Surfing in Costa Rica

surfer in a wave
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

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You may have heard the term “Pura Vida” before. In Costa Rica, it’s a way of life—it means enjoying the simple pleasures and living in harmony with nature. (In fact, the literal translation is “pure life”.) A visit to this peaceful country is all about relaxing on beautiful beaches, partaking in incredible outdoor adventures and drinking lots of delicious local coffee. So if you’re looking for a no-fuss tropical escape complete with world-class surfing, look no further than Costa Rica.

Consistent waves and a vibrant surf culture

Costa Rica is a world-class surfing destination, with consistent waves and a vibrant surf culture. While the country’s coast is home to some of the best breaks in Central America, there are also plenty of great spots on both coasts that aren’t as well-known but offer great value for money and an authentic Costa Rican experience.

Costa Rica’s Pacific coast has some of the best waves in all of Central America. From Jacó to Dominical, you can find long lefts that work up into tubes or short rights that offer barreling barrels. The more adventurous will want to head south from here and explore the lesser known breaks along this wild coastline where you’ll have virtually no crowds! If you’re looking for something less challenging but still excitingly good fun then check out Playa Hermosa (Playa Herradura). This beach break offers consistent swells year round with peaks during summer months when winds tend to blow offshore providing clean conditions ideal for beginners through experts alike!

Costa Rica has two distinct surf seasons

Costa Rica has two distinct surf seasons, the rainy and the dry. The rainy season is from May to November, while the dry season runs from December to April.

In general, it’s best to go during the rainy season if you’re new to surfing as it can be too windy or choppy during the dry season. When there are strong winds you’ll have a better chance of catching a wave because there won’t be as many people on the beach. If you’re an experienced surfer who wants some waves for yourself, then come during the dry season when there will be less people in your way!

Guanacaste – The Nicoya Peninsula 

Santa Teresa is a surf spot on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. It is one of the most famous and popular places for surfing in all of Costa Rica, and it hosts some of the best surf breaks in the country. Santa Teresa has a great surf culture and is popular among both tourists and locals alike.

The most famous break at Santa Teresa is called La Piscina, which is also sometimes referred to as “The Pit” or “The Slab” by many surfers around the world because of its unique shape that resembles a slab. This break works on both low tide and high tide, making it an ideal wipeout spot for beginners who are just learning how to surf or those looking for something easy after having mastered some more advanced maneuvers.

Guanacaste – Playa del Coco

Guanacaste – Playa del Coco is another popular spot for rentals, lessons and board-carrying taxi drivers. One of the most famous breaks in Playa del Coco is Ollies Point, which gets huge waves just before low tide.

It’s not just a place to go out and surf, it’s also a great place to learn how to surf. Costa Rica is known for its surfing schools and they are numerous. When you’re looking for surfing schools in Costa Rica, you’ll find that there are quite a few different choices available. You can choose either a private lesson or one that is taught in groups. The cost of training varies depending on where you go and what kind of lessons you want but it shouldn’t run more than $50 per person per hour if you’re going through an established school or company (they are licensed).

Boca Barranca

If you’re interested in learning to surf, Boca Barranca is a great place to start. Located on the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica and just south of Tamarindo, this beautiful spot is home to some of the best surfing beaches in all of Central America.

Boca Barranca boasts multiple breaks including:

  • Boca Grande – This right point break has reliable waves year-round and works best with tide swings between low tide and high tide
  • Callejon del Diablo – This left point break is ideal when there is good swell from the south or southwest but can also work well on smaller swells
  • La Ropa – A right beach break that works with any type of swell


Puntarenas is a popular surf destination, and with good reason. The south Puntarenas coast is known for its consistent swell year-round as well as a number of challenging breaks and strong rip currents.

The break at Playa Hermosa is one of the most infamous in Costa Rica, with waves that can reach up to 30 feet high during storm season (December to April).

Puntarenas – Outside Jaco is a series of reefs that provide great conditions at low tide. Surfers have to watch out for rocky channels, though. There’s also an impressive left break closer to town that can get really big on high tide, but it’s very popular with locals and tourists alike.


Costa Rica is a world-class surfing destination, with consistent waves and a vibrant surf culture. It’s easy to get to the water from anywhere in the country, and you can find all kinds of breaks for all levels. You can also rent boards and take lessons just about anywhere, as well as hire locals to carry your board on their motorcycles or ride with you on scooters. So no matter where you go in Costa Rica, there’s a chance that you can find some good waves.