Ride the waves on a surfing vacation at Playa Avellana

Surf at Playa Avellana, El Parqueo
Surf at Playa Avellana, El Parqueo

If you're planning a surfing vacation to Costa Rica, there are dozens of ideal spots to choose from. With warm waters, stunning scenery and friendly locals, there's no better place to learn to surf or improve your skills. Playa Avellana is a small beach break located in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. Here, you'll find a variety of conditions and few crowds - perfect for intermediate surfers or those looking for an alternative to busier spots like Tamarindo.

Great Lefts and Rights

Playa Avellana is a sandy beach break shaped like a crescent. A popular alternative to Playa Negra, this break is characterized by its great rights and lefts. At the first few breaks at Avellana the waves aren't as powerful as other beaches in Guanacaste, making it an ideal spot for intermediate surfers.

One of the best things about Playa Avellana is the variety of swells from the northwest to southwest, so no matter how the tides are, you're likely to experience favorable conditions. In terms of movements, you're best off waiting for either rising or falling tides, and you can ride some great barrels no matter the tide's position.

This area has five breaks. The first is La Purruja, a reef break that offers some good lefts. The waves here aren't as consistent as other areas, and the best time to surf La Purruja is during the wet season between May and November.

The second break at Playa Avellana is El Parqueo, a beach break offering long, smooth waves that are ideal for less experienced surfers. If you're planning on surfing El Parqueo, wait for mid tide.

For moderate barrels, try surfing El Palo, a beach break that offers some decent lefts and rights. However, if you're looking for some of the best waves in the area, head north from El Palo to El Estero de Avellanas, a sandy reef break known for its great lefts and rights. Low incoming tides are best here.

Twin Peaks

Avellana's rivermouth break at the northern end of the beach is considered one of the best locations for peaks, with waves getting at least three and four feet high on a good swell. The surf rarely drops below two feet, making this a great spot to practice your carves and cutbacks.

Just north of the rivermouth is a spot called Little Hawaii, there is a small rocky cove that produces some great rights, with the right swell this can get very big and powerful so only attempt if you are a great surfer. Because this is so out of the way this spot has smaller crowds.