Surfing in the Northeast of Brazil
The Northeast of Brazil is known for being one of the most beautiful tropical coastlines on the planet. Tourists are attracted to this part of the country by the combination of sunny weather and white sand beaches, the palm trees that you spot everywhere, the nightlife, the strong Brazilian culture, and the amazing food. This area, including states as Bahia, Ceará, Paraíba, and Alagoas, has been the most popular touristic area in Brazil over the last decades and people from all over the world have been traveling there to experience some amazing waves in one of the most pretty scenarios in the world. When the swells arrive from the Atlantic Ocean to the northeast of the country, the reef guarantees that you get amazing waves in the warmest water you have ever surfed!
Why surf in the Northeast of Brazil?
Besides the empty beaches, the perfect reef breaks and the amazing kitesurfing spots, the second best thing about going on a surf trip to the northeast of 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 northeast of Brazil has a chill and cool atmosphere that is perfect for those who want a relaxing holiday by the beach. Besides the beautiful environment, this part of Brazil is considered one of the best spots in the world for kitesurfing. Kitesurfers from every corner of the world travel to these parts of the nation to experience the strong trade winds that create magical waves and to take part in international contests.
Climate in the Northeast of Brazil
In the northeast of Brazil the climate is tropical with only two seasons, dry and wet, with heat throughout the whole year (average temperatures are between 32-22 degrees).
The wet season occurs from December until March and it’s when it’s warmer. Because of the intense heat during the day, there are daily showers happening usually in the afternoon in the entire Northeast area.
The dry season occurs from May until September and it has less rain activity but still some occasionally downpours. The temperatures are still very warm so the rain is usually welcome.
Best time to go
Surfing in the dry season in the northeast of Brazil
This season goes from May to September and means good waves in the southern states of the Northeast like Bahia and Recife where the swells are very consistent and can get up to 10ft high. The other states in the northern parts of the coast still receive a fair bit of swell with nice 3-4 ft waves but not so consistent as in the beginning of the year.
For the kite surfer lovers, this is the best time of the year to visit the Northeast. The trade winds are blowing strong from July until December with very clean conditions, especially until October.
Surfing in the wet season in northeast of Brazil
The wet season is from December to March and it’s hurricane season in the North Atlantic Ocean. This activity generates plenty of swells to the northern coast of the northeast especially in places like Fernando de Noronha and Fortaleza. The states located down south are less affected by the storms in the Atlantic North so there is not much activity going on there.
The kite surfers can still find good winds during this season but they won’t be so strong. The conditions in the morning are usually calm and glassy and the wind gets stronger in the afternoons.
Main Surfing areas in the Northeast of Brazil
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 friendly wave you can surf at Engenhoca Beach that works best with east and northeast swells. If you want hollow barrels breaking on top of the shallow reef you should check out Corais when a big groundswell from east lines up. The most popular and consistent spot in the area is called Tiririca. It’s very close to the city and has waves on 360 days of the year. Works better with east and southeast swells.
Praia do Forte
Located near Salvador, the capital of Bahia, you will find this amazing tropical beach that has really good reef breaks. The reef goes out to the sea and is divided by a channel. On one side you will find a left-hander and on the other a right-hander. The break works with many swell directions like South, Southeast, East or Northeast. This place is very famous for the amazing waves and because it hosts a very important 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. It’s common to see them while surfing. The project is open for the public that can learn more about the life of the turtles and how to preserve their environment.
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 when the winds are offshore and the 6-7 ft North and Northwest swells are more consistent. Although the island has some rocky point breaks, most of the waves are beach breaks including the famous Cacimba do Padre. Every year there is a WQS contest in February that attracts a lot of surfers from all over the world.
Besides the busy life of a big city, Fortaleza also has some nice spots to surf and to kite wave. The most famous beaches are Praia do Futuro and Titazinho that works with north and northeast swells during the season (Nov-Feb). 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 since the waves are produced by southeast wind swells. Watch out for the tidal variations that can get up to 3m!
RIO GRANDE DO NORTE
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. The wave breaks on top of a sand-rock bottom and works with all tides. The consistency and quality of the waves is what makes it so famous. Works better with southwest swell. There are many other beach breaks in the area with different kinds of waves that will please intermediate or advanced surfers. The beach is also very good for kitesurfing.
This small fisherman village is 1,5 hours from the International Airport of Fortaleza and it's known for having perfect conditions to kitesurf and also very good and consistent waves to surf. From July to December the trade winds are extremely consistent making it perfect for the practice of kitesurfing. 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 that breaks on top of the reef. With northeast swell, the break is better for the right but with other swells can also go left depending on the conditions.
This spot is an absolute kite surfers paradise. The lagoon in between the sand dunes and the ocean creates the perfect scenario to learn the sport. The trade winds are very strong in the area between July and December making this one of the most consistent kitesurf spots in the world. At the beach, the surfers will find some really good beach breaks that break when solid northeast swells hit the coast. The little town of Jericoacoara has a busy nightlife. 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 the Northeast of Brazil
The Northeast of Brazil is all about relaxing in the sun. There you can find some amazing accommodations right in front of a perfect white sand beach. There will be plenty of activities for those who want to keep themselves busy. You can go surfing in the morning have a nice breakfast enjoy a relaxing massage and go kitesurfing in the afternoon. For those who want a more relaxing routine, you can stay by the pool reading your book in the morning and do a yoga lesson in the afternoon watching a multicolor sunset. And don’t worry about your night of sleep, just listen to the waves breaking on the shore in your beachfront villa and recharge your energies for one more day in paradise. That sounds a lot like a holiday in the Northeast. It’s probably why this is the most popular tourist destination in the country.
Budget Surfing in the Northeast of Brazil
The northeast of Brazil is perfect for backpackers and travelers who want to go around camping or staying in more affordable accommodations. You can rent a car and go up or down the coast stopping in many cities along the way. This is the best option for those who want to optimize their trip to visit more places and meet lots of cool local people and tourists from all over the world. You can find nice and comfortable hotels and hostels from 28 USD per day in beautiful locations close to beaches and amazing seafood 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 culture of the northeastern areas.
Kids and Teen Surf Camps
If you want to have an amazing holiday in the sun, there are surf camps in the Northeast of Brazil where you can learn how to kitesurf and meet new people at the same time. The camps have qualified instructors that will give you all the support to learn how to kitesurf a fun and safe environment in individual or group lessons. There are many kinds of waves that will suit your skills and the instructors will choose the best spot according to your level. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to learn how to surf in paradise!
Group Kitesurf trips
The northeast of Brazil has lots of world-class spots to kitesurf. The coast in between Fortaleza and Jericoacoara has very strong trade winds from July to December and it’s considered as one of the best and most consistent places in the world to kitesurf. It’s a very popular activity in this area of the country, and there are camps that organize amazing kitesurf trips from 5 up to 14 days. This is a great opportunity to travel as a group, see some amazing places along the way and surf and kite some challenging and fun waves every day. The trips usually start in Fortaleza and make several stops in different places according to the schedule that you choose. During the day you will be surfing and sailing along the coast at some paradisiac spots. At night you will stop in a nice accommodation to have some sleep to recharge your energies for the next day. When the trip is over you get a transfer back to the starting point.
It’s a road trip that will be in your memories forever!!!
Northeast of Brazil Travelling Guide
Packing and equipment
What should I pack for a surf holiday in the Northeast of Brazil
Surfing in the Northeast of Brazil means surfing a lot of reef breaks, so it might be a good idea to bring your booties and a rash vest in order to prevent any injuries or scratches from the reef.
This area is located in the tropical climate of Brazil which means that it’s warmer than the rest of the country. Pack light clothes that suit days in the sun and don’t worry about bringing a wetsuit. Even though it’s warmer in this area of the country, it rains more between February and May, so if you are going there during that time you should prepare clothes/umbrella for the occasions that downfall occurs. Bringing bug spray is also a smart move to prevent mosquito bites at night and during jungle tracks especially for those who are allergic.
Brazil adopts 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 adopt the same plugs.
Basic Info about the Northeast of Brazil
All the people in the northeast states of Brazil speak Portuguese. The locals of this area are really friendly, helpful and peaceful but even though this is the most touristic area of the country 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 Portuguese before traveling there. It will definitely make it easier for you to order things and to get around.
The currency in Brazil is called Brazilian Real and 1 USD equals 3,73 Reais.
Before Going to the Northeast of 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 its 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 applies to European 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 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 (jungle, outside of cities?).
Getting to the Northeast of Brazil
Brazil is a very large country and there are many international airports in the northeastern area of this nation. The easiest way to arrive at this area from outside the country is to fly straight to one of these airports, there is no need to fly through the main gateways of the country as Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo in order to get there. The airport that you arrive in will depend on your final destination. It’s easy to fly from Europe and the United States to the northeastern areas.
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 the Northeast of 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 if your holiday is on a relatively tight schedule and you want to see multiple cities in the northeastern area. The main domestic airlines are LATAM, Gol, Avianca, and Azul.
If you are traveling between northeastern capitals you can consider taking the bus since it’s more affordable than flying. All the major bus companies have frequent bus links and you can also choose 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 the northeast of Brazil at your own pace and on your own terms, you can rent a car instead of flying and drive your way between the cities. As said before, make sure you know the exact distances before you start driving since it can be easy to misjudge them on the map.
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. The price of 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 the Northeast of Brazil
Eat Moqueca and discover the northeast of Brazil’s famous national dishes
There are a lot of different cultures in Brazil and each region of the country has its own food specialties. The northeastern parts of the country offer a lot of amazing seafood. Brazilians from the northeast eat a lot of Moqueca, which is a famous seafood soup from this part of the country made from coconut milk. If you feel like trying spicy and cheap local street food, acarajé is a good alternative. This dish is a deep-fried dough that is cut open and filled with baby prawns, onions, green tomatoes, and some hot sauce. Eat two and you will be full!
If you want to experience the most traditional Brazilian cuisine, be sure you try the national dish called “feijoada”. This dish is the national dish and common for all areas and consists of a thick stew of black beans and pieces of different meats.
Sightseeing - Culture in the Northeast of Brazil
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 tourist destinations in the country. This is where Brazil’s African heritage is very strong, reflecting on the vibe and cultural scene of the city. Brazilians have a strong attraction to music and dancing. There are many old buildings in the historic center of Salvador in Bahia that are worth having a look at.
In Chapada das Mesas National Park in Maranhão, you will find one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. The place has a perfect combination of wild savannah, deepwater rivers, canyon,s and wild animals. This is definitely something you must experience if you want a break from all the surfing!
Type of Risks
There are no great risks of surfing in the northeast of Brazil besides the fact that there are some reef breaks in this area. On low tides, it can be dangerous to surf some spots since the reefs can be sharp, and if you wipe out on low, sharp reef there is a slight risk that you can hurt yourself.
We also 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 traveling to places you have never been to 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
If you are going to surf in the northeast of Brazil it can be a good idea to bring a first-aid-kit since there are some reef breaks in that area that can be sharp and dangerous. Reef cuts are minor injuries that can always happen for those who don’t like to wear booties or get unlucky on the inside section.
It’s always good to check the surf forecast a week before going to know what surf conditions you are going towards. This is a good and accurate website to check the waves in Brazil: www.surfguru.com.br
If you are going to kitesurf you can also check the intensity of the wind on the website:
Taiba’s Lagoon https://www.windguru.cz/130535
Checking the conditions will help you to be prepared and bring the correct size of your kite.
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 is 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:
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