Costa Rica surfing is incredible. Our physical map of Costa Rica pinpoints each surf spot and provides a corresponding description of each surf break.
Map of Costa Rica Surf Breaks
Northern Pacific Coast
1 – Potrero Grande (Ollies’s Point) – One of the best rights in Costa Rica. There’s a right point off the rivermouth with a left reeling off the south end of the bay. Fast and hollow waves. that takes a big south/southwest swell. Definitely worth hiring a boat.
2 – Playa Naranjo (Witch’s Rock) – Hands down one of the best breaks in the country. There are no facilities. It’s definitely a mission yet accessible in the dry season in a four-wheel drive. Bring a mosquito net and all your camping gear. Also accessible by boat.
3 – Playa Grande – A beach break located just north of Tamarindo. Accessible by road, or a paddle and a trek from Tamarindo. Good for day trips or few days chilling out with consistent high tide surf.
4 – Playa Tamarindo – A great little surf town that bosts several surf spots in the immediate area. There’s a rivermouth (el Estero), beach breaks, a reef, and a right point (Langosta around the southern point). Great central location with access to Playa Grande, Playa Negra and Avellanes. Here you’ll find accommodation, food and livelihood and get all your supply needs taken care of.
5 – Avellanes/Little Hawaii – A stretch of beach with all kinds of different breaks. Accessible from the end of the beach. Likes a low tide, but not too low!
6 – Playa Negra – A fast right breaking over a rock reef. Great waves at mid/low tide and it holds the swell at high tide making it consistent as long as the wind isn’t blowing too hard or the tide too low.
7 – Playa Nosara – Left and right peaks and a left rock reef with a stretch of beach and reef breaks (Ostinal) to the north.
8 – Nicoya Peninsula and the Mal Pais Area – Nicoya hosts Camaraonal, Playa Coyote, Manzanillo, Santa Teresa, Playa Carmen and Cabo Blanco. The entire area is great for exploring (but often impassible between Playa Coyote and Playa Santa Teresa in the rainy season). It is less developed in the North or head farther south where it’s still very mellow and surf the consistent beach breaks, with left points that get going on the larger swells.
Central Pacific Coast
9 – Boca Barranca – A long left breaking off the mouth of a river, accessible from Puntarenas. Takes a decent south and is also a great spot for longboarders.
10 – Dona Ana – Excellent left point accessible by paddling across the river.
11 – Puerto Caldera – A left that breaks off the sandbars produced by the jetty. Takes the same big south swell that gets the area cooking.
12 – Tivives/Valor – Sandbars and even more lefts can be found along this stretch.
13 – Playa Escondida – There’s a reef that produces rights and lefts about 10 km north of Jaco but only accessible by boat which can be hired in the immediate area.
14 – Jaco – Jaco is a good beach break when the swell isn’t huge or coming from the west or north. It’s close to San Jose and developed with all kinds of facilities. A great jumping off point to other locations and is good place to begin your trip or stay for the weekend excitement.
15 – Roca Loca – Just south of Jaco is a “crazy rock” that produces an excellent right. You will have to climb down a small hill/cliff and hit it at low/medium tide. Not a good place for beginners. Take a taxi from Jaco for a few colones.
16 – Playa Hermosa (del Jaco) – A strong beach break that works on any given day and breaks up and down the long stretch of beach. The waves are best on an incoming high tide and there is always something to surf here (except when it gets huge). More remote than Jaco but close enough to re-supply or enjoy the nightlife that Jaco offers.
17 – Esterillos Oeste and area – A secluded town that’s really mellow and offers more relaxed and uncrowded surfing opportunities.
18 – Damas Rivermouth – Surf the incoming tide to avoid being carried out to sea. Walking distance from Quepos. The right on the south side is fun. To surf the left that breaks on the north it’s best to hire a boat rather than paddle through the current and the crocodiles.
19 – Quepos – A left breaks off the jetty but the water is not the cleanest nor is this break very consistent because it needs a bigger swell to work. It is easily accessible, however, and there are many restaurants and accommodations in the area. Quepos is a good place to pass through and re-orient yourself and your way up or down the coast.
20 – Manuel Antonio – Beach breaks that need a larger swell for the surf to show but definitely worth a visit whether surfing or not. Frequent busses from Quepos as well as hotels here in Costa Rica’s famous national park. Small entrance fee required. Beach breaks can be found all the way south to Dominical.
21 – Dominical – Good, strong, fun beach breaks, a rivermouth and a left point south of the main breaks. Beautiful tropical landscapes. A great little town where you can loose yourself for a few days or years. Surf can get heavy!
22 – Rio Sierpe – A rivermouth accessible by boat.
Southern Pacific Coast
23 – Drake’s Bay and area – This break is way out of the way but can crank on a larger swell. You can also explore Corcovado National Park.
24 – Cabo Matapalo – Three right points located across the bay from Pavones. Takes a decent south and there will be locals in the line-up. Carate, around the point is a less frequented beach break. Go explore!
25 – Pavones – One of the longest lefts in the world. Pavones is fast and fun but needs a big south to connect the sections. There are a few typical restaurants, two bars and cabinas for rent. It’s a really beautiful area and worth the trip. There are also breaks as you head south including
26 – Punta Banco – A beach break and a reef that picks up the same south swell as Pavones but has more size.
27 – Punta Burica – Remote reef accessible only by boat with no accommodations. In fact a boat is a good way to explore this area, as there is surf to be found between Pavones and Burica.
28 – Barra Del Colorado/Tortugero – Sharky and difficult to access but desolate beach breaks and rivermouths are out there.
29 – Playa Bonita – On the north end of the cove you can ride the left coral reef/point but it is inconsistent.
30 – Cocaine Point – Across the water you can catch the right. This break was created during the 1991 earthquake.
31 – Roca Alta – A rock reef produces a powerful right. Experience surfers only.
32 – Isla Uvita – An island off the coast of Limon hosts a live reef that produces a nice left. It will hold the size. Camping is permitted but there are no facilities. Boat access only.
33 – Westfalia Area – Beach breaks run along the coast to the south of Limon. Rio Banano is a little jewel of a rivermouth and there are other rivermouths in the area.
34 – Cahuita (Black Beach) – A secluded beach that picks up waves year round and has something to surf when the other breaks don’t. Camping is permitted.
35 – Salsa Brava – World class reef break located in Puerto Viejo in front of Stanford’s restaurant. Thick and heavy reef that breaks to the right. Advanced surfers only! Tons of cheap accommodation and food with a beach break south of town. There is good nightlife here with plenty of things to do in and outside of town.
36 – Manzanillo – More beach break south of Puerto Viejo.
So, if you are planning a Costa Rica surfing vacation package give us a call to get more information!
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