Surfing Paradise: Discover the Best Surf Spots in Costa Rica

Witch's Rock stands against the horizon in Guanacaste
If you're looking for an unforgettable surfing experience in Costa Rica, you've come to the right place. Costa Rica is a true paradise for surfers of all levels! We got everything you need for epic surfing. From beginner-friendly waves to adrenaline-pumping heavy barrels, it's a surfer's dream. 
So grab your board and let's explore some of the best surfing spots in Costa Rica.

Tamarindo Beach: Where Beginners Become Pros

Surfing session during sunset in Tamarindo
Tamarindo is the ultimate haven for beginners, thanks to its expansive two-mile stretch of beach. The waves here are gentle so it’s an ideal spot to catch your first wave or improve your skills. But don't let that fool you! When a good swell rolls in, Tamarindo can offer some pretty big waves that even intermediate and advanced surfers will enjoy. For a quieter experience, head to the southern part of Tamarindo, in front of Capitan Suizo Hotel, where you'll find forgiving and mellow waves.

Avellanas: Hone Your Skills in Costa Rica’s “Little Hawai’i”

Aerial view of beach and ocean at Playa Avellanas
About 30 minutes south of Tamarindo, you'll find Avellanas Beach, a hidden gem for those who have gained confidence and want to challenge themselves a little bit more. Once you feel safe after some surfing lessons and become comfortable on your board, Avellanas is a great option.
What sets it apart is the empty lineup and the incredible variety of breaks it offers. You'll be stoked to know that within just a 20-minute walk, you can choose between a beach break, a river mouth, and a reef break. And don't miss Lola's for lunch! This beachfront restaurant offers delicious food and you might even spot their wandering pigs. It's a must.

Guiones, Nosara: Endless Waves for All 

Man walking out of water holding a surfboard during sunset
Playa Guiones in Nosara is a top pick for surfers of all levels. The surf conditions here are consistent year-round, making it a reliable spot. At Guiones, you'll find both left and right breaks over a sandy bottom, perfect for every type of surfer! The waves are generally beginner-friendly, even though the swells can reach up to 10 feet. So whether you're a seasoned wave rider or just getting started, Playa Guiones won’t disappoint.

Santa Teresa: Off the Beaten Path, Waves Await Seasoned Surfers

Person surfing on the beach by Hotel Manala in Santa Teresa
For those seeking a less crowded surfing experience, Santa Teresa is your answer. Located off the beaten path, this picturesque destination caters to both intermediate and advanced surfers. While it offers fantastic breaks for experienced wave riders, there is also plenty of room for beginners to learn and improve their skills in a more relaxed atmosphere. The town has a laid-back, surfer, backpacker vibe, but also offers luxury accommodations, amazing restaurants, and vibrant nightlife!

Dominical and Dominicalito: Surfing Heavyweights

Surfer riding a wave in Dominical
Get stoked for perfect surf waves all year round at Dominical! Playa Dominical is a beast, stretching over a whopping 2.5 miles and split by the Baru River. Those river sandbars create killer beach breaks, giving you a mix of fun waves and even some epic barrels if you're lucky.
But wait, what about beginners? No worries! Most days, beginners can get in on the action. The waves break early, giving you the perfect chance to practice your skills with some whitewash. And if you're craving a more laid-back vibe, just cruise down the road for a quick trip to Playa Dominicalito, which is about a mile away. It's the mellow alternative you've been searching for.

Witch’s Rock: A Boat Ride to Experts’ Bliss

Surfer riding waves at Witch's Rock in Guanacaste
Get ready for Witch's Rock, or "Roca Bruja," the secret ingredient for an epic surf adventure! Massive rock + river shaping sandy bottom = perfect waves. Oh, and the beach? Mind-blowing. Nestled in Playa Naranjo, deep in Santa Rosa National Park in Guanacaste. It's remote, isolated, and totally worth it. No worries about accommodations or restaurants near Witch's Rock. Stay in Playa Hermosa, Playas del Coco, or Tamarindo. Take a thrilling boat ride to Witch's Rock, the best way to experience this epic surf spot.

Pavones: A Surfing Mecca for Pros

Surfing in the Golfo Dulce near Osa Peninsula
Get ready to ride the legendary left at Pavones, one of the most epic surf spots on the planet. The main wave here is an insane, leg-burning left-hander that curves perfectly into the mouth of Golfo Dulce. Pavones offers surfers a complete surfing experience on a secluded beach tucked inside Golfo Dulce. It's not easy to reach, as it's over a seven-hour drive from the Juan Santamaria Airport in San Jose. But trust me, the journey is totally worth it for the die-hard barrel hunters seeking the ultimate surf adventure.

Puerto Viejo: A Taste of the Caribbean Salsa Brava

Salsa Brava in Puerto Viejo, Limón
Puerto Viejo is not just one of the best surf spots in Costa Rica, but also in Central America. Those who visit embark on a trip away from the city and more tourist locations to get a great prize: the Salsa Brava. It translates as “Angry Sauce,” and its surf break is just as powerful as the name suggests. Expert surfers will love to try out this reef break to truly test their skills. Many even wear helmets when riding these waves. 
In addition to the surf, Puerto Viejo is a quirky beach town with a very unique atmosphere. With its Afro-Caribbean vibe, bustling restaurants, and party festivals, it’s one of the friendliest and most laid-back spots in the country. And it’s particularly welcoming to surfers, so it’s worth the visit.
Overall, Costa Rica is an amazing surf destination. With consistent waves year-round, there's something for every level of surfer, from beginner-friendly breaks to world-class spots. Not to mention that the country offers a variety of accommodations and rentals to suit every traveler. Just contact us and we’ll begin planning your next adventure to Costa Rica.


About the Author

Shelly Huff

Travel Consultant at Costa Rican Vacations          
Meet Shelly, who arrived in Costa Rica in 2009 with a passion for surfing. Instantly captivated by the country's charm and relaxed way of life, she made the decision to stay, a choice she has never regretted. With over 10 years of experience in the tourism industry, Shelly is an expert in showcasing the best of Costa Rica.
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