Surf in Costa Rica - Beaches, Spots
The Surfer's Guide to Costa Rica - Descriptions of Costa Rican surf spots, distances, tides, and photos.
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Hermosa Beach
Tamarindo Beach
Surfing Uvita, Dominical, Costa Rica - Marino Ballena National Park
Surfing in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is a paradise among surfers, with 755 miles of coastline with great surf spots plenty of waves with big breaks, with tubes and pipelines in some places. On the two oceans are good break posibilities, and allways with comfortable water temperature on all seasons. Friendly people, beautiful scenery, corals waters, accommodations and restaurants are a big plus.

Guanacaste -
North Pacific Coast / Location / Break description
Best Surf Season: November through March
How to get there by bus: Tamarindo and Santa Cruz> Buses Alfaro: 200 meters north of Hospital San Juan de Dios. Phone:(506) 222-2750 Location
Liberia> Buses Pulmitan: 14th street, 1st and 3rd avenue. Phone: (506)222-1650
Potrero Grande - Located 270 kms from San Jose near "El Coco" beach, but with no road access. Access only by boat from playas del coco or playa Ocotal. No facilities. Take with you, all your supplies for camping.
A right point break, with very fast and hollow waves. Nice big tubular wave, if the swell is on.
Playa Naranjo - Located in the national park of Santa Rosa, you must pay the entrance fee (about $10). A good four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended, but from April to October the road is closed because the rainy season leaves the road impassable, but you can leave your car at the entrance and go walking or take a boat from El Coco or Ocotal. There are no facilities and you must go totally prepared for camping. Accessible also by boat.

The best surf point is located by beach called "Roca Bruja" which means Witch's Rock.
Very long break with strong offshore winds from december to march. Long tube ride with one of the greatest beach breaks in the country.

Playa Grande - Accessible by road only at 20 minutes north of Tamarindo. Very consistent beach break.
Playa Tamarindo - Accessible by road and good base for surfing nearby beaches. Best spots near 'Pico Pequeño' a rocky point in front of the hotel Tamarindo, Good beach break. An excellent river mouth break near 'El Estero'.
Playa Langosta - Located I km south of Tamarindo Beach. - A right and left river mouth break
Avellanas - Located 10 km south of Tamarindo and 4wd recommended on winter. You can surf all along the beach. The southern part has a left point break. Good left breaks and somes pipes in the middle of the beach; and can surf the river mouth with nice rights and lefts in this northern part. Nice white sand beach but with few places to stay or camp.
Very good beach break with rights and lefts and great tubulars in near the rocky points.
Playa Negra - Is one of the best breaks in the country. Located 5 km south of playa Avellanas. - Located between Avellanas and Santa Cruz. A nice rocky point right, large and tubular waves. In recent times the beach has been invaded by surfers from all over the world, making it a crowded point from time to time.
A very nice right point break with large, tubular and fast waves further to the south.
Nosara Beach - Nosara is a little town with airport and accommodations about 350 kms from San Jose. You go from San Jose to Nicoya and from there to Nosara. It takes approx. 5 hours to get there. Following the road there is a lot of good breaks with no names.
Good beach break, with lefts and rights.
Playa Coyote, Manzanillo - A 4 wd vehicle is recommended. Now you can find a lot of places to stay.
Beach breaks, with very consistent lefts and rights and several points.
Mal Pais - Nice rights and lefts. You can find three excellent points at this beach, as well as accommodations and restaurants in a wonderful place to stay. Also it's near a great National Park called Cabo Blanco that has some points of its own.
Beach breaks, with very consistent lefts and rights and several points.
Cabo Blanco National Park - If you go walking by the beach in the park, you'll find nice rocky points, but it can be dangerous because it's not a well-known area. Always surf with someone else for safety.
Puntarenas - Central Pacific Coast - Best Surf Season: April thru November
How to get there by bus: Boca Barranca & Puntarenas: From the Red Cross central, 100 meters west, 250 south
Jacó: Transporte Jacó € 223-1109 € 16th street, 1st avenue
Boca Barranca - One of the best waves the second longest ride of the country. Located in the south of Puntarenas, about 100 kms of San Jose with excellent access, paved road and many places to stay. When it's good, it's a great wave, but it's not good all the time. Boca Barranca and any other nearby beachs are no contaminated. but the dark water during rainy season sometimes scares off many. Many places to stay, and when its good you'll ride about 1km, then walk by the beach to the point.
A river mouth with an excellent and very long left.
Puerto Caldera - Located 3 km south of Boca Barranca, Puntarenas. Better at low tide and with large swell. No accommodations nearby. If you ask the people there you can pass to other rocky points like "Tepezcoelollo", but sometimes they won't let you in. The water could be polluted because of ships.
Very good and powerful left at the port.
Playa Tivives - The entrance is at the coastal highway, south of Caldera. The beach break gets rights and lefts with a lot of current, and at the river mouth you can find the perfect left (sometimes tubular). There are no accommodations, but you can camp, and there are a couple of restaurants for supplies.
Good beach breaks with rights and lefts and river-mouth left
Valor - This Rocky point located south of Tivives gets very good and very big. You'll have to cross the river paddling, then walk on trails and you're there.
Playa Escondida - Accessible by land I you are a member of the beach club there (fresh water shower on the beach for member and guests), or by taxi boat to the cove to the south. You can rent a boat from playa Jaco or playa Herradura. The road is private, so you'll either need a pass or have to get a boat from Playa Herradura (5 dollars p. p), Lately this beach has been really crowded, but you still can catch a wave or two if the swell is on. This is a tubular ride, if you don't make it you can get cut with the reef, so its not a beginners wave.
Very powerful reef break.Excellent point break that peaks up forming a very good left and a surfable right.
Playa Jaco - Playa Jaco is growing tourism center, approximately 2 hours from San Jose (140 km), and the waves are not always dependable, but there is a lot of hotels, camp grounds and restaurants. Fun beach break, you can surf along the beach. This town is full of surfers, and you'll find all the accommodations and entertainment you want. It's a nice place to stay because its near a lot of good points, and you can buy or repair boards. You'll also find all the information you need about points and current swells.
Good beach break. Tends to close out when it gets over 5 feet.
Roca Loca - Located 1.5 km south of playa Jaco. To get the point, you will have to climb a small hill. Right break. Located on the way to Playa Hermosa about 1. 5KM south of Jaco. When you see it you have to descend a hill. It's not a safe place (about 5 years ago a surfer died there). Surrounded by rocks.
A rocky point with rights that break over submerged rocks.
Playa Hermosa and Others - Located at the south of Jaco (about 10 min). This long stretch of break peaks working any given day, but the preferred sand bar is located in front of a large tree known as the Almendro. The waves conditions are generally best when the tide is rising. Don½t forget the tip the kids who open the gate for your car. Long beach full of points. This is one of the most crowded beaches (some weekends you can count 100+ surfers along the beach) because it's near Jaco and San Jose. This beach is very constant and it throws tubes and perfect waves when the conditions are right.
Very strong and consistent beach break.
Esterillos Este, Esterillos Oeste. - the points located very close to playa Hermosa, making easy access and many nearby accommodations. The wave conditions are very similar to those of playa Hermosa. Beach breaks with few accommodations & restaurant nearby, nice place to camp. The points are located south of Hermosa Beach along the coastal highway.
Beach breaks, good wave forms.
Bejuco Good beach break, located south of Esterillo Este. Few accommodations nearby.
Boca Damas Located north of Quepos, good rights and lefts in a river mouth. Ask the locals if you can't find it. You can walk in from Quepos.
South Pacific Coast - Best Surf Season: April thru November
How to get there by bus: Quepos: Transporte Morales Located at Central avenue, 16th and 18th streets. Phone: 223-5587
Golfito: Tracopa € 223-7685 € 1st street, 18th avenue
San Isidro del General: 223-3577 € 16th street, 1st & 3rd avenue
Quepos - This small left `point is found at the river mouth in the city of Quepos, easy access with many restaurants and accommodations. Needs a large swell to work well. Lots of restaurants and hotels. This town is popular, so you'll find good night life too.

Left break located front of the town of Quepos.
Playita - Manuel Antonio - This area needs larger swell for the surf to show. Lefts and rights beach break, located north of Manuel Antonio. This break needs a large swell or it's too small for good surfing.
Beach break, lefts and rights with good shape.
Playa El Rey - Best access to get there is taking the road to playa Dominical, 25 minutes from Quepos, in Roncador go right 11 kms and you will be there. No accommodations but a good place for camping and surfing; you'll have to ask the locals from Quepos how to get there, because the entrance is in a palm plantation.
Beach break with right and left, a lot like Playa Hermosa.
Playa Dominical - Beautiful landscapes and very tropical. Hotels and restaurants near spots. If you're lucky enough you will surf along with the dolphins in a wonderful experience, they'll jump along right next to you. A good place to stay. Here you'll surf rights and lefts; like a beach break but some rocks below. Lots of restaurants and places to stay.
Great and strong beach break with lefts and rights.
Drake's Bay - Remote Area Accessible only by boat. Boca del Rio Sierpe, is another place with exciting potential for the same kind of waves . Corcovado national park is an adjacent kingdom of lush, tropical wilderness, approximately 1-1/2 hours by boat. This point is located at Peninsula de Osa, and you'll have to take a boat and bring all your things, because there are no accommodations. This area is full of points, but because of its difficult access it's not a well known area.
This remote break offers long, powerful waves when the swell is running.
Back Wash - Located South of Matapalo, very nice right rocky point, wonderful white sand beach. When Matapalo is too big to surf, Backwash is the place to go; it has huge swells. No accommodations at the beach, but you'll find some places nearby, but they can be expensive, so be prepared.
Pan Dulce - Located South of Backwash, this would be the longest left of this three points (Matapalo, Backwash, Pan Dulce), but it's only surfable with big swells -- if you're lucky you can have a great time, but if you're not, head for Backwash or Matapalo.
Pavones - Excellent left point, considered one of the longest in the world. Good shape and very fast. It is located 400 kms from San Jose (8 hours by car). Bring camping gear if you wish to hang there. Out on the peninsula across Pavones, a half-hour boat ride away, is reputedly a series pf right points the equivalent of Pavones½world class lefts. This wave is considered one of the longest in the world, about 1. 3 KM when the conditions are good. Here you'll find plenty of surfer accommodations, restaurants, and places to stay or camp, but because this beach is famous it's sometimes very crowded. About 400KM of San Jose, you can get there from Golfito, or via the southern border (Panama). If you go by Golfito, the ferry closes at 5:30PM.
Very long left at mouth of Golfo Dulce.
Punta Banco - Located 2 miles south of Pavones by road. Good place to go when Pavones is too small, or crowded. Accommodations nearby.
Reef breaks with rights and lefts.
Matapalo - located in front of Pavones, at tip of Osa Peninsula. You can get there by road from Pavones or by car from Golfito. A rocky point and also a rocky way out; be careful going out because the wave can push you into the shore rocks. You can get there by boat (From Pavones, Puerto Jimenez) or by road from Puerto Jimenez (20 minutes). Few accommodations nearby, and no restaurant. When it gets big you better have a big board or go surfing Back Wash. In some cases the local families can give you food -- you'll have to ask them if you didn't bring your stuff.
Excellent and powerfull right point break. Perfect waves.
Punta Burica - Difficult access only by boat. The last beach south on the Pacific coast, there's no road, so you'll have to take a boat and ride this great break alone with your friends.
Very remote reef breaks.
The Caribbean Coast - Best Surf Season: November thru March -
How to get there by bus: Limon: Coopelimon € 223-7811 € In front of the Atlantic station.
Puerto Viejo: MEPE S.A. € 257-8129 € 250 meters north of Hotel Europa
Puerto Viejo (Salsa Brava)
A very thick and voluminous wave that comes from deep water onto a shallow reef, also called "salsa", for its juice power. This place gets very big and tubular (legitimate big wave). Salsa is approximately a 3-1/2 hour drive from San Jose and there is a restaurant and accommodation close to the point. Costa Rica's most powerful wave, tubular and very dangerous because if you don't make it, you will visit your friend "Salsa Reef". The break is called Salsa Brava and is located front of the town of Puerto Viejo where you can find hotels, camping, restaurants and night life Caribbean-style. Great place to surf but when the swell arrives there's a big crowd waiting for the tubes, and some get stuck in the reef, so bring a big board and always stay focused.
Fast right over coral reef, plenty of hotels and restaurants.
Playa Cocles The beach is located just south of Puerto Viejo , and you can go walking by the beach in a trail with beautiful trees and birds along the way, or go by car and stay in the accommodations in front of the beach.
Good right beach break.
Manzanillo Here you find rustic lodging and typical food. Located close to an unpaved road, and easy to get to. Located 20 KM south of Puerto Viejo, Limon. There are few accommodations nearby. The break is in the Gandoca-Manznillo National Park.
Very fast and good right point beach break only when big, .
Cahuita: Black Beach Cahuita is a National Park, is North from Puerto Viejo with an excellent beach break, not well known and therefore not heavily visited for surfing. Nevertheless, there are waves all year round. Usually it gets good with big swells, so some people escape crowded Salsa and catch some nice waves nearby. You will find accommodations and beautiful trails along the coast and entering the mountains.
Westfalia - Extending south from limon along the road from Limon to Cahuita National Park. It can be dangerous because of the strong currents, so stay out if it's big.
Lefts and rights Beach breaks that tend to close out where the swell gets too big.
Playa Bonita - Located 5 km north of limon (downtown). Left over reef off popular beach just north of Limon City. Cahuita: Beach break on Black Beach, near hotels and restaurants. Used to be one of the best waves, but the earthquake raised the land here, and now you'll get good waves only few times a year. There are accommodations and the beach is located north of Limon city (5KM).
A point/reef break known for its very thick, powerful and dangerous left.
Portete - A small bay located north of playa Bonita. With a right working off the southerly point. Since it is close to limon, you will find easy access.
Right point break, located north of Playa Bonita, accommodations nearby.
Isla Uvita - An island off the coast of Limon. Here you will find a good left. Isla Uvita is about a 20 minutes boat ride from Limon with passage available at certain times of the year. Christopher Columbus came to this little island when he first visited Costa Rica in his fourth trip. The Island is in front of Limon, and you have to take a boat (five dollars p. p. ) at Limon, or at Piuta, a nearby town to the north. On the island you will find no accommodations or water, so bring all your stuff, because if you want you can camp in the area.
Uvita has an impressive left, which can get big and dangerous, so ask the locals how to get out from the point to the island, because if you go straight you can have trouble with the reef. You'll have to do a half moon and stay out of the inside when you are going out or when you are caught by a big set.
Good beach break waves
The North Caribbean Coast - accessible via Tortuguero channels or by private plane. You can rent a boat to take you through the channels near Puerto Moin, 15 km north of playa Bonita. There are beach breaks along the way to Nicaragua, but there are no roads, so you have to go by boat or private plane. There are few accommodations but if you have the contact you can surf virgin beaches along with your friends.
Playa Grande - Good beach break, very good from December to February. You can see turtles nesting at night. Hotels and restaurants nearby, sometimes it gets very good with big tubes. Normally you'll find good waves as long as the wind is to the north.
El Estero - A river mouth; right break at the Tamarindo Bay entrance, very long ride but very crowded because the accommodations are very good at Tamarindo. From the river mouth you can go walking to Playa Grande or to the other points nearby Tamarindo. When the swell is on there are waves for everyone.
Pico Pequeño - A rocky point with a right in front of Hotel Tamarindo. It's very good when tere are big swells but normally they are small.
Langosta - A river mouth right, located 1 mile south of Tamarindo. There are some rocks underwater, so don't think Langosta is a beach break. Beautiful white sand beaches along the way.
La Piedra del Zapo - A right point break, located south from Langosta, better be low tide to cross the river easily.
Little Hawaii - Located north of Avellanas. You can see it breaking from the river mouth; you can go walking or by car but be careful because a lot of people has their rented cars taken by the river, so it's recommended to enter by walking on the beach instead.
Callejones - Located south of Playa Negra. Good right point break very similar to Negra, and people like to go there when Playa Negra is crowded.
Junquillal - A point break, breaking at high tide. Located south of Playa Negra. You can get there by walking on the beach.
Punta Guiones - Big wave beach break. There are places to stay but not in front of the beach; there are some tree houses at the beach to help you stay out of the rain or sun, and you can camp there if you bring all your stuff. You can buy in Nosara.
Puerto Carrillo - Has a beach break with regular size and a wonderful white sand beach. Located south of Samara.
Camaronal - Located south of Puerto Carrillo. Nice beach break but surrounded by rocks; it gets very big and the set comes in constantly. Nice place to camp, but there are no accommodations at this beach.
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