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surfing beaches in costa rica​

8 Best Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica (Updated for 2018)

Have you ever wondered which places in Costa Rica are recommended for surfing? What is the best surfing beaches in costa rica? You’ve probably dreamed of going on an unforgettable vacation, combining a trip to one of the most beautiful countries in the world and your favorite sport—Surfing. Costa Rica is indeed the place to make that dream come true. The beautiful beaches and perfect waves attract surfers from all over the world and are suitable for all experience levels.

Caribbean Coast and Pacific Coast Surf

Costa Rica has two coastlines: One borders the Pacific Ocean, and one borders the Caribbean Sea. The most famous surfing beaches can be found on the Pacific side, although there are still many surfing beaches on the Caribbean side. Together these shorelines offer a variety of waves and beaches and create a multi-faceted experience for anyone on vacation. From one coastline to the other, a relatively short five-hour drive makes it easy to travel to both, even if you are only visiting for a few days. The diverse coastlines create a variety of types of waves throughout the year: breakouts, beach breaks, break breaks, reef breakers, right and left waves and long and high waves. Many websites are frequently updated with the types of waves and the conditions of all of the beaches in Costa Rica. (For example

Surfing Season in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s geographical location creates perfect surfing conditions all year long. As a result of the proximity of the equator to the Pacific coastline, a wave system is produced by a sea storm, and it moves in a certain direction from both the north side of the Earth (November to March) and the south side (throughout the year). Surfers also enjoy the comfortable water temperature in Costa Rica, which stays regularly between 22-27 degrees Celsius.

Wet Season vs Dry Season

Costa Rica does not have typical seasons like most of the world. It has only two “seasons”—the dry season and the wet season. In the dry season, from January to April, the weather is summery, but not entirely. The climate varies according to the geographical location. The dry season is indeed rain-free, especially at the northwest Shoreline. In contrast, the rest of the coastline facing the Pacific may still get some rain during the dry season. The Caribbean coast on the eastern side of Costa Rica tends to be rainy throughout the year, and there are no significant climatic differences between the rainy season and the dry season. However, in September and October, the Caribbean beaches have a dry and sunny period, unlike the rest of the country that is even rainier than usual.

During the wet season—May to December—rainfall rises. But even during this period of rain, sunny days frequent the coastal area. If it rains, it doesn’t usually start until the afternoon. Keep in mind that mountainous and other isolated areas may be difficult to navigate during the rainy season.

Today’s Weather – surfing beaches in costa rica

Best Season to Travel and Surf in Costa Rica

You can take a trip to Costa Rica in both the dry and wet season. When choosing the time of year to travel in Costa Rica, you should not only take the weather into consideration but also the number of vacationers. The dry season is a busy season for tourists, especially during the holidays of Christmas and Easter. In the dry season, prices are higher and tourist sites are crowded, but the weather conditions are more comfortable, and entertainment venues are open late to allow you to enjoy more shows.

In the wet season, the amount of tourists decreases significantly, prices go down and it is easier to find affordable accommodations. You may encounter some rain, but you will still enjoy many sunny and pleasant days. If you want to escape the rain, you will be a relatively short drive away from another location where the weather will most likely be more dry.

For those who plan to surf in Costa Rica, there are no limitations when choosing a season to travel or a surfing beaches in costa rica, as Costa Rica is known for its great waves throughout the year. If you’re a beginner surfer who plans to take surfing lessons for the first time, you’ll find suitable beaches all year round, and experienced and professional surfers will enjoy great breaks in both seasons.

8 Best surfing beaches in costa rica

That the list of the best surfing beaches in costa rica:

  1. Pavones

  2. Matapalo

  3. Dominical

  4. Utiva

  5. Jaco

  6. Boca Barranca

  7. Santa Teresa

  8. Tarmarindo

Pavones | Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica

Surf at Pavones

A small town in South Costa Rica that boasts the longest wave in Costa Rica and the second longest in the world, Pavones is a must-have for any experienced surfer. The notorious waves brought the legendary windswept Robbie Nash to the town, who managed to continuously surf for more than a mile and for more than two minutes. However, these beautiful waves are not consistent throughout the year. It is recommended to visit during the rainy season, April to November, when Sawal begins.

Surfing skill required

Experienced surfer

Recommended Season

Wet season, April to November

Driving time

6-7 hours from San jose

Matapalo | Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica

Surf at Matapalo

A reserve located on the Ausa Peninsula in front of Pavones, Metapalo is a discovery that tourists hardly know—a virgin jungle and paradise for experienced surfers. The waves are on a global scale with three excellent point breaks.

Surfing skill required

Experienced surfer

Recommended Season

Wet season, April to November

Driving time

3-4 hours from San jose

Dominical | Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica

Surf at Dominical

Dominical is a coastal town visited by surfers from all over the world due to its exceptionally high waves. You can stay in hostels right on the beach, close to the ocean and magnificent waves. The beach is perfect for experienced surfers—but the high currents and proximity of coral reefs to the beach make it unsuitable for swimming. The advantage of this is that tourists rarely reach the town unless, of course, they are obsessed with surfing. The beach in Dominical also perfect for beginners.

Surfing skill required

Beginner, Intermediate & Experienced surfer

Recommended Season

All seasons

Driving time

3-4 hours from San jose

Uvita | Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica

Surf at Uvita

Uvita is a coastal town located in the heart of “Marino Blena” Nature Reserve, especially popular between December and April when you can watch the whales migrate. Unlike other surfing beaches in costa rica, this narrow strip of land is surrounded by the sea on both sides. It is a beautiful beach with white sand and clear blue water and has excellent conditions for swimming and a variety of water sports. The Uvita beach is suitable for the whole family. There are many sea and land attractions in the area, and the waves are perfect for beginners. Anyone who wants to learn to surf will surely find a reputable surfing school.

Surfing skill required

Beginner surfer

Recommended Season

All seasons

Driving time

3-4 hours from San jose

jaco hptel in costa rica

Surf at Jaco

Jaco is the most modern coastal town in Costa Rica. The city is accessible and is only an hour drive from the San Jose airport, making it comfortable for families. It has all the necessities for a trip with the family like a variety of hotels, restaurants and many attractions. The beach in Jaco is perfect for beginner and expert surfers, and you can find surfing schools and various shops that sell and rent equipment for surfing. Jaco is best choice between other surfing beaches in costa rica. Experienced surfers also visit Jaco because it is only a short drive to beaches for more professional surfers—such as Hermosa Beach, which is just five minutes away—with pipes and Beach Break for experienced surfers only.

Surfing skill required

Beginner, Intermediate & Experienced surfer

Recommended Season

All seasons

Driving time

1-2 hours from San jose

Santa Teresa | Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica

Surf at Boca Barranca

Boca Barranca is a beach just north of Jaco, known for its very long left wave that sometimes reaches a mile long. They are the second longest waves after those of Pavones. The beach is very accessible and comfortable, has parking and showers, and is spectacular in its beauty. It is recommended to visit during the dry season, because the wet season causes erosion from the river, bringing dirt.

Surfing skill required

Experienced surfer

Recommended Season

Dry season

Driving time

1-2 hours from San jose

Surf at Santa Teresa

A surfer’s village located at the southern tip of the Nicoya peninsula, Santa Teresa is great for both experienced and beginner surfers. The unique location of the beach creates three major breaks, each giving different surfing conditions ranging from waves reaching huge heights to gentle waves that are suitable for novice surfers. The village has surfing schools, surfing equipment shops and convenient access.

Surfing skill required

Beginner surfer

Recommended Season

All seasons

Driving time

5-6 hours from San jose. including ferry.

Tarmarindo Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica

8) Surf at Beaches Around Tamarindo

Tamarindo is a small town in the western Nicosia peninsula and is very friendly and comfortable for tourists. The beach in the city is extremely accessible, and the sea is suitable for beginner surfers. The town has shops and surfing schools, and around the city there are other extraordinary beaches. Professional and experienced surfers are recommended to travel to the beaches located north and south of Tamarindo, such as Playa Grande, Playa Langosta, and more.

Surfing skill required

Beginner, Intermediate & Experienced surfer

Recommended Season

All seasons

Driving time

4-5 hours from San jose

Costa Rica Surfing Culture

A surfing trip in Costa Rica allows you to not only experience the physical act of surfing beaches in costa rica, but it also gives you an opportunity to immerge yourself the surfing culture. Surfing for sport is an inseparable part of the daily lives of Costa Rican residents who live in coastal towns like Jaco, Puerto Viejo and Tamarindo. In these cities you can find surfing schools, a place to rent or buy surfboards, surfing equipment stores and anything else you could possibly need on a surfing trip. In these towns you will get the best tips from the locals who are experts on the waves and their beach conditions.

What Else Does Costa Rica Have to Offer?

Despite its small size, Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world. In addition to its picturesque beaches, it is recommended that you travel and see the rest of the country’s natural wonders—the rainforests, diverse species of animals, volcanoes, nature reserves, tree trekking, horseback riding and breathtaking views—all waiting for you in Costa Rica.

Are You Planning a Surfing Trip to Costa Rica?

My name is Tony, the owner of the Las Orquideas Hotel and surfing school in the coastal town of Jaco, and I would be happy to host you during your visit to Costa Rica. Our surfing school offers surfing lessons from ages five and up and provide an English-speaking teacher. We are here to help you discover the best surfing beaches in costa rica.

Izu's Place

150 Metros Este de Pops, Jaco Centro, 33345 Jacó, Costa Rica