Latin America is an increasingly popular surfing destination and one of the current leaders of the boom in surf tourism, with new areas opening up all the time. Despite its recent rise in popularity surfing in Latin America was mainly spurred by the 1960s surfing culture revolution that spread from Southern California. While Baja and Mexico’s northern pacific coast is well known to many, there are many other surf spots in this most amazing of continents to discover. This article looks at five of the best.
Fernando de Noronha
Known as Brazil’s Hawaii, Fernando de Noronha is a stunning archipelago situated around 230 miles of the country’s north-eastern coast.. The UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site offers visitors pristine beaches and a picturesque natural setting. Occupied by the Dutch, French and Portuguese during the 17th and 18th centuries, the remote archipelago is now home to some of Brazils best surfing conditions. Experienced surfers say the perfect swells happen the country’s summer months, especially as storms churn in the North Atlantic. That said its lack of consistency means that conditions that really light up its breaks are few and far between. Visiting between December and March are thought to be the best time to visit, particularly along the northwest-facing coast.
One of the Caribbean’s most popular surfing spots, Puerto Rico offers dazzling waves. World-class surfing beaches are found at Rincón, a popular haven with a mix of local and international surfers. Surfing spots in Rincón include Pool’s, Sandy Beach, Antonio’s, Dogman’s, Domes, Indicator, Maria’s, Spanish Wall, Steps, and Tres Palmas beaches. Situated on the western coast of the island, the town has a welcoming atmosphere with consistent swells. Top surfing destinations in Puerto Rico also include the picturesque towns of Aguadilla and Isabela.
Situated in the remote northern coast of Peru, Máncora is a bustling fishing village. A popular destination for backpackers and beachgoers, balmy waters and open breaks make this a surfer’s paradise. The idyllic spot has an energetic feel with friendly bar and restaurants that come at night along the town’s main street. Find the best and most challenging surfing conditions during December and January when massive waves break along the beach. There are plenty of quiet coves and beaches along the northern coast, including Chicama where you will find unimaginably long waves all perfect on a South America holiday.
Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca is an eclectic town in southern Mexico. Surfers, backpackers and locals come here to enjoy the beaches and the surf. Beaches here are ideal for surfers of any level. Known as the Mexican Pipeline, Zicatela Beach is reminiscent of Oahu’s Banzai Pipeline. The wide beach hosts several major international surfing competitions during the year, while visitors from around the world find prime waves from mid to late summer. For beginners, Playa Marinero offers gentle surf west of the long and high waves of Zicatela.
Among the best surfing destinations in Central America, El Salvador is emerging as one of the world’s hot spots. Popular beaches include La Libertad near the capital, San Salvador. Known for its fast and hollow waves, La Libertad has a well established surfing heritage with a capable collection of surf shops, board rentals and repair shops to make any holiday there a comfortable one. Good bets in El Salvador also include the beautiful beaches of El Sunsal, El Zonte and El Cuco near San Miguel in the less travelled East. Playa Las Flores near El Cucu is among the country’s best surfing spots with excellent right point breaks.
From beginners to pros, South America offers stunning destinations for surfing. Sheltered coves, challenging long breaks and thrilling swells from nearby storms create perfect conditions to challenge surfers at all levels.