The Best Surf Spots in South America

Montanita waves
Montanita waves | © Agencia de Noticias Andes / Flickr
Will Lees

South America is blessed with not only beautiful beaches, but fantastic waves and breaks for surf fans. Starting in the north west, here’s our counter-clockwise pick of the best spots around the continent, starting in Colombia and ending in Brazil.

Nuqui, Colombia

Broadly speaking, the coast of Colombia is not easily accessible – but it’s worth it if you make the journey. The small town, and we put an emphasis on small, of Nuqui and neighbouring El Valle are on the remote Pacific coast of Colombia, and are not accessible by road so you’ll have to fly in, but this dedication to catching waves will mean that when it there’s chest- high clean barrels, a handful of people in the water is considered crowded.

Nuqui, Choco, Colombia

Montañita, Ecuador

Some waves break lonesome far from civilization, but in Montañita’s case, you’ll be treated to a point break off the rocks, and multiple beach breaks right next to the town, itself a chill barefoot surf town in the day, and mad party central at night. No matter how long you plan to visit Montañita for, add a few more days or weeks as everyone who visits will agree it’s a seriously special beach town.

Montanita, Santa Elena, Ecuador

Ecuador surf competition

Puerto Malabrigo, Peru

Most people who want to catch some waves will cruise through Peru’s take on Montañita, known as Mancora. However, farther down the coast, in a town that is much less known, you’ll be treated to the longest wave in the world. Look out towards the water in Malabrigo and you’ll often see set after set of perfect waves breaking off the point and allowing you to surf the wave known as Chicama, for sometimes up to a few kilometers until your legs are jelly.

Puerto Malabrigo, Peru

The world’s longest wave

Arica, Chile

Rainy doesn’t matter when you’re surfing as you’re wet anyways – however, the driest city in the world, blessed with some seriously good waves, is sure to attract surfers. Arica, the most northern city in Chile, gets almost no precipitation as it is in the center of the Atacama Desert, and if the swell is coming through, then you know the weather will comply as well. A lot of beach breaks including a heavy point break for the daring and experienced surfer next to Isla Alacran, which has been home to many pro competitions.

Arica, Arica y Parinacota, Chile

Mar del Plata, Argentina

In Argentina you can catch some great waves on a good day in the city just a couple hours south of the capital. Mar del Plata is enormous in comparison to the normal beach towns in South America, but has some beach breaks that can produce some cold, but consistent waves, especially La Perla which is a small but solid wave great for learning, or just a great safe wave to try out new things if you’re a veteran.

Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Mar del Plata

La Paloma, Uruguay

In the corner of South America, you’ll find Uruguay, and in the corner of Uruguay, you’ll find, if you look hard enough, the little town of La Paloma. Only very busy for a couple months a year, this very, very quiet town is surrounded by nature and coast. Depending on how the wind is blowing, one of the breaks will be producing some good waves, including the point break south of the town at Los Botes that can get pretty large, and a few crumbling beach breaks like La Aguada to the north, for novices.

La Paloma, Rocha Department, Uruguay

La Paloma overhead

Santa Catarina, Brazil

Santa Catarina in Brazil refers to a large state in the south of the country, which is a surfer’s playground. For a focus on a smaller area, take a look at the island of Santa Catarina, and you can’t go far wrong. The whole east side of the island is dotted with coves that produce point breaks, and beautiful sand that creates beach breaks. The best breaks on the island are Praia Joaquina, Praia Mole and Barra da Lagoa, but you can just listen to the talk of the town as to where the waves are that week. They don’t call it the Island of Magic for nothing as it truly is a magical place, waves or not.

Ilha Santa Catarina, Santa Catarina, Brazil

Hit the beach in Brazil
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.


Keen to explore the world?

Our passionately curated premium small-group trips are an invitation to connect with like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.