Latin America should be your priority on your bucket list if you are looking for a place where chill surf vibes, breathtaking landscapes, delicious food, fascinating cultures, and quality waves meet.
With Caribbean, Atlantic, and Pacific coastlines, sandy beach breaks, gnarly reefs, and punchy points, this is the land of unbelievably clean lines and perfect barrels. Plus, a big part of Latin America is in between the tropics, which means year-round sunshine, warm water, and balmy climate.
A right-hand point break paradise, El Salvador is a reliable surfing location. The water is warm all year round, and you can see mango trees at every turn. The country may be tiny, but there are point breaks all along its coastline. The surf spots are easy to get to and uncrowded.
Between May and October is the best time to go surfing in El Salvador. It is during the wet season when the waves are more consistent.
Mexico’s west coast receives quality swell even though it faces both the Caribbean and the Pacific. There are punchy points and barreling beach breaks from the Californian border all the way to Oaxaca. The country also has beginner-friendly rollers and some huge peaks, while the wind is constantly offshore.
Baja California is where you can find some of the best waves in Mexico. For SoCal surfers, this is their favourite destination, which is why the spots to the north tend to get crowded. Luckily, the further south you go down the peninsula, the more deserted the beaches become.
The Mazatlan in Sanaloa is one of the prime surf spots on the central coast. Its long point breaks are ideal for both beginners and pro-surfers. The Sayulita in Nayarit is a hippie surf town with many surf camps and waves for all levels.
But what draws all the attention is the Puerto Escondido down south in Oaxaca. This small fishing village with azure waters and sandy shores has become a surfing mecca. This is one of the world’s best beach breaks when compared to Hawaii’s flawless pipes. These powerful and ultra-hollow waves are reserved for experienced surfers. However, travelling a bit further down the coast can make you find other mellow waves ideal for beginners.
The surfing paradise of Nicaragua is hard to beat. The country has wide-open beaches with consistent waves and more than 300 days of offshore winds per year. Moreover, it is also a very affordable country and less crowded than Costa Rica.
The Nahaulapa Bay, near the Chinandega, is the best beginner and intermediate surf beach in the area, while Boom is the famous barreling wave in Nicaragua. In the northern part of Chinandega, you will find the Aposentillo with quality waves and many surf camps.
The Popoyo, a few hours south of Managua, is one of the famous surf spots in Nicaragua. The Gnarly Outer Reef is the highlight here. It breaks with a large swell and can be accessed by tow or a boat.
Surfing in Nicaragua is possible all year round. However, it is during the wet season, between April and September is the best time to go for experienced surfers when powerful south swells hit the coast. For beginners, the waves are mellower during the dry season, between November and April.
For decades, Costa Rica has been on the surfers’ radar. With a year-round tropical climate, contagious laid-back vibes, consistent surf, and a rugged coastline facing both the Caribbean and the Pacific. It is also one of the most politically stable countries in Latin America
The surfing regions in Costa Rica are broken down into four: the North Pacific Coast, the Caribbean Coast, the Central Pacific Coast, and the South Pacific Coast.
The Pacific coast is dotted with a wonderful climate, quality waves, and chic surf towns. The Nicoya Peninsula and the Guanacaste Province are home to some of the best waves in Latin America.
A major tourist hub, Tamarindo is only an hour’s drive from Liberia International Airport (LIR). It is one of the most recognisable surf spots in Costa Rica, and its long beach receives year-round swell. Considered as one of the best places to learn to surf in the world, it is a great base to explore the more challenging breaks like Ollie’s Point and Witches Rock.
Nosara is less crowded and much quieter than Tamarindo. Its unspoiled beaches are among the cleanest in the world. The Playa Guiones, outside of town, is an excellent playground for beginners and pro-surfers.