60min and you can stay on the island surfing only until 4 pm. 

Surfing in Ecuador, South America

Surfing in Puerto Villamil beach, Isabela Island (Galápagos Island)

Surfing in South America, Galapagos Island, Ecuador
Surfing in South America, Galapagos Island, Ecuador

Puerto Villamil by Steven Bedard/flickr

Who is this beach best for?

An unspoiled local surf spot.

The truth is, surfing on Galapagos Island is a whole experience beyond the fun waves; swimming with sea lions, turtles, and maybe some sharks. 

Walk as you share the beautiful white sand with pelicans, iguanas, and again the curious sea lions whilst the mystic furiously protected vast nature of Galapagos Island embraces you. 

It’s a place to innerly connect with raw nature and see awkward scenery as the norm. Like a sea lion chatting with turtles about the hardships of surfing. 

Any downside? The climate here is very unpredictable so you can’t be certain about reliable surfing. Oh, and it’s not cheap, at all. 

Note: The specific beginner surf spot in Puerto Villamil is called El Faro (The lighthouse)

Puerto Villamil surf spot information 

  • Experience: All, but suitable for beginners.
  • Crowd Traffic: low
  • Reliability: Medium
  • Best Season: Autumn
  • Sea temperature:  26°C (April)
  • Best Tide: All tides
  • Seabed: Sand
  • Break Type: Beach
  • Wind Direction: NW
  • Swell Direction: S

Learning to surf in Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island 

So, which highly rated surf schools and instructors exit? Quite a few, check these out:

  • Galápagos Bike and Surf: This highly rated school has more than 10 years of experience and offers surf lessons, bike, and surfboard rentals. Lessons are for any skill level, provide equipment, and costs 45$ per person. You can also ask for additional sports adventure tours like trekking, mountain biking, kayaking, snorkeling, and stand-up paddleboarding.  Check out their TripAdvisor profile: Galápagos Bike and Surf and contact page: galapagosbikeandsurf. Map: Galápagos Bike and Surfing

Recommended surf gear: Since Galapagos Islands sea temperatures can be cold even if you come in during the hottest season (January-April) the best gear recommendation are light wetsuits 

How to get there

Address: El Faro (The lighthouse) is located on Isabela Island in Puerto Villamil.

Google Maps: Puerto Villamil 

Transportation 

The best way to get to Galapagos Island is by plane. The price can be from $361-$44 from Guayaquil and from Quito around $342-$522. Check out rome2rio for available flights and possible routes. 

If you stay in Puerto Villamil, you can get to the surf spot on a 10-15minutes walk from the town.

Getting around Galapagos Island 

There are different means to travel around Galapagos Island. You can choose between buses, taxis, airplanes, bicycles, boats and ferries. Alternatively, you can choose to book island-hopping boat cruises to guide you across the best spots.  

The prices of the ferries can cost between $30-$33. You can check for transportation options on these websites: Tripadvisor, Viator, and rome2rio.

Fees in Galapagos: Every person that stays in Galapagos Island needs to pay a fee of $100, and $50 if they are less than 12 years old. 

Legal places to visit: You can visit Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela, and Florena Islands without a certified naturalist guide BUT other places need permission or are just prohibited so if you want to get around any special area outside the ones I mention check out for permissions. 

Budget Tip: Take in mind the services on Galapagos Island are very cheap, so even though you can rent, buy wax, sunscreen, and rent gear like boards and wetsuits, they can be pricey, so come prepared beforehand! 

Travel Tip: Did you know? A lot of surf travelers book combination tours to surf  Montañita and Galapagos Island on one go since the majority of flight stops in Guayaquil, where you can get to Montañita in a 2h drive. Think about it!

Surfing in Olón Beach, Santa Elena 

Surfing in South America, Olon, Ecuador
Surfing in South America, Olon, Ecuador

Olón, David Ceballos/flickr

Who is this beach best for?

An unspoiled local surf spot.

Surfing in South America has become pretty popular as time goes. Montañita, one of the surf stars in Peru, can get too packed. If this happens come to Olón (you may like it more). 

As Montañita’s little sister, this beach spot is ideal for all surf skill levels but it’s incredibly overlooked because of Montañita’s big popularity.

While Montañita it’s a spot you must visit if you love surfing and partying. Olón it’s a spot you must visit if you love surfing and quietness

Even though these beaches are very close, they have miles away vibe differences, Montiña it’s overpacked with travelers while Olón has remained as a more secure quiet spot. (which is why its popularity has increased over the years!)

Note: Do not confuse with Olon de Ilo in Arequipa (this is a totally different surf spot!)

Olón surf spot information 

  • Experience: All but best for beginners.
  • Crowd Traffic: Low-medium
  • Reliability: High
  • Best Season: Winter
  • Sea temperature: 22°C (September)
  • Best Tide: Low and medium 
  • Seabed: Sand
  • Break Type: Beach
  • Wind Direction: NE
  • Swell Direction: SW-NW-N

Learning to surf in Olón, Santa Elena 

Which highly rated surf schools and instructors exist? Check these out:

  • Escuela de Surf Olón: With 12 years of experience, Olón Surf schools bring excellent surf lessons in English, Spanish, and French. The private classes cost $25 (equipment provided),  surfboard rentals from $5 per hour, and accept students from 6 to 75 years old.  Check for information in: Escuela de Surf Olón or the FB page: @escueladesurfolon. Map: Escuela de Surf Olón
  • Outdoor Ecuador Spanish and Surf: Would you like to surf and learn Spanish? If that’s your case check out this school where you can learn to surf and study Spanish at the same time, regardless of your skill level. The school also offers free Wi-fi, taxi services, accommodation, motorcycle rentals, and additional activities like social night events, tours to Isla de la Plata, and Yoga lessons. What a surf travel combo! If you are interested in this experience, check them out: FB @outdoorecuador.spanishschool and web: Outdoor Ecuador. Map: Outdoor Ecuador

How to get there

Address: This little fisher town is located on El cantón in Santa Elena, about 6km away from Manglaralto in Olón Comune. The most known referential point is Montañita beach.

Google map: Olón Beach 

Transportation 

By car: You can go through via E38, E28, or E491 from Quito, Ecuador. Route map: Olón beach

By bus or taxi:

  • Montañita: If you’re in Montañita you can get a taxi from $2-$4 (4min) or a bus from Cooperativa Libertad Peninsular from $1-$2 (10min). Check for updated routes, info, and schedules in: rome2rio.
  • Guayaquil: From Guayaquil, you can get a taxi from $100-$120 (2h-19m) or a bus from $16-$20 with Cooperativa Libertad Peninsular. Check for updated routes, info, and schedules in: rome2rio.
  • Quito: You can get a bus from $12-$71, based on where you get the bus and the transportation company. Check for updated routes, info, and schedules in: rome2rio.

Travel Tip: If you want to meet Montañita, enjoy its waves and party vibe you can do so by staying in Olón since they’re so close to each other. 

Surfing at Mompiche beach, Esmeraldas  

Surfing in South America, Esmeraldas, Ecuador
Surfing in South America, Esmeraldas, Ecuador

Mompiche, David Ceballos/flickr

A spot for long tubular rides in Ecuador.

With very looong waves Mompiche welcomes you! On this popular left point break, you can experience long rides of 1 minute during average swells, walk on the long beach, experience a mix of party and quietness and get amazed by the green exuberant atmosphere. 

A spot, ideal for experts and intermediates, available cheap services, and friendly local atmosphere.

Mompiche surf spot information 

  • Experience: Expert – Intermediates
  • Crowd Traffic: Medium
  • Reliability: High
  • Best Season: Winter
  • Sea temperature: 27°C (February)
  • Best Tide: All tides
  • Seabed: Point
  • Break Type: Uneven Reef and Sand
  • Wind Direction: South Easterly
  • Swell Direction: S-NW

Learning to surf in Mompiche, Esmeraldas

You can learn to surf in Mompiche, whether you’re a beginner or need guidance:

  • La Peña Surf School: Located in La Fosforera, this school is operated by Jefferson Panezo. He offers surf rent, fix boards and give classes. Renting a board can cost $15 per day and classes prices are from $25. Check them out: @lapenasurfschool. Map: La Peña Surf School 
  • La Facha Hostal Restaurant & Surf: This is a 3-day surf experience located in La Facha Hostel Restaurant Surf, from $115. They offer surf lessons suitable for beginners, instructions in English, free Wi-Fi, food, and other services in the package. Plus, you can book additional activities, such as Spanish lessons, horse riding, and excursions. Check them out: booksurfcamps

How to get there

Address: Playa de Mompiche, Unnamed Road, Mompiche. Referential points: Maikel and Jarelis Shopping Mall (in front of the beach) and Playa de Portete.

Google Maps: Mompiche

Transportation 

By car: You can go via E20 or via E28 from Quito, Ecuador. Route map: Mompiche beach

By bus or taxi:

Surfing in Chile, South America

Surfing in La Boca Con Con, Concón (Valparaiso)

Surfing in Chile, South America, Concon
Surfing in Chile, South America, Concon

Photo by Ximena Nahmias on Unsplash

Who is this beach best for?

Learn to surf and eat delicious empanadas.

This is a spot for water sports and delicious snack eating. Playa La Boca is a young vibe beach with lots of surf schools to choose from. The waves are ideal for beginners as they break slowly and with low power, hence a sweet spot for learning

However, this beach also offers good waves for intermediate surfers and for travelers who would love to kayak, ride horses or go paragliding. 

The downside? The popularity of surfing in South America has transformed this spot into a very crowded place. Besides, for smooth white sand beach lovers, this is a NO spot. 

La Boca Con Con surf spot information 

  • Experience: Beginners-Intermediates
  • Crowd Traffic: High
  • Reliability: High
  • Best Season: Winter
  • Sea temperature: 14°C (January)
  • Best Tide: Low tide only
  • Seabed: Sandy with rock
  • Break Type: beach
  • Wind Direction: SE
  • Swell Direction: SW-S

Learning to surf in La Boca Con Con, Concón

Known as a perfect spot for beginners in Valparaíso, this beach has reliable schools. So, which school should you choose? 

  • SurfTrip Escuela de Surf – Concón: This surf school is open from 10:00 am-7:00 pm offers surf lessons and board rentals. It has very good reviews on their Facebook page. Check them out: @SurfTripEscueladeSurf. Map: Escuela.
  • Escuela Soul Surf: Surf lessons and something more. A top-rated surf school in Santiago. They offer classes, rentals, restaurant services, and recreational spaces to play ping pong, climb a rock-climbing wall, and even a jacuzzi to relax! Plus, travelers mention the owner it’s a very warm philanthropic person which makes spending time in this school an integral surf experience. Check them out: @www.escuelasoulsurf.cl and their website: Escuela SoulSurf. Map: Escuela

How to get there

Address: Marato Calle 12, Av. Borgoño, Concón, Valparaíso, Chile. Referential point: Located next to the Aconcagua River. 

Google Maps: Playa La Boca Surf 

Transportation 

By car: Take the F-30-E route to Av. Borgoño in Concón. Route map from Valparaiso: Playa La Boca Con Con. For buses and taxis, here are the options you can take: 

By bus:

  • Santiago: You can take a bus from Santiago to Viña del Mar (1h-50min) for $6-$21 with turbus.cl company. Then, take a transfer to Mall Espacio Urbano Viña Centro to Maroto Calle 12, from there it’s a 3 min walk. Taxi prices range from $120-$150. For updated routes and prices check: rome2rio. 
  • Viña del Mar: If you’re in Viña del Mar, take a bus  at Plaza Vergara to Maroto-Calle 12 (24 min) with the bus line 609, for  $1. Taxi prices range from $10-$13. For updated routes and prices check: rome2rio

Surfing at El Abanico Beach in Maitencillo (Valparaiso)

Surfing in Chile south America, Maitencillo
Surfing in Chile south America, Maitencillo

Photo by hernan perez estay on Unsplash

Who is this beach best for?

A place for everyone.

In Maitencillo you can find different kinds of beach spots: for bodyboarding or surf goers; singles or families, sand or rocks; you just have to choose which spot it’s best for you! If you’re a surfer go to El Abanico Beach (the principal beach) where you can catch good quality, very hollow waves, and for any surf skill level

The only downside? Don’t go in summer, high crowds and the beaches feel too small.

El Abanico surf spot information 

  • Experience: All
  • Crowd Traffic: Medium
  • Reliability: High
  • Best Season: Winter
  • Sea temperature: 13.2°C (May)
  • Best Tide: All tides
  • Seabed: Sand
  • Break Type: Beach
  • Wind Direction: E
  • Swell Direction: S-W

Learning to surf in El Abanico, Valparaiso

El Abanaico en Maitencillo it’s a good place to learn surfing. These schools can offer excellent surf classes for you: 

  • Escuela de Surf Maitencillo: You can take individual or group classes with 3 people. Prices range from 18.9$ per person for one group class and $25.20 for one individual class (including equipment). For rentals, the wetsuit and surfboards prices range from  $6.30 (half-day) to $12.60 (full day).  You need to reserve classes in advance and can check for information on their web: Escuela and Facebook: @maitencillosurf Map: Escuela 
  • Maitencillo Surf Camp:  This school works all year for any adults and children from 4 years old.  You can take individual or group classes with 5 people. Prices range from 18.9$ per person for one group class and $31.5 for one individual class (including equipment). For rentals, the wetsuit and surfboards prices range from  $15.12 (max.2hs) to $22.68 (full day), except on weekends when the price is $40.33. Plus they also offer SUP (Stand up paddle) lessons. You can check for updated information on their website: Surf Camp and Facebook:@lasurfcamp Map: Surf Camp

Tip Surf spots: This beach has very good waves for any level, but for beginners, the south zone is better whilst the middle and north side has bigger hollow waves suitable for experts. 

Summer activity: Even though it’s crowded, one of the good sides of going in summer it’s that you can enjoy the night vibe of El Abanico Beach. Take note that the local commerce starts opening around 10:00 pm.

How to get there

Address: Abanico Beach, Maitencillo, in Avenida del Mar 1350, Puchuncaví, Valparaíso. Referential points are The Marbella Country Club and La Laguna de Zapallar, you can find the beach between these two points. 

Google Maps:  El Abanico Beach 

Transportation 

By car: you can get via F-30-E to Camino Antiguo. Route map from Valparaiso: El Abanico. For buses and taxis, here are the options you can take: 

By bus or taxi: 

  • Santiago: You can take a bus with pullmanbus.com via Laguna Zapallar from $5-$14 (2h) and then walk for 24 min. Taxi prices range from $140-$170. For updated routes and prices check: rome2rio.
  • Viña del mar: If you’re in Viña you can take a bus via Uno Norte-Libertad ( bus line 302) to Maroto Poniente. Then, transfer to Concón to Maitencillo  (2h34min) from $2-$7 with Buses Del Gran Valparaiso . Taxi prices range from $30-$40. For updated routes and prices check: rome2rio.

Punta de Lobos, Pichilemu (O’Higgins Región)

Surfing in Chile, South America, Pichilemu
Surfing in Chile, South America, Pichilemu

Punta de Lobos, Pichilemu by Andrés/flickr

Who is this beach best for?

Far away. Crushing waves. And massive beauty.

Surfing in South America is not for the fainted heart. Punta de Lobos beach it’s a peacefully quiet beach packed with world-class waves, towering cliffs, black sand beauty, sea lions, and birds flying around; undoubtedly a sea-forest scenery to admire, especially the sunsets. 

The downside? The water can get insanely cold. 

Punta de Lobos surf spot information 

  • Experience: Intermediate-Expert 
  • Crowd Traffic: Medium
  • Reliability: High
  • Best Season: Winter
  • Sea temperature: 12.5°C (May)
  • Best Tide: All tides
  • Seabed: Sand
  • Break Type: Left-hand reef and point break
  • Wind Direction: E
  • Swell Direction: S-W

Learning to surf in Punta de Lobos, Pichilemu 

Ok, you may be disappointed thinking Pichilemu seems not a suitable place for beginners. Stop! 

Good news: you can learn to surf in this rocking cool nature spot, just go to the section called Diamante. Suitable for beginners!

These are the highly rated schools, check them out:

  • Escuela de Surf El Diamante: You can reserve individual or group classes. Prices range from 18.9$ per person for one group class and $25.20 for one individual class (including equipment). For rentals, the wetsuit and surfboards price is  $6.30 (4h). Check for information on their Facebook: @escueladesurfdiamante and their contact page at visitapichilemu.cl. Map: El Diamante 
  • Oceanos School: Operated by Ismael Herreros, an International Surf Association qualified surf instructor, this school has amazingly good reviews on Tripadvisor. They offer guidance for both beginners, intermediate and expert surfers, and can pick you up. They also offer a cozy Surf House, and quite an interesting pack of additional activities like a Cultural Pichilemu tour, Wine tour, and guidance to local secret waves. Check for information on their Facebook: @escueladesurfdiamante and their contact page on the web: oceanoschile.com Map: El Diamante

How to get there

Address: Pichilemu, O’Higgins Region, Chile. If you get lost, ask for these near referential spots and you should be pretty close: Camping Laguna del Perro and Camping Las Proteas. The road route nearest to the beach is I-504.

Google Maps:  Punta de Lobos 

Route map: I-504

Transportation 

By car: By car, you can go via Autopista del Sol/Ruta 78 (3h -16min). Route map from Santiago: Punta de Lobos

By bus or taxi:

  • Santiago: You can take a bus with transantin.cl in San Borja or Alameda Terminal  via Pichilemu from $9 (3h-40m) and then a taxi from $3-$5 to Punta de Lobos. For updated routes and prices check: rome2rio.

Surfing in Colombia, South America

Surfing in Termales, Nuqui (Choco)

Surfing in Colombia,South America,Nuqui
Surfing in Colombia,South America,Nuqui

Humpback Whales, Nuqui, Choco by Mike Melrose/Flickr

Who is this beach best for?

Jacuzzi jungle surf vibe. 

In Termales you’ll enjoy small waves perfect for beginners, natural cozy jacuzzis, lots of watersports, ecotourism, plus looooots of silence and inner peace. 

Those who come to the Colombian Pacific Coast want more than to avoid crowds; they want to experience the maxima of nature and be as far away as possible from technology. 

Any downside? 

Sometimes the region of Choco can be unsafe for travelers because of guerilla (anti-government army) or crime conflicts, so always check out if your country has banned this area ( or any area you travel to) before you go. Plus accessibility can be tricky.

Termales surf spot information 

  • Experience: Beginners
  • Crowd Traffic: Very low
  • Reliability: Inconsistent 
  • Best Season: Winter
  • Sea temperature: 24.7°C (January)
  • Best Tide: All tides
  • Seabed: Sand
  • Break Type: Rivermouth 
  • Wind Direction: S
  • Swell Direction: SW-NW

Learning to surf in Termales, Nuqui

As surfing in South America has become a touristic attraction to these rural places now you can find tours and surf camps to explore Nuqui nature including Termales, such as:

  • Booksurfcamps: 4 days surf camp designed for surfer learners. Highlights? English speaking instructors, all meals included, airport transfers, and a lot more! (approx. price $597). Check them out here: Surf camps in Chocó
  • El Cantil Ecolodge: In the Choco region this eco-lodge has been categorized as the best in Colombia, they offer different services including Whale watching, Honeymoon package, and of course surf lessons. Check their Facebook and website for more info: Facebook-El Cantil, website: El Cantil (there’s also a lot more, like kayak, boat surf, snorkeling, hikes, you name it!)

How to get there

Address: Corregimiento Los Termales, Nuqui 276050, Choco.  Referential points: Near Arusi village and Guachalito beach.

Google Maps: Termales

Transportation 

Be Patient. Getting to Termales and Nuqui is not easy but doable. You need to get a boat from Nuqui (1h) to Termales. But the real adventure is going to Nuqui. These are some options:   

  • Medellín:  Book a flight from Medellin airport Enrique Olaya Herrera airport  to Nuqui airport (one way-$70). An available option for this is San German, charter flights.
  • Bahia Solano: In case you can’t find a direct flight to Nuqui, book a flight to Bahia Solano and then rent a boat to Termales. Also available with San German (one way-$70) and with Satena ($44-$95). 
  • Buenaventura: This is a slow cargo and boat trip option. Some options are: Barcos Bahía Cupica y JD (+314-6178859), Barcos Adrián Michell and Valoy Mar (+321-7642550), and  Transporte Yiliana  that works only on Mondays and Fridays (314-764-9308). Boat trips take around 18h-24h and have an approx. cost of $32-$45.

Safety Tip: If you take the Buenaventura option be aware to not spend too much time waiting in the streets as this is not a very safe area in Colombia.

Itinerary Tip: Boats usually go to Bahia Solano on Tuesdays, so plan accordingly. 

Fee: Upon arriving in Nuqui you have to pay 2.34 tourism tax. (in Colombian pesos only!)

Surf in Palomino, La Guajira

Surfing in Colombia,South America, La Guajira
Surfing in Colombia, South America, La Guajira

Photo by Berend Leupen on Unsplash

Who is this beach best for?

Sweet and salty encounters; when the river and sea meet.   

Surfing in Palomino is a relaxing calm experience, ideal for those who want to go to Tayrona National Park afterwards. 

The town offers a bohemian vibe with delicious home food, ecolodges, and reggae music in the background; making you feel like problems do not exist, at least while you’re in Palomino.  

The downside?  The food can be quite expensive and it’s not a place, and it has become more popular over the years so it’s not suitable if you want to be the only soul in town.

Palomino surf spot information 

  • Experience: All
  • Crowd Traffic: Low-Medium
  • Reliability:  High
  • Best Season:  Autumn and winter
  • Sea temperature: 28.5-28.3°C (September-March)
  • Best Tide: All tides
  • Seabed: Sand
  • Break Type: Beach 
  • Wind Direction: S-SW
  • Swell Direction: N-NE 

Learning to surf in Palomino, La Guajira 

Yes, it’s possible. These two options can provide a good quality service based on the rates in their profiles:

Note: Prices may vary but surf classes can cost are around $16 and surf rental from $5.20

How to get there

Address: Dibulla, La Guajira, Colombia.

Google Maps: Palomino  

Transportation 

By car: By car you can get via Troncal del Caribe and Mingueo-Santa Marta/Av. Troncal Del Caribe (3h -1m). Route map from Barranquilla: Palomino.

By bus: 

  • Barranquilla:  You can use the bus service expresobrasilia.com and get to Palomino in 3h approx. from $5-$12 (4h-38m). Check out the updated information in: rome2rio.
  • Santa Marta: You can get a bus  in the mercado publico (public market) from companies like copetran  and expresobarasilia. They’ll go first to Barranquilla and then head to Palomino. Prices can be between $8-$22 (6h-47m). Taxis price: $35-45. Check out for information on: rome2rio.

Travel Tip: If you would like a local experience spot that it’s still not so popular, stay in Dibulla Town. It’s pretty near to Palomino, about a 30-minute ride, via Cabo de la Vela. 

In this place, the tourist industry hasn’t arrived at high levels yet, so it won’t have as many services as Palomino. But, travelers who have gone to this place describe it as a hidden paradisiacal beach, so why not? Make this town your base while you’re enjoying Palomino and the other near surf sports! 🙂 (Google map: Dibulla Town)

Hey! If you’re in Palominos other highly rated adventures you can you plan if you’re near here are: 

  • Palomino river tubing: A fun and relaxing time. This highly popular activity in Palomino consists of getting into an adventure where the river it’s your captain! You let go of the control, hop into an inflated inner tube and do mind yoga while the river guides you until you reach the end, at Palomino Beach. This can take a variable amount of time, but expect between 1-3h. There are quite a few tours for this activity, but you can check these local agencies for information: @wtubingriver or @Palominotourssas. Tip: It can get hot in the tub, so remember to use your sunscreen to protect your precious skin wanderers 😉 
  • Adrenaline Addicts:  Thirsty for adrenaline? Plus, a great desire to explore the beautiful La Guajira desert? Then, book  a motorcycle tour of Colombia’s north coast. An amazing trip filled with adventure, bikes, and available for any ride skill level. For more information check their TripAdvisor profile:  Adrenaline Addicts

Surfing in Los Naranjos, Santa Marta (Magdalena)

Surfing in Colombia,South America,Magdalena
Surfing in Colombia, South America, Magdalena

Los Naranjos byErik Cleves Kristensen/flickr

Who is this beach best for?

THE place for Caribbean surf.

As simple as that. We’re going to finish this listing with a top-notch recommendation.  

Located in the Sierra Nevada, Tayrona National Park is a popular must-meet spot in Santa Marta, Colombia. Only this should be the perfect spot to finish this list. But, I want to give you a travel tip, near Tayrona National Park  there is a very highly recommended spot to surf, just to yourself and cheaply

A surf spot for intermediates and experts, Los Naranjos is one of Mendihuaca’s best surf spots in Santa Marta. 

Surfing here can be an ideal experience for those who still want to surf or hike in Tayrona National Park but also want to meet less crowded local gems. 

Surf spot information 

  • Experience: Intermediate-Experts
  • Crowd Traffic: Medium
  • Reliability: High
  • Best Season: Autumn and Winter 
  • Sea temperature:.28.7°C (October)
  • Best Tide: All tides
  • Seabed: Sand
  • Break Type: Beach 
  • Wind Direction: S-E
  • Swell Direction: N-NW-W

Learning to surf in Los Naranjos, Santa Marta

Totally possible. There are good surf spots near Los Naranjos where you can learn to surf as a beginner or receive local guidance even if you’re an expert surfer, the top choices are: 

  • Mendihuaca Surf School: This it’s one of the highest-rated schools found, it’s very near Tayrona Park. They offer lodges, lessons for beginners, and  guidance to experienced surfer’s to explore the best nearby surfing spots. Check out their Airbnb profile, website, and Tripadvisor reviews. Map: Mendihuaca Surf School. Prices can be around $26 a night.
  • 5 Day Surfari: In this 5-day surf camp you’ll get to explore different surf spots and additional activities in Cartagena, Puerto Colombia, and Santa Marta (including Los Naranjos) suitable for beginners and expert surfers for a price of $544. Check for info at: booksurfercamps

How to get there

Address: Los Naranjos, Santa Marta, Magdalena. Referential points: near the Tayrona National Park Zaino entrance and Mirador de Playa Los Angeles.  

Google Maps: Los Naranjos

Transportation 

By car:  Take the via Av. Troncal Del Caribe and Mingueo-Santa Marta/Av. Troncal Del Caribe. Route map from Santa Marta airport: Los Naranjos

By bus:

  • Santa Marta Airport (SMR): If you come from the airport, you can book a taxi at $26-$31. Check for updated prices in rome2rio. Bus: take one in Santa Marta Terminal to Los Naranjos or the Tayrona National Park Zaino entrance. You can check for updated info and price tickets at buscarpasaje.com. Google Maps: Santa Marta Terminal

Tayrona National Park basic information

Fees for Tayrona: To enter the Park you’ll need to pay a one-time fee of $13.89, however in high season (December-February) the fee increases to $16.49. Plus, you have to pay insurance for $0.65 per day. 

Tip Tayrona entrance: There are two entrances in Tayrona Zaino (opens at 8:00 am)  and Calabazo (opens at 6:00 am). The second entrance it’s not  so popular and it’s more for travelers that want to get earlier to the park to hike and probably have more alone time to enjoy Playa Brava. To get here you will need to ask your driver to leave you at Calabazo. 

Yellow fever: To enter Tayrona National Park you need to prove you have the yellow fever vaccine. 

What other adventures could you plan if you’re near Los Naranjos, in Santa Marta? 

  • Visit Tayrona National Park: This one was very obvious as I mentioned earlier but since you’re so close to Tayrona National Park it would be a total waste to not pay a visit. In this park you can do a lot of activities, such as surfing, trekking, diving, sightseeing monkeys, be blown away by the natural beauty, go to a nudist beach if you wish and so much more. 
  • The Lost City Trek: The Lost City Trek is a once in a lifetime experience to hike in Sierra Nevada northern jungle’s, explore ancient archeology, and cross rivers. If you’re interested in this trek you can find out more in the post Best Hikes in South America.    

Recommended Food Restaurants 

  • Casa Tayrona Los Naranjos If you’re a vegetarian, love seafood, and enjoy beautiful sea views while you’re eating then come to Casa Tayrona Los Naranjos. Map: Casa Tayrona and Tripadvisor Profile: Casa Tayrona

Things to watch out for when surfing in South America 

Ready for your surf trip to South America? If that’s so you need to remember the basic checklist to have a good time in the best surf spots in South America.

Security checks

Let’s take Nuqui, in the Choco region for example. Nuqui it’s a beautiful secluded spot on the pacific coast of Colombia. But Nuqui has been banned quite a few times because of violence issues. So, what is the advice? Just as for any strange place you visit for the first time check for security updated information, more precisely the news; if you see there it’s conflict postpone or redirect your destination. 

Covid-19 policies

Since 2020 things have changed but not stopped. Make sure when you travel again to your next adventure that your lodge has free cancellation policies, don’t require you to pay everything upfront, and have the required biosecurity measures.  

Cash

Even though you can find establishments that accept credit cards, there’s still a lot of local businesses that only accept local cash or USD notes; in perfect condition preferably as some locals can be pretty picky if USD notes have some kind of imperfection.  

Local Cash

Let’s take Nuqui again as an example. When you arrive at the airport Nuqui airport you have to pay a tourist tax BUT in cash and in Colombian pesos. So, have local cash for any kind of unplanned situation. (quite the norm when traveling) 

Vaccines

Besides the routine vaccinations to travel like Varicella, Tetanus, Rubella, and Polio which vaccines are the most essential in South America? See below!

Standard vaccines

Hepatitis A and Typhoid are standard vaccines for any country in South America, especially Typhoid As you can get contaminated with food or water while you visit rural places or towns.  

Yellow fever

It is a legal requirement to enter places like Tayrona National Park and Sierra Nevada in Santa Marta National Park in Colombia. 

Malaria

Especially if you’re going to a tropical rural jungle place like Nuqui, Colombia. Of course, you can do it with a mosquito net and be safe when you sleep. But, on April 2, 2020, Radio Nacional Colombia (a news site) published a post about a malaria emergency outbreak in different zones of Nuqui. In this case, it is better to be vaccinated than sick as hell.  

Equipment rental 

Thanks to surfing rising as a sport in South America you can now find more rental equipment services than you could 10 or 5 years ago. 

Nonetheless, always remember to check out for surf shops and reviews before buying or renting a surfboard. In some cases, there could be problems such as hyper-inflated prices, poor equipment conditions, or scarce surf shop options.

Tip: Carefully inspect your equipment before going into the water. That way you can avoid paying for damages on something that was already in bad condition. Besides, checking your equipment condition is a good safe habit before surfing. 

Things to bring for your surf travel 

These are the most basic surf equipment you need to have a pleasant surf experience: 

  • Sunscreen
  • Earplugs
  • Swimsuits
  • Surf wax
  • Surfboard
  • Surf Leash
  • Surf fins

Sunscreen

Protecting your skin is not only to avoid the feel of a frying egg ready to be eaten, the main benefit is your health. After all, constant and heavy sunburns can increase the chance of suffering from skin cancer. That’s why as a wave addict, oh no…I mean, as a surfer you should buy the best quality sunscreen in the market. 

  • Headhunter SPF 50: Climate-friendly approved. Doesn’t sting your eyes. And, stay ON your skin for long periods. Headhunters costs $17 and has incredibly 5 rate star reviews. If you wish to know more about the product quality, price, and full benefits, check here: Headhunter SPF 50 Clear Sunscreen

Sunscreen buying tip: 

UPF 50+: This is the most important factor any sunscreen or UV protection gear needs to have as it is an excellent proven UV protection product. 

Earplugs

As part of the standard surf gear basics, earplugs protect you from water-borne infections or afflictions such as exostosis (surfer’s ear) which can lead to hearing loss. 

  • EQ Seals: Even though these earplugs don’t come on the first page when looking for ear protection but have solid good reviews thanks to its efficiency as they stick in, don’t let the water in, and are very comfortable to use. Not only does it work well, but this brand also sends a free new pair to any buyer that has lost one of their earplugs. If you wish to know more about the product quality, price, and full benefits, check here: EQ Seals Balance Pro Ear Plug

Earplugs buying tips:

Fit: One of the major problems with earplugs is if they fit well. Before purchasing, remember to research what your ear size is, the reviews, and if the company offers reimbursement.

Dive: Don’t use earplugs to dive. Just to surf. If you dive with earplugs there is a possibility your eardrums will break due to high-pressure suction.

Soft silicone: Please avoid using soft silicone earplugs. Why? They are very comfortable as they fit any size ear, helping a lot with ear protection and sound cancellation. Sounds great right? Until you search for bad reviews and find out some buyers report that these kinds of earplugs can melt inside the ear canal and get stuck, leading to a medical visit and paying a bill of ~$400 to take the earplugs off! Do not take this unneeded risk 🙁

Swimsuits

When the winter and rainy season arrives it is time to say goodbye to your light swim clothes and say hola to wetsuits. These are perfect to keep your body warm and even bring some protection to your body. 

In this article, the sea temperatures ranged between 12.5°C-29.°C. In these cases, the recommended wetsuits are 3/2mm 4/3mm full wetsuits and swimsuits for warm weather. 

Warm suits

Long Sleeve Rash Guard 

  • O’Neill Basic Skins UPF 50+ (For her and for him): These types of suits are perfect for UV quality protection and prevent you from suffering heavy sunburns. avoid sunburns. Suitable for warm temperatures between 20°C and up, ideal for surfing on beaches like Mancora in Peru. If you wish to know more about the product quality, price, and full benefits, check here: For her: O’Neill Women’s Basic Skins Upf 50+ and for him: O’Neill Men’s Basic Skins UPF 50+

Cold suits

Back Zip Full Wetsuit

Swimsuits buying tips 

Fit: Just like earplugs, it is essential your wetsuit fits you perfectly. This is why if you find a nice wetsuit and buy it online, check the brand reimbursement policy as you need to prove your suit and see if it feels uncomfortable. 

Type of suit: To decide which wetsuit is the perfect fit for you, look over the following destination characteristics: water and air temperature, wind speed, the time you’re going to spend surfing,  and sky conditions. All these factors are important to decide which type of wetsuit design and thickness suits your needs, hence enjoying your surf time without getting a cold or pneumonia. 

Surf wax

This is a must item to surf unless you want to slip and never ride any wave. Besides you should know there are different types of wax and different layers too. The last one is a lesser-known differentiation, but crucial for the surfing experience. 

Briefly, there are two layers: a base coat and topcoat. The base coat is the first one you have to apply and its purpose is to hold the top coat so that you have a better grip. The topcoat, on the other hand, is the second wax you apply to ensure stickiness. 

  • Warm/Trop Sticky Bumps: This brand is well known for one thing; it does the work. Sticky, lasts, and smells well. Plus, Sticky Bumps are environmentally friendly. If you wish to know more about the product quality, price, and full benefits, check here: Tropical Water: Sticky Bumps. If you’re going to surf in South America the best wax would be the tropical type, however if the water is cold Sticky Bumps also offers Cold Water wax: Sticky Bumps,  and the essential basecoat: Sticky Bumps.

Surf wax buying tips:

Temperature: You need to check if the wax you’re purchasing works with the water temperatures. If it doesn’t show, ask the brand before purchasing. 

Long stay: the best wax stays for a long period of time, after all, you don’t want to be waxing your board every 20 minutes and feeling how your money gets away with the waves.  

Surfboard 

Buying a surfboard can feel like doing hard math work, you need to take into account the board materials, volume, and your own personal characteristics. For beginners, the most recommended is a Mini-Mal surfboard. 

Mini-Mal surfboards are longboards that help you with one of the most important things as a beginner: stability. Ideally for small waves and traveling as these boards are between 7’4 – 8’0 which makes it perfect for surf traveling as airlines normally have an 8ft limit.

Finally, the last but not least major benefit of Mini-mal surfboards has manifested is how fun they are! Actually, their nickname is: funboards. The reason behind this is because they are hybrid boards (a mix of long and shortboards) which makes them suitable for a constant learning process. 

  • Verve surfboard: This surfboard supports 200lb, carry handle, 8’ leash, 3 surf fins, and a fin key with no waxing required. Pretty much surfboard perfection. If you wish to know more about the product quality, price, and full benefits, check here: Verve surfboard

Surfboard buying tips:

There are a lot of factors to consider when buying a surfboard, however the most important are your ability, weight, age, fitness level, and the type of waves to surf.  

Surf Leash 

A yes or yes item. The surf leash is a life-saving item as it helps you be attached to your board. This security measure could help your life by preventing you from drowning.  

  • South Bay Board Co. Premium: This is an affordable leash, available from 5ft-10ft surfboards, with one surfboard leash as a gift and free use for 30 days satisfaction or return guarantee. If you wish to know more about the product quality, price, and full benefits, check here: South Bay Board

Surf leash buying tips:

Length: The best leash length for you depends on your board  length and your skill level. The leash has to be equal or a little bit longer than yours. 

Thickness: The bigger the wave, the thicker the leash as this helps prevent the surfboard from shooting out in case of wipeouts.

Surf fins

The purpose of fins is to enhance your surfboard control direction hence a crucial key to surfing. 

There are two kinds of fins: glassed-in and swappable. 

The first one is not removable while the second is, which is why it’s a more preferable choice due to versatility and a budget-friendly option. (Unless you can buy surfboards and repair glassed-in fins like cheap candy bars) 

  • DORSAL Performance Flexrez: Highly rated, these surf fins are medium-sized and fit for FCS and FCS-II surf fin boxes. Suitable for any skill level. If you wish to know more about the product quality, price, and full benefits, check here: DORSAL

Surf fins buying tips:

Basic characteristics: When choosing a surf fin you should look at your surfboard size, riding style, your weight, and the type of fin box in your surfboard.

Weight: your weight determines your surf fin size. Referential numbers: XS (≤120) S (105-155) M(145-195) L (165≧) XL(190≧)

Fin box: There are two types of surf fin boxes: Dual Tab (FCS-FCS II) and Single Tab(Futures). You must know that if your surfboard fin box is single dual tab surf fins won’t work on it, same on the contrary case.

Sets: As this is a must gear difficult to find when you travel, buy at least two sets beforehand.

Fin keys

You need fin keys to remove and insert your surf fins. So without them, you can’t replace your surf fins, and without good surf fins, well you get the point.

Surfboard bag

Surfboard bags’ main goal is to protect your precious spoiled surfboard, so it’s not so difficult to understand its importance; especially if you’re traveling.

  • Curve Surfboard Bag Travel: Available from 5’6 to 7’2 this bag is highly rated as a premium choice to protect your board. If you wish to know more about the product quality, price, and full benefits, check here:  Curve

Board bag buying tips:

Material: You should choose a bag with high-quality material that prevents corrosion, and doesn’t let wax or sand go through it.

Return policy: Like wetsuits and other surf gear, check equipment returns and reimbursement policies.

Tips to choose a surf school or surf camp:

Don’t forget: each surfer and traveler needs are different but a way to decide which surf camp in South America or surf school is best for you, ask yourself: 

  1. Do they have instructors that speak English or your native language?
  2. Are they certified? Or how many years of experience do they have?
  3. How is the rental board system? Some schools give the equipment only for the surf lessons, so you have to make a budget for surf rental if you plan to surf after the camp.  
  4. What happens if you break a board during sessions? Do you have to pay? 
  5. Are they also a surf hostel? This can be a good option to lower costs in transportation depending on your travel needs. for you to stay.
  6. Is this a surf camp or surf school? Surf schools can be cheaper than surf camps but sometimes they may not have English-speaking instructors, on the other hand, surf camps always tend to have English hence more pricey.

Note: just remember that prices will vary a lot depending on availability, season, and services that the school offers. 

Buy or rent a surfboard

How many days are you planning to stay? 

This is an important question for those who wish to explore different surf spots and travel on their own with a car or by bus. Why? Because that will determine if it’s better to buy your board beforehand or renting one at your travel destination. 

You should rent if: 

  • You’re just gonna stay a few short days to surf. 
  • You’re going to multiple surf spots that require multiple flights. 
  • You don’t want or have the budget to rent a car.

Generally speaking, the best benefit of renting a board is: hassle-free transportation and airline fees problems.

 You should buy it if: 

  • You’re going to stay at least one month and rental fees can get higher than the actual cost of bringing your own board.
  • You don’t have to wait for surf equipment availability. 
  • You can trust your board is in good quality condition and safe to surf. 

Generally speaking, the best benefit of buying your surfboard beforehand is: quality assurance seal and a repellent to time-wasting lines. 

Overall the optimal and cheaper option for longer stays is buying and for short stays is renting. 

Tip: Keep in mind the best way to make your choice is by analyzing your travel needs and making an assessment of what decision will benefit you must. 

Airline surfboard fees

One of the worst problems you can have as a surf traveler is the expensive surfboard bag fees. Anger and frustration are normal feelings when seeing the skyrocketing fees some airlines have for sports equipment. 

You can check with these airlines that at the moment seem to have reasonable fees for surfboard bag fees.  

  • Alaska Airlines ($30~$40) 
  • KLM (free)
  • Interjet – Mexico (free)
  • Air New Zealand (free~150)
  • British Airways (free~$60) 

Note: Remember to previously call to make sure the fees are updated, have accurate specifications, and see what restrictions apply.

Tip: Also check if the airline has compensation policies if your surfboard gets lost, robbed, or damaged. Plus, for a detailed guide to airport fees, visit wavetribe.com airline fees, it’s an amazing, detailed, and constantly updated fee guide.

Conclusion 

So, are you ready to surf in South America?

Maybe you’re a beginner and choose to go to Peru and surf Máncora beach to swim in the warmest spots while learning to stay put on your table for at least 10 seconds.

Or maybe you’re an intermediate surfer who wants to go to Madeiro beach to get better at surfing whilst sharing the sea with dolphins?

Or…you’re an experienced surfer who wants to go directly to Punta de Lobos and surf waves that can go up to 16ft+?

As you could see, surfing in South America is NEVER boring: surfing around whales or dolphins, swimming in warm or cold water, walking in large beaches, or small rural towns, or just surfing while curious young seals judge your surfer skills. 

Wherever you go there is a wave waiting for you, the wave wanderer.   

Surf’s up! 

Related Posts on South America

Best Hikes in South America for you to Explore

Surfing in South America – The Ultimate Guide

More To Explore

7 day Croatia itinerary

7 Day Croatia Itinerary

So you picked Europe for your Summer holiday? In this case, you should absolutely visit Croatia and follow this 7 Day Croatia Itinerary to have

Women Wandering Beyond

Hello and Welcome!

Hi there. My name is Aisha Preece. Founder and owner of Women Wandering Beyond.

Learning how to adventure and explore through the world transformed my life and helped me become a happier person.

I want to help you do the same.
My female adventure travel site is dedicated to helping women travel more, step outside their comfort zone and experience wonders of the world beyond their wildest dreams!

Ladies, we are going on an adventure!

Search for something specific

follow our adventures