Costa Rica is one of the most attractive surf destinations on the planet. The Central American country is calm and safe, with spectacular nature and extraordinary waves on its 2 coasts, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.Ticos, as Costa Rican natives are affectively called, are hospitable and welcome visitors from all over the world with a smile.
To help you plan your trip, these are the top 5 surf spots in the country of ‘Pura Vida’:
Tamarindo and Avellanas, Guanacaste
Although Tamarindo and Avellanas are 2 different beaches, we unite them in a single destination due to their proximity and because they belong to the same state of the country, Guanacaste, to the north. Tamarindo is one of the busiest beaches in northern Costa Rica, probably the most famous spot on the Pacific coast.
Its easy access, its distance one hour from the airport and its beauty, make Tamarindo a very popular destination in Guanacaste for locals and international tourists. Tamarindo offers excellent waves all year round and the beach is quite long with several spots.
It is not a demanding or dangerous place for the inexperienced. Those who want to learn have several surf camps like this one. Tamarindo is full of life, both day and night; it is a perfect spot to start in the Central American country and in surfing.
At Avellanas Beach, the waves can be big and powerful. It is a spot for more experienced surfers than Tamarindo. The beauty of its waters and its excellent world-class waves, white sands and turquoise waters make it one of the surfing meccas in Costa Rica.
The beach is divided into several spots, such as La Purruja or the legendary El Estero de Avellanas, which is considered one of the best in Costa Rica at a world-class level. For less experienced surfers, El Parqueo is a less demanding nearby spot with long, gentle waves.
Because of its strong waves, it is much quieter than other popular beaches in Guanacaste, perfect for relaxing in the sun, strolling it on foot or on horseback, or simply relaxing on the sand reading a book, although, as in most of the country, the nightlife is also quite lively…
Playa Guiones, Nosara
Guiones, with its 7 kilometers of beautiful beach, is a perfect spot for surfers of all levels, especially for intermediate surfers and learners. Very consistent, it has surfable waves almost 300 days a year. And like the other beaches mentioned, it offers all the services you may need: surf camps, surf shops, surf classes, and board rental.
Near Playa Guiones, there is the Ostional Wildlife Refuge, where sea turtles spawn, from July to November, which can be a complementary experience to surfing. Recently, the beach has received the ecological Blue Flag, for the cleanliness of its waters and sand, thanks to the commitment of locals and tourists.
Salsa Brava, Puerto Viejo
The Caribbean of Costa Rica is also a paradise for travelers in search of surfing and nature in Costa Rica. In Salsa Brava, there is a shallow reef, but quite sharp, that possibly gives the best waves in Costa Rica. This is not a place for beginners, the currents are strong and the waves very fast.
The surf season on this beach is from November to January and from April to August. Near Puerto Viejo de Limón, on the beach there are bicycle and surfboard rentals, as well as a rich nightlife.
It is very easy to access by car, since the entire route is paved. From here you can surf other popular beaches such as Punta Uva, Playa Cocles, and Playa Grande. For more details on this super spot, this article and video about Salsa Brava.
Roca Bruja, Playa Naranjo
A beautiful wild beach covered with golden sand within the Santa Rosa National Park. It has fast and powerful waves, cylindrical tubes, and one of the most photogenic lineups in the world.
Being in a National Park, there are no hotels in the area, but it is possible to camp at the entrance of the Park in an area designated for this purpose. The nesting of leatherback turtles at night and the nocturnal luminescence of the waters of the beach attract visitors beyond the surf itself.
The best time for going to Roca Bruja is from December to March, when the northeast winds give very good waves.
Pavones is an already mythical wave, which belongs to the dream of many world surfers and to the memory of the lucky ones who have surfed it. On a peninsula south of Costa Rica, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, this long and noble left surrounded by jungle is considered one of the best in the American continent.
From 6 to 8 hours of travel from San José, the capital of the country, it will take us to reach Pavones, although currently there is also an air connection. Golfito is a small town, the largest of those that surround the point, a left that in its good days exceeds a kilometer in length, noble, maneuverable and with sections of tubes that can be surfed from 1.5 meters to 4 meters, with suitable sessions for intermediate or advanced surfing.
The point needs strong swell to break, with the best conditions at mid-tide rising or falling, and life there is simple and basic, if there are no waves get ready to walk, drink beer, and wait for the waves next to a bonfire on the beach.