Thinking about surfing in beautiful Costa Rica? Costa Rica has some of the best surfing spots in the world. It also offers renowned eco-friendly tourism, a laid-back experience, wildlife views, and untouched nature.
Why wouldn’t you want to go, right?
Keep reading to check out the best surf spots in Costa Rica. Whichever you choose, you won’t regret it.
1. Playa Guiones, Nosara
Playa Guiones, located on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, offers 300 days of surfable waves each year. It is one of the most reliable surfing spots in the world, making it number among best surf spots in Costa Rica.
Playa Guiones resides in the province of Guanacaste. Here you’ll find much more than awesome waves.
The water at Playa Guiones is some of the cleanest in the country, averaging at 83 degrees Farenheight. You won’t have to worry about cold waters here.
The beaches are also pristine and vary from white to black glittering sand. Many recognized resorts are in this area of Guanacaste, too. There is a lot to do and it’s the perfect region to experience the Tico “salt life”.
2. Playa Tamarindo, Tamarindo
Just north of Nosara, Tamarindo offers multiple surf spots along the north central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.
Playa Tamarindo is the most famous surf beach in Costa Rica. It’s offshore winds provide perfect and regular waves. The beach is also a well-known tourist location with many hotels, bars, shops, and restaurants.
You won’t be bored here. It’s anything but low-key.
Tamarindo also has Playa Grande to the north and Playa Longosta to the south. Longosta is strong waves with a fast moving left and right point breaks.
3. Playa Hermosa, Jaco
Playa Hermosa in Jaco, Costa Rica is for the expert surfer. Located on the central Pacific Coast, its waves get so high that it is not recommended for swimming. Playa Hermosa also hosts the International Quicksilver Championship each August.
The beach is 10km of shimmering black sand with strong currents and high swells. The best time to surf is April to November during high tide.
Playa Hermosa is a favorite spot for its chill experience. The beach is rarely crowded and features many eco-friendly and affordable shops. Plus, it isn’t a far drive from the capital, San Jose.
Pavones is in the province of Puntarenas and located at the very south end of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. It is entirely a surf town, making it (obviously) a surfer’s paradise and one of the best surf spots in Costa Rica.
Pavones has the second longest left-hand surf break in the world that lets you ride the entire length of the village. The best time to surf is between April and November.
This beach is a trek to get to. But, it’s worth it. Here you’ll truly experience the local way of life.
5. Puerto Viejo
The Carribean side of Costa Rica also features amazing surfable waves and beautiful beaches.
The waves of Puerto Viejo are fast and can be dangerous, many recommended only for experts. The beach is famous for Salsa Brava– the heaviest wave in Costa Rica.
Expert surfers come from all over the world to catch Salsa Brava. It is a steep, Hawaiian-like wave that puts you straight into the barrel.
While exciting and challenging, Salsa Brava is located on a shallow reef. This is why only experienced surfers should attempt it. Either way, you’ll enjoy the beautiful beaches and waters of Puerto Viejo.
6. Playa Naranjo
At the top west corner of Costa Rica within the National Santa Rosa Park lays Playa Naranjo, a surfing dream. It was made famous by the movie Endless Summer II.
The surf spot is known by the locals as “witches rock“, because of a large rocky formation on the coastline. That means this one is for the experts.
The waves are fast, strong, hollow, give clean groundswells and last year round. The best waves are southwest swells. Surfers should only attempt to surf Naranjo at high or rising tide.
The location is off the beaten path. Since it is a national park, the only accommodations are camping. You can take a day trip to Playa Naranjo from nearby towns, though.
Naranjo does offer surf camps at a nearby resort that include boat trips to witches rock.
This spot offers more dangers than just the witches rock. It has saltwater crocodiles and sharks, too. If you take it on, you’re in for an adrenaline rush.
7. Playa Dominical
Playa Dominical is one of the best surf spots in Costa Rica because it offers consistent waves that are powerful and hollow. The surf break runs the full length of the beach, too. This means fantastic long rides.
Playa Dominical is on the South-Central Pacific Coast and located in a small local town. There are also multiple surfing beaches within 10 km, such as Playa Hermosa and Playa Matapalo.
Only surf at high tide here, though. The beach is known for stingrays and jellyfish.
8. Playa Negra
Playa Negra is a famous surfer spot on the Nicoya Peninsula. It is nearby other famous surf beaches such as Tamarindo and Nosara. Like Playa Naranjo, Negra was featured in the movie “Endless Summer II”. This means it can often be crowded.
The waves are fast and provide perfect tubes. They are famous for right-hand barrels, small tide pools, and consistent swells.
The shimmering dark sand and Tico lifestyle make this place easy to call home. Surfers should only surf at high tide because the beach is rocky beneath the surface at low tide.
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