A surfer's guide to Itacaré, BA, Brazil
Surf tips and the best 6 Surf Beaches in and around Itacaré, Bahia, Brazil
by Rachel Erickson
“The Hawaii of Brazil” is what my Brazilian friends in Hawaii called Itacaré when I was preparing for my move to Bahia. Upon arrival I realized its not quite like Hawaii, although Itacaré is beautiful and there are some great surf spots and waves for all levels.
The good: Engenhoca is one of my favorite places to surf. It is a bit of an effort to get to but well worth it for the consistent waves and beautiful beach. This beach is good for all levels.
The bad: Because it is a good wave for beginners a lot of surf schools bring their students here so it can get crowded with people learning to surf.
The Food: There is a place that sells great tapiocas for about R$10.
Getting there: Take a bus from Itacaré to Engenhoca- there is one every hour. It costs $R4.50 and takes about 20 minutes to arrive. Once there you need to walk up to the trail entrance and from there it is another 30-minute trail hike to the beach.
The good: One of the places that has consistent waves almost year round, and it’s one of the easiest places to get to from town. Tiririca is good for intermediate to experienced surfers.
The bad: Tiririca can get very crowded and the locals can get aggressive; especially on holidays and on weekends during high season. Tiririca can have dangerous riptides and currents and the waves are fast and powerful.
The Food: Great Acai stand and plenty of beach vendors. There are quite a few pousadas that have restaurants as well.
How to get there: You can bike or walk all the way to the end of Pituba and it is the second beach (or second hill) after all shops and restaurants end.
The good: Less crowded than Tiririca but just as accessible. Waves aren’t as good but still ride-able. Also good for intermediate to advanced surfers.
The bad: Hazardous rocks, not as consistent as Tirrica. Riptide can also be dangerous
The food: Coconut and drink stands and a couple food vendors selling tapiocas and acai. There are no pousadas or restaurants here.
Getting there: It is the first beach at the end of Pituba. Once you get to the bottom of the first hill it is on your left.
The good: It is a very short boat ride away and many fishermen will take you there for just a couple of dollars! Can have great waves but not consistently. Good for all levels except when there is swell- then intermediate or advanced. This is often a top pick for beginners that are still learning how to surf.
The bad: Lots of current on days where there is swell. Be prepared to paddle on a treadmill!
The Food: There is a restaurant that has a great PF for R$15. It consists of fish, rice, beans and a salad. They also offer coconut water, beer and caipirinhas.
Getting there: You can get a boat from the harbor (or the “Orla” as they call it here) for R$4-5 each way. You may want to set up a time with your boat driver to have him pick you up as well. Otherwise, you may end up waiting a bit for a ride back.
The good: A beautiful secluded beach reachable only by hiking through the Atlantic Rain-forest (Mata Atlántica). It’s gorgeous. Good for Intermediate to advanced surfers. There is both a right and a left wave here.
The bad: It’s quite a hike and if it rains while you are there, there isn’t much shelter. Tourists have been robbed on the trail; so don’t bring any valuables with you.
The Food: You may want to pack a lunch or some snacks as there isn’t much here. There is a small food stand that sometimes has cheese or drinks but not much else.
Getting there: You need to walk or bike to the end of Pituba and keep going past the 3 other beaches to the end where you reach Ribera beach. At Ribera there is a path to Prainha by the river. You will need to hike about 45 minutes through the beautiful Mata Atlántica to arrive to Prainha and you may want a guide or a local to take you there for the first time because the trail is not well marked.
The good: One of the most stunning beaches and also has a beautiful river that is fun to swim and float down. It is good for all levels and also has turtles.
The bad: It’s one of the hardest beaches to get to
The Food: An amazing fresh grilled fish lunch or dinner is available for about R$60 that can be shared. Not too many options otherwise
Getting there: You may want to get a taxi (about $R80 r/t). However, there are 3 different ways that you can get there on a budget:
The toughest but cheapest way – Take the bus from Itacare to Jeribucacu (R$3), walk about 45 minutes to the trail entrance and then it’s another 30-minute trail hike to the beach.
If you have a bike or rent one from town you can put your bike underneath the bus with the luggage and surf boards and still take the bus to Jeribucacu (R$). Ride about 20-minutes to the trail entrance. Lock your bike at the trail and then hike about 30 minutes.
You may also be able to take the bus and then take a moto taxi to the beginning of the trail. However, have the moto taxi pick you back up at a certain time or you may have to walk back.
Whatever beach you choose to surf at remember to respect our environment and the people that live in this beautiful place. Take all trash out with you and be respectful of all other surfers and swimmers in the water. Happy Surfing!