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Pavones, South Puntarenas

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Surfers walking at Pavones

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Known as a surfer's haven, Pavones is a small community located along the southern Pacific Coast. Pavones isn't just another Costa Rica surfer town - this region is home to some of the best, longest waves in the world. This remote village can be a challenge to trek to, but as the second longest left behind Chicama, Peru, the travels may be worth it. Pavones is also surrounded by diverse wildlife in the lush rainforest nearby.

Playa Pavones

Pavones surfing is world-class, but it isn't constant. When the south by southwest swell comes in, the surf here is fast, intense and the ride can last up to 2 minutes. No joke, Red Bull filmed Robby Naish surfing a wave for 2 minutes 15 seconds and going over 1 km! Writer Allan Weisbecker, author of "Can't You Get Along With Anyone? A Writer's Memoir and Tale of a Lost Surfer's Paradise," called Pavones the "world's second longest wave" in terms of length, height, speed and swell. However, many locals prefer to claim the Pavones surf as two separate waves - the outer wave, which goes across the nearby mouth of a river, is the larger of the two, while the inner wave provides calmer waves that are more appropriate for the less experienced rider. The waves here are only recommended for experienced surfers, which are always here in droves. Despite the popularity of the location, a respectful mentality definitely exists in the line up, with almost everyone following the order that they arrived. The break here is close to shore, and the bottom is rocky, so be sure to watch yourself if you wipe out early. The best time to travel to Pavones for surfing is during the rainy season, which lasts from April to November. However, this is the most challenging time to reach the area due to the roads and high rivers.

Not much of a surfer? Pavones has plenty of other activities to offer those who plan a visit here. Due to its location along the ocean, sport fishing is quite popular. Canopy tours in the area and horseback riding through the forest and along the beach are also common activities.
The long, beautiful beach is also a great place to simply relax, sunbathe or take a long stroll.

Hotels at Pavones used to be basic but have become much better in the past couple of years.

Gettting to Pavones

Pavones lies around 15 km south of Playa Zancudoand it is about 400 km south of the capital city of San Jose, the best way to get to Pavones is via Golfito, either by flying or driving. Once in Golfito just go south for about an hour to get to Pavones.

Golfito Wildlife Refuge

Visitors traveling to Pavones will only be 60 kilometers from Golfito National Wildlife Refuge, a small and sometimes overlooked wildlife refuge. Spanning 28 square kilometers, the park was originally created to protect the water for the community. Golfito Wildlife Refuge is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna and a large variety of trees. Some of the species here tower more than 140 feet into the air. This park features several cycads, which are known as one of the most primitive plants in the world.

A number of tropical avian species and monkeys reside in the trees here, and visitors may be able to catch a glimpse of them while hiking. The trails here are quite steep, offering quite the challenge. The hike lasts about two hours.

Featured Hotels
Castillo de Pavones
Villa Harmonia