Try stand up paddle surfing

Stand up paddle boarding on Lake Arenal with Desafio Adventure Company
Stand up paddle boarding on Lake Arenal with Desafio Adventure Company

Travelers looking for an unconventional way to participate in aquatic activities during a trip to Costa Rica may want to try stand up paddle surfing.

A New Resurgence

Although it is actually an ancient sport, stand up paddle surfing (SUP) is currently enjoying a new resurgence in popularity around the world. Unlike normal surfing, in which surfers stand sideways on their boards and ride waves, stand up paddle surfing involves people standing up straight on a specialized board and using a paddle to move themselves around as opposed to a wave. Although more experienced stand up paddle boarders do ride waves.

Why in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is an ideal destination for stand up paddle surfing, whether participants are experienced or looking to try the sport for the first time. Water on Costa Rica's Pacific and Caribbean coasts is usually very warm with an average temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, making swimming comfortable at any time of year. Additionally, waves of varying sizes provide a range of degrees of difficulty that accommodate both new and advanced surfers. Costa Rica is also home to a large number of stand up paddle surfing instructors and equipment rental outlets, ensuring travelers are cared for every step of the way as they learn how to ride and maneuver their surfboard.

Where to Stand Up Paddle

Beginners can take advantage of calm waves and clear water in several locations around the country as they learn to stand up paddle surf for the first time. Tamarindo, located on Costa Rica's northern Pacific coast, is ideal for novices because its enclosed bay shelters them from the wilder waves of the open ocean. Similarly, Playa Herradura in the city of Jaco is known for its mild conditions. For a different kind of experience, beginners can head to Lake Arenal, where they can learn to stand up paddle surf in the shadow of the spectacular Arenal Volcano.

More experienced stand up paddle surfers can also find great spots to surf throughout Costa Rica. Pavones, located on the country's southern Pacific coast, features one of the longest left-breaking waves in the world, making it ideal for intermediate-level surfers. Other hotspots in the Pacific include Manuel Antonio, which is popular among independent surfers, and Playa Avellana, located about 30 south of Tamarindo on the northern Pacific coast. Perhaps the best stand up paddle surfing in the country is at Salsa Brava, which is located near the Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo. The violent waves at Salsa Brava are a challenge for even expert surfers.