8 Best Surf Spots in Costa Rica

Costa Rica – Rich coast. The name was first introduced in the fifteenth century by a Spanish conquistador who plundered the coasts of Central America for fruit, food, and gold. But it could have just as easily been created by the first intrepid surfers of his ’50s and his ’60s who came south of the US border in search of something new. you were not disappointed.

Yes, Costa Rica is blessed with some of the longest and most productive surfing in the world. If you draw a wavy line between the North and South Pacific and put your other foot firmly into the Caribbean, you’re stuck with two entire coastlines.

They are vast beach breaks that seem to go on for miles, broken reefs that can offer barrels of a lifetime, and point breaks that offer breathtaking rides up to a kilometer long. and can be divided into

Everyone is excited to be here too. Costa Rica consistently ranks among the top five happiest places on Earth. It’s easy to see why.
life is beautiful. Come surf, sleep in a salty cabana by the sea, and eat gallo pintos all day long. You don’t want to go home.

I have found some of the best surf spots on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and have been writing about adventure and surf travel in this corner of Central America for over 7 years. Finding the best breaks among thousands of them was not easy, but here are my top 8 picks. 

1. Jaco


Jaco is a two-part resort. There is also a laid-back surfer half. Then there’s the cheesy half-foreigner. Both meet here on the Puntarenas coast, just west of the capital San Jose, creating a vibrant destination with big waves and endless nightlife.

Most of the surfing in Jaco happens at Hermosa Beach, known locally as Playa Hermosa. This is a quintessential Costa Rican black sand trail, with palm trees crawling out of the jungle, and overcoming the waves is quite the challenge. After the rainy season, if the banks are aligned, it is possible to carve a quick wedge or mini-barrel along the entire length.

What really makes Jaco great is its accessibility. From the time he leaves the airport, he can be there within an hour, and the entire journey is on paved roads (still a rarity in Pacific Costa Rica). Don’t expect Central America’s prettiest surf town. 

2. Dominical


Dominical especially benefits from flat beaches as it faces north and south. This means that strong waves occur here during the dry season (November to March) and wet season (April to September).

Add to this the nearly constant offshore winds driven by warm winds blowing down from the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains, and you have a perfect combination for surfing in any season.

The main beach has beautiful black sand. It turns north from the great mouth of the river Baru, where the main fissure lies. If there is a strong S-class swell, it is necessary to consider left-handed towing with a flight distance of 100 meters or more. Go west or north and it turns into a punchy A-frame wonder.

You can stay in Dominical itself, which has a growing number of surf camps for more advanced surfers, or head a little further south to Uvita, a major whale-watching town with its famous isthmus beach in a marine reserve. Both are great options.  

3. Pavones


Dumb riders everywhere are drooling at the prospect of tearing Pavones’ line. Some call this the longest remaining in America. Peru may have something to say about it, but he still soaks up the south-southwest waves, smashes them cleanly around the capes of southern Costa Rica, and rides up to 1,000 meters total, goofy. A left-handed player!

These glorious mile-long mayhems are reserved for the best days on the calendar. In most cases, Pavone is divided into several sections. Some are arched, others are hollow. The strongest of these waves is right at the main point, and the waves gradually soften as they hit the inner cobblestone reef.

Pavones is still an unknown surfing area. It is far away from well-known tourist destinations such as Tamarindo and places further north. It is still where the most dedicated strike missions take place. But that hasn’t stopped the establishment of surf camps. Some are set directly on the cliffs above the main launch zone. Perfect.  

4. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Finally, head to the eastern side of Costa Rica, where the sparkling azure waves of the Caribbean Sea caress the coast.

Just because it’s Caribbean territory doesn’t mean it lacks horseback riding. it’s not. From December to March, pulsating hurricane and typhoon systems bring spectacular waves to the coast here. This place will explode like a bomb. Some places have become truly legendary. Take a salsa brava barrel. This is a hollow monster that sucks up corals and reefs to create fast-popping pits that only a pro can handle. Then there’s Playa He’s Cocles, where you can enjoy small longboard waves crashing onto a coconut-studded white sand beach.

The city of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is an interesting city. It combines the very relaxed atmosphere of Costa Rica with a touch of Caribbean flair. Expect rum bars, colorful surf hostels, and plenty of nightlife.  

5. Tamarindo


With a combination of world-class surf breaks, beautiful beaches, lush jungles, and pure backpacker hedonism, Tamarindo has firmly established itself at the forefront of Costa Rica’s wave scene. It’s hard to believe that until the early 90’s this was just a fishing village sleeping under coconut trees.

The city’s astronomical rise and the release of the groundbreaking 1994 surfing film Endless Summer II are no coincidence. As if overnight, a crowd of board-toting Americans appeared on this honey-colored beach on the Nicoya Peninsula.

Twenty-five years later, today’s Tamarind is a vibrant mismatch of hostels, rowdy rum bars, microbreweries and surf he lodges. Despite the development, it’s definitely fascinating and I think anyone new to Costa Rican surfing should check it out at least once.

There are several cruising waves to enjoy. They cater to all levels and line the main beach, Playa Tamarindo, which is always busy. Further north, on the crocodile-infested river of Playa Grande, advanced surfers can chase the estuary’s lapping waves, providing the perfect finish. 

6. Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa was the best-kept secret until recently. Yogis and bathers flocked here steadily, and a few surfers stopped by to savor her ridiculous 4.5-mile stretch of Playa Santa Teresa. Hmmm…the beauty of consistency and everything…

Hmm, this corner of the deep, disconnected south of the Nicoya Peninsula is truly breathtaking. Overhead are wild jungle valleys and mountains, cloaked with craggy hills that hide waterfalls and lookouts, and throngs of raucous howler monkeys. All this eventually flows into the bubbly Pacific Ocean, curving into rows lined with coconut palms. Paradise. Yes, paradise!

So what’s wrong? Remember when I said Santa Teresa was the best-kept secret? No more. The tech brothers from Silicon Valley are a common sight at Bohemian Beach cafés, and there’s a constant stream of people hawking boards and looking for waves. Luckily, the beach is very long and has hundreds of individual mountains, so the line is spread out nicely. Beginners can usually head north to Playa Hermosa, which has a gentle ankle breaker perfect for practicing. 

7. Nosara


Nosara is the laid-back center of the Nicoya Peninsula. Approximately halfway between Tamarindo and Santa Teresa, this beach is a series of cookie-colored beaches meandering around a series of low coastal hills topped by gallery forests and palm trees.

This city is very famous for its yoga centers. There are now countless surf schools offering 4, 5, and even 30-day surf yoga packages. It’s all about spending the morning with the dogs on a shala overlooking the Pacific Ocean and then a few hours of surfing before hammock time kicks off. Nosara said he was relaxing!

Most of the surfing in Nosara happens at Playa Guiones. Just south of town, the northernmost cluster of excellent point-break rights. From here, endlessly striking mountains shine for miles across the bay. It’s great, especially for absolute beginners and intermediates, as the plaster is forgiving and you rarely see stones. 

8. Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio

Mention “Manuel Antonio” and inevitably conjure up images of tropical rainforests and sloth-infested jungles on idyllic Pacific beaches teeming with dolphins and whales. Because it is the name of the country’s most famous national park. The smallest, but the most iconic.

Yes, the Manuel Antonio National Park covers approximately 2,000 hectares of land and stretches through the coastal jungles of the Puntarenas province. Considered one of the most biodiverse places on earth, it attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists for its network of hiking trails and world-class wildlife viewing.

But it’s not all about monkey watching and sloth his safaris in these areas. Surfing is not permitted within the park’s boundaries, but there is an entire beach that extends north toward the town of Quepos, blessed with sculpted A-frames and exfoliated reef breaks.

If you want to combine two of Costa Rica’s most unforgettable attractions, this is one of the best destinations.
wildlife and surfing. 

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