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Surfer’s Paradise: Exploring the Best Surf in Costa Rica

Article by Petrina Darrah

Petrina Darrah

Posted: May 7, 2023

Costa Rica is renowned for its stunning beaches, lush jungles, and world-class surf breaks. It’s a surfer’s paradise, attracting thousands of visitors every year to experience the warm waters and consistent waves. If you’re planning a surf trip to Costa Rica, here are some of the best spots to check out:

Tamarindo

Tamarindo is a bustling surf town located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It’s known for its consistent waves and variety of breaks, making it a popular destination for surfers of all skill levels. The main beach, Playa Tamarindo, offers a mellow right-hand point break that’s perfect for beginners. If you’re looking for something more challenging, head to nearby Playa Langosta or Avellanas, where you’ll find powerful reef breaks that are ideal for intermediate to advanced surfers.

In addition to the excellent surf, Tamarindo has a vibrant surf culture with plenty of amenities for visitors. You’ll find surf shops, board rentals, and surf schools where you can take lessons or improve your skills. There are also plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops, making it a fun place to hang out both in and out of the water.

Playa Grande

Playa Grande is a hidden gem located on the Nicoya Peninsula. It’s a secluded surf spot that’s known for its world-class waves and natural beauty. The main break, known as “El Estero,” is a powerful right-hand point break that offers long rides and steep drops. It’s a challenging wave that’s best suited for advanced surfers.

One of the unique features of Playa Grande is its commitment to environmental preservation. The beach is part of the Las Baulas National Marine Park, which is home to the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle. Surfing is only allowed during certain times of the day to avoid disturbing the turtles, and there are strict rules in place to protect the beach and its wildlife. It’s a beautiful and peaceful spot that’s perfect for surfers who want to enjoy the waves while respecting the natural environment.

Jaco

Jaco is a lively surf town located on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It’s known for its consistent waves and vibrant atmosphere, making it a popular destination for surfers and party-goers alike. The main beach, Playa Jaco, offers a variety of breaks for all skill levels, including a mellow beach break that’s perfect for beginners.

In addition to the surf, Jaco has plenty of other activities and attractions to keep visitors entertained. You can take a zip line tour through the jungle, go on a crocodile safari, or relax at one of the many spas in the area. There are also plenty of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs where you can let loose after a long day of surfing.

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is a hidden gem located on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. It’s a small, laid-back town that’s known for its pristine waves and eco-conscious community. The main break, Playa Santa Teresa, offers a variety of waves for intermediate to advanced surfers, including a fast and hollow beach break and a challenging reef break.

One of the unique features of Santa Teresa is its commitment to sustainability and environmentalism. The town has a thriving yoga and wellness community, and many of the restaurants and hotels are focused on eco-friendly practices. It’s a beautiful and peaceful spot that’s perfect for surfers who want to enjoy the waves while also connecting with nature.

Surfing in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a must-visit destination for surfers of all skill levels. Whether you’re looking for consistent waves, world-class breaks, or a laid-back atmosphere, there’s something for everyone in this surfer’s paradise. Tamarindo is a great spot for those who want a lively surf town with plenty of amenities, while Playa Grande offers a secluded and eco-conscious experience. Jaco is perfect for those who want a mix of surf and nightlife, while Santa Teresa is the ideal spot for surfers who want to connect with nature and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere.

In addition to the excellent surf, Costa Rica is also known for its warm and friendly locals, delicious cuisine, and stunning natural beauty. It’s a country that’s full of adventure and excitement, and a surf trip here is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

When planning your surf trip to Costa Rica, be sure to research the different surf spots and choose the ones that are best suited to your skill level and preferences. Consider booking a surf camp or lesson to improve your skills and get the most out of your trip. And most importantly, be sure to respect the local environment and wildlife, and leave the beaches better than you found them.

In summary, Costa Rica is a surfer’s paradise that offers some of the best waves and surf spots in the world. From the bustling surf town of Tamarindo to the secluded beauty of Playa Grande, there’s something for everyone here. So pack your board, book your ticket, and get ready for the surf trip of a lifetime in Costa Rica. While you’re travelling in Costa Rica, why not try a volunteering program with GVI? This is a great chance for you to give back to the communities you visit and learn more about the ecosystems that make Costa Rica so unique. Explore GVI’s volunteer programs today. 

Article by Petrina Darrah

By Petrina Darrah

Petrina Darrah is a freelance writer from New Zealand with a passion for outdoor adventure and sustainable travel. She has been writing about travel for more than five years and her work has appeared in print and digital publications including National Geographic Travel, Conde Nast Travel, Business Insider, Atlas Obscura and more. You can see more of her work at petrinadarrah.com.
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