Surf the waves of Guanacaste at Playa Negra

Surf at Playa Negra
Surf at Playa Negra

Most travelers already know that Costa Rica is one of the best destinations for surfing in the world, but with dual Pacific and Caribbean coasts it may be difficult to choose where the best beaches may lie. Though there are great surf spots on both coasts of Costa Rica, most visitors seem to flock to the shores of the Pacific, an expansive coastline that is home to a number of world-class beaches just asking to be surfed, including one of the country's greatest beach destinations, Playa Negra in Guanacaste.

Playa Negra

Playa Negra is a black sand beach located in the Guanacaste Province in the northwestern portion of Costa Rica. Over the years, Playa Negra has emerged as one of the premiere surfing destinations in the world thanks to its powerful break and well defined channel, both of which were well photographed during the filming of the popular surfing documentary, Endless Summer II.

What to spect

Surfers can look forward to fast, hollow breaks in Playa Negra due to the presence of a shallow lava reef at the head of the channel. The surf is strong at Playa Negra, with consistent right-barrels that have attracted some of the biggest names in surfing over the years. Surfers will definitely want to hit Playa Negra during high tide, as low tide exposes many underwater rocks that can prove dangerous for surfers and swimmers.

Historically, the beach, which should not be confused with the Playa Negra in Cahuita that is found on the Caribbean coast, can be a bit difficult to access at certain points of the year. During the height of the rainy season (October in particular) roads connecting Playa Negra with the nearby city of Tamarindo can become washed out or cluttered with debris, making driving to the beach impossible at times. Yet improvements made to the roadways in the area have improved access to the secluded beach.

Difficult to Access

Though it may be difficult to access, the beach can easily seem crowded for surfers due to Playa Negra's narrow channel, which can only accommodate roughly a dozen or so surfers at any given time.

Where to stay

Most travelers heading to Playa Negra will want to stay in Playa Avellana to the north, though some restaurants, small shops and small hotels can be found in the town where Playa Negra is located, Los Pargos.