Costa Rica surfing is one of the best experiences in the world and the country is beautiful for so many reasons. Featuring two beautiful coastlines (the Caribbean and the Pacific) that are over 750 miles long with more than 300 stunning beaches, surfers have more than they could possibly handle with a just a short-term visit to the country.
Both coastlines have warm waters that attract surfers from all walks of life: amateurs, beginners, intermediates, and professionals.
Experienced and professional surfers come to Costa Rica to surf the famous and prominent breaks, and the less experienced and beginners flock to the country to learn surfing while enjoying the waves on the many learner-friendly breaks available.
The surfing scene in Costa Rica is highly developed and takes place all year round.
The trip will be relatively affordable, and you do not need to spend much to enjoy the activity. If you are planning for a dream surfing trip to this slice of paradise, there are a few issues you should consider first.
These include the time of year for the best waves, the level of your surfing expertise and your budget. But, when, specifically, is the best time to go surfing?
Depending on your circumstances, here are the surfing seasons to choose from in Costa Rica;
- Low season (rainy season). This season lasts between the months of May and November. Commonly referred to as the “winter,” this season is characterized by heavy rain. As a result, many surfers insist that this is the time when the Pacific has the best surfing conditions due to the increased storms, waves and swells. Accommodation is cheaper and readily available during this season.
- High season (dry season). This season occurs between the months of December and April. Here in Costa Rica, this is the busiest season and when surfing and sunbathing enthusiasts flock to the beaches during the Christmas, New Year and Easter holidays. Prices are higher, and accommodation fills up fast. Surfing excitement is very high during this season, and plans must be made well in advance to avoid being relegated to the surfing sidelines.
- *Shoulder season (before the onset of the rainy season). As the high season ends and before the onset of the rainy season, surfers can enjoy an amazing surfing experience. This is because the prices are low, the beaches are less crowded, and the weather is good.
The waters in Costa Rica are so warm that you do not need a wetsuit. You can use your board shorts all year round. To make the surfing experience even more exciting, this country has some of the friendliest people you could ever meet and surf with and is considered by many to be the happiest place on Earth.
If you have never been Costa Rica surfing before, or you did not get enough of it the last time you were there, it’s high time you started planning for your next Costa Rica surfing holiday. But, where are the best places to go surfing in Costa Rica? There are a number of surfing spots that you can sample on the Costa Rica coastlines.
However, there are some that are more popular than others due to various reasons. The following are three surf towns that you need to visit for that unforgettable surfing experience;
Surfing in Jaco
Located in the Central Pacific area of Costa Rica, Playa Jaco is one of the most popular surfing destinations in the country. Like other surfing spots in the country, there are quite a number of surfboard shops and rental places.
You, therefore, do not necessarily need to carry your own board when traveling into the town. There are surf schools and private surfing instructors to cater for those who are just starting out or are feeling less confident about venturing into the high swells and waves. Additionally, there are surf camps that offer surfing programs for all surfing levels and skills.
The best thing about surfing here is that the beaches are not as crowded. There is enough space for surfers of all levels because the beach is simply huge. Whether you like the rights or the lefts, there are both types of beach break waves from the South or South West in Jaco to enjoy.
These will bring great waves to the beach on a good surfing day. During low tides, the waves are a little shallow and that is when the locals and learners like to surf. However, during high tide, the surfing experience goes notches higher and is better for advanced surfers.
Things to Do in Jaco after Surfing
Depending on your preferences, there are many things that can keep you busy during the evening and nights in Jaco. If you are looking for a place to eat, the Taco Bar of Jaco is perfect. Here you can get the best chicken, beef and fish tacos at affordable prices. Additionally, there is no shortage of places to hang out in like clubs, lounges, restaurants and casinos. Some of the most popular of these joints include Orange Pub Jaco, Le Loft Jaco and Ceviche Jaco.
Surfing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
A vacation to Costa Rica, especially on the Northern Pacific coastline, is not complete without a surfing experience in Tamarindo. This famous surfing destination was made even more popular by the movie Endless Summer IIand many visitors flock here to recreate some of the most popular scenes they’ve seen. This spot offers some of the best swells and offshore winds that amateur and professional surfers alike will kill for.
The long sandy and learner-friendly surf beaches here are just too enticing to pass up. If you are looking for a popular surfing destination full of fun and inspiration, Tamarindo is just what the doctor ordered! Whether you are a beginner or an experienced, advanced surfer, Tamarindo provides everything a surfer could possibly need.
For the learners, there are surf schools and private instructors who can usher surfing students into the waters atop surfboards like pros in no time.
There is, therefore, no excuse for ignoring this opportunity. You can even come with your own surfboard if you want.
However, in case you decide not to, or you forget, there is no reason to panic.
There are surfboard shops and rental places all waiting for you here. To get more value, you should consider renting the boards for longer to get more of a discount. When you are ready, you can start surfing at Tamarindo’s best surfing spots, including Rivermouth, Pico Grande and Pico Pequeno. Here you will get fast breaking right-hand swells to take advantage of. If you are a learner surfer, you are better off at the fronts of Capitan Suizo and Witches Rock.
Things to Do in Tamarindo after Surfing
Tamarindo’s nightlife has a lot to offer depending on your personal tastes and preferences. Clubs, lounges and bars are full of live music, DJs and catchy dance tunes. Some of them have karaoke, pool games and big screens.
There are also ladies’ nights to enjoy. For those who like to test their gambling skills, there is a small casino that offers blackjack, slot machines, roulette and poker.
Some of the popular hang-outs include El Be Tamarindo Beach Club, Sharky’s Sports Bar, and El Garito.
Surfing in Playa Santa Teresa
Located on the Northern Pacific coastline and southern tip of Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, Playa Santa Teresa is a small and not over-commercialized surfing destination. Featuring both right and left beach break waves, the best tide directions in this place are South West, West and Northwest. The beach is usually not crowded and has exciting swells and waves for the surfers to ride throughout the year.
These incredible waves are not only powerful, but also fast and regular, such that surfers of all levels and skills can try them out. In Playa Santa Teresa, surfers will be excited to find more groundswells than wind swells.
There are three major breaks and surfing spots in Playa Santa Teresa. These are La Lora Amarilla, Suck Rock and Casa Cecilia. There are various rental shops where surfers can get surfboards for use while in the town. Additionally, for learners there are shops, surf schools, camps and private surfing instructors in Playa Santa Teresa, to ensure that they too can get in on the surfing excitement with ease. The best thing about all these is the fact that they are situated right on this fabulous beach.
Things to Do in Santa Teresa after Surfing
Like all surfing destinations in Costa Rica, Santa Teresa has a lot to offer in terms of nightlife. There are bars, clubs, restaurants and dance floors for every style. There is plenty of live music, cold and warm drinks as well as tasty treats. From pool-side lounges to beachfront bars, you will never run out of places to go after sunset. Among the most popular joints in this quiet beach are La Lora Amarilla Disco Bar, Nativo Sports Bar, Open Mike Night at Kika and Roca Mar.
Surfing in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Located in the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio is a coastal city popular for surfing. This is an amazing surf spot with characteristic green hills and blue sky. This spot has consistent waves that can be enjoyed by surfers of all surfing levels and skills. Surfers in Manuel Antonio have a huge choice of surfing sports too. Some of the other popular beaches here include Boca Quepos, Playa El Ray, Playitas and Boca Damas. Manuel Antonio’s surf spots feature consistent, exposed beach and point breaks with the best wind directions of east northeast. Groundswells are more common than wind swells with the best swell direction being from the south. The spot is mostly suitable for learners and intermediate surfers. The right and left beach break waves here are gentle, smooth and fun to surf. However, veteran surfers can also ride here when the swell is powerful enough, especially during the months between May and November. The spot is less crowded. With numerous surf schools, camps, surf shops and rentals, you will have all the facilities necessary for a fantastic surf in Manuel Antonio.
Things to Do in Manuel Antonio
There are many ways you can spend your night here after surfing during the day. Some of the best places to head for drinks, food and other entertainment include Barba Roja Restaurante, Hotel Makanda by The Sea, Club Karma, Cuban Republik Disco Lounge and MoGamBo BarCafé.
Surfing in Playa Nosara
Located in Guanacaste, Playa Nosara is a famous surf spot in Costa Rica. This surf spot features an exposed beach break that provides consistent surf throughout the year for surfers of all levels of experience. There are both ground and wind swells with ground swells being the most common. The best winds here are from the north northeast while the ideal swell directions are from the west northwest. Surfers here enjoy both right and left beach break waves and the quality of the surf is never affected by the tide. Playa Nosara is never congested. Playa Nosara is served by a number of surf schools and camps. There are also surf shops and rentals where you can buy or rent surfing equipment.
Things to Do in Playa Nosara
There are many places that offer complete relaxation and enjoyment during the evening and night after the day’s surfing. Among the best of these entertainment joints in or near Nosara include Bar Olgas Restaurante, Hotel Boutique Lagarta Lodge, K-Rae's Black Sheep Pub, Casa Tucan, El Chivo Cantina and La Negra Surf Hotel & Soda and many others.
In conclusion, Costa Rica is one of the most popular surfing destinations in the world today. The people in this country are friendly, happy and welcoming to all visitors. On the two coastlines of the Caribbean and the Pacific, the country has hundreds of beaches and surf destinations spanning hundreds of miles. Some of the best surfing towns in this country include Jaco, Tamarindo and Santa Teresa. These three towns offer the best surfing experiences for both learners and experienced surfers. Like in all other surfing towns, the nightlife in these three has a lot to offer for visitors and local alike. There is no need for wetsuits because the waters are always warm.