Costa Rica Surfing PDF  | Print |  E-mail

A surfer’s paradise, Costa Rica has been a top surfing destination for some time now. The point breaks, beach breaks and perfect lefts and rights found here, all make this tiny Central American country a leading surfer hotspot in the world today. And with beaches that are usually very clean, pristine and rarely crowded, Costa Rica has indeed become a favorite surfer hangout, especially for those who want to take on some of the more challenging waves found on the planet.

With a fantastic coastal climate, year round warm water temperatures and both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts to contend with, Costa Rica has well over 50 famous surf breaks along its shoreline. Legendary and truly spectacular, the waves here are big and with the many reef breaks found along the coast, surfer’s here are in for hollow and fast rides. And though some of the surfer beaches maybe kind of hard to reach, due to poor road conditions, they are well worth the trip as the waves here are good all year round. Some breaks like Pavones have the longest rides in the world and is definitely worth the long trek to get there.

Less crowded than places like Sydney, Hawaii or Southern California, the beaches of Costa Rica have a lot to offer like inexpensive accommodations, hotels and resorts, top notch breaks, local clinics and surf rental shops with all the amenities. If you are surfing on Costa Rica’s Caribbean/Atlantic coast keep in mind that the surfing season is not very long here and most of the waves are produced by tropical storms off the Mexican coast. On the Pacific Coast however, the waves though smaller are more consistent, and are usually generated from low pressure troughs off New Zealand. Major swells can be found on the Costa Rican coast between the months of April and October, but it is from December to April that the surf is at its cleanest.

While the top five surf destinations are at Playa Hermosa, Playa Grande, Pavones, Witches Rock and Salsa Brava, some other popular surf points in Costa Rica are Dominical, Santa Teresa/Mal Pais, Playa Negra, Playa Junquillal and Playa Avellana. The surf at Playa Naranjo or Witches Rock is also very good with many surf scenes from the movie Endless Summer II filmed here.

While many surfers enjoy bringing multiple boards, I would warn against this. Bringing too many boards can limit your mobility, plus getting around with many surf boards can be very challenging. However, if something does happen either on the flight or while you are surfing, there are quite a few places where your board can be fixed, but for a price. Popular towns like Tamarindo and Jaco for example have a number of surf equipment rental and repair shops.

If you decide to travel by air to Costa Rica make sure you double check with the local airline to see if they accept surf boards as baggage. Sansa usually does accept them up to a certain length or out of the board bag. However, for an extra charge some surfboards are accepted. Sometimes Nature Air will not even take your board due to weight restrictions. On a flight to Tambor (Mal País) I had to abandon my board, luckily I had a friend in San José that picked my board up. Because of this most people on Costa Rica surfing trips rent cars. But do make sure you bring your own soft racks and straps as most rental cars don’t have them.