Costa Rica Surfing
Tamarindo, Playa Grande, Langosta, Avellanas and Beyond
Costa Rica Surfing - Find your Pura Vida!
Costa Rica surfing attracts surfers from around the globe. In addition to the year-round warm water, Costa Rica surf enthusiasts love the diversity and constancy of the waves. The Pacific Coast offers a year round swell with breaks to suit surfers of all levels.
Surfing in Costa Rica gained cult status with the 60’s classic Endless Summer movie which featured Tamarindo - a destination that continues to be one of the top surf draws in Costa Rica to this day. There are many excellent surf schools for beginners, as well as extreme waves for experts.
Many of our Costa Rica real estate investors are also surfers whose dream is to step out their door with their boards and be paddling world-class waves in minutes. Whether you're a hard core surfer or a newbie, you'll be sure to catch some great waves.
Here are some of the best Costa Rica surf beaches:
Tamarindo and Playa Grande
Tamarindo got its reputation as an international surf detination after it starred in the classic Endless Summer movies and this vibrant town is sure to be on every surfer's wish list. Tamarindo is situated on Costa Rica’s famous North Pacific Coast and is nestled in a wide bay split into two beaches by a salt water estuary. On the south side of the bay are Tamarindo beach and charming town center with surf schools, shops, restaurants, and bars. On the north half of the bay are Playa Grande and Las Baulas Marine Park, a quiet zone where the giant leatherback turtles nest.
The beach in the Tamarindo town center offers good surf conditions even for beginners. Surf is optimal during mid to high tide. El Estero, situated at the mouth of the estuary, is a right beach break especially popular with long boarders. Pico Pequeno, a rocky point which is best surfed at mid tide, is located in front of the El Diria hotel. The Rocks at Capitan Suizo island, at the south end of Tamarindo Bay, is good for experienced surfers during southern swells.
Playa Grande sits on the north side of Tamarindo bay and boasts some of the most consistent waves in Costa Rica surfing. The drive to Playa Grande from Tamarindo takes about 20 minutes, or more experienced surfers can cross the estuary to reach La Casita with its fast beach break. Be advised: there are crocodiles and strong currents in the estuary so paddle with caution. If you trek further north along Playa Grande you’ll hit another set of left and right beach breaks.
If you're a surfer, Tamarindo is a great choice for your real estate investment since you're able to enjoy the local surf spots or travel out to more remote Costa Rica surf destinations like Ollie’s Point and Witches Rock. Tamarindo also makes sense for families or mixed groups that include non-surfers due to the many amenities and activities. The busting town center has a variety of charming restaurants, shops, spas and bars. Yoga, golfing, eco-tours, sport fishing, sailing, horseback riding and scuba diving are other popular local activities. Tamarindo beach is also fantastic for walking or biking, and even offers calm sections that are gentle enough for children to swim. Please contact us to learn more about Tamarindo real estate and Costa Rica vacation rentals.
Langosta, Avellanas and Playa Negra
Langosta is an upscale community of luxurious Costa Rica homes and condos that is located on a point just south of the Tamarindo town center. The only access to Langosta beach is through Tamarindo - a short drive or 15 minute walk. Playa Langosta surfing offers a right and left point break that come up quickly and curl off the estuary that separates Tamarindo from the large eco- resort community of Hacienda Pinilla. Langosta attracts experienced to expert surfers.
Avellanas is situated about a half hour south of Tamarindo. It boasts one of the most famous breaks in Costa Rica – Little Hawaii – that can be surfed directly from Avellanas beach or from inside the Hacienda Pinilla resort. Surf is good at low and high tides with beach breaks featuring very hollow rights and lefts. Don't miss the hip beach bar Lola’s in Avellanas with its cool vibe and great food.
If you travel another five kilometers south of Avellanas you'll encounter Playa Negra, an excellent beach for experts looking to surf in Costa Rica. It’s a right point break with very fast waves best surfed during transition of the tides.
The Central and South Pacific Coast - Jaco, Dominical and Pavones
June to November (Costa Rica's winter) is the peak surf season on the Central and Southern Pacific coast. Jaco is the biggest town on the Central coast and is located two hours drive from Costa Rica's capital city of San Jose. Jaco provides access to constant beach breaks at nearby Playa Hermosa and other Central coast surfing destinations.
For surfers heading to the Southern coast, Playa Dominical is one of the top beaches. The estuary at Dominical offers good left and right breaks, and there are also other good spots accessible along the beach.
Pavones, further north down the coast near the Osa Peninsula, is home to one of the world’s longest left breaks. August and September are the best months to surf Pavones. Although the weather can be very wet and the roads muddy (a 4×4 is highly recommended for travel along the Central and Southern coastline), the surf is well worth the effort.
The Caribbean Coast - Puerto Viejo
Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast has a short surf season compared to the Pacific Coast. That being said, seasonal storms can bring waves from two to twelve feet.The Salsa Brava is one of the Caribbean's most sought after breaks. Located in the southern Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo, the Salsa Brava is a right reef break producing a Hawaii-style barrel wave that builds in deep water and pours over a shallow coral reef lining. The Salsa Brava is for experts only.