The 8 Best Surfing Spots in Costa Rica

The 8 Best Surfing Spots in Costa Rica

With over 300 beaches across its Pacific and Caribbean shores, Costa Rica has some of the best surf spots in the world. Not every beach has waves meant for surfing, however, and picking the best beach for you will depend on your skill level and how far you want to travel into the wilds of Costa Rica. Boasting warm waters, and year-round waves, no matter which area of the country you travel to, you are sure to find some of the best surfing on earth.

Costa Rica surf spots

Costa Rica Surf Spot #1: Tamarindo Beach

One of the most popular surfing spots in Costa Rica, Tamarindo Beach is located on the North Pacific Coast in the province of Guanacaste. This beach break has a sandy bottom that provides a soft landing to anyone just learning the sport while several other breaks provide ideal surfing for intermediate to advanced surfers. This includes the main beach break for beginners and the well-used river mouth break, which is best for more experienced surfers. Beginner surfers will appreciate the small to medium waves in the dry season from December to April. Those seeking larger surf will want to visit Tamarindo during the wet season from May to November.

Read more about the Top 10 Surf Breaks near Tamarindo Beach

Tamarindo breaks do tend to get a bit busy as it is such a popular surfing destination, drawing in surfers and soon-to-be surfers from all over the world. As a popular surf spot, Tamarindo has multiple surf shops and surf camps to choose from, including Iguana Surf Camp, which has been operating since 1989.

Costa Rica Surf Spot #2: Witch’s Rock

Probably the most well-known Costa Rica surf spot, Witch’s Rock was featured in the surf documentary “Endless Summer II”. While popular, it is rarely crowded since it is not easy to access. Witch’s Rock is a large rock jutting out of the ocean off the coast of Playa Naranjo where large A-frame swells break right and left in front of the imposing rock island. Waves here are consistent, with smaller waves in the dry season and larger ones during the rainy season.

Costa Rica surf spots

To get to Witch’s Rock, it is best to hire a boat as traveling through the Santa Rosa National Park to reach the beach is difficult at best and impossible at worst. Several boat tours make this trip from both Playas del Coco (45 min) and Tamarindo, which will take about an hour and a half both ways.

Costa Rica Surf Spot #3: Ollie’s Point

Also made world famous for being featured in “Endless Summer II”, Ollie’s Point off of Potrero Grande Beach has some of the best surfing conditions you can find in Costa Rica. This world-class right point break has waves that can stretch 900 feet across. Waves here are fast and hollow! Swells here range from 4 to 10 feet, making this Costa Rica surf spot best suited to surfers with experience.

This is another surf spot in Costa Rica only reachable by boat. You can hire a boat from Playas del Coco or Tamarindo. For this reason, people often make the trip to Ollie’s Point and Witch’s Rock on the same day, as they are both located along the shore of the Santa Rosa National Park.

Ollie’s Point and Witch’s Rock tour

Costa Rica Surf Spot #4: Hermosa Beach

While there are a few beaches bearing this name in Costa Rica, the best surf spot is Hermosa Beach near Jaco along the central Pacific coast. It has received a World Surfing Reserve designation and the Costa Rica National Surfing Tournament finals are held here each year. The world-class waves here bring in the best surfers from around the globe.

Best surfing spots in Costa Rica

While the waves here are world-class, Hermosa Beach does not get too busy thanks to large waves scaring off beginner surfers and swimmers. The best of the best surf here is when the waves are in the 5 to 9-foot range with medium swells during the rainy season, from May to November.

Costa Rica Surf Spot #5: Santa Teresa

One of the best surfing spots in Costa Rica has got to be Santa Teresa, located in the central Pacific region, on the south side of the Nicoya Peninsula. There is surfing here for beginner surfers all the way to advanced. The hollow beach breaks with left and rights have waves from 3 to 8 feet high. If you’re looking for larger waves, the best time of year to surf at Santa Teresa is from April to October.  For smaller waves, November to March is a great time to go. 

Best surfing spots in Costa Rica

Because Santa Teresa is ideal for all types of surfers, including beginners, there are plenty of surf schools and places to rent boards. With year-round waves and a gorgeous palm-lined beach, if you are willing to make the long journey to reach this Costa Rica surf spot you’ll be glad you did!

Costa Rica Surf Spot #6: Dominical

With powerful and consistent surf, Dominical Beach in Costa Rica’s South Pacific is located 45 kilometers south of Manuel Antonio National Park. Surfing here is not for the faint of heart! The smallest swells are about 3 to 4 feet high and the river mouth break is full of crocs.

Despite the challenges, advanced surfers flock to this Costa Rica surf spot year-round, as waves here are constant throughout the year. The beach breaks at Dominical are surfable at all tides, depending on which part of the beach you’re at. The most popular surf spot in front of the parking lot is best at mid to high tide, the point after mid-tide, and the river mouth at low tide.  

Best surfing spots in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Surf Spot #7: Playa Pavones

One of Costa Rica’s most untouched and unspoiled surfing destinations, Playa Pavones is remote, located in the far South Pacific. The left-hand wave at Playa Pavones is known for being one of the longest waves on Earth when conditions align. The best time to surf at Playa Pavones is March to October, giving surfers the best chance to peel this 1 kilometer (half a mile) long left.

Pavones encompasses 16 kilometers (10 miles) of different beaches, which lines the nearly untouched Golfo Dulce area of Costa Rica. For those willing to make the long trek to her shores, Pavones is considered the best surfing spot in Costa Rica, hands down.

Costa Rica Surf Spot #8: Puerto Viejo

The largest wave in Costa Rica can be found off the shores of Puerto Viejo on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. “Salsa Brava” is a coral reef break that produces hollow and heavy waves as well as fast rights. Waves here can reach 4 meters (12 feet) high! This infamous break is best left to the most advanced surfers.

Near the laid-back beach town of Puerto Viejo, you’ll find the crystal-clear waters of Playa Cocles. Lined with palm trees and surfboards, here you will find a set of powerful beach breaks that go left and right. Due to the large swells, it is best for surfers with intermediate to advanced skills.

Costa Rica surf spots

The best time to surf at Puerto Viejo and Playa Cocles is around high tide and waves are consistent throughout the year. However, the biggest swells happen from January through March during one of two dry seasons on the Caribbean coast. While the Carribean region experiences rain year-round, there are dry periods from January to March and during September and October.

Now that you know where to can find the best surfing in Costa Rica, what are you waiting for? Whether you come to learn how to surf on the soft beach break of Tamarindo or test your advanced skills on “Salsa Brava” there is a Costa Rica surf spot for you.


Written by Jennifer LaCharite

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