Costa Rica has been attracting surfers of all ability levels for a long time. The combination of awesome beaches, beautiful scenery, kind people, and lots of other activities to do makes it an ideal destination. There is a wide variety of breaks on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts and you can find waves for a beginner, intermediate, and advanced surfers alike. But some of the most well-known and most beautiful beaches happen to be perfect for people who are learning how to surf. Here is a guide to the best Costa Rica surf destinations for beginners so that you can start planning your Costa Rica surf trip!
- Playa Tamarindo
Tamarindo, located on the northern Pacific coastline of Costa Rica, is one of the most popular and lively surf towns. It is home to bustling streets, lots of restaurants, plenty of nightlife, and of course, a nice beginner wave. It is a lovely, long, sandy beach. There are no rocks or strong currents about and the waves are usually small and great for people just learning how to surf. December and January are the best months for beginners, as that is when the waves are the smallest, but you can surf all year round! To get started, head to the Tamarindo surf shop Iguana Surf. Located right across the street from the beach and right in front of the break where everyone surfs, it is the perfect place to get your surfing journey started. Whether you would like to take a lesson or just rent boards, their awesome staff can help you out! There is also a beachfront hotel right above the shop if you want awesome accommodation and want to be able to just roll out of bed and be at the beach! When you are not surfing, be sure to check out some of the other exciting activities offered in the area. There are boat cruises, zip-lining, snorkeling, and lots more. And of course, just strolling down the main street in town you will find plenty of fun places to eat, shops, and bars. You might not get a lot of sleep during your stay in Tamarindo, but it will probably be one of the most fun places you will ever visit!
- 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. A slightly smaller, more quiet town than Tamarindo, Santa Teresa is a beautiful surf town where the jungle meets the beach. The beach is long and sandy and the water is nice and blue. Again, the waves are best for beginners around December and January but also good the rest of the year. The relaxed vibe and incredible scenery make it the perfect surf destination. There are also plenty of other activities to do such as diving, yoga, and fun restaurants to check out. A day trip to Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, just 5km away from town, is a great way to see some of this area’s incredible wildlife. As the country’s first protected area, the park encompasses a huge mixed forest spilled with 150 different species of birds. Take a stroll on one of the many nice forest trails and end the day at the beach for an incredible sunset. Does it get better than that?
- Playa Hermosa
Hermosa means beautiful in Spanish, and the town and beach definitely live up to the name. Playa Hermosa is located on the Central Pacific coastline, about 3km from a big surf town called Jaco. Jaco has more intermediate and advanced waves, but Playa Hermosa is great for beginners. This is a good area to go to if you are with a group of friends of different abilities because the beginner surfers can go to Playa Hermosa while the more advanced surfers could surf in Jaco. Playa Hermosa is also just a beautiful spot to hang out and spend the day; it is a very long beach with grey sand. There are plenty of different peaks so you can usually find a nice spot all to yourself to surf! The town itself is small and relaxed, and if you want a little more action you can just head to Jaco for more people and more nightlife. Jaco is also known as a gateway to national parks, so there is a lot of beautiful nature and waterfalls around to enjoy as well. You certainly won’t get bored here!
Still on the Pacific Coast but a little further south of Playa Hermosa and Jaco in the town of Manuel Antonio is a nice little spot called Playitas. The water tends to not be too crowded, and the people you might encounter are usually friendly locals. The beach is beautiful white sand and it is surrounded by rainforest. Manuel Antonio is a beautiful town and there is a lot to do as far as exploring nature goes. This area is best known for Manuel Antonio National Park, so you will find tons of gorgeous scenery, lush jungle, nice waterfalls, and lots of wildlife. There are also often things like festivals and different events in this area that are worth checking out. The best beginner waves are March – October, but the other months are just as fun! Playitas is an ideal destination for avid surfers and those who want to get a taste of the jungle and Costa Rica life all at once.
- Playa Cocles
Last but certainly not least, Playa Cocles is a beautiful beginner surf beach that is located on the other side of the country on the Southern Caribbean coastline. Almost to Panama, this gem is located in the town of Puerto Viejo, which is kind of like the Tamarindo of the Caribbean coast. It is a lively surf town that is increasingly becoming a very popular destination. The rasta reggae feeling of the Caribbean is alive and thriving, and there is plenty of fun things to do, see, eat, and music to dance to. Playa Cocles is one of many beaches close to Puerto Viejo, but it has the best wave for beginners. The best part about this area is that it is green all year round – there is not as much of an intense dry season as there is on the Northern Pacific coast in the Guanacaste region. When you’re not surfing, you can check out the jungle or one of the many surrounding banana plantations. And at this beach, the water is just about as turquoise blue and clear as it can get!
The only downside about having so many beautiful beginner beach breaks in Costa Rica is having to decide which one to go to. The good news is, you can’t make a bad choice! On your Costa Rica surf trip, you will be able to experience amazing scenery, diverse and authentic Costa Rica culture, and surf some of the best waves in the world. There is a reason that Costa Rica has been attracting surfers of all abilities for years and years, and as a beginner surfer, there is no better place to start getting comfortable in the water!
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