Surfing Costa Rica's Central Pacific - HRG Costa Rica Vacations
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Surfing Costa Rica’s Central Pacific

Jaco Beach Costa Rica surfer

It doesn’t get much better than a surf vacation in Costa Rica

Back in the day, surfing Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast wasn’t a common activity. Few locals surfed; most were from California, following the Endless Summer in search for the perfect ride. Oh, how times have changed: a sleepy surfer’s paradise, once known to few, is now world-famous.

Costa Rica’s legendary surf draws multitudes and Los Sueños Resort and Marina, a few minutes from Jacó, is right in the thick of things. You may not be a pro, but surf shops, camps and lessons abound in and around the resort mean you can take advantage of the many nearby breaks. Most beaches are accessible, but keep any valuables with you, especially your passport and drivers license.

Jacó is the place to rent boards, hire guides or take lessons. Playa Jacó is a 2.5-mile stretch of beach with breaks ideal for beginners and advanced surfers. The south end of Playa Jacó is better for beginners and longboarders. The best time to paddle out is an hour or two on either side of high tide.

Boca Barranca, recommended for skilled riders, is one of the longest left breaks in the world. Longboarders can ride more than half a mile when conditions are right. Arrive early, when the swell is not too massive, the drift spreads everyone out. Waves can break all the way to the pier. Warning: watch for river crocs that sometimes join the lineup.

Playa Escondida has an excellent point break with rights and lefts. The waves are best at high tide. A true A-frame with a short barreling right and a longer left, it can be crowded with just six people. Keep an eye on the rock shelf that sticks out at lower tides. Beach Club members can access the break from the beach, while visitors will have to rent a boat from Playa Jacó or Playa Herradura.

Popular Playa Hermosa, recommended for the experienced, stretches for miles with plenty of room on the constant swell that breaks right or left. El Almendro, at Playa Hermosa, tends to have the best breaks; look for the sand bar opposite a huge beach almond or ask a local. Don’t get confused: There are two Playa Hermosas. The one you want is about 5 miles south of Jacó and one of the best surf spots in Costa Rica. The other, in Guanacaste, isn’t a surf beach. Primo surfing is March – June; the biggest waves roll in July – October.

Estrellita Oeste in the Nicoya Gulf tends to be uncrowded. Its exposed beach break includes a long sandy stretch with some lava reefs outside. It picks up more swell than Playa Hermosa and different sections with reef breaks about half a mile offshore. Nearly perfect when the swell is from the south, the best time is the afternoon.

The World Surfing Games, an Olympic-style team competition, open Aug. 6 – 14, in Jacó. Team Costa Rica is hoping to repeat their 2015 win in Nicaragua. Surfers from around the world compete for individual medals and the World Team Championship Trophy. Don’t miss the action! Book your luxury condo or villa in Los Sueños Resort quickly; it’s going to be a party!

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