Surfing in Costa Rica (2023 Guide)

Surfing in Costa Rica may never have crossed your mind, but have you ever daydreamed about a place that effortlessly combines thrilling surf breaks, awe-inspiring scenery, and a laid-back lifestyle that makes you feel right at home?

Look no further, because Costa Rica has got you covered!

This little gem nestled in the heart of Central America is nothing short of a surfer’s paradise. Costa Rica has over 800 miles of pristine coastline hugging the Pacific and Caribbean oceans, a variety of surf breaks, and an array of wildlife that’ll have you pinching yourself.

There’s a reason why this place is constantly ranked as a top surfing spot across the globe.

What we love most about Costa Rica is its incredible atmosphere. Locals here live and breathe the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle – it’s all about taking it easy and enjoying life. They’re known for their warmth and friendliness, always ready to share a surf tip or a smile.

And trust us, after your first sunset surf session, with howler monkeys providing the soundtrack and locals cheering you on from the beach, you’ll get why so many surfers from across the globe are drawn to this slice of paradise.

Surfing at Playa Hermosa Costa Rica
Surfing in Costa Rica is one of the best things to do in the country

Surf Camps in Costa Rica

Surf camps in Costa Rica are sprouting like perfectly timed waves. Catering to surfers of all levels, these camps offer tailored lessons, ensuring everyone from beginners to pros gets their stoke.

But these places are more than just surf hubs. They also provide beachside accommodations, rejuvenating yoga classes, and guided surf expeditions to Costa Rica’s best-hidden gems.

Even better? Many camps are eco-conscious, embracing responsible tourism. So, while you’re shredding waves, you’re also respecting our planet. How’s that for a win-win?

Surf CampLocationLengthBook
Yoga and Surf Wellness Retreat at Beach of Marbella, GuanacasteMarbella, Guanacaste, Costa Rica7 DaysView Prices
Yoga and Surf Vacation in Santa Teresa, PuntarenasHostel La Posada, Santa Teresa, Puntarenas, Costa Rica5 DaysView Prices
Surf Camp in Tamarindo, GuanacasteTamarindo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica4 DaysView Prices
Surf Camp in Jaco, PuntarenasJaco, Puntarenas, Costa Rica5 DaysView Prices
Surf Camp in Tamarindo, GuanacasteTamarindo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica8 DaysView Prices
Surf Camp in Santa Teresa BeachSanta Teresa Beach, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica5 DaysView Prices
Surf Camp and Yoga Holiday with Pura Vida Surfers in Santa TeresaSanta Teresa, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica7 DaysView Prices

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Best Surf Spots in Costa Rica

1. Witch’s Rock (Playa Naranjo)

Best Time to Go: Between  December to March. That’s when you’ll get the best conditions, with offshore winds that create super clean, hollow waves.

Kicking off our Costa Rican surf journey, we’re diving straight into a place of legend and lore – the one and only Witch’s Rock, locally known as Playa Naranjo.

Tucked away in the wild expanse of Santa Rosa National Park, in the Guanacaste region, Witch’s Rock is what surfers dreams are made of. The sight that greets you is nothing short of surreal – a towering rock formation jutting out from the sea, not too far off the coast, giving this beach its enchanting name.

But Witch’s Rock is no place for the timid or those who are just dipping their toes into the surfing world. The waves here mean serious business, creating a playground for surfers who’ve honed their skills and are ready for a challenge.

If you’re a newbie, no worries – there are plenty of other spots perfect for you, but you might want to save Witch’s Rock until you’ve leveled up your surf game.

Plus, Witch’s Rock is nestled within a national park, so nature enthusiasts are in for a treat. You’ll get to discover lush landscapes and encounter Costa Rica’s diverse wildlife when you’re not too busy conquering the waves.

In a nutshell, Witch’s Rock offers a thrilling blend of surf and wilderness, ideal for those after an adrenaline-pumping adventure. Just remember, the beauty of this spot lies in its natural wonder, so let’s keep it that way by respecting our surroundings.

The Witch's Rock locally known as Playa Naranjo
The Witch’s Rock

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2. Pavones

Best time to Go: Between April to November, when the South Pacific swells hit the coast. 

Next up, we’re cruising down to Pavones, tucked away in the south near Golfito in Puntarenas. Now, this spot is something of a legend in the surfing world, and for a good reason.

Pavones proudly boasts the second-longest left-hand wave in the world. Yes, you got that right, the second-longest!

If Mother Nature is on your side and the conditions align, you might get to ride this magnificent wave for a mind-blowing three minutes. That’s the kind of ride that gets etched in your memory forever!

But here’s the deal – Pavones isn’t for the newbie surfers out there. The wave can be pretty challenging, so it’s more suited to experienced riders who know their stuff.

However, if you’re up for it and have the skills, you’re in for a surf session that’ll keep you grinning from ear to ear long after you’ve toweled off

Surfers in Playa Hermosa Costa Rica
Surfers in Playa Hermosa

3. Playa Hermosa

Best Time to Go: Between May and November when the swell really picks up and the breaks start firing.

Next on our surf safari is the mighty Playa Hermosa, just a short trip south from Jaco in Puntarenas. Now, don’t confuse it with the other Playa Hermosa up north – this is a different beast!

Playa Hermosa has got a reputation for its fast, powerful breaks that can test your skills on a board. These aren’t your chill, long-ride waves. Nope, these are the kind that’ll get your heart racing and your adrenaline pumping! So, if you’re an advanced surfer looking for some action, this is your spot.

But there’s more to Playa Hermosa than just the exhilarating surf. This beach is also a cherished nesting ground for sea turtles. So, between the thrilling rides and wipeouts, you might just get lucky and spot these magnificent creatures right on the beach.

It’s this blend of thrilling surf and nature’s magic that makes surfing in Costa Rica an experience like no other.

Surfers in Playa Hermosa Costa Rica
Surfers in Costa Rica

4. Santa Teresa

Best Time to Go: Year-round, best swells from April to October.

Let’s swing on over to Santa Teresa, hanging out on the Nicoya Peninsula. This spot is like the chillest friend who’s always up for a good time, no matter when you drop by.

Why? Because Santa Teresa offers year-round surf, with the best swells usually rolling in from April to October. The waves here are super consistent and cater to everyone, from fresh-on-the-board newbies to the wave-carving pros. So whatever your level, you can get out there and get your surf on.

But the fun in Santa Teresa isn’t just limited to the water. Oh no, this place is a buzzing, lively town with a ton of stuff to do when you’re not chasing waves.

Think yummy food joints, vibrant nightlife, yoga studios, and local markets. It’s the kind of place where you can ride a wave in the morning, devour a delicious local breakfast, then kick back in a hammock for the afternoon. Surf trip or the best vacation ever? We say both!

Surfers in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Surfers in Santa Teresa

5. Playa Guiones

Best Time to Go: Year-round, but the biggest waves from May to November.

Now, let’s paddle over to Playa Guiones, tucked away in Nosara, Guanacaste. This place is like the Swiss Army knife of surf spots – it’s got something for everyone and never lets you down.

The surf here is on point all year round, but if you’re after some extra size on your waves, aim to visit between May and November. Playa Guiones serves up a tasty mix of waves that cater to all skill levels, so whether you’re just starting or you’ve been shredding waves for years, you’re in for a treat.

However, Playa Guiones isn’t just about surfing. Nosara is one of the world’s Blue Zones, where people live longer and healthier lives. So it’s got this awesome focus on health and well-being.

Imagine this: a morning surf, followed by a fresh, locally sourced breakfast, then maybe a yoga session or a massage. Sound like your kind of surf trip? Then you might just want to make Playa Guiones your next stop!

A boy walking along Playa Guiones Norsara Costa Rica
Playa Guiones Norsara in Costa Rica

6.Playa Grande

Best Time to Go: December to April.

Last, but certainly not least, we’re off to Playa Grande. Nestled in Las Baulas National Marine Park in Guanacaste, this beach is grande in both name and nature.

If you’re after consistency as you surf, then Playa Grande has your back. It’s got these reliable beach breaks that can be tackled by surfers of all levels. So whether you’re a seasoned shredder or just getting your feet wet, you’ll find a wave that suits your style.

The best time to hit these waves? Try between December and April, when conditions are just about perfect.

But there’s more to Playa Grande than just surfing. Much like Playa Hermosa, it’s also an important nesting site for magnificent leatherback turtles.

That means you’re not just sharing the waves with your fellow surfers, but also with these awesome sea creatures. How cool is that? Just remember to give them space and respect their home, and you’re all set for an epic surf adventure!

Waves in Playa Grande, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Playa Grande, Guanacaste

7. Tamarindo

Best Time to Go: Between December and April for the best and consistent swells.

Next on our list, we’re hitting up Tamarindo, one of the buzzing beach towns in Guanacaste. This place is like the life of the party, always ready to show you a good time!

Known for its reliable surf, Tamarindo is an all-around crowd-pleaser. The waves here are super friendly and welcoming, just like the locals. So whether you’re a total beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s a wave here with your name on it.

But the fun in Tamarindo doesn’t stop when you step off your board. This place is buzzing with vibrant nightlife, delicious food spots, and accommodations to suit every budget and style. It’s one of those places that has a knack for turning surf trips into unforgettable vacations.

So if you’re looking for a place that offers awesome surf and a whole lot more, you might want to put Tamarindo on your list. Just remember to pack your party spirit alongside your surf gear

Surfing in Tamarindo at Sunset
Surfing in Tamarindo

8. Dominical

Best Time to Go: Between May and November when the South Pacific swells are at their peak.

Let’s cruise on down to Dominical, perched on the South Pacific Coast. This place is like the hidden gem of Costa Rica’s surf scene, boasting powerful waves that experienced surfers dream about.

The waves in Dominical are a force to be reckoned with. They’re not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced, but for those who know their way around a surfboard, they offer a truly thrilling ride.

However, there is more to Dominical than surfing. It’s also a hot spot for wildlife, with the Marino Ballena National Park just a stone’s throw away.

In between surf sessions, you might find yourself whale watching or spotting other incredible wildlife. It’s like a surf trip and a nature expedition all rolled into one.

If you’re an experienced surfer looking for powerful waves and a bit of a wildlife adventure, Dominical might just be your next surf destination. Just remember, respect the power of the ocean and the local wildlife, and you’re all set for an epic trip!

Dominical beach Costa Rica
Dominical Beach in Costa Rica

9. Mal Pais

Best Time to Go: Between May and November for the best swells.

Next on our itinerary, we’re heading over to Mal Pais, cozily situated on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. This place is like a reliable buddy who always delivers, no matter what.

With consistent surf and a variety of breaks, Mal Pais has something for every surfer, regardless of your skill level. Whether you’re just starting your surf journey or you’re the kind of surfer who feels more at home on a board than on land, there’s a wave here waiting for you.

But the magic of Mal Pais doesn’t dry up when you step off the beach. Being a stone’s throw away from the buzzing Santa Teresa, there’s a range of off-the-water action to get stuck into.

So if it’s reliable surfing paired with a diverse local vibe you’re after, Mal Pais is one for your Costa Rican surf itinerary.

Mal Pais Costa Rica Twilight
Mal Pais in Costa Rica

10. Playa Negra

Best Time to Go: Between December and April for larger, powerful waves.

Alright, movie buffs and wave riders, our next stop is Playa Negra, stashed away in Guanacaste. This spot is kind of a big deal – it starred in the iconic surf movie “Endless Summer II,” and it’s been turning heads ever since.

Playa Negra is famed for its powerful right-hand wave, which has experienced surfers grinning from ear to ear. It’s the kind of wave that will challenge you, push you, and leave you hungry for more. So if you’ve got the skills and you’re up for the challenge, you’re in for a real treat.

Remember, this spot is best suited for experienced surfers, so if you’re still finding your feet, you should watch from the shore or choose a more beginner-friendly beach.

So, ready to ride a movie-star wave? Then Playa Negra might just be your next must-visit surf spot in Costa Rica. Just make sure you respect the ocean, locals, and your fellow surfers, and you’re all set for a blockbuster surf session.

Waves in Playa Negra Costa Rica
Playa Negra

11. Ollie’s Point

Best Time to Go: Between December and April for larger North Pacific swells, offering up excellent surfing conditions.

Pack your adventurous spirit, folks, because our next surf spot, Ollie’s Point, is off the beaten path. It’s so hidden away that it’s only accessible by boat. It’s like the secret club of the Costa Rican surf scene, hanging out near Witch’s Rock.

Ollie’s Point is known far and wide for its long right-hand point break that’ll have you riding for what feels like forever. It’s the kind of wave that intermediate and advanced surfers dream about, providing a ride that’s as thrilling as it is beautiful.

Getting there might require a little extra effort, but believe us, it’s totally worth it. Just remember that this spot is best suited for those with a bit more experience under their belt, so beginners might want to gain a bit more experience before hitting these waves.

So, ready for an epic surf adventure? Then hop on a boat and set sail for Ollie’s Point. Just remember to respect the local environment and your fellow surfers, and get ready to enjoy one of the most incredible surf spots in Costa Rica!

Conclusion

And there we have it! A sneak peek into the enchanting realm of surf spots that Costa Rica generously offers. Whether you’re a rookie just beginning to get your bearings or a seasoned surf junkie chasing that next exhilarating break, Costa Rica surely has a wave crafted just for you.

But keep in mind, it’s not solely about carving up the waves, it’s also about fully embracing the “Pura Vida” ethos, showing respect to the astounding biodiversity, and diving headfirst into the vibrant local culture. Simply put, there are many reasons to visit Costa Rica.

Let’s face it, the best surf trips are about more than just catching epic waves – they’re about the unique experiences, the friendships formed, and the unforgettable memories you’ll weave along your journey.


Read these posts for more Costa Rica travel inspiration:

Best Surf Spots in Costa Rica | Discover the best surf spots in Costa Rica and ride the waves of adventure! From the legendary breaks of Playa Hermosa to the pristine barrels of Pavones, each surf spot offers a thrilling experience for surfers of all levels. Immerse yourself in the tropical beauty, catch epic waves, and embrace the Pura Vida lifestyle. Plan your surfing getaway today and read this post to uncover the top surf spots in Costa Rica. Don't miss out on the ultimate surf adventure! #CostaRicaSurfing #SurfingParadise #SurfingCostaRica
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Catrin Lynn

Catrin is a history enthusiast based in Wales. Her passions are her animals, exploring the Welsh mountains with her husband, and traveling to different European cities.

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