Costa Rica is a mecca for surfers around the world – and for good reason. The country features over 800 miles of coastline, with beaches on both its Pacific and Caribbean sides. Its prime location provides multiple surfing sweet spots for those of every age and ability.
Even if you have never set foot on a surfboard, you can still have a fantastic surfing experience in Costa Rica. Most commercial surfing spots offer lessons and camps, one of the best being Jaco Beach, right next door to Los Sueños Resort & Marina. In Jaco, you will find a number of qualified trainers, many of whom are champion surfers themselves. You will also find tame waves that are perfect for just starting out.
Tamarindo, which is located in Guanacaste, is one of Costa Rica’s top surfing and party destinations. So, if you are looking to surf and have a great time out on the town, this is the place. Tamarindo is great place for beginning surfers, as it the ocean has a sandy bottom (a softer place to land) and smaller waves. If you would like to try out your skills somewhere quiet and low-key, the El Parqueo section of Playa Avellanas, which is close by Tamarindo, is an uncrowded stretch of beach with only a few bungalows and a single restaurant to speak of. El Parqueo’s sandy shore and long smooth waves make it ideal for beginners. Playa El Carmen in southern Nicoya, just next to Santa Teresa and Mal Pais, has few crowds, and its sandy bottom and calm waves are perfect for beginners.
The Mal Pais/Santa Teresa area of Guanacaste is known for its consistent waves and great weather. While beginners can find some moderate beach-break spots, the reefs, rocks and wave heights make this area a good challenge for those with some degree of experience.
You can also get two different travel experiences – Mal Pais is a small, laid-back surfing village, while Santa Teresa features plenty dining and night life. Both are just a quick boat ride away from Los Sueños Resort & Marina.
Located adjacent to Jaco, just 15 minutes down the road from Los Sueños Resort, Playa Hermosa is a very long, white sand beach that is almost never crowded. This is a laid-back spot dedicated to the surfing lifestyle, and the beach is lined with numerous surf shops and surf camps. Playa Hermosa’s big waves and numerous breaks appeal to intermediate surfers, although under certain conditions the swells are better left to experts.
There are a number of spots for experienced surfers to challenge themselves on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. One of the best is the “Little Hawaii” section of Playa Avellanos, a break which offers big, Hawaii-style waves that are definitely for experts only.
The tempestuous waves of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast offer some of the world’s most adventurous surfing, and Puerto Viejo is one of the most alluring surf spots for experienced thrill-seekers. It is home to Salsa Brava, Costa Rica’s heaviest and wildest wave, which only a brave few have conquered.
Meanwhile, Costa Rica’s most challenging surfing spot of all may be Witch’s Rock, located off of Guanacaste’s Playa Naranjo beach, in Santa Rosa National Park. Other than some nearby campsites, there are no accommodations here. If you can brave the flight or drive out to Playa Naranjo, the sailboat ride out to Witch’s Rock, and the sharks and saltwater crocodiles in the ocean, you are tougher than most, and if you can master the powerful waves, you are in the company of a select group of hard-core surfing enthusiasts.