Costa Rica already has quite a reputation among surfers, who are drawn there from near and far by the quality and consistency of its waves. Though the country gets plenty of the big waves, that true surf fanatics live for, there are also days and spots that are perfect for people who have little experience with the sport, or who have been away from the ocean for a long time, and would like to try it again. This means that whether you're a veteran wave ripper or a belly-boarding beginner, you can usually find the conditions you need to have a great time.
With 755 miles of coastline on two oceans, Costa Rica has more breaks than you can shake a stick at. The country's selection of surf spots range from idyllic beach breaks to coral platforms where the water leaps up and tubes like a miniature Pipeline. Having coastline on two oceans is quite an advantage, since when one ocean is flat, there is usually something breaking on the other side of the country. Often enough, there is good surf pumping on both coasts.
Since it is five times longer than the Caribbean coast, the Pacific has considerably more surfing spots. Many of the country's best breaks are found in the Northwest province of Guanacaste, but there are also some excellent spots in the Central Pacific and Southern Zones. And the few breaks that are available in the Caribbean province of Limon are certainly nothing to complain about. The following is a listing of the country's best surf spots:
North Pacific: Guanacaste Potrero Grande: Right point break in Santa Rosa National Park, only accessible by boat; no camping. Playa Naranjo: Great beach break by Witch's Rock, in Santa Rosa National Park, accessible with four-wheel-drive vehicle or boat; camping permitted. Playa Grande: Very consistent beach break north of Tamarindo. Tamarindo: Good beach break, excellent base for surfing nearby beaches. Playa Langosta: River mouth break south of Tamarindo. Avellanas: Very good beach break further to the south. Playa Negra: Right point break further to the south. Nosara: Several Beach breaks near selection of accommodations.
Central Pacific: Boca Barranca: Long river mouth left just south of Puntarenas. Tivives: Beach breaks and river-mouth left, south of Puntarenas. Jaco: Popular beach break with abundance of hotels and restaurants. Hermosa: Several very consistent beach breaks south of Jaco. Manuel Antonio: Beach breaks near plentiful accommodations. Dominical: Great beach breaks near hotels and restaurants. Matapalo: Right point break at tip of Osa Peninsula. Pavones: Very long left at mouth of Golfo Dulce.
Caribbean: Playa Bonita: Left over reef off popular beach just north of Limon City. Cahuita: Beach break on Black Beach, near hotels and restaurants. Puerto Viejo: Fast right over coral reef, plenty of hotels and restaurants. Cocles: Beach break just south of Puerto Viejo. Manzanillo: Beach break, only when big, some accommodations nearby.