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Costa Rica Surfing - The Best Places to Surf

By Tim Houghten,
Costa Rica is a land filled with lush jungles, mountainous hills, sprawling clear lakes, and a coastline that seems like it was carved especially for surfing.

Spectacular Surfing in Costa Rica

Surfing in Costa Rica is spectacular, although it is not famous for hosting large storm-driven waves like those found in places like Hawaii, it is popular for it's consistency-offering a steady roll of head-high surf everyday. Costa Rica experiences two definitive seasons a year, 'winter' (December to April) and summer (May to November), during which time different surfing locations quickly become hotspots for their seasonal times, making it easy to figure out when and where to go surfing for what time of year you're planning on visiting.

Surfing in Costa Rica is very easy for tourists; simply rent a car and equipment, grab a map and you're catching sapphire surf in no time. Surfing around Costa Rica is great for beginner surfers or experienced ones to build up endurance and learn new skills, and with major airlines with direct flights from the United States it's even easier to plan a dream surfing vacation then you may think!

Northern Pacific Coastline

Although Costa Rica has great surfing year round there are some better seasons to go then others based on the type of waves you're looking to catch. During the winter the best region to hit for optimal surfing in Costa Rica is the Northern Pacific coastline.

Powerful winds and swell directions combine to make Witches Rock, Playa Negra, Playa Grande and Guiones North pristine spots to ride waves. Tides are pretty consistent throughout the year on the Northern coast, but during the wintertime, especially for Guiones North, waves can reach up to 15 feet high, making these areas slightly less crowded then others.

Playa Tamarindo

Another great area for surfing around Costa Rica's Northern Pacific coast is Playa Tamarindo. This spot is known for being as close to perfect for surfers, with waves coming in from the left and right giving you the ultimate powerful ride to the shore. Although the wave breaks are considered short, usually only 50m, spectacular tubes are formed from the merging direction of waves so that less experienced divers can powerfully ride along and look like an expert.

However, if you are going to surf in Costa Rica on the Northern Pacific coast in the wintertime, then you have to make a pilgrimage to Playa Hermosa. This is one of the few locations worldwide that has lights on the beach, so you can brag to your friends that you went surfing in Costa Rica in the middle of the night!

In this location, The Corner is one of the best known spots for it's consistency to deliver fine waves year long, and for the length of it's waves, reaching almost 200m! The winter time is peak season for visitors to come surf in Costa Rica and vacation, so hotel prices, car rentals and more are much more expensive during this time period.

Avoid the Crowds, Visit in the Summer

If you're looking to avoid those pesky crowds and only run into a few other surfers in Costa Rica, then summer should be your season of choice.

Summer season is less popular for surfing in Costa Rica because it is considered the rainy season. A little secret known only to those who live there and frequent visitors is that the beginning of the summer season is actually the best time to surf in Costa Rica because it is still hot, heavy rains usually don't hit until June, and the crowds have finally diminished. Late afternoons bring sunny skies and perfect swells for optimal surfing along Coast Rica's coast.

Some of the Longest Rides in the World

Great places for surfing around Coast Rica during the summer are Salsa Brava located on the Caribbean shores near the town of Lim"n, Santa Teresa Surf located in Puntarenas Providence which is never crowded, La Cantina located on the Southern Pacific Coast known for some of the longest rides in the world of up to three minutes, and Manzillo, south of Chiquita and much improved after Costa Rica's 1991 earthquake.

The Caribbean side of the country is more obscure when surfing Costa Rica's coastlines, but spots can have epic swells when hurricane and tropical storms are churning furiously off the coast, equaling the power and might of some of the best Pacific swells.

Some of the Best Surfing in Central America

Northeast, Southwest, or Central, all of Costa Rica's coastlines are prime for surfing so start filling your piggy banks, gather your equipment, book a ticket and experience some of the best waves of Central America!
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