You don’t have to look far for reasons to visit South America. Diverse people, colorful cultures, and rich traditions set the stage for an epic trip sure to sweep you off your feet and into adventure. For beach lovers, that adventure starts on the coast. With endless miles of coastline, South America boasts a stunning array of beaches that’ll take you on a journey to distant shores, unfamiliar sands, and remote havens. So, if you’re ready to experience adventure one shoreline at a time, we’ll take you through 25 of the best beaches in South America you simply can’t miss on your next trip south.
Table of Contents
- What South American Countries Have the Best Beaches?
- What Is the Best Beach in South America
- The 25 Best Beaches in South America
- Escape to the Best Beaches in South America with Next Vacay
What South American Countries Have the Best Beaches?
The best beaches in South America can be found all over the continent, from charismatic Colombia to enigmatic Argentina. But for many of the best beaches in South America, one only needs to travel to Brazil for varied coasts that stretch from the glittering shores of Copacabana to quieter escapes like Quarta Praia.
The only South American countries where you won’t find any of the best beaches, or any true beaches for that matter, are Paraguay and Bolivia. As the only two landlocked countries in South America, the beaches here are relegated to lakeshores and artificial beaches.
What Is the Best Beach in South America?
Many will argue that the best beach in South America is Copacabana, with its scenic views, glitzy glam, and a promenade that holds Copacabana’s most famous attractions, restaurants, and nightclubs. But for those looking for a quieter escape from the bustling city, Jericoacoara Beach is a serene slice of paradise that’ll be hard to pry yourself away from.
The 25 Best Beaches in South America
No matter where you go in South America, you’re all but guaranteed to stumble across a beautiful beach. But where will you find the unquestionable crown jewels of South American shores? Grab your preferred beach gear and prepare to dig your toes into the sand at these 25 best beaches in South America.
1. Jericoacoara Beach, Brazil
Get ready to cancel your plans because this beach will have you staying long after any scheduled trip. Jericoacoara Beach is a little slice of windswept paradise hidden on what feels like the edge of the world. The wide beach and shallow water buffeted by beautiful sand dunes create the perfect setting to lounge and play to the heart’s content. As one of only a handful of beaches facing the west, Jeriocoacoara Beach promises dreamy views of the sky during sunset. You may just end up leaving your heart here in Jericoacoara.
2. Punta Del Diablo, Uruguay
Head out to hit the waves or lie back and soak up the sun on this delicious coast near the Brazilian border. Sweeping, unspoiled beaches may not be what you’d expect from a place called the Devil’s Tip, but Punta del Diablo has some surprises up its sleeve. Largely deserted stretches of sand and laidback locals make this a very different scene from the glitz and glam of more famous shores like Punta del Este, but the siren call of this South American surf town lies in its serene escapism that you just can’t miss.
3. Joaquina Beach, Brazil
Joaquina Beach sits pretty on Brazil’s southeastern shore, offering a gorgeous beachfront, pretty dunes, and jewel-toned waters. With so many enviable qualities, the beach plays host to a cast of characters from Brazilians on holiday to families looking for fun and sports enthusiasts hoping to test their mettle against the waves and dunes. Joaquina Beach is the perfect place to relax and sunbathe on the shore or dive directly into adventure.
4. Anakena, Chile
Run away to paradise, or at least one version of it. Sitting on beautiful white sand beaches framed by turquoise waters and coconut palms, you may just convince yourself you’ve found Eden. While Anakena Beach is no garden, the palm grove, lapping waves, and rich history make up for it. Home to several moai stone statues that overlook the beach, Anakena is an intriguing mix of arcane history and sun-kissed shores that’s hard to come by anywhere else but the remote Rapa Nui (Easter Island).
5. El Cabo San Juan, Colombia
They say it’s not about the destination but the journey. Well, the journey to this remote beach in the heart of Tayrona National Park will make you savor your destination all the more. A two-hour hike brings you to El Cabo San Juan, a secluded paradise on Colombia’s northern shore. With towering palm trees, fine white sand, and dazzling waters, it’s an unexpected Caribbean getaway and an absolute must on your bucket list. Take a refreshing dip in the cool waters and spend a night swaying in a hammock over the waves, with the sounds of the ocean in your ear and the starry night sky above.
6. Mancora, Peru
Sun-drenched shores and infinite blue views are just two reasons visitors flock to beautiful Mancora. While Machu Picchu is Peru’s show-stealer, Mancora is its unassuming heavyweight champion. Free of tourists and bursting with quiet charms, it won’t take long to fall in love with Mancora’s laid-back vibes, beautiful swells, and mesmerizing sunsets. Horses plod along the shore, kitesurfers hit the waves, and open-air restaurants serve visitors still working on their tan. It’s the perfect slice of sun and sand that inevitably leaves its mark.
7. Los Roques, Venezuela
Looking for postcard perfection? Look no further than the Los Roques National Park archipelago located off Venezuela’s coast. Over 300 islands and cays mean you can toss a dart at the map and land on a gorgeous beach. Glittering white sand and breathtakingly blue Caribbean waters set the scene for these stunning beaches that truly have it all, from windsurfing and sailing over glass-like waves to diving and snorkeling among the beautiful coral reefs. Los Roques will make you feel like you’re living the high life just being there.
8. Quarta Praia, Brazil
Take a dip where the waters are always warm and the shores uncrowded. Quarta Praia is a quiet escape with more palms than people and boundless views ready to sweep you away. The pristine sands and tranquil waves set the scene for a beach so peaceful it’s practically surreal. The shallow waters make this an excellent spot for snorkeling, while sun soakers can pull up a chair and lay out under the Brazilian sun. Sip on piña coladas served in a coconut and bask in the tropical retreat that awaits at Quarta Praia.
9. Baia do Sancho, Brazil
Baia do Sancho is touted as one of the most beautiful beaches ever. It’s easy to understand why once you lay eyes on the blue waters kissing the horizon, turquoise waves lapping at the shore, and rolling golden sands. Volcanic rocks jut from the waters, dusted with verdant foliage. Majestic bluffs stand to the side, simultaneously imposing and mesmerizing. And corals reefs dot the shoreline, perfect for catching a peek at aquatic beauties. Baia do Sancho isn’t just one of the best beaches in South America; it’s one of the best. Period.
10. Baia dos Golfinhos, Brazil
Baia dos Golfinhos is living proof that the best things in life don’t come easy, or at the very least, conveniently. Backed by steep cliffs and thick forests, the only way to access the beach is during low tide when you can walk along the sand. But oh, the view makes completing this endeavor worth it. Royal blue waters stretch toward the horizon, endless and undisturbed, except for the occasional sighting of spinner dolphins popping out of the water. Head out in the early morning just after sunrise to see how they earned their name and then spend the day relaxing on shores constantly kissed by the waves and the sun.
11. Playa Punta de Lobos, Chile
Surf’s up at one of the most iconic pointbreaks in the world. Surfers from near and far gather at Playa Punta de Lobos to hone their skills on the impressive waves. Surfing schools dot the beach to help get surf hopefuls out on the water, but even if you stick to the shore, you won’t be disappointed. Stunning cliffs and vivid blue waters offer a vivid spectacle that turns enchanting with sunset. Playa Punta de Lobo may be a surfer’s dream, but the picture it paints is one every person should see at least once in their lifetime.
12. Muro Alto Beach, Brazil
Muro Alto means Tall Wall, a strange name for a beach until you look below the surface to see the 150-meter-long reef just beyond the beach that forms a perfect wall-like structure. It’s so perfect, it looks like it was manufactured. This wall creates a dazzling turquoise pool of warm ocean water tailor-made for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. Think it sounds postcard-perfect? That’s because it is. Postcards from Porto de Galinhas commonly feature Muro Alto. So when you visit, be sure to grab a postcard as a souvenir or send it to a loved one to mark your travels to this beautiful spot in Brazil.
13. Genipabu Beach, Brazil
Traveler after traveler falls in love with Genipabu Beach, not just once but over and over again. Thanks to the towering, ever-shifting sand dunes backing the beach, every visit to Genipabu is different. And when you add waving palms, a glittering freshwater lagoon, and Atlantic waves kissing the shore, it’s a recipe for love at first sight every time. Whether you surf the sand dunes or sip a cocktail while drinking in the view, the beauty and magic of Genipabu promise truly unforgettable memories.
14. Playa El Doradillo, Argentina
Playa El Doradillo isn’t your typical beach paradise. With its rugged coast and pebble stone beach, it’s not exactly for the sun soakers or the beach loungers. But for nature lovers, this beach will quickly soar to the top of their best beaches list for one simple reason: whale watching. Come June and high tide on Patagonia’s jaw-dropping coast, travelers can catch sight of whales just feet from the shore. It’s a truly surreal and magical moment not to be overlooked on your trek through South America’s best beaches.
15. Lopes Mendes Beach, Brazil
If this is a dream, you won’t want to wake up. Backed only by rolling mountains and lush green vegetation, the remote serenity of Lopes Mendes Beach immediately puts visitors at peace. Fine white sand turns golden beneath the waves, and jewel-toned waters shimmer under the sun. Due to its sheer size, travelers won’t struggle with finding their perfect slice of tropical bliss. Between relaxing on the beach and riding the waves, Lopes Mendes is the perfect laid-back haven.
16. Joao Fernandes Beach, Brazil
Paddle in paradise. Joao Fernandes Beach is a glittering coast on Brazil’s southeast shore. Turquoise-tinted waters hue blue the further they stretch from the shore, eventually meeting the horizon line. On clear days, the sky and sea meet with a kiss. Paddeboaders dot the glass-like waters, interspersed by swimmers and snorkelers enjoying the warm waves and tropical fish. Restaurants along the shore offer stunning views, the perfect accompaniment to a refreshing drink. And though the beach can be crowded, nothing beats the peace you’ll find on the water.
17. Ipanema Beach, Brazil
Iconi Ipanema. No list of South America’s best beaches could be complete without it. An effortless showstopper, Ipanema quietly steals your breath with stunning mountain views, royal blue waters, and vibrant people that often steal the show. Ipanema is the place to see and be seen, so it’s no surprise it’s the perfect spot to people-watch, from games of soccer to futevolei on the sand and bodies wandering boutiques along the boulevard. Ipanema doesn’t just live up to the hype. It is the hype. So dance to the rhythm of the music, splash around in the waves, and drink in the views with a drink in your hand.
18. Copacabana, Brazil
Picturesque from its pretty palms to its patterned pavement, it’s no wonder Copacabana Beach adorns many postcards sent around the world, touting one’s trip to the most famous beach in South America and certainly one of the best. Copacabana is a lot like carnival: loud and proud. And much like the parade, your eyes won’t know where to look, from the bustling promenade dotted by food kiosks, shops, and hotels to the bodies crowding the shore, showing off their soccer skills and working on their Brazilian tans. And whether you rise early or go to bed late, the party at Copacabana lasts from daybreak to long after sundown.
19. Playa de Reñaca, Chile
Crashing surf and magnificent western coastlines mean you’ve found one of the best beaches in South America and certainly in Chile. Playa de Reñaca sits just outside Santiago, in a resort town called Viña del Mar. Visitors can enjoy the convenience of a bustling promenade filled with shops alongside more natural charms like the scores of sea lions napping on the shore. Soak in the views of the untamed beach before you hit the water, where a good time is always waiting.
20. Taipus de Fora Beach, Brazil
Despite its Atlantic Ocean shore, you might mistake this tropical paradise for a Caribbean getaway. Over four miles of white sand slope into stunning turquoise waters. Backed by towering coconut palms, it’s the exact sort of place you think of when someone utters the words idyllic beach. And during low tide, travelers are in for even more of a treat as the shoreline pulls back to reveal glittering natural pools interspersed among the coral reef. The rich waters promise abundant marine life for divers and snorkelers to explore and a tranquil setting for a relaxing dip.
21. Geriba Beach, Brazil
Called by many the best beach in Buzios, Geriba Beach touts a big personality along with its big waves. Here, the rich and famous of Rio de Janeiro gather to party, relax, and have a good time. Along with them come crowds of young people with a thirst for adventure. Powerful surf calls some to tame the waves while big winds take windsurfers on a ride. On the golden beach, competitive soccer, volleyball, and footvolley games abound. Still, quieter pockets provide the perfect opportunity to kick back and just soak in the beauty of one of the most beautiful beaches in South America.
22. Zapallar Beach, Chile
If you’ve ever wanted to bump elbows with the rich and famous, Zapallar Beach is the place to go. Overlooked by mountains dotted with mansions, the pretty shoreline of Zapallar Beach calls to mind the breathtaking coasts of the French Riviera. If golden sands, deep blue waters, and lush green mountains do it for you, then you won’t find a more scenic spot in Chile to ride the waves, soak up the sun, or enjoy the pretty views.
23. Playa Roja, Peru
Located in the heart of the Paracas National Reserve, the romantic red sands of Playa Roja are not to be missed. Sandwiched between yellow cliffs and the foamy blue-green waves of the sea, the stark red of Playa Roja stands out even more. If you’re looking for a remote beach to have to yourself, Playa Roja is the perfect place to abscond. With no vendors, facilities, or much foot traffic at all, just the sea, sky, and cliffs, it’ll feel like you’ve reached the end of the earth or been transported to another world entirely.
24. Punta Sal, Peru
Welcome to the longest beach on the northern Peruvian coast. Punta Sal stretches over four miles along the Pacific Ocean, promising calm and warm waters year-round. If you want to relax on a pretty beach in Peru, this is the one. With white sands and unobstructed views, there’s no better place to lay out under the Peruvian sun and bask in the tranquil beauty of a pristine shoreline than this hidden beach gem.
25. Prainha Beach, Brazil
If the lights are too bright in the seaside city of Rio de Janeiro, then hop in a car and head south to a shore where the sand isn’t backed by high-rises. Prainha Beach boasts just as much beauty without all the fanfare. Junglescapes replace city streets, and there’s no space for concrete towers among the craggy cliffs. The powerful swells make Prainha Beach a surfer’s paradise, while the relaxed ambiance of the beach and seaside restaurants will have you staying long past when you meant to.
Escape to the Best Beaches in South America with Next Vacay
If you’re ready to head south for the winter, or forever, the beaches of South America are calling. Next Vacay can help you answer. With deals to South America’s most popular beaches and hottest destinations—literally and figuratively—delivered right to your inbox, jetsetting away on your next escape has never been easier. From Colombia’s Pacific coast to the Sugarloaf Mountain overlooking Ipanema and beyond, adventure awaits … take to the skies with Next Vacay.