Strong waves and easy access make Boca Barranca a surfer's dream

Famous Surf Spot Boca Barranca
Famous Surf Spot Boca Barranca

Choosing a surf spot in Costa Rica can be difficult, as the Central American nation is home to several world-renowned beaches that line both of the country's dual coastlines. While it may be difficult for surfers to choose whether they would prefer to catch waves on the Pacific coast or paddle out into the Caribbean, surfers would be advised to think of their strengths before selecting a destination as the top surf spots in Costa Rica can be as different as night and day. Surfers who prefer to catch lefts on their long-boards may want to forget the more popular beaches in favor of the narrow river inlet of Boca Barranca, located in El Roble, Puntarenas.

Second Longest Wave

Considered to be one of the best long-boarding waves in the world, Boca Barranca boasts a long left pointbreak in front of a river mouth that makes for long and strong waves that last for almost a kilometer, earning the beach the title as the second longest wave in Costa Rica (with the first being Pavones). Yet while the waves are long, they are also slow, allowing longboarders plenty of opportunity to try a few cutbacks and carves before they near the shore.

The waves at Boca Barranca are typical of river-mouth surf spots, with lots of sand and sediment rushing through the river and creating shifting sandbars at the mouth that describes as "occasionally perfect." Unfortunately, this can also make the waters of Boca Barranca somewhat dirty, particularly after a heavy rain, so surfers should be sure to shower once they head back to land.

Boca Barranca has gained some notoriety over the years thanks to the annual Rabbit Kekai long-board contest, which draws some of the top pros in the sport each year for a chance to ride with the 80-year old living legend.

Surfers should note that, though Boca Barranca may not be as packed as more famous beaches like Playa Hermosa, the waves can crowd easily. This is particularly true during the dryer tourist season, when many visitors from San Jose can clog the channel quickly.

Where to Stay

While there are accommodations available in the area, surfers visiting Boca Barranca may opt to spring for a stay in larger tourist areas like Escazu or Santa Ana just west of San Jose, as recently improved roadways and plentiful parking make accessing the beach quite easy. Of course, most surfers will prefer to stay close to the coast at popular spots like Jaco, one of the most developed coastal cities in the country.