Here’s 21 international surf spots off the beaten path you might want to add to your bucket list. All of these beaches and coastlines offer natural beauty and appealing surf conditions. You won’t find big crowds either. Be sure to research all facets of transportation (air, ground and boat) before booking your flight. We included a link for every spot on our list offering more detailed information.
Remote surf spots usually mean less accommodations and other challenges. It’s a tradeoff for what could be an epic adventure, and that includes spending more time riding more waves.
Our list around the world features surf spots in Central and South America, the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, India, the Arabian Peninsula, Africa, and Europe. We’ll feature a separate article about surf spots in the U.S. that fit the criteria of being off the beaten path.
La Saladita, Guerrero, Mexico
La Saladita is about 40-miles north of the popular coastal resort community of Ixtapa. Its smooth left point break provides one of the longest rides in Mexico and is great for longboarding year-round, with the 4-6 foot waves being smaller in the winter season. The local village near the long-crescent-shaped beach is focused entirely on surfing. Learn more.
Playa Colorado, Nicaragua
Playa Colorado is a one-and-three-quarter mile long private beach with three breaks and consistent waves. One of the breaks offers impressive tubes for the best barrels. Local accommodations are limited with rental properties in the adjacent Hacienda Iguana development. You’ll see plenty of boats from nearby villages transporting surfers. Other surfers make the 45-60 minute walk. Learn more.
Pico de Loro, Nuqui, Columbia
Beautiful Pico de Loro is appealing for advanced surfers and people who are familiar with the area. The beach is only accessible via a short boat ride from Nuqui. The reef break offers surfers consistent swells and rideable waves. You might even see humpback whales but be alert to rock hazards in certain areas. You’ll need to take a plane from Medellin to Nuqui and work with local guides or hotels on your accommodations. March is the ideal time to plan your trip. Learn more.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands are a world-renowned wildlife sanctuary attracting photographers and naturalists, but they also have consistent waves. San Cristobal is a good destination. The various restrictions on access to the famous islands keeps the crowd to a minimum and you’ll need the right permits to experience a unique surfing adventure from December through early March. Learn more.
Easter Island, Chile
Easter Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site offering surfers open beaches and consistent waves. The island is notable for its large monolithic human figures (known as mo’ai). You’ll find good surfing spots anytime and especially between October and April. Keep in mind that Easter Island is surrounded by shallow reef breaks so the waves can be powerful. Another challenge is the flights are expensive, so plan ahead. Learn more.
Tonga, South Pacific
This tiny island is unfamiliar to most surfers being in the shadow of Fiji, Tahiti and Hawaii. Nevertheless, Tonga enjoys south and north swells leading to surfing opportunities year-round. Plan to target the island of Tongatapu near Ha’atafu Beach, where the outside reef offers many breaks. Tonga is also highly regarded for snorkeling and scuba diving, along with whale watching. The best time to go is from May to October although you’ll benefit from the consistent swells anytime. Learn more.
Samoa is another gem in the South Pacific with consistent swells year-round. It’s halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. You’ll discover high-quality reef breaks and especially on Savai’I Island with Aganoa Beach, Pastor Point, and Tiavea. Other popular breaks in Samoa can be found at Wackas, Boulders, and Coconuts. Samoa also offers scuba diving, fishing and memorable island culture. The north side of the island is exposed to storms from November to April. You’ll experience more consistent surf on the south side from May to October. Learn more.
Malaita, Solomon Islands
The Solomon Islands feature 1,000 islands spread over 11,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean. Malaita is on the northern side just under three hours by air from Cairns in Queensland, Australia. The high cost of the airfare keeps the number of surfers to a minimum, but it’s well worth the trip. The same swells which hit Hawaii reach the Solomons about a week later at a reduced size but with longer swells. Learn more.
Pohnpei is a small island in the Federated States of Micronesia that’s home to P-Pass, a world-class reef break. While P-Pass attracts many surfers, the archipelago remains uncrowded. You’ll discover impressive surf spots all accessible by boat. The main surfing tour company is the Pohnpei Surf Club. Like most South Pacific islands, reef breaks are commonplace in Micronesia. The best time to surf is from November to March. Learn more.
Whangapoua, New Zealand
New Zealand has impressive beaches. Whangapoua is a secluded location requiring a 40-minute hike from the north end of Whangapoua Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. It’s about two hours from Auckland by car. Wainuiototo Bay offers right and left handers, including a small, sheltered cove around an outcrop, and a beach break in the middle area. Learn more.
Coronation Beach, Australia
Coronation Beach is 20 miles north of Geraldton along the Northwest Coastal Highway. It’s a more remote location for surfers and windsurfers but go anyways for dependable waves on the exposed beach break with both left and right hand waves. June is the ideal time for a visit. Learn more.
Mentawai Islands, Indonesia
Indonesia has over 17,000 islands so it’s helpful to narrow your focus to a handful of destinations like the Mentawai Islands, also known as Ments. Located on the western coast of Sumatra, these islands offer excellent left and right surf breaks that range from two to 12 feet (up to 15). The three primary areas include Playgrounds in the north, Sipura in the middle and Pagai in the south. You’ll find hundreds of surf breaks in the Mentawai Islands. The best time to go is the dry season from April to October. Learn more.
38th Parallel Beach, South Korea
South Korea’s 38th Parallel Beach is one of the most unique and unlikely beach breaks in Asia. The beach is about 31 miles south of North Korea and attracts weekend surfers from Seoul, which is three hours away. It’s safe and accessible with consistent wave action. Learn more.
Aoshima Beach, Kyushu, Japan
Shrouded in palm trees and surrounded by rock formations known as the Devil’s Washboard, Aoshima is a tiny island off the coast of Kyushu, Japan. The coastal area on the mainland (also called Aoshima) includes a town (Miyazaki City), beach park and a strip of white-sand shoreline ideal for surfing. It’s a popular spot in spring and summer, hosting various international competitions, but it’s never busy the rest of the year compared to Chiba and Okinawa. The gentle waves and easy access are ideal for beginners. More advanced surfers will find bigger waves and choppier water further down the coast. Learn more.
Little Andaman, India
Andaman and Nicobar Islands are located between the Bengal Sea and the Andaman Sea, just off India’s east coast. A good destination is Little Andaman Island at the southern end of the archipelago. Kumari Point has the best waves in the area. You’ll discover private spots to surf for two reasons. It takes effort to get to the islands, and the ideal surf conditions are limited mostly to March and April. Learn more.
The Gulf of Oman
Oman has become a popular hub for tourists with natural beauty, tourist attractions and friendly locals. The long, east-facing desert coastline from the Strait of Hormuz in the north to the Republic of Yemen in the south may be too inconsistent for experienced surfers, but it’s a unique adventure with appealing breaks like Joe’s Point, Ras Al Hadd and Bandar Al Saqlah. Learn more.
Robertsport is the surfing capital of Liberia located a couple of hours by car from Monrovia. Liberia’s west coast has impressive waves offering surfers a unique experience. It could be the greatest concentrations of left hand waves in all of Africa, with warm water, and friendly locals. The best time to surf is April to September based on the weather, although the swells are stronger in July and August. Learn more.
Mozambique is not as developed and visited due to a long civil war that ended in 1992. Tourists are starting to discover this beautiful country and welcoming people, and that includes surfers exploring its epic waves and mostly empty beaches. The water is warm and the best time to surf is from May to September. One challenge is few locals speak English so expand your adventure by learning a handful of words in Portuguese to bond with your hosts. Learn more.
Skeleton Bay, Namibia
At 976-miles in length, the Skeleton Coast is immense and remote. You can experience the longest and strongest left hand breaks in the world. Access is challenging and the water is cold, but the surfing opportunities are impressive. Popular breaks include Luderitz, Walvis Bay, Cape Cross, and Ovahimba Point. A fun time to visit is between May and September. Learn more.
Severn River, England, United Kingdom
Gloustershire’s Severn River is the longest in England with a major swell thanks to a tidal bore speeding through the estuary. A tidal bore, also called a surge, is a phenomenon where the flow of water from the river into the ocean reverses, and the tide pushes water up the river (about 20 miles). The swell can reach as high as seven feet in the Severn. Steve King set the Guinness World Record for the longest ride here in 2006, crushing a wave for 15 kilometers. Learn more.
Amoreira Beach, The Algarve in Portugal
Nestled along the western coast of The Algarve in the middle of a park running from Porto Covo to Burgau, Amoreira Beach sits at the mouth of the Aljezur River. The beach is part of a quaint lagoon capturing consistent waves with beautiful views. The beach is perfect for swimming, kayaking and surfing. It’s rarely crowded, even with ideal conditions. Amoreira Beach features left and right breaks, as well as two point breaks that peel into the middle of the bay from the cliffs on both sides. Learn more.
Photo Credits (in order of appearance within the article):
Playa Colorado – Nicaragua 365
Tonga – Tonga Pocket Guide
Coronation Beach – Seabreeze.com
Little Andaman – Rammohan Paranjape
Robertsport – Wavelengthmag.com
Severn River – MetroNews.com