Surfing in Brazil
Brazil is one of the most famous surfing nations in the world. Ever since the 1970’s, when surfing was introduced in Brazil, people from all over the world have been travelling there to experience some amazing waves in one of the most pretty scenarios in the world. With a coastline facing the Atlantic Ocean there is no wonder why Brazil is considered one of the surf hotspots in the world. There are waves scattered all over the beautiful 8 000 kilometer long coastline of the country, from Fortaleza down through Natal, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and Florianópolis, giving waves to everyone who comes there to chase them.
In the southern parts of the country you will find the most traditional and consistent surf spots. The northeast parts have seasonal waves in a stunning tropical scenery with white sand beaches and palm trees everywhere. When the swells arrive in these areas the reef guarantees that you get amazing waves in the warmest water you have ever surfed.
Why surf in Brazil?
Besides the empty beaches and the perfect reef breaks, the second best thing about going on a surf trip to Brazil is the cultural experience. The food is amazing, nature is breathtaking and the people are warm and friendly. There are waterfalls, mountains, rain forests and green lush everywhere you go. The diversity of climate on the huge coastline creates stunning vegetation and consistent waves all year round. You can chase waves from the north of the country all the way down to the south, checking some beautiful beaches that will take you breath away. It only depends on you to search for that lost gem that will be in your dreams for a long time. Like in the movie “The Beach”, the probabilities that you find the perfect beach and never want to go back home are really high.
Climate in Brazil
Brazil is a continental country so it has many different climates. In the southern parts of the country you will find all four seasons. Summer is from December until March, and winter from June until September. This part of the country has waves all year round, but the most consistent period is during winter time.
In the northeast of Brazil the climate is tropical with only two seasons, dry and wet. Dry season occurs during the summer when the waves are small and inconsistent, and wet is in the middle of the year during winter time when bigger swells arrive from the north of the Atlantic Ocean and the waves can get up to 12ft high.
Best time to go
Surfing in the summer/dry season in Brazil
Except from the most northern parts of the Brazilian coast, this season means smaller swells and less consistent in the southern parts of the country. The waves are better for beginners and the water is warm so there is no need to bring a wetsuit for surfing in this season.
Surfing in winter/wet season in Brazil
This is the period of the year when the surf is most consistent in most parts of the Brazilian coast. The waves are more powerful and more suitable for advanced surfers. The water can get cold in the south of the country so it’s a good idea to bring a steamer for the cold days. This is when the swells hit the northeast of the country. There are constant winds in this area making it perfect for kitesurfing and when the wind drops in the mornings the waves get really good.
Main Surfing areas in Brazil
Praia do Rosa
Praia do Rosa: This beautiful beach is located 2 hours down south of Florianopolis in an idyllic fisherman village called Garopaba. The best spots to surf are at the corners of the beach. On the north side you have long mellow lefts perfect for turns. The south corner has faster waves with occasional barrels. The waves can get good as well in the middle of the beach where you have a very nice restaurant with a beachfront wooden deck.
Praia da Ferrugem
Praia da Ferrugem: This beach is the most popular in Garopaba. The area has many restaurants and bars that get really busy during the summer. The waves are hollow and fast but very consistent. It’s the perfect place to mix surf and parties.
Praia da Silveira
Praia da Silveira: This surf spot is considered the most traditional of Garopaba. On the right corner of the beach there is a solid point break that produces very long right handers. The take off is very step and most of the waves barrel at some point. The locals call it “Mike Tyson” because of the intensity of the wave.
Guarda do Embau
Guarda do Embau: It’s a natural surf reserve located near Garopaba. The beach has a river mouth on the left corner of that produces world class waves. The surroundings are very beautiful with the river running parallel to the beach.
Praia Mole: This beach is located at the east coast of Florianopolis and it’s known by being extremely consistent. The wave breaks on top of a sand bottom that creates lots of barrels, both to the right and to the left. The spot works better with south and east swells and northerly winds. This is one of the most popular beaches on the island so there are lots of people practicing sports on the beach and always a few surfers in the water.
Joaquina: This is the main surf spot in Florianopolis. It’s usually crowded but there is always lots of waves for everyone. The left corner is the main break at the beach but you can always try to dodge the crowd at the middle of the beach.
RIO DE JANEIRO
Leme: On the left corner of Copacabana beach you will find this surf spot. The waves there are very hollow and fast. Locals call it Pipeleme. This corner is considered the most consistent spot on this beach.
Copacabana: This famous beach has a few different spots. In the middle of the beach, in front of Posto 5, there is a heavy shorebreak that gets really big with powerful swells. In the right corner of the beach you will find a mellow point break that is perfect for longboarders and stand up paddlers.
Arpoador: One of the best surf spots in Rio de Janeiro. The rocks near the beach create a perfect point break to the left that breaks on top of a sand bottom. The wave has a few sections that spread the constant crowd. Back in the days, this used to be the spot where the WCT usually held their competition.
Ipanema: Ipanema is one of the most popular beaches in Rio with many peaks spreading the crowd. The waves are usually fast and hollow creating occasional barrels. The locals say that the waves shut down perfectly on both sides.
Leblon: This beach has a very traditional surf spot on the right corner called Pontao do Leblon. The break can handle the biggest swells that usually come from the southwest during the winter. The rocks on the corner of the beach create a point break to the right that can be very powerful and fast.
São Conrado: This is Rob Machado’s favorite surf spot in Rio. The best break is on the left corner of the beach where a rock wall make perfect A-frames that usually creates fast and hollow barrels. The scenery is beautiful but the break is crowded with local surfers and bodyboarders that love the heavy sucky conditions.
Barra da Tijuca
Barra da Tijuca: On the west side of the city (going down south with the coastline) you will find Barra da Tijuca, a 18 km long beach. There are waves scattered all over the beach so you can always find a peak to surf alone there. During most of the afternoons the east wind gets strong making the beach a kitesurf paradise. It’s very common to see many kite surfers sailing to the nearby islands of the coast or surfing all the 18 km until the other corner of the beach. WSL held their competition in front of Posto 4 before they changed the location to Saquarema.
Macumba: Macumba beach has good waves for all abilities. The crowd is mostly made of longboarders so the vibe in the line-up is always friendly. The rocks in the middle of the beach create a strong current and a powerful shorebreak that makes going in and out of the ocean a bit tricky.
Prainha: Prainha is considered as one of the most beautiful beaches in Rio. There are no buildings or restaurants in sight, only a few kiosks that sell snacks and surf related products like leashes and wax. The beach is located in a preservation area so the scenery is green lush, the water is clear and the waves are really consistent.
Grumari: This beach is another gem on the coastline of Rio. There are no constructions and all you can see from the water is a big green mountain that surrounds the whole beach protecting the surf from strong winds. The waves can get really good when the sand banks align with the swell direction.
Itamambuca: This is considered the best surf spot in the area and it’s where the main surf contest of happen. There are always quality waves breaking all over the beach, specially on the right corner where a river mouth creates a perfect sandbar. With small swells it’s a wave for all abilities, but it can also handle a lot of size.
Maresias: This small fishermen village is where the 2x World Champion Gabriel Medina and many other pro surfers learned how to surf. The waves are consistent all year round but during the winter with big SW swell the spot is perfect for the practice of the tow in. Big hollow barrels break far from the beach on the outside and with the help of a jet ski you can get the best barrel of your life.
Itacaré: This charming little city in the south of Bahia has 8 surf spots that will be perfect to test your surf skills. If you are looking for an easy wave you can surf at Engenhoca Beach. If you want hollow barrels breaking on top of reef you should check out Corais.
Praia do Forte
Praia do Forte: Located near Salvador, the capital of Bahia, you will find this amazing tropical beach. This place is very famous for the amazing waves and because it hosts a very important and famous environmental project called Projeto Tamar. The project was created in the 80s to protect the sea turtles and preserve their environment by creating awareness about these amazing animals. The project is very successful and now you can see the turtles everywhere in the ocean and it’s common to see them while surfing. The project is open for the public that can and learn about the life of the turtles and learn how to preserve their environment.
Rio Grande do Norte
Praia da Pipa
Praia da Pipa: It’s the right spot for those who search for great waves and paradisiac scenario. This surf spot is considered one of the best in the country. There are many surf spots breaks in the area with different kind of waves that will please intermediate and advanced surfers.
Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha: This island is one of the most beautiful natural reserves in the world. Located in the middle of the Atlantic ocean this tiny paradise has the most beautiful beaches of the country and the best wave as well. HIgh season is from November to April but the best months to surf are February and March. Every year there is a WQS contest in February that attract a lot of surfers from all over the world.
Fortaleza: Besides the busy life of a big city, Fortaleza also has some nice spots to surf.. The most famous beaches are Praia do Futuro and Titazinho where the waves are good during the surf season. Off season you will find some spots that can still have some waves like Praia do Portao, Praia do Meio and Praia do Havaizinho but the conditions are not as clean and perfect as during the season.
Taiba: This small fisherman village is 1,5 hours from the International Airport of Fortaleza and its known for having perfect conditions to kite surf and also very good and consistent waves to surf. The scenery is very beautiful and unspoiled with palm trees and lagoons composing a perfect postcard picture. The best wave in the city is a consistent point break to the right that can also go left depending on the swell direction.
Jericoacoara: This spot is an absolute kite surfers paradise. The lagoon in between the sand dunes and the ocean creates the perfect scenario for the practice of the sport. The trade winds are very strong in the area making this one of the most consistent kitesurfing spots in the world. The beach has good waves for the surfers and also a busy night life. There are tons of restaurants and bars with live bands at night and amazing food.
What is your traveling style?
Luxury / Nice / Upscale Surfing in Brazil
Brazil has a chill and cool atmosphere that is perfect for those who want a relaxing holiday by the beach. You can find amazing beachfront accommodations where you will wake up with the sound of the waves and end the day with a caipirinha in your hand watching the sunset. We can help you to choose an accommodation that will provide all the amenities that you need and that little extra attention on the service that will guarantee that you won’t have to stress about anything. The northeast of Brazil offers you a stunning tropical scenario that will take your breath away. The food is incredible and the people are extremely warm and friendly. Rio and Sao Paulo have a more exciting cultural and party scene with many museums and famous attraction like the statue of the Christ and Carnival. No matter what you choose the fun is guaranteed and you will have a great time in this continental country that has so much to offer your next holiday.
Budget Surfing in Brazil
If you are the kind of traveler that enjoys the vibe of the moment and like to meet other people while travelling, Brazil has some cool places for you to visit. Even though you are on a budget, we can always help you to find availability of cheaper accommodations. You can find nice and comfortable hotels and hostels from 28 USD per day in beautiful locations close to beaches and restaurants. This way you will enjoy all the natural wonders of the country, have some really nice local food and get to know more about the warm and friendly people of Brazil
Kids and Teen Surf Camps
If you are a teenager and want to have an amazing holiday in the sun, there are surf camps in Brazil where you can learn how to surf and meet new people at the same time. One of the camps, situated in between two beautiful beaches in Florianopolis, offers surf classes for beginners, stand-up paddle classes, visits to tourist attractions and much more for 96 USD per day.
Groups and Kitesurf trips
Kitesurfing is a very popular activity in the country and there are camps that organize kitesurf trips from 5 up to 14 days. This is a perfect activity if you want to travel as a group, see some amazing places along the way and surf challenging and fun waves everyday. The trips start from one location and makes stops every day in different places for surfing and for resting. When the trip is over you get a transfer back to starting point.
Brazil Travelling Guide
Packing and equipment: what should I pack for a surf holiday in Brazil
During the winter the weather gets cooler and the temperature drops a bit. You should bring a wetsuit if you are going to surf in the southern areas of Brazil since the water gets colder down there. Brazil adapts the same standards for electricity plugs as Europe does so bring an adaptor or make sure you know you can buy it at your destination if you are not from the countries that adapts the same plugs.
It can be a good idea to fix a sim card after arriving to Brazil. It’s easier to move around if you are not familiar with the area you are travelling to. Also it might be a good idea to buy a money belt for safety before arriving to Brazil, pick pockets can become a risk in crowded areas. You can buy a sim-card in any newsstand you find on the streets.
Basic Info about Brazil
Brazil is the largest country in South and Latin America with over 209 million people. The citizens of Brazil all speak portuguese.
The locals are really friendly but they can struggle a little bit with their English. The staff in the accommodations speak good English, but if you want to explore more outside of the hotels we suggest that you try to learn a few words and sentences in portugeses before travelling there. it will make it easier for you to order things and to get around.
The currency of Brazil is called Brazilian Real and 1 USD equals 3,73 Reais.
Before Going to Brazil
Visa / Documents
If you are a citizen of the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan you don’t need a visa to enter Brazil anymore. The government of Brazil recently changed their policy so don’t worry about getting a visa. All you need is a valid passport for at least six months and that you fill the vaccination requirements of the country. This rule also apply for all europeans citizens.
For other countries please check the updated list on the websites of the brazilian consulate to see how to get a visa to visit the country.
Website for consult:
Vaccines / Health
All travelers are recommended to have their routine vaccines up to date before going on a trip to Brazil.
Most travelers are recommended to have:
- Hepatitis A
Some travelers are recommended to have:
- Hepatitis B
- Malaria - only some areas in Brazil have a risk of Malaria. Check out before if you are traveling to a risky area.
- Rabies - recommended if you are going to have a close contact with animals or going to remote areas in Brazil.
- Yellow fever - risk in some areas of Brazil. Check out before if you are traveling to a risky area.
Getting to Brazil
Brazil is a big nation and there are many airports all over country. The main gateways for international visitors arriving to Brazil is through Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The main airport in Rio de Janeiro is called Galeão International Airport and it’s located close to the center of the city. The one in São Paulo is called Guarulhos International Airport. The airport that you arrive to will depend on your final destination.
Here are estimated price options of round-trip flights from different spots in the world.
Round-trip Sydney - Rio de Janeiro: 1100 USD.
Round-trip New York - Rio de Janeiro: 1000 USD.
Round-trip: Lisbon - Rio de Janeiro: 600 USD.
Moving Around Brazil
Because of the fact that Brazil is a deceptively large it’s pretty easy to misjudge the distances thinking they are closer than they are in reality. Even though the prices can be high, flying is by far the easiest way to get around the country if your holiday is on a relatively tight schedule and you want to go long distances. The main domestic airlines are LATAM, GOL, Avianca and Azul.
If you are travelling shorter distances it might be a good option to take the bus since it’s more affordable than flying. All the major bus companies have frequent bus links and you can also chose the level of your comfort since tickets usually are sold in three different classes.
If driving is more of your thing and you want the independence to explore Brazil at your own pace and on your own terms you can rent a car instead if flying and drive your way through the country. There are some beautiful coastlines in the country, especially Costa Verde which is located between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
Meal price range: Local food/inexpensive restaurant: 4-8 USD per meal. Mid-range: 9-20 USD per meal. Fine-dining: 25+ USD per meal.
Accommodations: Cheap: 28 USD per day. Mid-range: 55 USD Luxury: 200+ USD
Surfboard rental: 10-20 USD per day
Sim-card recommendations: Claro, Vivo and Oi are the main ones. Price for the sim-card is 4 USD. 14 USD for unlimited social media and calls for a month.
Public transport: Taking public transportation in a big city like Rio de Janeiro costs you 1,30 USD per trip.
Car rental: Costs around 25 USD per day for the cheapest car option in Rio de Janeiro. Go to rentalcars.com to see more prices and locations.
Gas: 1,15 USD/liter.
Other things to do while Surfing in Brazil
Eat Feijoada and discover Brazil’s famous national dishes
There are a lot of different cultures in Brazil and each region of the country has their own food specialities. Common for all the regions is the national dish called “feijoada” which is a thick stew of black beans and pieces of different meats. This dish is usually served with rice and different cooked vegetables. Vegetarian options are also very good in Brazil.
Everywhere you go you will smell pao de queijo which is a crispy bread with cheese inside that Brazilians eat as a snack. You will also find the Brazilian berry açai being sold in every cafe, supermarket or juice bar as a frozen sorbet, usually mixed with the fruit of your choice and with granola on top.
If you are into sour lime cocktails you can't forget to try Caipirinha which is considered Brazil’s national cocktail. It’s made with a spirit called cachaça, made from fermented sugarcane juice and it’s served with a lot of lime.
Sightseeing - Culture in Brazil
The most famous tourist attraction in Brazil, situated in the beautiful city Rio de Janeiro, is the statue of Christ the Redeemer. It’s a 38 meters high statue that is placed on top of Mount Corcovado in the middle of the city. Seeing this statue and the breathtaking view from the top is a must if you are travelling to or through Rio de Janeiro.
The northeast of Brazil has one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world and the state of Bahia, situated there, is one of the most popular touristic destinations in the country. This is where Brazil’s African heritage is very strong, reflecting on the the vibe and cultural scene of the city.
Brazil also has a big party scene and the people have a strong attraction to music and dancing. If you want to experience the real brazilian vibe you should go out and enjoy the amazing concerts, different parties or the Carnaval festival. Depending on the area, there are different music styles but the the two most popular ones are Samba and Forro.
Type of Risks
There are no great risks of surfing in Brazil. Most of the time you will be surfing spots that have fun beach breaks and you won’t have to worry about wiping out on a reef bottom. Rather than using caution in the water, we recommend you to use caution in other environments. Brazil is a huge country and it has a big diversity of economical classes. Brazil as a whole country is as safe as any other country in the world but some areas are poorer than others, so make sure that you do your research before travelling to places you have never been before. A good idea to use a money belt for safety reasons in touristic areas. Be cautious while using your phone/camera in crowded and public areas to prevent losing it to theft. Also, keep your important documents safe in your hotel. If you use your common sense everything will be alright!
How to Prepare
The fact that Brazil has a long coastlines of waves makes it important to check the surf forecast for the exact place you are intending to go to. It’s a good idea to bring a first-aid-kit if you are going to the northeast of Brazil since there are some reef breaks in that area that can be sharp and dangerous. Bringing bug spray is also a smart move to prevent the risk of getting dengue fever.
Is there any information about surfing condition that I should know before going to surf in this country?
In the big cities of Brazil you will find world class hospitals and clinics. If you go to smaller and less busy cities the accessibility of the same standards are lower and you might need emergency evacuation if you would hurt yourself seriously.
Here are the contacts to a few hospitals around in the country that you can call in case something would happen:
RIO DE JANEIRO
Private hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Address: R. Bambina, 98 - Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 22251-050
Open 24 hours
Phone: (21) 3444-1000
Hospital São Lucas Copacabana
Private hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Address: Tv. Frederico Pamplona, 32 - Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 22061-080
Open 24 hours
Phone: (21) 2545-4000
Hospital São Mateus
Private hospital in Fortaleza, Brazil
Address: Av. Santos Dumont, 5633 - Papicu, Fortaleza - CE, 60175-047
Open 24 hours
Phone: (85) 3421-1444
Hospital da Bahia
General hospital in Salvador, Bahia
Address: Av. Prof. Magalhães Neto, 1541 - Pituba, Salvador - BA, 40280-000
Open 24 hours
Emergency department: Open 24 hours
Phone: (71) 2109-1000
Imperial Hospital de Caridade
General hospital in Florianópolis, Brazil
Address: R. Menino Deus, 376 - Centro, Florianópolis - SC, 88020-210
Open 24 hours
Phone: (48) 3221-7500
General hospital in Florianópolis, Brazil
Address: R. Santa Rita de Cássia, 1665 - Estreito, Florianópolis - SC, 88090-352
Open 24 hours
Phone: (48) 3281-7800