Surfing in Costa Rica

Spectacular Costa Rican Surfing

Costa Rica is famous amongst surfers. All it takes is half an hour at the airport, watching the surfboards coming off the luggage carousel, to realize how many tourist come to the small country just for the waves. In fact, the first surfer culture movie ‘Endless Summer’ filmed in the 1960’s showed Costa Rican waves rolling beautifully across the screen. It has been a surfing destination ever since. It does not matter if you are a beginner or a seasoned veteran, you are bound to find a wave that fits you.

Surfing Schools

Surf schools or camps are extremely successful in most of the bigger tourist stops. Some of them offer classes only, but many of them have lodging as well. There are travel agencies that specialize in surfing tourism, so search out the right package for your specific needs.

Surfing Locations

The northern part of the Pacific coast is widely popular for surfers. Beaches at Tamarindo, Negara, Nosara and Mal Pais are consistently blessed with perfect swells. As you travel south you can find a few places offering drastically different communities and surfing environments. Jaco/Playa Hermosa is a favorite destination for Costa Rican surfers from San Jose. It is the closest beach to the capital, and offers waves good enough to hold an annual surfing contest. A couple hours south is Playa Manuel Antonio. This is maybe the highest trafficked tourist spot in Costa Rica, and not especially for surfing. It just so happens though, that the waves are perfect.

Dominical is another two hours south of Manuel Antonio, and is a definite stop for most surfers traveling through. The river mouth opening into the ocean in Dominical provides special conditions, and the rising and falling tides keep surfers busy testing their skill levels.

Farthest south are Pavones and Matapalo. Both are arguable the best spots for surfing in the entire country. The Caribbean side of the country is less popular for surfing, but excellent waves can also be found at Puerto Viejo in the southern part.