Surfing in Costa Rica
Updated: Feb 13, 2020
Whether learning to surf or searching for the barrel... We're here to give you some tips!
First off, always check the tides. Most breaks here are only surfable at a certain tides. Depending on the swell size, you can figure out which breaks will be better in the mornings and afternoons and you can plan your trip around that. The best apps are MagicSeaweed and Surfline, each will tell you times of tides, sunrise, sunset, first light, last light and a weekly swell report which will be helping in planning your trip.
Rainy season brings larger swells to the pacific coast while the Caribbean stays sunny and calm. Rainy season on the Pacific is usually between the months of May and November, which means stormier seas and bigger swells (south) which might be good in theory but in reality searching for a wave that works becomes a little harder. Point breaks in Central and South Pacific like Quepos Jetty, Pavones, Barranca and Caldera are better bets in the rainy season due to the size and direction and most beach breaks. If the swells aren't too big (under 5ft) than most beach breaks will work such as Domincal, Esterillos, and Jaco.
Dry season (Nov-May) brings the north swells so traveling to parts in the North of Costa Rica is the better bet if theres some size. Some of our favorite beaches are Avellanas, Playa Grande, Giones, and Santa Teresa. If it seems to be flat in the Pacific during those months you can always try the Caribbean for some heavy barrels like Salsa Brava.
Beaches that are good for beginners.
Some beaches that are good for beginners and easier on the body would be Tamarindo, Avellanas, Nosara, and Santa Teresa in the Nicoya Penninsula.
In the Central Pacific, Jaco, Esterillos Oeste, Dominical, and Playa Hermosa (Dominical) are great places to start up.
And in the Caribbean, Playa Cocles is full of board rentals and instructors.
If you are an intermediate or advance surfer, you might want to check out Pavones, Playa Negra, Witches Rock or Salsa Brava (on the Carribbean coast).
Please be aware that sunblock leaks into the ocean and is toxic to reefs and sealife. Bring a rash guard instead of loading on the sunblock. Sunblock is known to release chemicals into the ocean which threaten corals and other species.
Always use organic sunblock.
Drink lots of water.