Surfing in Costa Rica is nothing short of phenomenal. From the Northern and Central Pacific to the Caribbean, killer surf breaks are virtually everywhere. While hardcore surfers may want to bring their own boards, beginners to intermediates can simply rent one for $10-20 per day.
Most visitors will agree that the majority of Costa Rica’s best surfing spots are clustered along the Nicoya Peninsula’s Gold Coast. Beaches like Playa Grande, Tamarindo, Avellanas, Junquillal, and Langosta are legendary for their incredible rides. Playa Samara also offers decent waves for beginners, with more advanced opportunities nearby at Playa Camaronal. In Nosara, one of the first ex-pat surf communities in the country, surfers flock to Playa Guiones, Playa Pelada, and Playa Nosara to ride the area’s endless stretches of coastline to their heart’s content. Much farther south in the Osa Peninsula, Cabo Matapalo offers three beaches with varying degrees of surfing opportunities.
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Surf camps situated in places like Playas Nosara, Jaco, Herradura, and Tamarindo offer intense multi-day vacation packages that include surfing lessons and often meals, lodging, massage sessions, and yoga lessons. Surf camps are one of the best ways to learn how to surf – and fast. Professional surf instructors teach everything from the basics to advanced techniques like duck diving and grabs. By immersing yourself in this practice for such short bursts of time, absorbing surfing skills becomes a breeze.
Dedicated wave worshipers can’t leave Costa Rica without trying the most famous break in the country: Witch’s Rock, which is also the setting of the popular surf film Endless Summer II. Trips here are often combined with a jaunt to Ollie’s Point, another legendary surfing destination. On the Caribbean Coast, near Puerto Viejo, Salsa Brava features some of the biggest and most intense waves in the area. In the Golfito Peninsula, the rock break at Pavones is almost mechanical in its incredible consistency and is considered to be the longest left-hand break in the world. (The ride is touted to last up to about 3 minutes!)