As one of the most biologically diverse and protected countries in the world, Costa Rica
has always been one of the most popular destinations for tourists seeking to enjoy the great outdoors. While for some, that enjoyment may involve trekking through tropical jungles or searching for exotic birds, others prefer to hit the Central American Nation's golden beaches to explore the surf
and sand of the country's dual coastlines. While there are dozens of great beaches that surfers can explore, the Pacific beach of Playa Naranjo is easily among the best.
Located in the North Eastern portion of the Guanacaste Region, Playa Naranjo is located within Santa Rosa National Park
. The beach shares its name with a small town known as Playa Naranjo, though surfers would be advised not to confuse the two, since the beaches surrounding the town of Playa Naranjo are largely unremarkable by surfing standards.
The real Playa Naranjo features epic golden sands, strong and open breaks and a large rocky formation just off of the coastline that the locals have dubbed Witch's Rock. The surf is consistently strong and clean groundswells are of common sight, making it perfect for those surfers to take the larger outside sets or for the surfer who likes the smaller inside waves.
Surfers should note that the breeze at Witch's Rock most often blows from the northeast, making a southwest swell the best situation for the biggest waves. Witch's Rock has an A-frame wave that breaks both left and right, assuring that surfers of all styles will be able to catch the waves.
Witch's Rock at Playa Naranjo is not as popular as some of the other beaches in the country, meaning that the beach is rarely crowded and the waves are often open. Because Witch's Rock is located well within Santa Rosa National Park there are no accommodations, by law, within the park. You can however camp at a nearby camp ground but getting there can be its own adventure as it is about 20 km from the entrance of the national park. Most surfers opt to arrive by boat to surf for a few hours and then possibly hit Ollie's Point
Travelers should also note that the area is completely undeveloped due to its location within a national park, though accommodations are available at the nearby cities of Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste
, Playa Panama
, Playas del Coco
or even Tamarindo
& Playa Grande
The Best Time to Surf
The best time to surf at Witch's Rock is at high tide during the Dry Season, particularly December through March. The area has been known to host the occasional shark although there have been no reports of a shark attack and even infestations of sea-lice.