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The best beaches for surfing in Costa Rica

Costa Rica – from 21,250 Avios each way – is a top international destination for surfers of all levels. Discover the best beaches in the Caribbean, north, south and central Pacific areas, and the best seasons and levels of difficulty for each spot.

With 1,228km of coastline bathed by the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea or Pacific Ocean – and two shores to enjoy at any time of the year – Costa Rica is undoubtedly a true surfing paradise.

NORTH PACIFIC

Roca Bruja in Playa Naranjo, Santa Rosa National Park
(Guanacaste)

A constant beach break creates plenty of tubes.

Best season: from November to May.

Playa Naranjo is one of the best areas for waves in the country and is well known for its surfing. Despite this, it tends to be fairly uncrowded. The perfect spot is located in the area popularly known as ‘Roca Bruja’ – the name comes from a huge rock off the coast where the waves break.

Follow real-time wave forecasts and all the latest on surfing at Playa Naranjo

Roca Bruja at Playa Naranjo is one of Costa Rica’s top wave sites
Trade winds favour the formation of perfect waves at Playa Naranjo / Image by Al Schaben (Getty images)

Tamarindo, in Santa Cruz
(Guanacaste)

Beach breaks create a variety of wave peaks, both left and right.

Best season: all year round.

From December, the offshore wind promotes the creation of tubes. Access to Tamarindo is easy and there are good waves all year round, plus a very long beach with different breaks. It’s the perfect place to dip your toe in this sport as it boasts several surf schools.

Follow real-time wave forecasts and all the latest on surfing at Tamarindo.

Tamarindo beach in Costa Rica has good waves all year round and, when the offshore wind is just right, it creates perfect tubes for surfing
The best conditions for surfing at Tamarindo happen when the west-northwest swells combine with an east offshore wind / Image by Daniel Lamborn (Shutterstock)

PACIFIC CENTRAL

Playa Hermosa de Jacó
(Puntarenas)

Wild beach break, with constant, nicely formed swells.

Best season: from May to November.

It’s important not to confuse this beach with another (quieter) beach of the same name in Guanacaste. Every August, Playa Hermosa hosts the Quicksilver International Surfing Championship, which brings together the world’s top competitors. The best spot on the beach lies opposite a huge tree known as El Almendro.

Follow real-time wave forecasts and all the latest on surfing at Playa Hermosa

Each August, Playa Hermosa – a safe bet for surfing good waves – hosts the Quicksilver International Surfing Championship
Playa Hermosa is usually a safe bet for finding good waves, both left and right / Image by Gian (AdobeStock)

SOUTH PACIFIC

Pavones in Río Claro, Golfito
(Puntarenas)

The point break is 1.2km long.

Best season: from May to November.

Located in a surf-loving city, this also boasts one of the world’s longest left waves, which can last up to three minutes. When the conditions are just right, quite a crowd gathers along the three sections of the wave, but there is plenty of room for everyone!

Follow real-time wave forecasts and all the latest on surfing at Pavones.

CARIBBEAN

Salsa Brava in Puerto Viejo
(Lemon)

The reef break is strong and fast.

Best season: just a few times a year, always between November and May.

This beach, located in the lively village of Puerto Viejo, is for experts. Although the place is somewhat dangerous for beginners and the use of a helmet is recommended, it is still one of the biggest treats for specialists as it is home to one of Costa Rica’s most extraordinary waves.

Follow real-time wave forecasts and all the latest on surfing at Salsa Brava.