Up and down Costa Rica's Pacific and Caribbean coasts, the rolling surf pounds hundreds of beaches with moderate to large. waves Surfers from around the world come to Costa Rica take advantage of prime surfing conditions created by the perfect blend of wind and geography.
Photo by Luis Angel Espinoza
Northeasterly winds predominate through the months of November to April, making the northernmost beaches a mecca for experienced surfers. During these windy months, international and local surfers head for the beaches in the Guanacaste area where they can also find moderately priced accommodations for their sleeping hours.
Potrero Grande is the northernmost beach with a nice mix of left and right waves. Further south in the Golfo de Papagayo, you'll find wicked Playa Naranjo. Offshore winds produce left and right waves during the months of December through March. This beach break, nicknamed Witch's Rock, is a serious spot for serious surfers. The Inexperienced need not apply, say locals.
Further south, just before the town of Nosara, lies Playa Negra, This reef break has fast, right waves, which at high tide become fast and hollow. With more than 30 mapped surf beaches, the Pacific coast has waves that are suitable for beginners to advanced surfers.
One surfer hailing from the U.S.'s west coast described Costa Rica's surf beaches as "awesomely wicked."He says he travels to Costa Rica at least once a year to "rip up waves" while "relaxing in the coolest towns". Cool, laid-back, casual - whatever the adjective, the towns live up to their reputation.
Surf villages are extremely popular and known for their warm "Pura Vida" hospitality. For local surf flavor, check out Jaco, Cabo Blanco, Quepos, and Dominical when on the Pacific side. On the Caribbean side, Puerto Viejo is the place to be. Surfer-budget accommodations are abundant, as well as underground surf shops for supplies and repairs.
Photo by Luis Angel Espinoza
Salsa Brava in Puerto Viejo is a right-hand reef break with a fairly shallow coral bottom. From December to April, the awesome waves here draw intermediate to advanced surfers from all over the world and an international surfing competition is held every February. For beginners, there are miles of beach breaks with sand bottoms along the Caribbean coast.
International competitions in Costa Rica are on the rice. In the Pacific area of Tamarindo, a yearly long board competition is bringing in competitors from the world over. World-class waves can be found on this coast with many enthusiasts claiming they are comparable to Hawaiian waves.
The consistency of the waves is what brings these wave aficionados back for more. Both coasts offer a title bit of everything. Warm, hospitable people, excellent waves and exotic surroundings combine to produce the perfect surf vacation for even the most jaded wave junkie.