Sun, Sand and Surf in South America

Ipanema, Punta Tombo, Mancora and San Bartolo are just a few reasons why South America is a popular destination for sun, sand, surf and wildlife.
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Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Ipanema Beach is located in the southern region of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There are always circles of people playing soccer, volleyball and footvolley, an invented sport that is a combination of volleyball and soccer. With waves reaching up to 9 feet in the winter, it’s also a great destination for surfers.

Punta Tombo, Argentina

Just by looking at Argentina’s Punta Tombo Beach, you probably wouldn’t know that over a million Magellan penguins return here every autumn to mate. The beach is part of the Punta Tombo National Reserve, located in south Patagonia.

Tayrona, Colombia

Cañaveral, Arrecifes, La Piscina and El Cabo are 4 popular beaches to visit in Colombia’s Tayrona National Park. Travelers looking for beaches that are off-the-beaten-path should try one of these beach destinations, but remember to pack light. Cañaveral Beach is the only beach reachable by car. The other 3 beaches will require a hike to reach the sandy shore, which is ideal for eco-friendly tourists and backpackers.

Máncora, Peru

Avid surfers head to Máncora, a small beach resort town in northwestern Peru. It’s known as a popular place to ride the waves throughout the entire year. And in addition to great waves, the beach isn’t crowded, but after dark, the local nightclubs attract the party crowd. If you’re staying in Lima, buses run down the coast to city and vary in price and quality.

Montañita, Ecuador

Surfing, bodyboarding, scuba diving, water skiing and windsurfing are a few reasons why tourists and locals flock to Montañita, Ecuador. High tourism season for the town starts in January and hits its low in June. The town’s liberal, party beach is the only place in Ecuador where it isn’t illegal to smoke marijuana. And it’s not uncommon to see same-sex couples holding hands freely with support from the locals.

Reñaca Beach, Viña del Mar, Chile

Reñaca Beach is a few miles north of Viña del Mar, Chile’s largest and well-renown resort town. Although the Antarctica current, which travels up along the coast, makes for chilly swimming conditions year round -- this is the place to see and be seen.

Praia do Forte, Bahia, Brazil

Travel to rustic Praia do Forte, Bahia, Brazil. With only 4 main streets, tourists can relax and unwind with the locals in this old fishing village, packed with bars, restaurants, art and crafts shops, hotels and other businesses. The 7 miles of beach make it ideal for watersports and for communing with nature and the local wildlife.

Punta del Este, Uruguay

During its summer tourist season, Punta del Este, in southern Uruguay, explodes from a population of 7,300 people to more than 150,000. The town sits at the point where the Río de la Plata meets the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches here become less crowded the farther you get from the center of the town. Some of the Punta del Este’s beaches include Montoya beach, Bikini Beach and Manantiales Beach.

Shell Beach, Guyana

Visit Guyana’s Shell Beach if you’re an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys seeing local wildlife. This beach is a popular nesting site for 4 of 8 sea turtle species. Since the 60s, conservationists have banned together to prevent the slaughter of these turtles for their meat and eggs.

Punta Carnero Beach, Salinas, Ecuador

It may look deserted, but people from all around the world travel to Punta Carnero Beach in Salinas, Ecuador, because the climate for surfing is spectacular year round. This beach has played host to numerous national and international surf competitions.

San Bartolo, Peru

Lima’s San Bartolo district attracts scores of beachgoers every summer. Surfing is the popular watersport. Other districts in Lima, Punta Negra and Santa Maria del Mar, are also hot beach destinations.

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