Best Surfing Spots in Costa Rica

Best Surfing Spots in Costa RicaCosta Rica is a well-known stop for surfers, but before I get to the best surfing spots in Costa Rica, I would to tell you a little about the country.  Costa Rica is located in Central America, it is between Nicaragua, on its Northern border and Panama, on its Southern border.  Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

The capital of Costa Rica is San Jose and its official language is Spanish.  The Pacific Ocean hits the Western shoreline of Costa Rica and the Caribbean Sea touches its Eastern shoreline.

After the 1948 Costa Rican Civil war, which was the result of a disputed presidential election, Costa Rica abolished its military, drafted a new constitution and established a democratic government.  Costa Rica is considered one of the most, politically and financially, stable Latin American countries and is also a leader in progressive environmental policies.

Costa Rica main source of income is tourism, its climate is described as sub-tropical and tropical.  The dry season is between the months of December – April and the rainy season is between May – November.  Surfing, is a pastime that can be experienced year round in Costa Rica.  Let’s look at the some of the best surfing spots in Costa Rica.

Malpais

Malpais is located in the Puntarenas Province of the Western portion of Costa Rica.  Some of the surf spots in Malpais are: El Carmen which is a beach break and is good for beginners, Punta Barrigona and Sunset Reef, which are a reef breaks and for the more experience surfers.

Right next to Malpais is Santa Teresa, Santa Teresa has a lot of hotels, bars, restaurants and shops and would be a great place to stay if you plan on surfing in this area.  Santa Teresa also has some great surf spots and here are a few: Playa Hermosa is a beach break and great for the beginner, Manzanillo is an offshore reef break that is for the more experienced surfer.

Between the borders of Malpais and Santa Teresa is the beach break called Playa El Carmen, Playa El Carmen is break for the beginner as well as experienced surfers.

Tamarindo

Best Surfing Spots in Costa Rica

Malpais

Tamarindo is a town on Nicoya Peninsula and is on the North West coast of Costa Rica.  Tamarindo is located within an hour drive from an airport, and has many hotels, restaurants and bars and is great place to stay if you wish to surf in this area.  The closest surf spots is Playa Tamarindo, Playa Tamarindo is a beach break and fronts the town of Tamarindo, and offers great surf for both the beginner and experienced surfer.

Playa Avellana

Playa Avellana is located in Guanacaste province which is situated in the North West portion of Costa Rica and is close to the town of Tamarindo.  Locals refer to Playa Avellana as the “little Hawaii,” because of its World class waves.  Playa Avellana has many hotels and restaurants if you wish to stay there and be close to the action.

Some of the surf breaks located in Playa Avellana are: La Purruja, El Estero and El Palo which are reef breaks, El Parqueo is a beach break and Little Hawaii, which breaks over rocks and waves can reach heights a great as 18 feet, definitely for the experienced surfer.

Playa Grande

Playa Grande is located north of Tamarindo and is known for some great beach breaks.  Playa Grande has many hotels and restaurants, if you wish to stay in this area and be close to the other surf spots.

Dominical

Dominical is a town located in province of Puntarenas in Costa Rica, and is situated on the western coast.  Dominical is known for its beach breaks that can reach wave heights of 10 feet.  Dominical has hotels, lodges, resorts and restaurants, so you can stay in this area and enjoy the surf.

Nosara

Best Surfing Spots in Costa Rica

Roca Bruja

Nosara is a town located in Guanacaste province which is situated in the North West portion of Costa Rica.  Playa Guiones is a well-known beach break in Nosara and has waves for all skill levels.  Nosara also has hotels and restaurants, so you’ll be able to stay and surf in this location.

Pavones

Pavones is a town located along the southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.  The waves in Pavones are left point breaks that are known for their length.  Pavones is in a remote location, but there are hotels in the area so you can stay in this place to surf.

Playa Bejuco

Playa Bejuco is a small community on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, situated between Jaco to the North and Manuel Antonio National Park.  This dark sand beach is rarely crowded, Playa Bejuco is a beach break with sandbars which produce barrels.  There is a hotel here, Hotel Playa Bejuco, so you can stay at this remote location.

Playa Naranjo

Playa Naranjo is a town located in Puntarenas province which is situated in the North West portion of Costa Rica.  Playa Naranjo beach is located inside Santa Rosa National Park, also known as Roca Bruja or Witch’s Rock, this surf spot is a beach break with world class surfing.  There are hotels and restaurants in Playa Naranjo, so you’ll be able to stay close to this surf location.

Playa Negra

Playa Negra is a dark sand beach located in the Guanacaste province which is situated in the North West portion of Costa Rica.  Playa Negra is located south of Tamarindo, and is a reef break, which offers good right-hand barrels.  There are hotels located near Playa Negra, so that you will be able to stay near this beautiful beach.

In Conclusion

Costa Rica has many great surfing spots and I have listed some of the best surfing spots in Costa Rica, which seem to mostly be located along the North West and Western coasts of Costa Rica.  What also makes it great, is that there are hotels and restaurants located near these surfing spots so you won’t have travel far to get there.

Check out my post: “Best Surfing in South America.

Thanks for dropping in and should you have any questions or comments, please post it in the comments section of this page.


4 thoughts on “Best Surfing Spots in Costa Rica

  1. In first reading your great article Stuart and then your “about me” page I came to the correct conclusion that you had to be a surfer.

    You not only provided historical facts about the country which served to present to the reader more info, but your in-depth review of all of the major surfing areas on the island was outstanding.

    One of my best friends for at least the last 30 years of my life, (one-half of identical twin sisters) visited Costa Rica about 5 – 6 years ago along with her husband as part of an educational tour. Her husband is a h.s. teacher.

    This friend of mine stated that the country was simply gorgeous and for her getting on jet was a BIG deal as she considers herself to be afraid of flying.

    I’ve been to Hawaii 6 times in my life and during every visit I am held spellbound by some of the truly talented individuals who can surf. I’m sure that you could more than hold your own, Stuart if you were to ever visit that state in the U.S. out on the waves.

    In the country of Costa Rica do you personally have a favorite surfing location?

    Thank you for taking the time to write this very informative article, Stuart!
    Jeff

    • Hi Jeff, I’ve never been to Costa Rica, but after doing the research for my post, it is definitely a place I would love to visit and to surf. I would head to Tamarindo because it’s very close to all the other great Costa Rican surf spots. Surfing Costa Rica is definitely on my bucket list.

      Thanks for the comments and dropping in!

  2. Wow, I am not a surfer but I would love to go to Costa Rica! You said the dry months are between December and April. Can you tell me what the temperatures and water temperatures are like? My son likes to surf and they have an indoor surging place here in Dallas….I know don’t laugh…but he loves it. Looks like we would probably want to go to Malpais since it is for beginners and he has only surfed on man made wave machines. Thank you so much for the great information! I loved this post!

    • Hi Matt’s Mom, Based on the research I’ve done, the water temperatures remain warm year round in Costa Rica. I’m putting Costa Rica down as a place I’d love to visit and surf.

      Thanks for the comments and dropping in!

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