|Boasting kilometers of white sand beaches and unrivaled waves, Costa Rica is a world-class destination for surfing. The sandy shorelines are less crowded than the beaches of Southern California, Hawaii and Sydney, ideal for shredding. Across the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, beginners and experienced surfers flock to discover Pavones' kilometer-long left and the international contest-location of Playa Hermosa. Check out the best places to carve the waves in Costa Rica:|
In Puerto Viejo, the surf spot called Salsa Brava, rolls in some of the country's biggest waves. The small village is located in the Limon province on the Caribbean, with a coral reef lining the coast that creates Hawaiin-style barrels and it can hold more than 20 surfers at a time. Although it's fickle, the rides over the shallow reef make for an unbelievable rides. This place is somehow more laid-back than the rest of Costa Rica. Experts only.
Playa Hermosa, meaning "beautiful beach," is home to several national and international surf contests each year. With more than 3.5 of steep beaches, this area offers consistent, year-round surf. Though Playa Hermosa is hugely popular, you can find uncrowded, head high peaks throughout the seasons. If you're scouring for head high peaks not for the faint of heart, this surf mecca may be right for you. Experienced surfers welcome. Jaco sits nearby, one of Costa Rica's most visited beach towns revolving around surfing, parties and a knockout nightlife.
Located on the Pacific coast, Tamarindo stands as the most popular surf area. Because of its central location, the area provides easy access to Witches Rock (by boat to the north), Playa Langosta (walking distance just south) and Playa Negra (by car to the south) just to mention a few. Witches Rock is a two-mile beach with hollow sand bottom breaks, offering long lefts and rights. Offshore winds fly in strong between December and March. There are many different places to stay in Tamarindo which is what makes it so attractive, ranging from luxurious resorts to surf camps that cater to all the surfers needs.
Locals vouch that the right-hand break at Playa Negra is top-notch. If experienced surfers want a challenge, catch the overhead breakers when storms churn up aggressive surf.
Playa Pavones packs one of the longest left rides in the world. The wave begins at the mouth of Rio Claro and lasts up to 1.2 kilometers. The area is relatively remote, meaning that getting here can tricky. The best surfing occurs between April and November. However, since the breaks are inconsistent, be sure to head out on a day when you know they're there. Matapalo is located across the gulf from Pavones, catching the same ocean swells and the waves here can get very good as well.
Other Popular Surf SpotsOther popular surf spots include Playa Santa Teresa, Mal Pais, Playa Nosara, Playa Grande and Playa Avellana.
No gear? No problem. Many resorts and companies offer board rentals. If you've never stood up on a surf board, there are plenty of training surf shops that will help you ride your first wave. Whether you plan to hit the beach on the Caribbean or Pacific Coasts, Costa Rica has a wealth of open shorelines and secluded coves, perfect for visitors who want to learn the ropes or test their skills.
Without a doubt, Costa Rica is one of the best surfing getaways.
Top Activity Picks in Costa Rica
Choose Surfing by Region:
Click on the map to select a costal region.
Click to enlarge map - Costa Rica Surfing Map