The 15 best beaches in South America reflect the continent's diversity and embody the unique wonders of coastal majesty, freshwater beauty, wilderness escapes, and crystal-clear waters.
From the most remote corners of a country to the sun-drenched sands of a metropolis’s coastline, South America presents iconic beach getaways, legendary shores, and unforgettable coastal escapes perfect for any type of traveler on a continent nearly twice the size of Europe.
You can find the grandeur of Patagonia, a tropical climate, remote volcanic islands, or hidden Pacific treasures when you experience magnificent sands and hidden gems at your pace during your South America trip.
Often considered one of the best beaches in the world, Praia do Sancho offers a beach experience unlike any other you may have across the globe. Set in the grandeur of Fernando de Noronha, the warm and clear water leads to a panorama of submerged volcanic mountains peeking out of the sea to create 21 separate islands.
With a tropical ambiance, rich marine life, and golden sands fringed with palm trees, you can wander the boardwalk to observe the stunning cliffside views and narrow rock tunnels, or search for spotted dolphins leaping out of the water as they demonstrate how to embrace the exceptional location.
Best for: Escaping the hustle and bustle of the cities and seeing marine life
While the water does not allow for swimming, you visit Playa Roja for an immersion into the wonders of the wild.
The rust-colored sands spread across the center of Paracas National Reserve and contrast the stunning blue hues of the crystal-clear Pacific. Yellow cliffs further accentuate the red coastline, as the ocean’s foamy waves contrast the tropical desert landscape.
The remote and protected ecosystem creates the feeling of serene seclusion, where fur seals bask in the sun, marine otters lounge on their backs in the water, and pelicans scoop the sea in search of fish to create an elaborate theater you may enjoy all to yourself.
Best for: Exploring one of the most extraordinarily colored beaches in the world
Chile may not initially conjure images of a tropical paradise, but the rust-colored cliffs, turquoise waters, and fine pink sands of Ovahe Beach on Easter Island embody the true splendor of a secluded beach haven.
Palm trees create a deceptive background as they tower above eroded coral and volcanic rocks that shape the small cove often overlooked by visitors to the remote Pacific island. Undeveloped and practically untouched, the natural beauty of Ovahe Beach resounds as a wild experience that provides access to tunnels ancient locals once called home.
Best for: Embracing seclusion on Easter Island’s epic shoreline
Concha is a popular beach in Colombia, one that’s admired by visitors and locals. The bordering mountains create an ambiance of seclusion, while the layers of turquoise and azure waters pressing against the fine white sands provide the image of a perfect tropical coastline.
Trees offer plenty of shade against the Caribbean sunlight and visitors hang their hammocks for a delightful place to rest after splashing in the cool, refreshing sea. From snorkeling in search of marine life to lounging on the coastline, Bahia Concha is a treasured ecosystem, preserved for visitors, locals, and wildlife.
Best for: Catamaran cruises, snorkeling, and a taste of Caribbean charm
The overlooked town of Ayangue in Ecuador provides a step away from the beaten path of the “Ruta del Sol”, taking visitors out of the bustle of coastal resorts to a perfect blend of relaxation and stunning views.
Edged by spectacular cliffs and punctuated with aromas of seafood cuisine, you can escape the crowds, while also indulging in traditional dishes accentuated by the ambiance of the quiet tide, rocking boats at anchor, and calming sea breezes.
Ayangue is a beach destination that can inspire exploration, relaxation, or adventure in any kind of traveler.
Best for: Luxury and family-friendly beach trips on mainland Ecuador
Carilo embodies exclusivity as a beach getaway for the elite of Argentina. From pristine coastline to seductive pine forests, the shoreline is as enticing as the boutique shops, restaurants, and luxurious spas, which create an ambiance of privacy and opulence.
Bright blue saturates the water and boulders emerge from the coastline to texture the beach, only adding to the town's artistic ambiance and boutique quality to capture the image of an elite escape, no matter the season.
Best for: Tropical beach stays around the corner from a man-made forest
The powdery white sands, crystal-clear waters, and secluded location make Playa Blanca on Isla Baru an alluring beach to experience rather than just visit. The shoreline feels like an endless panorama of fine sands, tropical foliage, and clear, aquamarine waters.
Whether lounging on the sand or in a private cabana on the Caribbean Sea, crystalline waters and exceptional sands provide a perfect beach destination, accentuated by the possibility of dolphin sightings and refreshing local cuisine.
Best for: Jet skiing, kayaking, and more fun watersports
The charm and grandeur of Zapallar Beach in Chile, where the country’s elite venture to embrace the summer, can feel surprising, but the atmosphere is akin to the wondrous French Riviera.
The coastline edges the woody hillside, with golden sands and elaborate mansions that demonstrate a variety of architectural tastes, from Grecian villas to Austrian chalets.
With a fresh ambiance, cooler waters, and celebrated restaurants that serve mouthwatering cosmopolitan cuisine, Zapallar can connect you to the water or take you along the winding edges of the shoreline cliffs on exciting coastal walks.
Best for: Coastal walks in lush forests and a European atmosphere in Chile
Instead of the typical coastline, Argentina’s Lake Correntoso creates the perfect ambiance of a picturesque lakeside beach, surrounded by lush trees and rugged views of the Andes mountains. The glassy, turquoise waters reflect the surrounding emerald treeline, interspersed with chalets, while light gray volcanic sand blankets the lakeshore.
With warmer water and long stretches of beach, Lake Correntoso is an excellent place for families with children of all ages and adventurers eager to explore the Patagonian Lake District. From canoeing to windsurfing, kayaking to fishing, you can find the right pace for your trip.
Best for: Lakeshore relaxation in an untouched slice of the Argentinian wilderness
Beachgoers, scuba divers, and snorkelers can find beach perfection along the more than 20 miles of Arraial do Cabo and the stunning sands of Praia do Farol. The island inside a nature reserve will give you soft sands and crystal-clear waters that reflect a dream of tropical paradise.
Accessible only by boat, the secluded and preserved location offers up fine sands that resemble powdered sugar and still turquoise waters that reach the horizon. With no distractions or contemporary services, you can embrace the quiet or simply relax in the untouched nature, before returning to the small-town charms of Arraial do Cabo.
Best for: Scuba diving, snorkeling, and marine-life viewing
Punta Sal encompasses one of the longest stretches of beach on Peru’s north coast to create the feeling that you are visiting one of the most marvelous beaches in the country.
The setting offers warm sunshine and turquoise waters year-round, accentuated by the relaxed ambiance of a small town, one often visited by Peruvians and travelers looking for a more authentic place to enjoy local culture.
With soft white sands and warm blue waters, you can kayak on the still ocean, yacht along the coastline, or dive at the nearby reefs to embrace the natural beauty and safe conditions perfect for all kinds of travelers.
Best for: Resort-style beach vacations for families and luxury travelers
Tortuga Bay is an unforgettable Galapagos Islands beach that provides visitors with a unique experience. Rather than diving into the water and lounging on the sand, this is where you will find protected turtles, iguanas, and birds parading undisturbed along the powdery white sands.
Instead of sunbathing, you can embrace the wilderness with a kayak excursion or surf experience along a nearby cove in search of lightfoot crabs, brown pelicans, or colorful tropical fish to capture the unforgettable qualities of the destination.
Best for: Dreamy white-sand beaches and coral gardens for private beach days
Copacabana is one of the most famous beaches in the world. Its large, crescent shape that spans neighborhoods can impress any visitor to Rio de Janeiro. The surrounding sights are as mesmerizing as the beach, set beneath the silhouette of Sugarloaf Mountain to the east and the looming edges of the jungle to the west.
Children play soccer near the water, market stalls offer atmospheric wares, and cocktail kiosks provide the perfect accompaniment to your time on the golden sands, the smell of the sea breeze blending with the aromas of local restaurants to create an endlessly majestic ambiance.
Best for: Action-packed beach days in Brazil’s bustling capital city
Playa el Faro absorbs the splendor of the coastline and connects to the grandeur of Chile’s surrounding countryside through the charms of La Serena, the nation’s second-oldest city. Peaceful, with access to shaded plazas and grand colonial architecture, the golden sands of the beach capture the city’s sparkling personality.
Whether you wish to lounge at the water’s edge or venture into the countryside to visit a pisco vineyard, explore a nearby village, or view the castle-like lighthouse at the center of the shoreline, Playa el Faro and greater La Serena provide the perfect mix of oceanfront and exploration.
Best for: Exploring countryside charms and historic Chile near the shoreline
Colombia is a bustling center of biodiversity. Rainforest tangles with tropical beaches and stunning nature around the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains comes to life along the Caribbean Sea at El Cabo San Juan. Located in a secluded corner of Tayrona National Park, you can reach the sugar-white sands of the small bay on a picturesque hike or by boat.
With exotic turquoise waters that lap against the shoreline, the lofty palm trees provide shade and the surrounding headlands offer breathtaking panoramas. With swaying hammocks and a local restaurant offering delicious local dishes, you can easily pass the time in perfection.
Best for: Retreating to sandy bays for relaxation, hiking, or cruising around a national park
Your travel preferences will help guide you to the perfect beach in South America during your trip. Whether eager to visit the stunning islands of the Galapagos or venture deep into the southern corners of Patagonia, you can discover captivating shores that immerse you in local culture and natural wonder on South America Tours & Vacations.
From gaucho excursions to rainforest outings, thrilling ruins to sumptuous wines, find everything you need to know before you travel in our South America Travel Guide. Ready to plan? Couple your beach destination with exceptional experiences focused on unique opportunities across the continent or discover new options with our Beach Vacations & Tours.