Costa Rica features some of the most remarkable beach breaks in the world. The country of offers world class surf conditions and equipment for an exceptional surfing experience. It is often touted to be one of the top 10 best places to surf on earth. With a large variety of surfs that encompasses everyone, from beginners to seasoned surfers, every surfing destination plays a fascinating role in the surf world. The best destinations to surf in Costa Rica can be found up and down the Pacific to the west and Caribbean to the east coast. Due to the more challenging and inaccessible roads in the country, several beaches and surfing areas left uninhabited by people, thus being perfect for a non-crowded, non-touristy surf trip.
With close to 800 miles of striking oceanic coastline on both the Pacific and Caribbean waters, Costa Rica has some of the most incredible surf breaks to pick from. Costa Rica can offer the surfer spots where visitors can find immaculate beach breaks to areas where the corals transform into tubes. Since the country is so tiny, it is possible to explore a variety of surf spots to suit one’s surfing level and interests. Add to this the nation’s balmy warm waters, friendly locals, exotic locales, and visitors will discover some of the ideal surfing places on the planet that not just help you surf but also and meet up with other surfing enthusiasts. The best spots to go surfing are on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Out of these, the popular ones are in the Guanacaste province and a short trip away from the famous Playa Tamarindo.
Playa Hermosa and its breaks are known as some of the best surfing spots in Costa Rica and are one of the only beaches in the country to feature lights for night surfing. It is the hub of innumerable national and international surf events each year. “The Corner” at Playa Hermosa has been voted the second best surf spot in Costa Rica. The waves are predictable all year long making it one of the most dependable surfing spot in the country. The water at “The Corner” is deeper than the other parts of the beach forming higher and lengthier waves. On days with perfect conditions, the waves reach about 200m sustaining their size throughout the ride making way for striking tubes. The perfect conditions to surf at “The Corner” vary from low to mid tide with a westward swell. Surfing Playa Hermosa
In the south pacific coastal region of Costa Rica, “La Cantina” spot at Playa Pavones is one of the most popular surfing waves in the country. The waves at “La Cantina” are long it is often advised that surfers walk back to the begining over paddling since on a perfect day the ride can go up to 3 minutes. The wave beings at the tip of Rio Claro and concludes after a kilometer. The surfing conditions at Playa Pavones here are very predictable and consistent it is therefore advisable to make a trip here only after establishing that the conditions are favorable enough to go surfing. Pavones Surf Guide
Half an hour away from the famous Tamarindo beach, Playa Avellanas hosts another favorite surf spot in Costa Rica called the “El Estero”. The waves here are bigger, hollow and rapid allowing nice tubes in the bargain. The waves break from left and right and are comparatively short, about 50m. Since the tubes are shaped beneficially, even surfing greenhorns can negotiate the surfs like seasoned surfers. The ideal surfing conditions are prevalent during the dry season and on a low/mid tide region. Playa Avellanas is also known to be one of the most scenic beaches in the country.
To the south here, there are a bunch of rock shelves hence visitors are advised to exercise caution during low tides. The north beach break works best at waist high to a foot overhead. The waves here are easy to catch, and have some really enjoyable sections. When the waves get any bigger they usually close out. Head towards the north and the crowds get scantier. Here the high tides are the best surfing tides. There is a standalone hotel on the coast, Cabinas Las Olas, which features trails snaking through the mangroves region going right up to the shore leaving the vista untainted by urbanization. Click for more on: Playa Avellanas
Malpais and Santa Teresa
The beaches of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa feature some of the best surf conditions in Costa Rica. These regions have a range of world-class surf breaks with near perfect surf conditions all the through the year, attracting surfers by the drove. The main surf beach, Playa El Carmen, is juxtaposed between Malpais and Santa Teresa. It has a good set of bars that provide good lefts and lengthier rights. The break of Playa Carmen is much sought after with long-boarders. Tides and beach breaks at the Playa Carmen are less challenging than in other surf spots on the Pacific region of Costa Rica, which makes it suitable for surfing beginners. The waves have the propensity to get speedier and steeper as one heads towards Playa Santa Teresa where surfers can find several breaks, like the much popular “Suck Rock”.
Surfing in Nosara
Most surfers visiting Nosara prefer heading to Playa Guiones, which is one of the most regular breaks in Costa Rica. Playa Guiones is a swell hotspot and Punta Guiones furthers into the Pacific than several other points in Costa Rica. As a result of this, Playa Guiones picks up both North and South facing swells bringing surfable waves here throughout the year barring a couple of months.
Though the days of completely empty line-ups are not very common, there are still plenty of waves for everybody of all skill levels from beginner to expert. Playa Guiones is a beach break with peaks up and down the bay. One can always find a spot here that isn’t crowded with too many surfers. Surfing greenhorns are urged to go towards the South side of the beach. The busiest months in the water are compatible with the busiest times of the high season (November – April). Most surfers are up in the water between 7am – 10am and return for a post sunset session around 4pm when the ocean clears. In the rainy season, the waves are regularly bigger, but fairly less consistent and little choppy and erratic. Check here for a Nosara Area Surf Guide
Playa Marbella is located at about an hour and a half away from the camp driving and can be accessed in about 45 minutes by boat. Even when there is no swell, consistent waves can always be expected from Marbella. The water here can get big and coarse, but it’s ideal for seasoned surfers. Marbella is fairly uncrowded since it’s far away from a camp. Playa Marbella Surfing
Surfing activities along Grande Beach has attracted surfers from all around the world. Although several skilled surfers have made the Playa Grande their playground, it is held to be one of the best spots to enhance your surfing skills. The breaks here are even and consistent, earning Grande Beach the distinction of being one of country’s top surf places. Tamarindo plays hosts for many international surf competitions that only reinforce the excellent surf conditions here. Playa Grande is for intermediate to advanced level surfing enthusiasts. Playa Grande is about 20 minutes from the surf camp or a mere 5 minutes by boat. Playa Grande Surf Guide
The surf spot called Salsa Brava features some of the country’s biggest waves. The tiny village is located in the Limon province on the Caribbean, with a coral reef lining the coast that forms Hawaiin-style barrels and can hold over 20 surfers at a single time. The waves here can be slightly erratic and the rides over the shallow reefs make for incredible rides. This spot is more laid-back than the rest of Costa Rica. This is an expert’s only surf destination and owing to the challenging waves here, the place is not suitable for beginners. More on Puerto Viejo Surfing
Surfers and non-surfers both enjoy Playa Negra’s pure, natural, and secluded landscape. Its dark-colored sand punctuated with rocks and tide pools. To the beach’s southern end, there are sheltered areas ideal for swimming for the entire family. The only access to the beach is offered by dirt roads. Although the beach is located in an isolated region, its speedy reef break lures surfers from all over the area and the take off region for the main break can get quite packed especially during holidays and weekends. Click for: Playa Negra Surf Guide
The stunning right hand point break features low to mid tides. At high tide the breaks approach close to the beach, but it is still enjoyable without the swells. The rides can go on for about 500 meters and hurl barrels. The spot is only accessible by boat, and visitors are required to pay an entry fee to the Santa Rosa National Park. A restricted number of boats are permitted in the park so there cannot be more than 50 people at one time at the Ollies Point surfing area. The area is only longboard-able without its swells. This is known to be one of the best and most challenging surfing areas of Costa Rica and is on the must do list of every surfer worth his board. More on Ollie’s Point
Witches Rock, or Roca Bruja, is located within the Santa Rosa National Park. The waves here can be accessed only by a 4wd vehicle for a major part of the year with frugal living and camping. Visitors are advised to carry an abundant stock of water and bug repellent. Lots of Ensure the boat that you pick is actually licensed to enter the park (charges $50 pp + $6 entrance fee). The waves are unruffled, and feature plenty of offshore winds especially from the months of December to April. The ideal tide to surf here is from mid to high tide. It is crowded at the edge of the rock and rivermouth, but the entire beach features fantastic surf waves throughout the year. Witches Rock
The waves at Playa Langosta break over a humongous rocky shelf like formation with the sandy stretches going down right to the south of the river tip. Surfers should look out for the low tide boils or explore a hollow peak. The primary break here is behind the Barcelo Langosta, but visitors are not allowed to park in there, which proves to be quite a challenge. The right waves during a peak swell filled with west in it can sustain for more than 200 meters. Due to the less than flattering accessibility channels , this place is not very crowded. Playa Langosta
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