Best surfing spots in Rio

Dreaming of the perfect waves in Rio? Whether you’re planning a real trip or just an elaborate day dream, we’ve put together our pick of the top surfing spots in the Cidade Maravilhosa…


Arpoador Beach

Arpoador, or Arpex beach as surfers call it, has one of Rio’s most famous views of Ipanema Beach, and if you hang around long enough it’s also the perfect sunset spot. 

Considered one of Rio de Janeiro’s main surfing locales, aficionados started to gather here and it became an institution. Located right in the middle of the city, Arpoador beach has hosted important surfing championships, such as WCT and WQS. The waves can go up to 2.5m on good days, but beginnings need to aware of the currents, which are very strong. The surfing area is small and often crowded, so best to go early in the morning!

“In Arpoador there is a bridge break to the left when there are great waves that come from the east. It can be easily reached because it is in the heart of Rio, which makes it easier when you have less time to surf” says Yuri Sodré, veteran professional surfer.


Devotees also like to surf here at night as the lighting around the beach allows good visibility.

Catch waves with Tahiti Surfboard

Surf in Arpoador - a Carioca's guide to Surfind in Rio from Carioca Post


Grumari beach is quite far from the centre of Rio, but it offers a much longer stretch of sand than the crowded Arpex. Located in an Environmentally Protected area, the beach boasts cold, transparent waves and the strong presence of nature, making it one of the most beautiful surf locations in Rio. Frequented by both beginners and professionals, the waves normally range between 2 and 6 feet, but they can exceed 8 feet on some days.

“In Grumari the secret is to enter from the left corner where the nudist beach is, in order to be in the right spot for catching waves. The middle of the beach usually has good waves and the bigger waves break in the right corner when the sea is more rough” says Yuri.

During the week the beach is usually deserted, only populated by surfers, while during weekends it is filled by families.

One of the hot spots on the beach is the Kiosk of Rico Surf, where the great annual surfing championships are hosted. Here you’ll find the cool crowd and passionate surfistas.

Try on the perfectly tailored Surf Shorts

Frescobol Carioca Best Surfing Spots in Rio - read now on Carioca Post


Prainha is always a safe choice as a surfing spot with constant waves reaching up to 3 meters. Depending on the day though, waves will vary a lot in height and strength, so you’ll need to check them out yourself before deciding to jump in.

 “The cool thing about Prainha is that besides having several kinds of waves, it is a safe beach and the only one in Rio de Janeiro with a blue flag. If you walk along the little canal and follow the rock and the restaurant you’ll find yourself in the right spot for surfing,” according to Yuri.


Even on weekdays the beach is generally full, so ideally you should go early in the morning.

Discover custom made Hand Surf

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Reserva Beach

This beach is less busy, but it’s more difficult to access it via public transportation. Located between the Barra da Tijuca and Recreio beaches, Reserva beach is an Ecological Reserve and generally has high waves. Submerged rocks line the bottom of the sea giving the waves a better formation and allowing them to reach up to 8 feet. The rippling waves of Reserva Beach follow the same cycle of the waves of Barra da Tijuca. It’s important to be aware that dangerous currents can come in from West, South and Southwest. But on calmer days, when the waves reach just 0.5 meters, it is safe to surf even for beginners.

A total beach winner: Navy Sunga 

Surfing in Rio? Head to Reserva Beach for the best Surfing experience.