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Caribbean Surf Spots in Costa Rica

Since I keep getting asked for this - here’s a list of spots on the Caribbean side you should get familiar with before you head there. There’s quite a range depending on your skill level, and how intrepid you are. The Caribbean side is a bit of a different vibe, different geography, bathymetry (sea bottom topography), Flora and fauna. Although I’ve spent most of my time on the other side, It’s a totally different experience and well worth a trip. Howler monkeys abound, so you won’t have to worry about sleeping in! And if you get restless, there’s plenty of sharks to nibble your on toes. Here’s some of the major spots and don’t forget your reef booties!

Playa Bonita: A powerful left breaking over coral reef. Can be a heavy drop, so this place is suited to more experienced surfers.

Portete: Fast right breaking waves over a shallow coral reef bottom. Located close to Playa Bonita - to the North.

Isla Uvita: Scary! This is considered by many to be one of the most powerful left breaking waves in Costa Rica. You can catch a boat ride from Limón which leaves early in the morning due to prevailing wind condidtions. The wave faces an exposed coral reef, one meter over sea level. Good days will offer you perfect, powerful waves in the overhead range. The wave breaks in three sections, so watch out! You will need a fast board and to be in good shape if you want to charge these sets. Talk to people who know the wave and the reef, and don’t go alone - use the buddy system, local knowledge, and whatever brain you’ve got left - or end up sorry!

Cahuita: A National Park just south of Limón. It is well known for its parties, great waves, tropical beaches, and excellent snorkeling and diving

Puerto Vargas: Average size and difficulty beach break. Located within the National Park.

Puerto Viejo: The crown jewel of the Caribbean side and potential hero-maker. But, before you become a hero, make sure you can handle the heavy, hollow drops. This is probably the most powerful wave in Costa Rica. Named “Salsa Brava” people regularly break boards here, and the coral reef bottom is no joke. If you have the skills to pay the bills, you will love it here. The town is cool too, with lots to do at night, eat, and places to stay on the cheap. Hopefully you score and get it good., hopefully you’ve checked the swell before making the decision to go Caribbean. If not, maybe the locals can show you some pictures of themselves getting spit out of the perfect barrels two months before you showed up… while you cry in your margarita…

I’ve included this video so you can see the wave heavy— and not so heavy. but most importantly, get a feel for the people, and the area. The people here are warm and friendly… maybe you will like the whole rasta vibe thing… yeah… like, you know…. smoking yourself out until you cant think straight.

Playa Cocles: 10 minutes by car or truck from Puerto Viejo, Playa Cocles offers fun left and right beach breaks. Mind the rips and sideshore currents.

Manzanillo: About twenty minutes from Puerto Viejo by car or truck. It’s an exotic, less frequented gem. Decent waves here. That’s all I’m going to tell you for now, because i’m tired and i need to sleep. More later!

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