Located in Guanacaste's Golden Coast, Playa Avellana boasts world-class waves and a relaxing shores that make for a surfer's heaven. Locals even call it "little Hawaii," since the offshore breakers reach up to 5.5 meters, attracting seasoned surfers from around the world. In this beach town, you'll likely meet "Lola," the 400-kilogram pig - a local celebrity - who wanders casually around the beach to bathe in the sun. As a tranquil alternative to nearby Taramindo, Playa Avellana offers white sand beaches and turquoise waters that create a great jumping-off point for seeing endangered sea turtles at Las Baulas National Marine Park.
Surfing and Other Activities
When the tide is high, expert and professional surfers flock to Playa Avellana
for its left and right surf breaks. In fact, there are as many as eight different breaks, which rank as some of the best on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. The swells are spectacular throughout the year, coming from both the northern and southern hemisphere. The most popular spots are La Purruja, a left-hand reef break located in front of Lola's parking lot, El Palo, left and right little barrels, and the legendary El Estero de Avellanas, which is considered to be one of the best in Costa Rica. Bring your board or rent one here to take advantage of the this two-kilometer long beach.
Although surfing is mainstay, because of the strong currents, swimming is not recommended. Instead, relax under the warmth of the sun's rays on the soft sands. Due to its isolated nature, Playa Avellana is a quiet spot to enjoy a good book or a peaceful afternoon nap. It's also a great spot for a picnic meal, where you can refuel before hitting the waves in the latter half of the day.
Many visitors also like to spend an afternoon horseback riding along the shore or watching the sunset from a beachside bar.
Map of the Area
If you want to get out and hit some golf balls, the Hacienda Pinilla Beach Resort features an 18-hole championship golf course that many Playa Avellana visitors enjoy.
From San Jose
, you can take a bus to Tamarindo and then a taxi to Playa Avellana. If you're bringing along your own surf board, most buses will accommodate your gear, but it is a good idea to check beforehand. Otherwise, you can check out shared van shuttle services, some of which have roof racks. Avellana is also accessible via Santa Cruz
, or if you are coming from Villareal, you can take Route 155 for approximately 3.3 kilometers, then turn right about 400 meters past the Escuela Villareal. Follow the unmarked road for the remaining 9 kilometers until you reach the shore.
Sitting less than 25 kilometers away, Las Baulas National Marine Park is famous for hosting the largest nesting colony of leatherback sea turtles (called bauals in Spanish) in the world. If you are looking for a great night trip, this is the perfect one to enjoy during your time at Playa Avellana. Each year, Playa Grande
- which is located in Las Baulas - welcomes more than 800 female turtles that lay eggs on its shores during nesting season, which lasts from November through April. From April to September, the baby turtles hatch and scamper to the sea. This park makes for a great place to witness untouched nature and evening turtle tours, offered through the Las Baulas ranger station in Playa Grande.
Only 10 kilometers from Playa Avellana sits Tamarindo, a bustling surf town. If you're looking for more of a social hub to complement your vacation, Tamarindo has magnificent restaurants, boutique shops, spas, bakeries and an array of lodging accommodations
. During spring break, this vibrant town is a top destination, full of clubs, beach parties and bars with intoxicating Latin music pouring out. The rest of the year, visitors enjoy horseback riding, golfing, water sports and scuba diving and snorkeling.