Uruguay’s weather is quite temperamental—seasons behave differently every year, which can affect the surf. Be prepared with this handy guide to the best surf spots in Uruguay, and the ideal weather conditions to ride the best waves.
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Corumbá, La Paloma
La Paloma is a very popular coastal city in the summer, with around 20,000 people, but only around 5,300 people remain all year long. Corumbá is a beach to the west of the city, and bears its name to a Brazilian shipwreck that has been there since 1874. The beach is made of white, firm sand, with a shallow shore. In optimum conditions, there are sand breaks that generate tubular waves. When the swell is potent, the beach turns into advanced surfers only, as you have to be careful on your way in, and read the sea for the best entry points. Otherwise, the beach is good for beginners and there are several surf schools during the summer.
The optimal conditions for this beach are wind from the north, northeast, and east-northeast, and swell direction south, and east-southeast. You can catch left and right-hand waves, up to two meters tall. Surfing sessions are very chill, even in the summer when there are big crowds, because the beach is extensive, allowing for many surfers to be in the water without concentrating in one spot.
Los Botes, La Paloma
The name of this beach means “The Boats” due to the many fishing boats that congregate in the area. You can buy cheap, fresh fish from them to cook after your surf. The sand is fine and firm, with a wide coast and few waves on the shore. The drop starts in a rocky bottom, that then turns to sand. In classic conditions, the wave reaches around two meters high and up to a 150-meter ride. On low tide, the rocks turn dangerous so be careful.
The level of difficulty of this beach is medium to high, especially on the days when the tide is low. The wave is on the left-hand, and it takes east and east-northeast winds, very common in summer afternoons. The optimum wind conditions are north, east-northeast and east, and swell south, south-southeast, east-southeast.
La Aguada, La Paloma
This beach is the only one on the east side of the city, which usually means that when the others are flat, this one is great to surf. It is a familiar, peaceful beach, and one of the most crowded during high season. The space with white and golden sand is wide and open, which provides a big area for all kinds of activities and sports. It counts with various sand banks, which depending on conditions present great quality tubular waves all year long.
This is a great beach for beginners, and it has many surf schools to rent boards and book lessons. Under the right conditions, the right and left-hand waves turn into medium to advanced levels, and can be two meters tall or more. The optimum wind blows from the southwest, west, and west-northwest. The swell goes east and east-southeast.
Playa del Barco, La Pedrera
There is a shipwreck of a Taiwanese tuna boat that sank in 1971, right on the sand, which is cool to see up close. This beach is deep, with thick sand. It generally presents good sand banks that generate tubular waves depending on the conditions. There are good left-hand waves on the rocks.
There is a spot called “The Thunder,” with right-hand heavy, potent, perfect waves with well-defined entry channels, and very dangerous currents for swimmers. These are one of the best right-hand waves in Uruguay, and only for advanced surfers. The crowd here is minimal outside of high season (January, February and March). Waves can be two meters tall or more in optimum wind conditions (northwest, north, and northeast) and swell (south, southeast and east-southeast).
Desplayado, La Pedrera
The waves here are strong, and can be tubular in the right conditions. They start on a rocky bottom and continue on a long ride over a sand bank. When the swell is strong access can be hard, as you have to get in on the rocks and calculate the series to find the perfect moment to jump in.
This is one of the three best right-hand waves in the country, with swell from the southeast and mild winds it breaks with total perfection. The waves can be two meters tall or more. The optimum wind blows from the north and northwest, and the swell from the east and southeast.
Playa Calavera, Cabo Polonio
This is the north beach of Cabo Polonio, a unique town that is only accessible on authorized vehicles, as its enormous dunes are protected. The whole town is part of a natural reserve, as many sea animals live and visit these beaches. The geographic structure of the peninsula is very atypical, as it is made of a rock formation that introduces into the sea.
Cabo Polonio is home to one of the biggest sea lion marine reserves in the world, so it is not uncommon to see some sea lions riding the waves next to you as you surf. They are peaceful creatures unless attacked, so just act normally and don’t panic if this happens. You might also see dolphins on the waves. The optimum conditions for the right-hand wave, which can be two meters tall or more, are winds from the north and northwest, and southeast swell.
La Viuda, Punta del Diablo
Punta del Diablo is a nice, small beach town on a peninsula. The waves here are strong and have multiple peaks along the whole beach. They stay on a good size for quite long and have a tubular shape. The bottom is rocky and sandy, depending on the spot. There are waves all year round, but the best months are from September to November, and from March to May.
There are good surfing conditions when the east wind blows strong, as it generally affects all the beaches in that area. The waves are right and left-handed, and go from half a meter to two meters tall. Optimum conditions are wind blowing from the northeast, north, northwest, and west. The swell goes south, southeast, east and northeast.
Pesqueros, Santa Teresa
Santa Teresa is a national park; the perfect combination of vegetation and beach. The waves on this beach are one of the best in Santa Teresa. With east and northeast swells, left-hand waves are generated that, depending on the sand banks, can break from the point and go to the middle of the beach. With south and southeast swells, right-hand waves appear, very fast and tubular on the sand bank next to the shore.
The first section is tubular and fast, and then an easy-to-maneuver wave wall opens up for a 100-meter ride, in optimal conditions. These conditions are: wind from the north and northwest, and east, east-northeast, northeast, south, and southeast swells (creating different waves according to the swells).
Parts of this information was translated with permission from Guia de Surfing. Check it out to find out more information about surfing on each of these beaches and others along the long Uruguayan coast.
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