Where is the best surfing in South America? South America is the fourth largest continent in the World, so, that may not be an easy question to answer. South America consists of 12 independent countries and 3 dependent territories. The countries of South America are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The dependent territories of South America are: Falkland Islands, French Guiana and South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. Brazil is the largest country in South America with the largest population. The Amazon Rainforest is located in South America and is the largest rainforest in the World. South America is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the West and the Atlantic Ocean to East, with this in mind, there should be a lot of great surf spots in South America.
Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, and the second-largest in Latin America. Argentina’s capital is Buenos Aires and its official language is Spanish. Playa Union is one of the best surfing spots in Argentina. It is a little less than 4 miles from the city of Rawson. The best months of years to surf this spot are February – April.
Bolivia is named after Simón Bolívar, a leader in the Spanish American wars of independence, it is a land locked country so it has no surf spots. Bolivia’s capital is Sucre and its official languages are Spanish and Aymara.
Brazil is the largest country in South America and also has the largest population. Brazil’s capital city is Brasilia and its official language is Portuguese. Brazil has some of the best surfers in the World. The current and defending World Surfing Champion is Adriano de Souza and he is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The first Brazilian World Surfing Champion is Gabriel Medina and he won the championship in 2014. World Surf League aka WSL has held a contest in Brazil for many years and since 2011 the contest has been held at Rio de Janeiro were there are many surf spots.
Even though Rio de Janeiro is the stop for the WSL, the reported best wave in Brazil is on the island of Fernando de Noronha. The best months of the year to surf there are November – March. Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago of 21 islands and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 220 miles offshore from the Brazilian coast.
Chile is located on the Western side of South America and the Pacific Ocean hits its shores. Chile’s capital is Santiago and its official language is Spanish. Chile is considered one of the most stable and prosperous countries in South America. Chile has a coast line of approximately 4,000 miles and waves hit this coastline year round. Chile has beach breaks, points breaks and reef breaks and experiences the types of waves those breaks create.
Chile has a lot of great surf spots and there is no consensus on which is the best spot, but here is a list of some of those spots: Punta de Lobos, El Claron, Papagayo, Ritoque, Renaca, Puertecillo, Pichilemu and Infiernillo.
Colombia has the fourth largest economy in Latin America, its capital is Bogota and the official language is Spanish. Colombia has surf spots located on its Pacific Coast and Caribbean Coast. The Pacific Coast side has better waves but they are not easily accessible. The Caribbean coast side is more accessible and is geared more for the beginner.
Surf spots on the Pacific Coast are: Juan Tornillo, El Valle, and Pico de Loro are great spots, but they are isolated and have strong currents. Punta Roca is a good surf spot on the Caribbean Coast side of Columbia.
Ecuador’s official language is Spanish and the capital is Quito, the Galápagos Islands are considered part of Ecuador. Ecuador has approximately 1,400 miles of coastline which is hit by the Pacific Ocean. Ecuador has beach breaks, points breaks and reef breaks and experiences the types of waves those breaks create (click here to read my post “Type of Waves to Surf” to learn more). Some great surf spots in Ecuador are: Playas, Salinas, Montañita, Manta, Galapagos and Mompiche.
Guyana coastline is hit by the Atlantic Ocean, its capital is Georgetown and its official language is English. Guyana is not known for surf spots.
Paraguay’s capital is Asunción and its official languages are Spanish and Guaraní, it is a land locked country so it has no surf spots.
Peru is located on the Western part of South America, its Capital is Lima. One of the official languages of Peru is Spanish. Since Peru is located on the Western side of South America its coastline is hit by the Pacific Ocean. Peru has over 1,400 miles of coastline made up of beach breaks, point breaks and reef breaks. The famous Incan citadel, Machu Picchu, is located in the Andes Mountains of Peru.
Here is a list of some well know surf spots in Peru: El Hueco, Cabo Blanco, Organos, Mancora, Bayovar, Centinela, Huanchaco, Chicama and Pacasmayo. Peru big wave location is in Punta Hermosa, which is south of Lima, Pico Alto is has the largest waves in South America.
Suriname’s capital is Paramaribo and its official language is Dutch. Suriname is located on the North East part of South America and its coast is hit by the Atlantic Ocean. Suriname is not known for surf spots.
Uruguay’s capital is Montevideo and its official language is Spanish. Uruguay has legalized the sale, production and consumption of marijuana. Uruguay has also legalized same-sex marriage and abortion. Uruguay is located on the South East Coast of South America so its coastline is hit by the Atlantic Ocean.
La Paloma in Uruguay was named by National Geographic as one of the World’s 20 best surf towns. Winter is the best time to surf in Uruguay and these are the spots to hit: Punta del Este, Jose Ignacio, La Paloma and La Pedrera.
Venezuela is on the North coast of South America and its capital is Caracas, the official language is Spanish. If you’ve viewed the Viceland television series “State of Undress” you’ll know that Venezuela is famous for producing beauty pageant winners and also that its economy is in a state of turmoil.
Venezuela has over 1,700 miles of coastline and these are some of its surf spots: Playa Pantaleta, Punta Care, El Rio, Anare, Fido Point, Puerto Azul, Los Cocos, Tanaguarena, Mamo, El Playon, Cuyagua and El Malecon.
The answer to “Where is the best surfing in South America?” seems to be practically everywhere there is surf in South America, the answer is subjective and will really be based on your personal preference. South America is a large continent and as such there are hundreds of surf locations, I have tried to provide you with the most well-known and in some cases what the some consider the best spots.
Check out my post: “Surfing Lessons on Oahu.”
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