If you’re a surfer looking for an exciting and unforgettable experience, Costa Rica is the perfect destination. With its warm waters, consistent surf, and stunning scenery, this Central American country is home to some of the best surf spots in the world. However, choosing the right surf spot is crucial to ensure that you have the best possible experience. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to the best Costa Rica surf spots for wave chasers.

Key Takeaways:

  • Costa Rica is a must-visit destination for surfers looking for an unforgettable experience.
  • Choosing the right surf spot is crucial to ensure a great experience.
  • This guide will provide insights on the best Costa Rica surf spots for wave chasers.

Exploring the Pacific Coast Surfing Paradise

The Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is a surfer’s paradise, offering some of the best waves in the country. With a variety of surf spots along the coast, there’s something for every level of surfer. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced wave rider, the Pacific Coast is definitely a must-visit destination for surfers around the world.

Where to Surf in Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast

Some of the top surf spots in Costa Rica can be found on the Pacific Coast. From Tamarindo in the north to Dominical in the south, the coast is dotted with iconic surf breaks that attract surfers year-round. Playa Grande, Witch’s Rock, and Nosara are just a few of the popular destinations along the coast that offer incredible waves and unforgettable surfing experiences.

The best time to visit each surf spot depends on the time of year and the specific characteristics of the waves. For example, Playa Grande is best during the high tide and is ideal for beginners. Witch’s Rock, on the other hand, has long and powerful waves that are suitable for more experienced surfers and is best during the dry season (December to April).

Top Surf Spots in Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast

Surf Spot Level of Surfing Best Time to Visit
Playa Grande Beginner High tide
Witch’s Rock Experienced Dry season (December to April)
Nosara All levels Dry season (December to April)
Jaco Beach All levels The whole year

If you’re looking for an adventurous surf trip, the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is definitely the place to be. With a variety of waves and surf spots to choose from, it’s no wonder why so many surfers flock to this region of the country each year.

best waves in Costa Rica

Hidden Gems of the Caribbean Coast

While the Pacific Coast is the more well-known surf destination in Costa Rica, the Caribbean Coast should not be overlooked by wave chasers. The region offers a unique surfing experience with fewer crowds and a laid-back atmosphere.

One of the best surf breaks on the Caribbean Coast is Salsa Brava, located in the town of Puerto Viejo. This reef break is known for its powerful and hollow waves, which can reach up to 18 feet in the right conditions. The best time to surf Salsa Brava is from November to March, when the swell is at its peak.

Surf Spot Wave Type Best Time to Surf
Playa Cocles Beach Break Year-round, best from December to April
Punta Uva Point Break Year-round, best from December to April
Black Beach Beach Break Year-round, best from December to April

Other notable surf breaks in the area include Playa Cocles, Punta Uva, and Black Beach. Playa Cocles is a popular beach break with consistent waves suitable for all levels of surfers. Punta Uva is known for its long, clean waves that break on a rocky point. Black Beach is a beach break with powerful and fast waves, recommended for more experienced surfers.

Surfing in the Caribbean Coast requires more caution than the Pacific due to the presence of dangerous reef breaks. Additionally, surfers are advised to respect the local community and environment.

best surf breaks in Costa Rica

Navigating the Northern Pacific Coast

The Northern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica has several surf spots that can cater to different levels of surfers. Famous surf breaks such as Playa Grande, Witches Rock, and Ollie’s Point can be found in this region.

Playa Grande is suitable for intermediate level surfers. It has a beach break with left and right peaks. This surf spot is accessible by car and has nearby facilities such as parking, food, and accommodations.

Witches Rock is a reef break that offers consistent a-frame waves. This surf spot can be accessed by boat or by hiking through the Santa Rosa National Park. Surfing here is recommended for experienced surfers due to the strong current and shallow reef.

Ollie’s Point is another famous surf spot that requires a boat ride to get to. It offers long and consistent right-hand waves, making it a favorite among intermediate to advanced surfers. This location is also within the Santa Rosa National Park and has limited facilities.

Other beach breaks in the Northern Pacific Coast include Tamarindo, Langosta, and Avellanas. Tamarindo is a popular tourist destination with a variety of accommodations and restaurants. It offers a beach break that is suitable for beginners to intermediate level surfers. Langosta, on the other hand, has a long left-hand point break that is ideal for advanced surfers. Avellanas is a secluded surf spot with a variety of peaks, making it suitable for surfers of all levels.

Surfers planning to explore the Northern Pacific Coast can refer to a Costa Rica surf guide for more information on each surf spot’s accessibility, wave conditions, and nearby amenities.

surfing in costa rica

In the next section, we explore the Southern Pacific Coast, a paradise for advanced surfers.

Southern Pacific Coast: Paradise for Advanced Surfers

The Southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is a surf paradise for advanced surfers, offering some of the most powerful and consistent waves in the country. With the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean and the stunning natural scenery surrounding the coast, this region is a popular destination for surfers looking for an unforgettable experience.

One of the top surf spots in Costa Rica is the famous Pavones, known for its long and challenging left-hand point break that can offer rides up to 1 kilometer long. Experienced surfers will also enjoy the waves at Matapalo, with its powerful and hollow barrels, and Playa Dominical, with its fast and steep breaks.

Costa Rica surf vacations

For those seeking a quieter and more secluded surf experience, the small town of Cabuya offers uncrowded waves, with both left and right-hand breaks. The nearby Cabo Matapalo is also a great spot for advanced surfers, with its powerful and fast reef breaks.

Aside from surfing, the Southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica offers plenty of off-the-beaten-path adventures, including hiking, wildlife watching, and exploring the pristine rainforest. The nearby Osa Peninsula is home to Corcovado National Park, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.

For those planning Costa Rica surf vacations, accommodations range from surf camps and hostels to luxurious beachfront villas. Accessible by car or domestic flight, this region is a must-visit for advanced surfers seeking an unforgettable surfing experience in Costa Rica.

Central Pacific Coast: Surfing Mecca for All Levels

The Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is a paradise for surfers of all skill levels. With miles of coastline, this region offers a diverse range of surf breaks, from gentle rollers to powerful barrels, making it one of the best Costa Rica surf spots.

One of the top surf spots in Costa Rica is Jaco Beach, located just over an hour from San Jose. With consistent waves year-round and a variety of breaks for all skill levels, Jaco offers something for everyone. The beach is lined with surf shops and restaurants, making it a great spot for a day trip or a longer stay.

Another popular location on the Central Pacific Coast is Manuel Antonio. While the waves here are smaller than other spots in the region, the picturesque views and secluded beaches make it a perfect destination for beginners and those looking for a more relaxed surfing experience. The nearby national park is also an added bonus for those seeking adventure beyond the waves.

Surf Spot Wave Type Best Time to Visit
Jaco Beach Beach Break, Reef Break Year-round
Manuel Antonio Beach Break November to April

In addition, Hermosa Beach, just south of Jaco, is known for its consistent waves and high-level surf competitions, making it a must-visit destination for advanced surfers. Its long stretches of beach also make it a great spot for beach bums.

When planning a surf trip to the Central Pacific Coast, it is important to note that the rainy season (May to November) can bring larger waves but also unpredictable weather, while the dry season (December to April) offers more consistent weather conditions. To fully enjoy the surf spots Costa Rica Pacific coast has to offer, bring plenty of sunscreen, a rash guard, and a positive attitude.

best Costa Rica surf spots

Surfing Safety and Etiquette in Costa Rica

When surfing in Costa Rica, it is important to prioritize safety and respect the local surfing community. To ensure a positive and safe experience for all, surfers should follow a few guidelines:

  • Always check the current conditions and weather forecast before heading out to surf.
  • Stay within your skill level and avoid trying to surf waves that are too advanced for you.
  • Respect the local surfers and don’t hog all the waves, take turns and share the ocean.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, including other surfers, swimmers, and marine life.
  • Never surf alone and make sure someone knows your location and expected return time.

Additionally, each surf spot may have its own specific rules or regulations that should be followed. For example, some breaks may have restricted access or designated areas for surfing. It is important to research each spot before visiting and follow any guidelines to avoid any issues.

By following these safety and etiquette guidelines and respecting the local surfing community, surfers can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in Costa Rica’s best beach breaks.

Costa Rica surf guide


Costa Rica boasts some of the best surf spots in the world, with a variety of breaks suitable for surfers of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced rider, you can find a perfect spot to catch some waves in this beautiful country.

With the Pacific and Caribbean coasts offering different experiences, surfers have plenty of options to choose from. The hidden gem of the Caribbean Coast is a must-visit for those seeking a unique surfing spot, while the Southern Pacific Coast is a paradise for the advanced rider. The Central Pacific Coast offers surf-friendly beaches suitable for all skill levels.

Surfing in Costa Rica is not only thrilling but also safe if you follow the local surf etiquette and safety guidelines. Always respect the locals, and be aware of any specific rules or regulations that apply to each spot.

Costa Rica is not only a great surf destination but also a paradise for all types of travelers. With its stunning natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and friendly people, Costa Rica is perfect for a surf vacation or family getaway. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the best Costa Rica surf spots and experience the country’s unique charm.

-Article by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).

[email protected]


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Q: Can beginners surf in Costa Rica?

A: Yes, Costa Rica offers surf spots suitable for all skill levels, including beginners. The Central Pacific Coast is particularly known for its beginner-friendly beaches with mellow waves.

Q: When is the best time to surf in Costa Rica?

A: The best time to surf in Costa Rica depends on the region. For the Pacific Coast, the surf season typically runs from April to October, with the biggest swells arriving in June and July. The Caribbean Coast experiences consistent waves year-round.

Q: Are there surf schools and rentals available?

A: Yes, there are plenty of surf schools and rentals available in Costa Rica. Many surf towns and beaches offer surf lessons for beginners and equipment rentals for surfers of all levels.

Q: What are the water conditions like in Costa Rica?

A: The water conditions in Costa Rica vary depending on the region and time of year. Generally, the water is warm and inviting with temperatures ranging from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 degrees Celsius).

Q: Are there any specific rules or regulations for surfing in Costa Rica?

A: While there are no specific nationwide rules or regulations for surfing in Costa Rica, it is important to respect the local surfing community and adhere to common surfing etiquette. Additionally, some surf breaks may have specific rules or access requirements, so it’s always good to check with locals or surf guides.

Q: Can I bring my own surfboard to Costa Rica?

A: Yes, you can bring your own surfboard to Costa Rica. Most airlines allow surfboard transport as either checked baggage or oversized luggage. However, it’s always recommended to check with your airline beforehand for any specific regulations or fees.

Q: Are there surf competitions in Costa Rica?

A: Yes, Costa Rica hosts several surf competitions throughout the year, attracting both local and international surfers. These events showcase the talent and excitement of the country’s surf scene.

Q: What other activities can I enjoy in Costa Rica apart from surfing?

A: Costa Rica is known for its rich biodiversity and natural beauty. Apart from surfing, you can enjoy activities such as hiking in national parks, exploring volcanoes, zip-lining through the rainforest, and relaxing on pristine beaches. The country offers a wide range of adventure and eco-tourism opportunities.



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