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Surf in Costa Rica

Surf in Costa Rica

The beginnings of celebrity

Surfing in Costa Rica was first revealed to the general public in 1994 by the film The Endless Summer II and the waves of Witches Rock located north of Tamarindo. You can see desert beaches, endless waves, a dream lifestyle. Surfing in Costa Rica is also Pura Vida.

The destination has since surfed (yes yes, pun intended) on this idyllic image surf destination with good vibrations.

Costa Rica Surf

But what about really, in 2019, this surf destination: Costa Rica?

According to Costa Rican tourism statistics (2016 data), tourism dedicated to surfing represents about 11% of visitors.

Also, many tour operators, travel agencies, hotels and specialty shops are surfing the un-usurized reputation of Costa Rica and surfing.

Costa Rica offers many beaches for all levels. We will take a non-exhaustive tour of the many spots in the country.

surf Costa Rica

Surf on the Pacific coast

Starting from the north, this region called Guanacaste offers surf spots for all levels.

From north to south of Guanacaste, the main surf spots are:

surf costa rica

Playa Potrero Grande

Better known as Ollie’s Point is one of the most beautiful waves in Costa Rica.

Many (expensive) excursions are organized from playa del Coco. The boat is the only means of access. The name of Ollie’s Point was given to him in reference to the airstrip that the American colonel had built to be able to land planes with their load of weapons. These weapons were intended to feed the guerrilla war in Nicaragua and the Contras movement. This wave is also present in the movie The Endless Summer II.

Playa Naranjo

Also known as Witches Rock, or Witch Rock. This is the famous wave of the movie The Endless Summer II. This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful waves in the world. You ride in a breathtaking setting, alone at the peak, with the pelicans who come to say hello and all in front of a tropical forest. In short, paradise.

Level vague, it is between intermediary and expert. It is a hollow wave of Beachbreak located in the middle of Santa Rosa National Park.

Only accessible by 4×4 and if it did not rain the previous days. There is no hotel nearby, but it is possible to camp on site.

Playa Grande

This wave is located north of Tamarindo and the mouth of the river. She is an excellent Beachbreak very appreciated also sea turtles who come to lay there. You can access it by yourself (40 min) or on foot (20 min) by the beach. Be careful when crossing the mouth of the river because there are crocodiles.


One of the most famous surf spots in Costa Rica; but not necessarily one of the most beautiful waves.

Indeed, Tamarindo is mainly reserved for beginners.

However, on days of good swell, Estero Peak offers beautiful waves, fast and regular. Many rights in Beachbreak are available for beginners and intermediates.

Tamarindo also offers a nice animation in town, since many surf shops are present and you will be able to rent correct boards.

Some boards are also commendable on the beach but the quality of these are deplorable (missing fins, multiple repairs, size not-adapted). The only advantage of this type of rental is that for $ 10, you rent a board for the day without deposits of guarantees.

Playa Langosta

This mouth of the river offers waves that break on rocks. Interesting if you want to surf in peace because the peaks are not frequented.

Playa Avellana

This beach is nicknamed Little Hawaii. Located south of Tamarindo, it offers more consistent waves. The mouth of the river has a beautiful peak, and the many rocky islands allow the creation of strong and regular peaks. This surf spot has beautiful waves powerful reserved for good surfers.


Playa Negra

This little-known beach offers beautiful straight lines from the north reef of Playa Negra. Tubes are common.

Playa Ostional

Especially known for its arrival of turtles, the beach of Ostional presents waves with definite lips. Many similar waves are presented between Ostional and Nosara. Few people in the water.


Playa Nosara-Guiones

This is one of the queens of Costa Rica. This wave of global reputation can be surfed by all practitioners. From beginners to experienced, Nosara Guiones offers great waves practically all year round. This Beachbreak is surfable at low tide and high tide, the days of big swell, only the most experienced will take advantage of the power of the wave. Left or right, there are very many peaks and allows a good distribution of participants.

The village of Nosara is almost entirely turned to surfing. All hotels offer board rental or surf lessons. You will find many “secret” spots nearby.

Playa Santa Teresa et Malpais

The white color of the sand and the hollow waves have made Santa Teresa one of Costa Rica’s flagship destinations for surfing. Especially surfed at low tide. Santa Teresa offers beautiful waves for all levels. The beach of Carmen (playa Carmen) is more recommended for beginners.

You will find many surf shops, hotels or camps dedicated to surfing.


The surf on the central Pacific

surf wave Costa Rica

Playa Escondida

Despite its difficult access, the peaks are often crowded. It’s a reef wave located north of Jaco. It is possible to get there from playa Herradura. Beginners refrain.


Jaco is one of Costa Rica’s leading surf destinations. Its large bay offers many peaks and moderately powerful waves that allows practice at all levels and all year round.

The many surf shops will allow you to rent good boards and the hotel offering is very rich.

Medium size, this wave is surfing especially at high tide.


Playa Hermosa

This 7 km black sand beach offers one of the most powerful waves in Costa Rica. Very powerful and regular wave reserved for the experts.



Wave appreciated by Jaco, it offers waves of low to medium power, especially on the left. The rights are also possible. Many peaks allow practice for all levels.


Manuel Antonio

The surroundings of Manuel Antonio present many spots, Beachbreaks for all levels between beginners and intermediates. The power and shape of the waves will probably not satisfy the experienced surfers but still allow a playful practice and in a sumptuous setting. The large influx of tourists in the water and the peaks remaining the disadvantage of this surf spot.

Boca Damas

The mouth of Boca Damas offers lefts fast, long and sometimes hollow. It is a spot little visited because of the many rocks and the strong current.


Playa Dominical

This beach offers powerful waves throughout the year. Especially at high tide. The many peaks present on the kilometers near the village center will allow all levels of surfing. Wave of Beachbreak, pay attention to the current and the power of the wave. Especially on the side of the Baru River. Beginners will be able to take refuge in Dominicalito or Punta Dominical.


Punta Uvita

Known for its tombolo in the shape of a whale tail, the large bay of Uvita. For all levels. Prefer the second entrance to the National Park to access a less frequented beach.


The surf on the South Pacific

wave and surfing in costa rica

Playa Zancudo

Very beautiful beach for a practice of serene surfing. Often uncrowded because conditions must be optimal for the wave to work.


Considered the second longest left in the world, Pavones has a worldwide reputation.

Wave of Beachbreak, which can unfold on 1 km in optimal condition. Operating only in swell of S – SW, the spot is often saturated. Reassemble the wave by the beach will be less tiring after this long left.


Surfing on the Caribbean coast

surf Costa Rica

Surfing on the Caribbean coast is mainly focused on the southern part, from Limon to the border with Panama.

On this black sand beach, few surfers. Wave for beginner to intermediate.


Salsa Brava

This is the most powerful and dangerous wave in the country. Beginners abstain, only experts will enjoy this wave. The reef of the coral reef allows to have a consistency of solid wave up to 4m. For heavy swells, the season usually goes from December to March. In addition, the village of Puerto Viejo will allow you to rest in a Caribbean atmosphere after a good surf session.


Playa Cocles

Ideal for beginners, the idyllic beaches of Cocles are worth the trip alone. Being able to reach average sizes, the wave of Cocles is easy to surf.


Punta Uva

The waves of Punta Uva offer an alternative for intermediate surfers. More consistent than cocles, Punta Uva remains accessible to many practitioners.


What season do you want to surf in Costa Rica?

dolphins costa rica surf

Costa Rica is lucky to be able to offer waves throughout the year. However, there is a favorable season for the best swells. It runs from June to November on the Pacific coast and from June to November for the Caribbean coast.

These seasons being in constant evolution, inform you a few days before weather conditions and Swell.

If you want to know more about surf conditions in Costa Rica, we recommend Windguru and Surf Forecast.


Traveling to Costa Rica with his surfboard

travel surf costa rica

The cost of transporting a surfboard remains quite high.

The surfboard is considered a standard hold bag if the size of the board does not exceed 300 cm and its weight less than 23kg. However, if you do not have other luggage, the board will be included in the ticket (excluding tickets at special rates).

If you have a luggage in the hold and you want to bring your board, here is the price so far (14/01/2019): 120 $USD.

You have the option to fly your board with you. To do this, you can also get insurance for it. It is also possible to buy one on site or rent one in one of the many surf shops or specialty stores located near the surf spots.

Want to get an idea of ​​Costa Rica surf trip? Contact us: info@morphocostarica.com


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