Surfing in Costa Rica has been described as unparalleled, and for good reason, providing surfers from around the globe with yearlong warm waters, tropical temperatures and a consistent surf.
This legendary surf location, along with its wide variety of surf-camps and surfer-friendly guides and accommodation, is rapidly becoming a leading surf trip destination.
With two coastlines, the Caribbean and the Pacific, Costa Rica produces great waves and has many quality surf spots, so whether you’re a fan of large swells and point breaks or simply looking for a more consistent surf with lower pressure systems, Costa Rica is your ideal destination!
Best Time Of The Year For Surfing In Costa Rica
Like Nicaragua, surfing in Costa Rica can be done all year round, some believe the ultimate swell season is between April and October, whilst others believe the rainy season from May to November produces bigger waves and larger swells.
Best Costa Rica Surf Spots
In this post we will explore the best Costa Rica surf spots. These includes Tamarindo, Santa Teresa, Jaco, Nosara, Dominical and Pavones.
About a 4 hour drive from San Jose, Tamarindo is a popular surf town that lies on the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It gained its surf fame and notoriety thanks to the film The Endless Summer.
Surfing in Tamarindo is very well suited to beginners, however there are also some well known surf spots for more advanced surfers. The now infamous Witches Rock and Ollies Point surf spots can be accessed by boat (day trip) from Tamarindo.
Santa Teresa lies at the south-western tip of Costa Rica’s Nicoya peninsula. Over the preceding decades it has emerged as a sought surf Costa Rica surfing destination from travellers all over the globe.
The fun and varied beach breaks mean that Santa Teresa has a wave for everyone. For surfers looking for a more advanced wave, head to Playa Hermosa which is known to challenge the very best with its fast sections. On the down days there a plethora of outdoor activities to choose from in including waterfall hikes and day trips to nearby nature reserves.
Jaco is located in province of Puntarenas on the pacific coastline of Costa Rica. Jaco has a reputation for being a surf and party town and is particularly popular with younger travelers seeking out some hedonism.
Like Tamarindo, Jaco can also become overrun with tourists at certain times of the year. So if touristy surf towns are not your scene, then perhaps pass on Jaco and look at more chilled Costa Rica surf spots like Dominical.
Nosara sits n the Nicoya peninsula in the Guanacaste province between Tamarindo and Santa Teresa. It’s the ideal place to learn to surf with it’s many beach breaks and excellent surf schools.
It’s a chilled out surf town and it doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of a Tamarindo or a Jaco. It’s a place you go to kick back, surf and relax. It’s also very popular with yogis, so if the waves aren’t firing you can keep yourself loose with a few downward and upward facing dogs.
Nestled between the jungle and the vast oceans is Dominical. This quirky beach town has much to offer visitors, from adventure sports like surfing to more relaxing activities.
Dominical is known for having some of the most consistent waves when it come to surfing in Costa Rica. A key part of this is Playa Dominical which is a world renowned beach break which sits at a river mouth. This enables the sand banks to be ever-changing, with the gnarliest, barrelling waves lying closest to the rivermouth.
Pavones is a little bit of Costa Rica surf paradise right dow in the south-western tip of the country. The Panama border is only a few kilometres away. This diminutive, tranquil surf village was discovered in 1980’s and since then has been slowly building a reputation for being one of the longest left hand point breaks in the world.
It does however only work on a very particular swell direction, so visiting surfers must be prepared that they may not have any waves on their particular trip. Thankfully the village is surrounded by dense jungle with spectacular fauna and flora.
Best Costa Rica Surf Accommodation
There are so many amazing places to stay along the coast when surfing in Costa Rica. In this post we’ve selected what we think is the best accommodation establishment for each region.
However, if you’re looking for a more comprehensive guide of the best places to stay we have written a Costa Rica Surf Camp Guide which goes into much greater details when it comes to Costa Rica surf accommodation for each region.
Casa Aura: Beachfront Premium Hostel, Tamarindo
Located in the heart of Tamarindo, and a mere minutes walk away from Tamarindo beach, Casa Aura has been described as a luxury hostel.
With beautiful wooden interiors, outdoor terraces, shared lounges, and open-air wall-less breakfast spot surrounded by palm trees and hammocks, Casa Aura offers you a unique and tranquil Costa Rican experience.
Guests staying at Casa Aura are able to indulge in the locations facilities including playing pool, table tennis, darts or simply going straight to the beach.
With wonderful weather all year round, beautiful warm waters and fantastic swells, Tamarindo beach is perfect for both beginner and advanced surfers or simply for those looking for some downtime on the white sandy beaches.
Selina, Santa Teresa South
Selina has widely become known for its warm waters and weather, outstanding surf and inclusive environment where “kindness” is the key word. Santa Teresa South is a surfers-paradise, which will draw you in with its white sandy beaches and charming energy, catering to surfers from beginners to advanced, alike. Selina is categorically one of the best surf camps in Costa Rica.
With Playa Carmen and Montezuma just minutes away from the property, Selina is recognised as one of the finest surf camps in Santa Teresa South.
Selina offers a wide variety of local cuisines as well as additional activities (if you’re looking for more than a sick surf), with many guests highly recommending the Yoga classes in the iconic open-air studio, tucked away in the jungle, creating a truly unique Costa Rican experience.
Selina’s tour desk strives to provide local guides and tips, ensuring you make the most of your stay, with luggage storage readily available 24/7, and access to the business centre and terrace.
Guests checking in have the option of standard, deluxe or quadruple rooms, with a shared bathroom option also available, for those on a slightly tighter budget, once again making Selina a notch above all other surf camps in Santa Teresa South and the ultimate surf camp choice in the area.
Selina, Santa Teresa North
Famous for world-class surfing, Santa Teresa North has an infectious energy, attracting surfers and holidaymakers from across the globe.
Selina in Santa Teresa North offers a unique Costa Rican experience, close to the centre of life, yet still tucked away from the hustle and bustle, surrounded by forests and beaches, creating an oasis of calm and tranquility.
With its almost perfect climate, surf and wellness, Selina has been heralded as one of the best surf camps in the area due to its friendly staff and wonderful international community of locals and expats.
This makes it an ideal getaway for surfers and wellness-minded travellers, or simply those trying to get a taste of a more authentic #SelinaLife. Being the biggest surf camp in Santa Teresa, Selina offers a wide variety of comfortable rooms ranging from dorms, to deluxe rooms and suites.
Guests are able to enjoy the hotels artistic and cultural vibe whilst also being in close proximity to Santa Teresa North’s bar and nightlife, in the surrounding city. With Tambor and Montaña Grande approximately 30 minutes away from the surf camp, guests are also able to explore other parts of Costa Rica with ease.
Room2Board Hostel and Surf School, Jaco
Voted one of the best hostels in the world by HostelWorld, Room2Board Hostel and Surf School is an authentic, eco-friendly, locally owned surf camp, situated on Jaco Beach. It is for this reason that Room2Board is also fast becoming one of the bets surf camps in Costa Rica.
Guests are welcomed into a vibrant and social atmosphere, where they are able to mingle with like-minded world travellers and become part of a global family.
Using eco-friendly designs, Room2Board Hostel and Surf School offers surfers, backpackers and vacationers a variety of bedrooms including dormitories, private double and quadruple rooms as well as the option of private or shared bathroom facilities, ensuring your exact needs are catered to, as a group or as a solo adventurer.
All rooms are equipped with ceiling fans and air conditioners can be arranged on request, for a small additional fee.Guests have access to the locations facilities including the poolside bar and lounge, and able to indulge Costa Rican and Argentinean meals, both on-site and in the neighboring areas.
With the beach less than 100 yards away, Room2Board Hostel and Surf School is the ideal location for advanced surfers or for those wanting to embark upon their surfing career, with the help of the hostels own surf school.
Moana Surf Resort, Nosara
Moana Surf Resort, located on Playa Guiones has earned its reputation as one of the best surf camps in Costa Rica With its white sandy beaches, yearlong surf and iconic sunsets, it has become one of the ultimate surf locations. Moana provides cozy and personalized facilities and services, offering double suites and larger studios with every room equipped with flat screen TV’s and air conditioners, making it ideal for solo adventures or groups and families.
Moana’s location is unique with a jungle path leading directly to the beach. This location offers guests a secluded stay, with easy access to markets, cafes, shops and nightlife. Alongside Moana’s Surf Coaching program for all levels, guests are also able to enjoy other activities including snorkeling and horse riding, ensuring there is something for everyone.
The Nomadic Hotel, Nosara
The Nomadic Hotel provides guests with an authentic Nosara experience, located in Playa Guiones, a mere 5 minute walk to the white sandy beaches, warm waters and surf points.
Guests can relax in the common areas, enjoy a complimentary breakfast in their breathtaking surrounds, kick back with a beer at the pool bar or take a yoga class in the open-air pavilion.
The Nomadic Hotel prides itself in its inclusive and social atmosphere, which focuses on getting the guests excited and inspired about life, and connecting like-minded travellers, through their love of beaches, surfing and Costa Rica, of course!
All rooms are equipped with air conditioners and rooms range from dormitories to deluxe king suites, ensuring, in true Costa Rican style, there is something suited to everyone needs, whether its just you and your surf board or a giant group of adventurers, The Nomadic Hotel will take great care of you.
Tree of Life Cabinas, Dominical
Nestled away on the mountain of Escalares, a 13-minute drive from Dominical Beach, Tree of Life Cabinas is a hidden gem, offering guests a serene experience with ocean views, picturesque sunsets and crisp mountain breezes, ideal for travelers looking for a more tranquil escape.
Each cabina has a modern yet tropical feel, using vivid colours, combined with the natural surroundings to create a truly unique Costa Rican experience. Guests have access to their own private terrace with patio furniture created and curated by local artisans, along with an outdoor shower, allowing guests to fully embrace their natural surroundings.
Guests are able to relax by the poolside, or take a walk through the large gardens, observing the tropical flowers, plants and local wildlife. For those looking to get wet, or stay dry, Tree of Life Cabinas’ staff will help you find the perfect activities to suit your needs!
Cafe de la Suerte, Pavones
Situated in Pavones, 28km from Golfito, Cafe de la Suerte is perfect for adventure lovers and has quickly become a common destination for adventurers, globally. A town located off the beaten path, in Costa Rica’s southernmost point, the journey to Pavones is an adventure in itself.
Cafe de la Suerte offers guests a taste of the local culture, creating a peaceful atmosphere, and providing a relaxing and laid-back experience, while still offering a variety of activities to the guests. Popular activities include surfing, horse riding, bird watching, hiking, yoga, cycling, jungle and waterfall hikes as well as Spanish classes and local cooking workshops.
Perfect for solo travellers or bigger groups, Cafe de la Suerte has a selection of rooms, with both sea and garden views available on request, and is dedicated to providing you with a unique and authentic Costa Rican experience.