Costa Rica Surfing Tips

Surfing in Costa Rica

Costa Rica, a paradise situated in the heart of Central America, is a top choice for surfers worldwide. With its impeccable weather, diverse marine life, and stunning landscapes, it’s a magnet for adventure seekers, especially those drawn to the water. Costa Rica’s Pacific and Caribbean coastlines boast dozens of world-class surf breaks. Here, we’ll focus on three of the most lauded surfing beaches, and what each one uniquely offers to its visitors.


Situated in the far south of Costa Rica, Pavones is often considered a ‘hidden gem’ due to its remote location. But for surfers who make the journey, it rewards with one of the longest left-hand point breaks in the world. On an excellent day, rides can last up to a minute or more.

Pavones’ waves are best surfed from April to November, during the rainy season, when southern Pacific swells are most likely. However, the remoteness of Pavones makes predicting the surf a little tricky, so a flexible itinerary is a plus when planning a visit.

Outside the surf, Pavones offers a step back from the more tourist-centric locations. It’s a spot to immerse oneself in nature, with the untouched rainforest meeting the Pacific Ocean. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the rich avian life, and if luck prevails, one might even spot a humpback whale.

surf etiquette

Playa Hermosa

Playa Hermosa, located in the Puntarenas province on the Central Pacific coast, is one of the most popular and respected surf spots in Costa Rica.

This expansive 8-kilometer long black sand beach, not to be confused with its namesake in Guanacaste, is well-loved for its consistent, powerful waves, perfect for experienced surfers looking for a challenge. Most renowned for its beach breaks, Hermosa often sees swells of over 13 feet.

Aside from the impressive waves, Hermosa’s surroundings are rich in biodiversity. Its backdrop of lush greenery is a conservation area home to an array of flora and fauna. After an adrenaline-fueled surfing session, visitors can unwind, spotting wildlife such as macaws and howler monkeys.

The beach’s surrounding town, Jacó, offers a vibrant nightlife, restaurants, and accommodations for surfers to enjoy, making Playa Hermosa an excellent base for a surf trip.

Playa Santa Teresa

Located on the Nicoya Peninsula, Playa Santa Teresa has grown from a quiet fishing village into a bustling surf hub over the years. It has gained recognition globally and is often found on lists of the world’s top surf destinations.

Santa Teresa’s allure lies in its consistent surf throughout the year, with waves suitable for a range of skill levels. Beginners can get comfortable with smaller waves in the 3-4 feet range, while more seasoned surfers can catch the impressive swells that often hit during the dry season. The beach break offers both left and right-hand waves, adding to the diversity of surfing experiences.

The town itself offers a blend of laid-back lifestyle and bohemian vibes, with plenty of wellness-focused amenities such as yoga studios and vegetarian restaurants. Additionally, the area’s natural beauty, with its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, provides a tranquil setting for relaxation and exploration off the board.

sunset in malpais Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s bountiful coastline offers an array of surfing opportunities. Whether it’s the consistency of Playa Hermosa, the charm of Santa Teresa, or the adventure of a remote trip to Pavones, each beach offers a unique take on the Costa Rican surf experience. These locations encapsulate what Costa Rica does best—pairing extraordinary surf with breathtaking natural beauty. Happy surfing!

Costa Rica Awaits

Your perfect vacation home in Costa Rica is only a click away.