With some 7491km (4644mi) of fabulous Atlantic coastline, it’s no surprise that Brazil has dozens of spectacular surf spots to explore. While it is best known for its sandy-bottomed beach breaks, Brazil boasts plenty of rocky points, flowing rivers, and even epic volcanic islands that offer splendid surf conditions for every taste.
The Brazilian Coast is also home to some of the world’s most famously festive cities and surf towns, offering everything from nightlife and fine dining to a plethora of other water sports (kite surfing, anyone?) to keep you busy when the swells stop rolling in. Or, you could lose yourself in one of the richly rain-forested protected areas, getting back to nature in every way possible.
Peak surf season in Southern Brazil (with most of the countries top surf spots) is from April to October, when big waves roll in from the Atlantic. Northern Brazil enjoys excellent northern swells from November to March. Here are just a few of the top spots for Brazilian surf, but look around online for more swells just waiting for wave-riders like you.
The top surf destination in Brazil is the island of Florianopolis, with some 42 gorgeous white-sand beaches that offer everything from the solitude of wild nature (mostly on the south end of the island) to all the amenities of a beach city populated by over a million festive Brazilians. From Barra de Lagoa, the “Bunny Slope of Surfing,” considered one of the best spots on Earth to learn the sport; to the world-class waves of Praia Mole, which hosts South America’s only WTC Surf Championships, there’s something for everyone. Expect consistently good surf from April through October, though the waves roll in year round.
2) Santa Catarina State
In addition to Florianopolis, Santa Catarina State boasts several of Brazil’s best breaks within a few hours of the star attraction. Imbituba, 88km (55mi) south of Florianopolis, is a small town with big waves worthy of WCT championships. It’s also a great spot for kite-surfing, whale watching and more. Garopaba, 100km (62mi) south of Florianopolis, has eight beautiful beaches, a great selection of hotels and restaurants, and a fun, easy-access beach break right in town. And that’s just the beginning. Ask around in Florianopolis about more world-class waves within a quick bus ride of the island.
3) Fernando De Noronha
Northern Brazil’s top surf spot is this chain of 21 volcanic islands located 350km (220mi) from the mainland. “Brazil’s Hawaii” may be best known for its excellent diving and hiking, but surfers make the pilgrimage here from December through March to enjoy the southward swells and near-constant offshore winds originating in the stormy North Atlantic. Reef breaks, point breaks, and board-snapping barrels offer something for everyone. Because this is a conservation area, only 420 people are allowed here at any one time; plan ahead. Keep in mind that prices are high, lodging limited, and the party scene muted thanks to the archipelago’s isolation. Which means more time for surfing.
There are several spots to surf in Rio de Janeiro proper, making it the perfect place to begin your endless Brazilian summer. Barra de Tijuca and Arpoador are usually the best, but easy-access beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana have decent waves as well. Serious surfers, however, head south to the scalloped peninsula of Buzios about two hours (126km/79mi) south of Rio. The best waves are at popular Geriba, but if you aren’t up for the crowds try Tucuns and Praia Brava.
5) Sao Domingos do Capim
More than 300km (186mi) from the ocean, the longest wave in the world rolls westward through the rainforest twice each year, around the full moon closest to the March equinox. The indigenous inhabitants of the Amazon River called it the pororoca, “Great Destructive Noise,” as the roar of the 4m (13ft) tidal bore can be heard several minutes before it rushes up the great river, destroying almost everything in its path. The key word being almost: Since 1999, surfers have been gathering in Sao Domingos do Campin to ride this most unusual wave up the Amazon, a competition unlike any other in the world.