This Secret Surf Spot Has Been Dubbed the California of South America

Itacare | © Junior Braz/Shutterstock
Itacare | © Junior Braz/Shutterstock
Nestled in a cove on Brazil’s picturesque northeast coast is a tropical paradise that, at least for now, remains largely undiscovered. Itacaré is the kind of place where shoes are optional, nobody is in a rush and reggae beats permeate through the cool ocean breeze. Yet it’s the picturesque beaches for which the town is best known, incredibly beautiful and blessed with optimal surfing conditions all year round.

Once a hideout for Dutch and Portuguese pirates, this small seaside town was founded in the 18th century and expanded rapidly thanks to a booming cocoa industry. Nowadays, the cocoa fields have long gone, prompting the town to shift its focus towards tourism instead.

Beach near Itacare © Junior Braz/Shutterstock

Despite the region’s incredible natural allure, it’s the consistently good surf that brings most visitors in. Conditions are so good, in fact, that Itacaré regularly hosts international competitions featuring some of the world’s biggest names.

Most surfers make a beeline for Praia da Tiririca, a stunning beach just outside town known for its reliable short, fast and hallow waves. It’s pretty crowded, though, and the waves aren’t particularly forgiving to beginners. But worry not, as there are a multitude of other amazing beaches just a stone’s throw away.

Beach near Itacare © Junior Braz/Shutterstock

Praia da Concha runs parallel to the town’s restaurant lined main boulevard and is perfect for those who want to be seen, while nearby Praia do Resende is the ideal spot for a secluded swim. But nothing compares to the stunning Praia do Prainha. Only accessible by a hike along a dense jungle trail, it’s considered by many to be the most beautiful beach in Brazil.

Beach football on © Bruce Thomson/Flickr

Back in town, daily life in chilled-out Itacaré is the ideal antidote to the stresses of modern city living. But that’s not to say it’s boring, because the town comes alive as the sun begins to set. Street stalls hawk the day’s freshly caught seafood while tourists mingle with ice cold caipirinhas in hand. Meanwhile, Rastafarian buskers belt out reggae tunes as expats and locals chat among themselves in the street.

Itacaré’s vibe is friendly and inclusive, a place where tourists are welcome to join impromptu jam sessions on the beach. Undeniably laid back, it’s the perfect beach destination for surfers and non-surfers alike. But get in quick, because something this special will only remain undiscovered for so long.

Beach in Itacare © Raíssa Viza/Flickr

Keen to learn about Brazil’s most famous beach? Read our article on how Copacabana got its name.