Most popular surfing beaches in Costa Rica


In Costa Rica you will find plenty of breaks, swells and surf shops.  This country is home to some of the best waves on the planet, crashing along beaches. Surfers will find hundreds of beaches along the coast. The location of the country makes it a legendary surfing location and a classic trip choice.  This country has two coastlines- the Caribbean and the Pacific both of which produces great waves and has quality surf spots. It’s really hard to mention every worthy break as there is so much good surf in this country. Here goes a list of some of the most popular surfing beaches in Costa Rica:


With its 2.5-mile stretch of beach breaks, Playa Jaco is ideal for the beginners as well as for the advanced surfers. Far south end of this beach is suited mostly for the beginners and those who surf with longboards. Although Jaco on the Pacific coast may not have the best conditions in Costa Rica, this beach definitely has the reputation as the country’s prominent surf town. This beach is the closest beach to San Jose, the Central Valley and it makes the area a popular beach getaway destination. The popular beach town offers plenty nightclub action after the sun goes down.


Playa Dominical, with its consistent waves, is just like a paradise for the surfers. Surrounded by plantations, estuaries, mangroves and marshes, this beach town offers the beach-lover a wide variety of nearby beaches to choose from. This famous beach break has not changed much over the years and the change happens in the number of surf shops and surf camps and general surf related services. Laid-back surf town, Dominical is less developed than Jaco and Tamarindo. This beach receives its fair share of swell, though it mostly closes out when it gets over 7 or 8 feet. With soft playful waves, this cute and tiny beach is an excellent beginner beach aside from a few rocks in the shallows.

Santa Teresa:

Santa Teresa was a sleepy fishing village and later it has become a popular tourist destination especially for the beach lovers. This beach is ideal for surfing, snorkeling and paddle boarding. With a good swell, Santa Teresa has a longer beach and works on both high and low tide. Although the biggest swells come in the Green season from May to November, surfing is excellent all year round in this beach. In Dry season you will you will find consistent offshore winds blowing from the northeast, creating ideal waves for surfing. You can take help from local surfers who are very friendly and will be happy to give you the directions to find out the surf spots in the area. This beach break is very similar to the Playa Carmen but faster and steeper than Playa Carmen.

Playa Grande:

Located within Marino Las Baulas National Park, Playa Grande is relatively secluded and offers an expanse of white sand beach fringed by tropical jungle. This beach is the site of the arribadas of the leatherback sea turtles. This beach break is incredible and attracts surfers from all around the world. This beach is also ideal for learning the surf techniques as well as developing surf skills. With its moderate and constant breaks this beach is considered as one of the premier surf destinations in Costa Rica. Probably this beach is one of the most consistent of all Costa Rica surf spots. This beach is especially ideal when an off-season south combines with winter-time offshore winds.


Located in the southern Pacific Zone, Pavones Costa Rica is a small town. Pavones is the end of the road and a little out of the way and it is the only surf destination south of Dominical. It is renowned as the second longest surf spot left in the world. Though this spot is far away from the main towns but the town of Pavones is right next to the break with the perfect waves. As this surf spot is very popular, surfers can crowd the lineup. When the swells arrive, as many as 200 people have been counted in the water. The waves break off the point and then again around the shoulder when it’s not connecting.

Playa Guiones:

In this black sand volcanic beach you will find the spot in good conditions all year round. When the waves grow quick and steep, short boarders flock to the Playa Guiones at low tide. In Nosara this beach is considered as one of the country’s better surfing destinations. This beach is ideal for both new and advanced surfers. It is a popular, consistent, good quality beach break that breaks over sand and rock.  The waves of this beach work best in a north east wind and though the waves begin in a small swell, it can hold upto 2m+. You can reach this beach by following the signs from the center of Nosara. from San Jose you will have to drive about 350 kms and after reaching Nicoya you will have to go to Nosara and to reach there it will take about 5 hours.

Playa Avellanas:

Playa Avellana is ideal for the advanced surfers. During the dry season from December to April in this spot you will enjoy most sunshine and blue skies. During rainy season from mid-May through November is the best time for enjoying surfing. As it has awesome long breaking waves, long-boarders find this spot more suitable. This beach got its nickname “Little Hawaii” due to the surf action on the beach. Experienced surfers, who come to test themselves on waves that can swell to 18 feet, will love this surf spot.

Playa Hermosa:

Recommended for advanced surfers, Playa Hermosa is popular surf spot with both locals and visitors. This beach is located about 3 miles south of Costa Rica’s famous surf town Jaco. This Pacific coast beach’s action is Steady Eddy. In this spot you can enjoy surfing during the time of March through June and enjoy the biggest waves roll in July through October. Its consistent swell creates heavy waves and presents a fast-breaking challenge, capable of breaking either left or right.

Salsa Brava:

This is Puerto Viejo spot especially recommended for advanced surfers. At this spot country’s largest waves swell and burst upon the shore. If you are familiar with the monster waves of Hawaii, you will find the waves of Salsa Brava similar that are formed by an offshore coral reef. The large waves usually break right and sometimes go tubular and make the conditions demanding. At this spot you can enjoy optimum surf conditions at the time of December through March.

Playa Samara:

Ideal for the beginners, Playa Samara has waves breaking both ways. You will find the waves in good conditions throughout the year. These waves remain on the mild side since there is a brace of rocks. Advanced surfers can opt to take a boat out to bigger waves beyond the reef. If you are a beginner and visit this spot, you can get instructions from C&C Surf School and Choco’s Samara Beach Surf School and you will enjoy your time on boards and enjoy the waves.


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