With an ever-increasing representation on the world tour and an improving reputation in heavy water, Brazil is quickly becoming about much more than crappy beach breaks, sleek wax jobs and Reef models in g-strings. The country has an incredibly vibrant culture—complete with Carnaval, Samba, and one of the most fertile, undeveloped regions in the world (the Amazonian basin)—backed up by a number of world class waves and a population that goes downright batty for surfing. If waves, culture, attractive locals, and an off-the-hook nightlife are your cup of tea, Brazil is the place to be.
The Surf: Brazil is primarily known for beach breaks, but the country’s massive coastline actually houses a variety of waves, including reefs and points. For the most part, Brazil is a beginner to intermediate destination, but a few regions are a bit heavier and qualify in the advanced category.
Five Zones Worth Surfing:
- Rio de Janeiro: The second largest city in Brazil (and its most popular with the surf population), Rio has a number of beach breaks, a ton of local surfers, and the annual Billabong Pro Rio contest.
- Florianopolis: Brazil’s second most popular city, Florianopolis Island has dozens of beaches and one of the most consistent swell windows in the country.
- Fernando de Noronho: This offshore archipelago is a nature preserve which limits tourist numbers through a permit system—great news for those lucky enough to score the island’s epic reef barrels relatively empty.
- Santa Catarina: This beautiful, well-developed state is relatively safe and mellow, making it a great place for tourists and visiting surfers.
- Sao Paulo: A popular tourist area with all the requisite infrastructure and amenities, this area has a rugged coastline with a variety of wave types.
The Water: Obviously inner-city areas will be polluted, but elsewhere the water can be downright crystalline. Brazil is a huge country, so water temps will vary greatly from north to south. Fernando de Noronho in the north ranges from 79–82 F (26–28 C), while Florianopolis in the south ranges from 66–79 F (19–26 C).
The Season: With a massive coastline facing north, east, and south, Brazil gets waves year round. However, the region is best known for its surf between April and October.
The Vibe: Surfing is huge in Brazil, and Brazilians are renowned for being aggressive in the water, so in urban areas especially lineups can be incredibly crowded. However, there are literally hundreds and perhaps thousands of lineups in the country, so do a bit of searching and you are bound to find your own private wave park.
Things To Do: What isn’t there to do in Brazil? An amazing culture, beautiful people, huge cities, Carnaval, the Amazon—you could come for a month, not surf a day, and still have an epic trip.
Where To Stay: Brazil—and its coastal cities in particular—is pretty well set up for tourists and backpackers of all budgets. Between resorts, hotels, hostels, and B&Bs, you will find a host of accommodation options available.
What To Bring: A shortboard and a backup. Surf accessories, and a wetsuit if you are heading south. Dancing shoes, your best party shirt, and a pocketful of cash. An English/Portuguese dictionary.
Getting There: What airport you fly into depends on what region you are planning to surf. Major international airports include Galeao-Antonio Carlos Jobim in Rio de Janeiro, Guarulhos in Sao Paulo, and Florianopolis-Hercilio Luz in Florianopolis. Visas not required for citizens of most countries if staying for less than 90 days. Airport codes: GIG (Rio de Janeiro), GRU (Sao Paulo), and FLN (Florianopolis).