Costa Rica Surfing
Surfing in Tamarindo and Beyond . . .
Costa Rica surfing has achieved cult status around the world, attracting hard core surfers and learners alike. One of the greatest attractions of Costa Rica surfing is the diversity and constancy of the waves, not to mention the year round warm water. Surfing in Tamarindo became famous with the 60’s classic Endless Summer movie and still continues to be one of the top surf draws in Costa Rica. The Pacific Coast boasts a year round swell and a wide variety of breaks to suit every level of surfer.
International surfers are some of the top real estate investors in Tamarindo and its surrounding communities. Their version of paradise is to walk out their door with their boards and be paddling for waves in minutes. Similarly, many of our Tamarindo vacation rental clients are surfers who travel the world in search of the perfect wave. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’ll be sure to catch some pura vida surf in Costa Rica.
Here’s are some of our favorite spots for Costa Rica surfing:
Surfing in Tamarindo and Playa Grande
Tamarindo got its reputation as a surf mecca after it was featured in the classic Endless Summer movies and is sure to top every surfer’s bucket list. Tamarindo is located on Costa Rica’s beautiful North Pacific Coast and is set in a wide bay split by an estuary. On the south side of the bay are Tamarindo beach and the vibrant town center. On the north half of the bay are Playa Grande and Las Baulas Marine Park where the giant leatherback turtles nest.
The beach right in the center of Tamarindo offers good surf conditions even for beginners. Surf is optimal during mid to high tide. You’ll find El Estero, with its solid right beach break particularly popular with long boarders, at the mouth of the estuary that splits the bay. Pico Pequeno, a rocky point which is best surfed at mid tide, is situated in front of the Tamarindo Diria vacation rentals and hotel. When there are southern swells, experienced surfers can also surf over the rocks at Capitan Suizo Island near the south end of Tamarindo bay.
North across from the Tamarindo estuary is Playa Grande, which has the most consistent waves in Costa Rica surfing. You can drive to Playa Grande from Tamarindo in about 20 minutes, or more experienced surfers can cross the estuary to reach La Casita with its fast beach break. There are crocodiles and strong currents in the estuary so paddle with caution. If you venture further north along Playa Grande you’ll encounter another set of left and right beach breaks.
Tamarindo makes a great base for your vacation since it allows you to enjoy the local surf spots or book a Costa Rica surf tour to more remote destinations like Ollie’s Point and Witches Rock. Tamarindo also works well for families or mixed groups that include non-surfers due to the abundance of nearby amenities and activities. The vibrant town center has an array of quaint restaurants, shops, spas and bars. Yoga, golfing, eco-tours, sport fishing, sailing, horseback riding and scuba diving are other popular local activities. Tamarindo bay is wonderful for strolling and even offers places that are sufficiently tranquil for young children to swim, so ask the locals where the best surf and swim spots are before hitting the water. Contact us to learn more about Tamarindo real estate and vacation rentals.
Surfing in Langosta, Avellanas and Playa Negra
Langosta is an upscale community just one kilometer south of Tamarindo and is only accessible though the town center. Costa Rica surfing in Playa Langosta has 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.
Avellanas is located about a half hour south of Tamarindo. It has one of the most famous breaks in the area – Little Hawaii – that can be surfed from Avellanas beach or inside Hacienda Pinilla. Surf is good at low and high tides with beach breaks featuring very hollow rights and lefts. Check out the cool beach bar Lola’s in Avellanas with its hip vibe and excellent food.
Another five kilometers south of Avellanas comes Playa Negra, a very good spot 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.
Surfing in Jaco and Dominical
The peak surf season on the Central and Southern Pacific coast is during Costa Rica’s winter, which runs from June to November. Jaco is the largest beach town on the Central coast and is situated about two hours drive from the capital city of San Jose. Jaco provides access to constant beach breaks at nearby Playa Hermosa and other Central coast surfing spots.
For surfers traveling to the Southern coast, Playa Dominical is one of the primary destinations. The estuary at Dominical offers good left and right breaks, and there are also other good spots accessible along the beach.
Pavones, located near the Osa Peninsula, boasts one of the world’s longest left breaks. The best time to surf Pavones is between August and September. 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.
Surfing in Puerto Viejo
Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast has a relatively short surf season, but reaps the benefits of seasonal storms that create waves from two to twelve feet. One of the most famous Caribbean breaks is in the southern 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.