The best surfing spots in South America Uncover South America

South America | Blog The best surfing spots in South America

April 6, 2022

Tired of surfing the same spots around your hometown? Need a radical change and breath-taking experience? Look no further we’ve compiled a list of all the best spots to surf in South America, so you don’t need to do the research. We’ll agree that it is not as notorious as Australia, Indonesia or South Africa but it’s the package of surf, culture, food and history that makes these places so appealing. Just grab your board, get in a car, and enjoy the waves. We guarantee you’ll have some incredible stories to tell when you’re back. Even if you’re just a beginner or curious, this article is definitely for you. We’ll talk about the local culture, food stops and wildlife in the area to give you a full overview. 


Having Brazil on this list really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, simply based on the number of beaches you’ll find here. It’s impossible to not find one that won’t guarantee some incredible waves. 

Rio de Janeiro holds both Barra da Tijuca and Arpoador but like with all major cities, beaches here can get rather crowded, so these are particularly good for early risers who want something local before heading off for your day of activities. Bonus points for Arpoador that is located just by Copacabana and how could you possibly miss out on that? You’ll find plenty here after you’ve caught some waves, whether it is small beach style eateries or something more fine dining, Rio de Janeiro has plenty to offer. A little barbecue anyone? 

If you are in the North-eastern part of the country, then Fernando de Noronha is definitely unmissable. This archipelago, originally a volcano is the perfect location for some quality waves. For a more chilled experience the warm water makes it ideal grounds for snorkelling. If you can decide? The good news is that you don’t have to. 

Last but not least, nothing other than the Capital of surfing for Brazilians aka Florianopolis, if you are not an expert we recommend either asking around or finding an instruction, it can be tricky to figure out the wind direction and ideal conditions but once that’s out the way, you’ve got a good time guaranteed. 

There is no need to mention that there is a plethora more to do in Brazil other than surfing, so make sure you’ve got plenty of time to explore to make the most.


Next up we’ve got Peru, known as one of the best countries in the world for some big waves and incredible surf you’re in for a treat here. So wax that board and let’s get started. 

If you’re a person that loves surfing then we’re sure you’ve heard of historians saying that the first waves ever surfed were right here in Peru, in Huanchaco to be exact, so just for that we recommend you check this spot out. 

Of course, you’ll have the large and very frequented beaches in places like Miraflores or Barranquito, Lima which are great, especially if you’ve just landed. But if you have means of transport or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous on public transport, we highly recommend moving out the city. 

No list of Peru would be complete without Puerto Malabrigo, located on the north coast of Peru it is famous for the Chicama wave. On a good day the wave can extend for almost 3km. It is unbelievable whether you are trying to surf the wave or just watch it. We promise we’re not lying so it’s worth checking out. 

Lastly for something a little different why not try Lobitos? This is an old military territory that was reclaimed by surfers, although oil is still actively extracted from the sea there are various beaches here and some really great waves. 

 It goes without saying with Peru being surrounded by the pacific waters but we do recommend a wetsuit even in the warmer months or the northern part of the country as the water can get quite cold, especially if you’re going to be in there for a while. Summer here runs from October to March and you’ll have good winds year round. 


Don’t be fooled by the size of Urugay when it comes to surfing, with almost 700 kilometres of Coastline it is hard to see how you could spend some time here and not try a little bit of surf. If not for the surf, why not visit for its very popular wine industry paired with incredible cuts of meats. 

Punta del Este also known as the beginning of the Atlantic where the real waves happen, is top on our list if you’re going to surf in Uruguay. If you need a few lessons before starting off on your own or a refresher we’d advise starting at La Brava, although crowded you’ll be able to get some nice, laid-back classes here. Alternatively, you can try La Barra, definitely not as busy and perfect to enjoy in and out of the water. 

For more of a unique experience try out Cabo Polonio this secluded hippie town on the east coast is powered by generators and with no motorized vehicle or sometimes no running water surf is unusual but loveable for plenty of reasons. The main one being the sea lion reserve, which turns out to be one of the biggest it in the world. Even better than seeing them sunbathe on the rocks? Surf the waves with them. Don’t panic they are very peaceful creatures and would make for a perfect memory. 


Although it is much less visited by surfers than the Caribbean coast, Colombia has a lot to offer for surfers and holiday goers with some of the most stunning beaches you’ll find in South America. Perfect for all levels, the best times are December to March and/or July to September, but even outside these periods you are bound to find some good surf. 

If you’ve saved up on some money in the last few months of pandemic and want to treat yourself to a really nice holiday, we strongly recommend Playa Guachalito and its luxurious hotels and ecolodges. It’s also a perfect surf spot and you’ll be able to find plenty of classes to get you going, you’ll be standing on those boards in no time.

If you’re looking for a real surf trip experience but you’re afraid of not fitting in with the pros, we recommend you stop at Costeno Beach, you definitely don’t need to be an expert here, with smaller waves perfect for beginners. There’s a hotel too where you’ll find a great community. People come together here when the evening comes and the sunset is incredible. 

Now you’re in Colombia, shake out those legs as you embrace its culture and love for dancing. 


Moving down a little, Chile will surprise you with the surf because contrary to popular belief there is a lot more than just the Atacama desert. So between driest desert in the world to big waves the line is thin. Make sure to plan your trip during the right season. Perfect when the summer blues kicks in, the perfect time is Chilean Spring from September to November. 

It may have joined the party a little late in terms of surf but it sure has picked up well in the last couple of years. 

Iquique is the perfect city if you want to combine surf and culture, although we must admit you’ll want to be slightly more experiences here. It has almost as many historical landmarks as it has beaches and surfing spots, so you won’t be bored here, that’s for sure. Beginners don’t be afraid; these world class waves will welcome you too. Simply combine a couple of classes and discovering the city and you’ve got a perfect trip.

Next recommendation comes with a fun fact as Arica, Las Machas is a beach so long that it starts in Chile and ends in Peru. It can get rather crowded but you can explore the beach and move a little further up north to find some quiet spots and waves just as good.


Holidays are meant to be enjoyed, no matter what is it you enjoy doing on your time off so whether you originally came to Argentina for the good wine, succulent steak, or endless mountains we’re sure a little surf is the cherry on top.  

You might be a little limited by options here but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find. Mar del Plata, just south of the Buenos Aires province is home to 45 kilometres of coastline and some sweet waves. It’s also the busiest but combines sea and city and if you venture further South you’ll find some great spots. 

If surfing isn’t the highlight of your trip but still want to enjoy some casual waves we can’t recommend Playa Union enough. Plan your trip at the right time and you’ll be able to enjoy some small waves as well as whales and penguins in the nearby city of Puerto Madryn. This is truly a nature’s lovers paradise and you really can’t go wrong. 

No surfing roundup of Argentina would be complete without Necochea and Cueva del Tigre the perfectly instagramable surf spot and secret cave. Offering incredible views you can enjoy it both from the water or the city. 


You’ve surfed the internet to find your next destination now it’s time to book your holiday, get that sunscreen on and hope you don’t end up covered in sand. 

We hope you found this article useful, if you need any further information or would like to add a surf section to your existing trip, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are always available for a chat or to help you plan your perfect holiday. 



Uncover South America Team


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