Surfing in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a world-class surfing destination for both beginner and advanced surfers. There are awesome waves on both coasts and beautiful beaches to visit. Costa Rica has a variety of surf spots on both Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Its laid-back and welcoming vibe will mix local and international surfers. Many surf towns have a vibrant surf scene with surf shops, surf schools and beachfront cafes where you can immerse yourself in the surf culture.
Playa Jaco has several surf breaks that cater to different levels of experience. The main beach in Jaco is known for its consistent beach break, which is ideal for beginners to learn how to surf. It has small to medium-sized waves that break close to the shore, making it easier for beginners to catch waves and practice their skills.
Playa Hermosa, Puntarenas
Just a few miles south of Jaco, Playa Hermosa is known for its consistently large and powerful breaks, making it a draw for seasoned veterans and those ready to take their surfing lessons to the next level. Here, the surf is serious, with big waves and strong rip tides. The power of the breaks is one of the reasons Playa Hermosa has been the stage for international surfing competitions, such as the Billabong ISA World Surfing.
Pavones Beach, Puntarenas
Welcome to the second-longest left-hand wave in the world. Here, you'll be able to stay on top of your surfboard for more than a minute. This three-section wave is often crowded, especially when the swell hits the six-to-eight-foot range. Prepare your arms for long paddling sessions.
Witch’s Rock, Guanacaste
Located in a natural sanctuary, Witch's Rock is one of the most well-known surf spots in Costa Rica, but it rarely gets crowded. The main surf break at Witch's Rock is known as "Playa Naranjo," which offers a fast, powerful, and hollow wave that is suitable for experienced surfers. The best time to surf at Witch's Rock is during the dry season, which runs from November to April, as the waves are typically larger and more consistent during this time. To access Witch's Rock take a boat trip from Tamarindo or one of the nearby beaches. This world-class wave is not for the faint of heart.
Playa Potrero, Guanacaste
Potrero Grande Beach is better known as Ollie’s Point. It’s considered a world class right-hand point break with a combination of sand and cobblestone. Waves typically range from 4 to 10 feet. This is a beach best suited to surfers with some experience. The only way to get to Ollie’s Point is by boat from Playas del Coco, Playa Hermosa, or Tamarindo.
Tamarindo has established itself as the leading surf town in Costa Rica. It has many different types of breaks within a single bay, many of them right on the doorstep of the town itself. Great beach for beginners, offering some of the best surf schools and surf camps in the country.
Playa Guiones, Guanacaste
Next to Nosara Beach is Guiones, home to the best breaks in the area. They top the bill mainly on account of consistency and fast barreling waves for surfers who seek pure adrenaline moments. With its seven-kilometer stretch of beach and stunning sunsets, it will always entertain any surfer.
Santa Teresa, Puntarenas
Santa Teresa beach is located at the southern tip of Nicoya Peninsula. The beach splits up into several surf spots, running from Manzanillo in the north to Mal Pais in the south. There are different breaks for different levels between the two ends, but the surfing Santa Teresa has to offer is generally multi-level beach breaks with good consistency pretty much all year round. The variety of surf breaks and the high swells attract the best surfers in the business. Suck Rock, La Lora, Playa Hermosa and Playa Carmen are popular surfing spots in and around Santa Teresa.
Puerto Viejo, Limon
This vibrant beach town in the Caribbean is known for its laid-back vibe and afro-caribbean culture. The main surf breaks in Puerto Viejo are Salsa Brava and Playa Cocles. Salsa Brava is a famous reef break known for its powerful and challenging waves, which are suitable for experienced surfers. It's known to have one of the heaviest waves in Costa Rica, with barrels that can reach over 10 feet (3 meters) high. Playa Cocles, on the other hand, offers more mellow and forgiving waves, making it suitable for intermediate surfers.