From the jungle-shrouded, sloth-stalked beaches of Costa Rica to the salt-washed coastline of Portugal and the windblown coves of Vietnam, this list of 10 great destinations to get your surf on is bound to have something to take the fancy. See you on the swells folks…
If ever there was a global surf destination that needed no introduction, Bali's it (and Hawaii, of course, but more on that one later!). Yep, this tiny speck of land in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago is known far and wide as one of the very best places to wax down the board and hit the waves. Southern districts like Bukit and Legian and Canggu all have excellent and remote spots, while it's the buzzing party town of Kuta that always comes up trumps for beginners – for its enticing beach break and its raucous apres surf alike!
Costa Rica's surf takes place on two different oceans. In the west, the Pacific crashes into the sloth-peppered jungles, going from the chilled riding town of Tamarindo to the famous tubes and hollow beach breaks of Playa Santa Teresa. In the east, meanwhile, there's the hard-hitting rollers of the Caribbean Sea, which tumble down to the famous reef breaks of Salsa Brava and beyond. We go to every coastal corner of this country on our various Costa Rica tours, so you can really enjoy its truly world-class spots.
It's no secret that the whole LBW family loves Nicaragua. Not only do we have some truly awesome trips to the country's historic Spanish-style cities, misty volcanic ranges and surf towns, but we've even got our own digital nomad retreat in the salt-washed resort of San Juan del Sur. In fact, it's precisely there that we often settle in for a couple of days filled with pool parties and wave riding. The rollers of Maderas Beach and La Flor are some of the best places to catch long sessions on the Pacific blue, and there are oodles of great local teachers and rental shops to boot!
A mind-boggling, longitude-defying 7,400 kilometers of coastline fringes the edge of Brazil. It ranges from the sub-tropical reaches of Rio de Janeiro (where there are countless surf spots peppering the region, from handsome Ilha Grande to the charming colonial town of Paratay) through Bahia and all the way up to the more remote northern region of Para. We've been hitting the swells here for years on our LBW Beautiful Brazil tour. We've found the riding to be second-to-none, and that's not even mentioning the wild Caipirinha-driven parties afterwards.
The salt-washed backpacker town of Montanita takes the biscuit for having some of the best surf in all of Ecuador. It can be reached on a quick bus south of the town of Guayaquil, to which there are also regular long-haul flights from the US and other destinations. Other rideable waves crash onto the wide, yellow beaches of towns like Playas and Atacames, while even the famous Galápagos Islands are a hotspot for hitting the swells these days!
Ah, Portugal: Where surfing meets European bliss. With crispy custard tarts and tiled buildings so handsome they will make you gawp, uber-friendly people and cheap beer, you can look forward to some great pre- and after-surf enjoyments here. For the riding, you can pretty much choose anywhere along the country's 1,115 miles of coast. The southern Algarve has the best weather but the smaller, more beginner-friendly waves. Moving up to the Alentejo and the so-called Silver Coast, there are stronger swells, more dedicated surf shops, surf hostels and bigger tubes to conquer.
Now Vietnam certainly doesn't have the same world-class rollers as some of its near neighbors across the Indian Ocean, but it does have some of the top windsurfing hotspots on the globe. The small water sports and resort town of Mui Ne is a cut above the rest, and you can roll up and be riding the wind-blasted waves after just a (relatively) short bus trip out of Ho Chi Minh City. There's conventional surf here too, just as anyone who's seen Apocalypse Now will be uttering at their computer screens right about now. For that, try the lively city of Da Nang or the spots close to the party mecca of Nha Trang.
Yep, it’s not just dusty medina towns and groaning camel caravans that Morocco is famous for. These days, the country's panhandle of land between the sun-scorched Maghreb and the great Atlantic Ocean is known for surfing, too. Top spots include the small Berber fishing town of Taghazout and the wide beaches that run south out of Agadir. You'll discover oodles of local surf schools hiding in the whitewashed riad houses, offering tuition, cheap board rental and even nightly tagine cooks for the whole group.
While most people will imagine the eucalyptus-backed coves of the French Riviera when they think of the French coast, there's a whole other side to this great cut-out of Western Europe. It runs from the rising peaks of the Pyrenees in the south to the craggy coastline of Brittany in the north, and offers up great stretches of roaring Atlantic Ocean as it goes. Some of the top surf towns in the country are Hossegor and Biarritz, but there are plenty of other, more off-beat, locations to ride all up the so-called Silver Coast, where the swells gain power from the unique funnel-like shape of the Bay of Biscay.
Last but never, ever least on any list of the world's top surfing spots is Hawaii. A land forged by bubbling volcanos and the constant wash of the Pacific swells, this is where the sport of board riding first began, and the region where Europeans first discovered it on their explorations back in the 18th century. It's thought that the great tubes of Maui and Kauai were where the ancient Hawaiian chiefs once rode the ocean, a practice that's continued today by everyone from surfing champs to low-key learners on a holiday in the Aloha State.
If you'd like to chip in another top global surf spot, then please go ahead and add it to the comments below – there are loads more to choose from! Or, if you'd like more info on LBW's tours to the destinations mentioned above, be sure to click through here.
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