Some 20 year ago, the surfing world discovered Ecuador, and conversely, Ecuador discovered surfing. We can’t really say that ‘hoards’ of surfers from every corner of the globe suddenly flooded Ecuador’s beaches to surf… That would be grossly inaccurate. But such things as ‘surfing towns’ did bud from out of nowhere and exes were placed on the map identifying where the best waves brewed.
Photo: Crystian Cruz
To call Brazil Surflandia would be a gross understatement: Anywhere boasting a coastline of over 4600 miles is bound to have a swell or 50 to satiate the most avid of surfers.
Your resident Brazil expert happens to be close friends with professional Brazilian surfer Sergio Lima, who runs Island Style Surf School on Hawaii’s North Shore. Lima hails from Fernando de Noronha, one of Brazil’s surfing Meccas, an island 200 miles off the coast of Recife in Northeastern Brazil, and he knows a thing or two about Brazilian ondas (waves).
Chile’s long, narrow geography with 3,000 miles of coastline, mean visitors and locals can have beach access almost any time they want, and even go from the Andes to the Pacific in a single day. Every beach, from north to south (and on Easter Island) has its own personality, with some being connected to fishing villages, while others are right outside of cities, and bring together families on weekends and all summer long. Some are protected, shallow coves with calm water, and some frothy and rocky. And then there are the surf beaches.
Photo: Sofia Salom
Argentina’s surf scene is relatively low-key: there’s no doubt that there are bigger and better waves crashing along the beaches of Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. Travelers seeking sun, sand and salt water within national borders usually head to the coastal city of Mar del Plata, located five hours’ drive south of Buenos Aires. Here’s what to know before you go.
Photo: Maia Gambis
For several years after I graduated from college, one of my favorite things to do was take extended periods off from the humdrum of the city and travel up and down the Ecuadorian Pacific Coast, visiting different fishing villages, beaches, staying in friends’ beach homes or cheap 5 dollar-a-night rooms way back when 5 dollars for a room on the beach was actually not only a possibility, but a heavenly retreat.
If the snow isn’t to your liking, or it’s out of season, or you’re just itching to try a new sport, there’s a great option in the north of Chile, that might remind you of snowboarding, with a touch of surfing, and a whole lot of desert. That sport is sandboarding.
Photo: I.D. R.J.
When you think of the world’s top skiing destinations, Colombia probably doesn’t immediately spring to mind.
That’s fine, though, because it shouldn’t. There’s only one region of Colombia where it snows – fittingly named Los Nevados (The Snowcapped Mountains) – and there’s hardly enough there to bother hauling snowshoes up the mountain, much less a full pair of skis.
Photo: Andres Moschini
As spring transitions into summer in Buenos Aires you can still enjoy the rainbow-hued rose gardens of Parque Tres de Febrero and the purple blossoms of the jacaranda trees along Avenida Independencia.
Signs of the city’s scorching summer are starting to arrive. Last week in Buenos Aires, temperatures rocketed up to 86 F (about 30°C). That’s causing many Buenos Aires locals, or porteños (as residents of this port city are known), to start daydreaming about escaping the city heat to the beach.
There is only one thing Ecuadorians have on their mind in the month of August–the beach. This is the month when the people of the sierra (highlands) head for the coast. And it is undoubtedly Ecuador’s most under-appreciated destination by international tourists. Everyone comes for the Galapagos and the jungle while skipping one third of the country’s richest tourism destinations.