Costa Rica is truly a surfer’s paradise. From the world-class waves to the scenic beaches, to the lively culture and a long list of exciting activities to try out, it really has everything. This time of year is an awesome time to come and see what Costa Rica has to offer, improve your surfing skills or start learning how and have an amazing beachside vacation. Here is a list of the top Costa Rica surf spots for the summer!
- PLAYA TAMARINDO
This is probably one of the beaches in Costa Rica that you have heard the most about. Playa Tamarindo consistently makes the top of many travel lists like the best place in Costa Rica to learn how to surf and the liveliest beach town. If you are coming to Costa Rica to start your surfing journey, Tamarindo is the perfect place to do it! Depending on the swell and tide, this beach is home to small beginner waves, bigger intermediate waves, nice rights, and lefts, and sometimes even barrels in the river mouth. It is a perfect sandy bottom and there aren’t any dangerous currents. Iguana Surf is located just across the street from Playa Tamarindo, and it is the perfect place to try a Tamarindo Surf Camp. With awesome instructors, the ideal beachfront location of the hotel, and friendly faces from all over the world, it is truly the best! And after your day in the water, the options for happy hour, dinner, and a fun night of dancing are endless and all within walking distance of Iguana Surf. Come on down and check it out!
- PLAYA SANTA TERESA
A few hours down the Pacific Coast from Tamarindo right on the point of the peninsula, you will find the quaint little town of Santa Teresa. It is a bit smaller and quieter than Tamarindo and is nicely situated where the jungle meets the beach. The beach is also nice and long and sandy, with crystal blue water. The waves here are a little bigger than in Tamarindo, but there are still places that offer surf lessons and rentals for all levels. It is an awesome spot to go out on your own if you are an intermediate surfer. If you are looking for a quiet town with lots of access to nature nearby, this would be a great surf destination. There aren’t as many restaurants and bars as there are in Tamarindo, but there is also diving, yoga, and forest trails to explore when you aren’t surfing that are hard to beat!
- PLAYA HERMOSA
Hermosa means beautiful in Spanish, and the town and the beach definitely both live up to that name. Playa Hermosa is located on the Central Pacific coastline of Costa Rica, about 3km from the bigger surf town of Jaco. Playa Hermosa has a little less traffic and the waves are a little calmer than Playa Jaco, but both are worth checking out. Especially if you are traveling with friends that surf at different levels! This area could have something for everyone all on the same day, and there are plenty of different peaks so even if there are other surfers in the water, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a spot to yourself. When you are not surfing, Playa Hermosa is a lovely spot to spend the afternoon with a picnic or a beer, yet another gorgeous long beach with thick grey sand. Jaco is known for going out, so if you want to socialize over some drinks after your surf session then that is the place to be. Or for a calmer route, it is also known as the gateway to some of the national parks in the area so heading out to see some nature and waterfalls is a nice option too.
- PLAYA MARBELLA
Located just about an hour south of Tamarindo, Playa Marbella is a hidden gem that locals love. There is not much infrastructure built up around it, so it is great for a day trip and best to get your accommodations in Tamarindo. Even if you are a part of Iguana Surf’s Tamarindo Surf Camp, it is possible that they could take you to Marbella for the day if you have enough experience. The waves at Marbella are definitely more advanced, but most people say they are some of the nicest in the area. It is the perfect spot to go to escape the hustle and bustle of town and get away from all of the people. Pack a picnic and spend the day surfing and soaking up the sun. If you really can’t get enough, you could even camp out for the night for a true beach getaway! Just make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen and bug spray, and water, as you will not be able to buy much while you are there! There is a restaurant though that can keep the cold beers flowing.
- WITCH’S ROCK AND OLLIE’S POINT
Witch’s Rock (or Roca Bruja, in Spanish) and Ollie’s Point have long been some of the most iconic and well-known surf spots in Costa Rica, for good reason. If you have heard about surfing in Costa Rica, you have probably heard those names. Witch’s Rock got its name from a legend of a witch living on the rock, and it is said that sometimes you can hear her howling out there. You’ll just have to come to see for yourself! The rock and the break are located off the coast of Playa Naranjo and is accessed by boat. This break is definitely for advanced surfers, so don’t sign up for a trip to Witch’s if you are just beginning. However, for those with some experience, it is truly some top-notch Costa Rica surf! There are many places in Tamarindo that offer trips, including Iguana Surf. It is best to stay in Tamarindo or Playa del Coco in order to access these breaks.
When the tide gets low at Witch’s, you can take the boat over to Ollie’s Point which is a point break nearby. Not quite as famous as Witch’s rock, but definitely worth surfing while you are out there. The scenery is gorgeous, the water is warm, and the waves are awesome! Don’t miss them.
You may have noticed that all of these beaches are on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, which is because that is where the best swells and breaks are during this time of year. There are some nice surf spots on the Caribbean, but those spots are better around the months of December – February. So for your epic summer surf vacation, check out any of these five spots and you are sure to have a blast! Dip your toes in with Iguana Surf’s Tamarindo Surf Camp or rent a car and take matters into your own hands by hitting the nearby breaks like Hermosa and Marbella. No matter which beach you end up on, you are sure to find great waves and an even better sunset. Pura Vida!