It should come as no surprise that Costa Rica has become famous place for surfers to visit since it features waves that are consistent throughout the year, water that is warm, and a wide variety of lodgings to choose from. Traveling here is uncomplicated, and there are several destinations to surf in Costa Rica, so the most difficult decision you will have to make is probably where you want to go.
Surf in Costa Rica
It is possible to divide the waves that are found in Costa Rica into four primary categories. The North, Central, South, and Caribbean. There are incredible surf breaks located in every region, so deciding where to go will likely come down to your surfing ability, your preferences regarding the atmosphere at different surf spots. There are awesome surf breaks located in every region.
In this article, we will cover a general overview of the surf in Costa Rica, when to go, different regions, and some other insights that will help get you pointed in the right direction for your surf trip to the land of pura vida. This information will help get you pointed in the right direction for your trip to the land of pura vida so you can enjoy the pura vida lifestyle.
Let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat: surfing is always a good idea in Costa Rica. There are lovely times of day throughout the year; even during the rainy season, there are times that are just about ideal as they get. So make the most of the rainbows, and if you have to, learn to surf in the rain. Since the water temperature never drops below 76 degrees Celsius or rises over 28 degrees Fahrenheit, there is no cause for concern.
The rainy season and the dry season are the two most prominent times of year in Costa Rica. Although there is a good amount of surf to be obtained throughout both the dry and wet seasons, the waves during the rainy season have a tendency to be larger, better, and more consistent.
From May to around the middle of November, Costa Rica experiences its “rainy” or “wet” season. During this time of year, the Pacific Ocean is known to generate waves coming from all directions, including the north, south, and southwest. Because of Costa Rica’s affinity for South West swells, the months of June, July, August, and September are some of the best times to go surfing there. It is also important to keep in mind that during the rainy season, the weather in northern Costa Rica is often drier than in the rest of the nation.
There isn’t as much consistency in the surf on the Caribbean coast as there is on the Pacific side, but there are periods of the year when there are some incredible waves. The months of October through April are ideal for gaining an understanding of what’s cooking in the Caribbean. The months that are most likely to produce tropical storms are also the months in which the waves along the Caribbean coast reach their peak heights.
Ideal destinations for surfing in Costa Rica
This is a difficult issue, and the answer to it relies much on what it is that you are seeking. Every area of the country has something unique to offer. There are waves that are considered to be of world-class quality all along the coast, and the duration of your stay will determine how many of these waves you will be able to ride.
It is simpler to move about, the surf is more consistent, there are lots of breaks to discover, and you can find the best of both worlds in the northern area. For these reasons and more, I would recommend beginning your journey in the northern region.
Instead of moving about every other night, I want to settle into one location and get a good sense of what it has to offer. If you are considering a surf vacation to Costa Rica for seven to ten days, it is not recommended that you attempt to visit more than one or two distinct areas during that time. For a journey of that duration, seeing even two areas would be ambitious. If you are going to be gone for at least two weeks, there is a good chance that you will be able to see more of the country.
Determine which breaks are essential for you to surf, depending on your current level of expertise and the kind of waves you want to ride. The next step is to consider how you want to spend your time when you are on land. Do some research or pick up a Lonely Planet guidebook to read about the various regions, and base your selection on what interests you the most based on what you learn from those sources. It’s possible that you will find the busier, more touristy areas less appealing than locations like Playa Santa Teresa. Or maybe the beach town party scenes of Tamarindo or Jaco appeal to your need for more activity.
Surf in north Costa Rica
The Guanacaste Coast may be found in the country of Costa Rica’s northwestern corner. This area is home to some of the most famous surf breakers in the world, such as Ollie’s Point, a world-class right point break that may run for 300 yards, and Playa Naranjo, also known as Witch’s Rock, according to the Endless Summer II movie. The rumor going around is that Ollie’s Point doesn’t truly break anymore, which is bad, but Witch’s Rock is still a great experience that you should go on.
The vibrant seaside town of Tamarindo and its world-renowned surf breaks are located along the Guanacaste Coast. In the vicinity of Tamarindo, the surf can become fairly excellent, and there are a lot of different breakers to pick from, including lefts and rights. However, many of the breaks are often accompanied by large crowds. Playa Grande, Playa Langosta, and Avellanas are all close by and have the potential to be excellent beaches. Therefore, if you put in some effort and have a little bit of luck, you should be able to find some captivating waves that are likely to be quite empty.
The Nicoya Peninsula is the name given to the portion of northern Costa Rica that extends the furthest south. The laid-back surf communities of Mal Pais, Playa Santa Teresa, and Playa Carmen may all be found in this area. The whole country of Costa Rica is stunning, but this little corner of paradise is on an entirely another level. We used to advise people to keep something under wraps, but as of the year 2021, Santa Teresa has become a thriving little beach town that is packed with hip restaurants and eateries, boutique hotels and shops, and individuals of all ages and families looking for the perfect balance of surf and yoga town bliss. Visiting the area of Santa Teresa, which is popular for its vibrant beaches and lush tropical rainforests, is an experience that should not be missed.
There are lefts and rights in the vicinity of Mal Pais, in addition to some rocky reef points that are capable of holding extremely large waves. Mal Pais features miles and miles of pretty nice beach breakers. If you have other things going on in your life, you should avoid coming here too often since there is a chance that you could fall in love with the community and never want to leave. Just ask a handful of the numerous people who are living there who are considered to be expats.
Over the last several years, Santa Teresa has seen a lot of development in the form of eco-resorts and surf hostels, but the town has managed to keep its laid-back vibe and continue to be a popular destination for surfers and yoga practitioners. This part of Costa Rica is very different from the Tamarindo region to the north and the Jaco area to the south, so if you’re looking for a setting that’s a little less hectic and more relaxed, this is the spot for you.
Surf in central Costa Rica
For a good reason, surfers flock to Boca Barranca, which is one of the most popular destinations in the central region of Costa Rica. This left-hand river mouth point-break may be surfed for a distance that is more than eight football fields when the surge is strong enough. Just be wary of the crocodiles and the filth in the river. This is true for every river mouth break in Costa Rica.
As one travels farther south, one will reach Central Costa Rica, which is home to some of the most well-known destinations in the country, including Jaco, Playa Hermosa, and Playa Esterillos. The beach break at Jaco, which is the main surf town and tourism center in Costa Rica, offers waves that are simple for beginners to ride and have fairly average peaks. Playa Hermosa is a four-mile stretch of black sand beach that is located ten minutes drive south of Jaco. This beach is known for its tremendous beach break, which has double-overhead conditions on certain days and massive rip currents.
Playa Esterillos is known for its plethora of different waves and breaks. Depending on the tide and waves, this location offers a variety of different options for everyone. There are surfable reef breaks and A-frames with hollow sand bottoms that you may locate here. If you like, you may even do tow-in surfing on the outer reefs if you’re feeling very adventurous.
Surf in Costa Rica – South
The southern part of Costa Rica is home to some of the country’s most renowned surf spots. The terrain is rough and rural, and the weather may be quite wet. It doesn’t get as consistent as the central and northern sections, but when it’s on, it’s going to be a game-changer for your professional surfing career, which has been long overdue.
Imagine riding a single wave for three minutes that stretches for almost a mile on a big south swell. You’re in Hawaii, and the swell is coming from the south. A ride that is so lengthy that, halfway through, your legs, even if they haven’t been exercising, are already weary and shaking. You make a poor decision in front of the local peanut gallery when you decide that one ride is too much for your legs, and you cut it short. They snicker. Pavones is home to one of the world’s longest left-hand point breaks; we hope you enjoy your time here!
But hold off on getting your aspirations too high for the time being. Pavones is only surfable between the months of May through October, which is the typical south swell season. However, even during the peak season, it is possible to get skunked at Pavones and spend weeks without catching a wave.
In addition, getting there won’t exactly be a stroll in the park for you. It is about a ten-hour trip from San Jose, with the final two hours necessitating a four-wheel drive and a driver who is familiar with the area as well as the terrain they are driving on. The roads in the southern region of Costa Rica are not appropriate for tourists who are unskilled or who are not acquainted with the area.
Surf in Costa Rica – Matapalo
Matapalo is located on the northern shore of Golfo Dulce. A right-hander that has a great deal of promise but is not as consistent as its more renowned neighbor that is located across the gulf. This region is mostly made up of inaccessible rainforest and is devoid of standard western conveniences. Dominical is a gorgeous mountainous small beach town that has all of the western amenities that you’ll ever need, and it’s just three hour drive up the coast from where you are now. So have no fear!
Surf in Costa Rica – Caribbean
The western part of Costa Rica is quite distinct from the eastern portion of the country. There aren’t nearly as many breaks, and the waves don’t remain steady throughout the year as they do on the Pacific coast. It is also important to be aware that on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, sharks are not unusual, and crocodiles may be discovered waiting in the sand near the mouths of rivers.
Cahuita and Salsa Brava are considered to be the two most important breaks in the region. There are a few reef and beach breakers to choose from at Cahuita, with Salsa Brava being known as one of the most powerful and barreling reef breaks in all of Costa Rica. You can bet on any of these reefs, beach breaks, and points to have a lot of people when there is a decent wave coming into town. They are all great places to surf. Both natives and long-term foreign residents have a firm grasp on the situation and are well-known for their fiercely protective nature.
When it comes down to it, Costa Rica for Expats eBook offers everything you need to know in order to live a very comfortable life in Costa Rica as a digital nomad or an expat. Our objective is to acquaint you with the local area and its culture to the extent that you will have the impression that you have always been a member of the community and have been sharing the pura vida way of life with us from the very beginning. Have faith that if you read this book and use the knowledge it contains, you will be able to integrate in no time!
For further detail, Get your copy today on Amazon or at your favorite digital bookshop today of the book Costa Rica for Expats!