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Costa Rica Best Surf

You wanted a list of Costa Rica’s Best Surf Spots, so here you go. I’m going to make it easy-ish for you. I have complied this list based on my own experiences surfing in Costa Rica, and I’ve also included some surf spots that are universally held to be on the list of Costa Rica’s Best Surf Spots.

Hitting it right, or getting skunked is going to be a mix of luck and research. Costa Rica Surf is just as on and off as anywhere, so keep an eye on the swells online, just like you would at home and read your Surfers Guide to Costa Rica - on the right I have a link for you… If you really want to score, get a 4X4 and get ready to do some driving,. That’s how I usually do it. Follow the swell and make it up as i go.

Isla Uvita: Arguably the heaviest left reef break in Costa Rica. Although if you’ve surfed it big, there’s no arguing… It’s HEAVY!!! The wave is located on a small island just a 20min boat trip from the port city of Limon - also home to the legendary Salsa Brava reef break. Surfing Isla Uvita is for experts only, and presents only one option: make it! Isla Uvita breaks over coral reef and faces an exposed shelf that sits about 1 meter above sea level.

Mal Pais: One of my favorite places in Costa Rica. The main beach here is Playa Carmen, which is consistent and offers up mellower conditions for beginners. The surf camps and restaurants and nightlife are great here. If you are looking for fast hollow waves, Santa Teresa Surf is just 15 minutes up the road.

Pavones: When it’s on, you wont find a better left point break in the country. The great thing about this setup for me, is that even when it’s smaller you can have a great session. On smaller days at Pavones you will get five or six take-off spots as the wave wraps around and on bigger days the sections start to link up and you can get incredibly long rides. The town is cool, and there are good accommodations, places to eat and a chill vibe. Pavones is located on Costa Rica’s Pacific side at the southern end of the country… the road basically stops here. The one drawback may be the lack of other options in the are for surf. There are a few other spots in the area… but they’re off the beaten path so you have to drive or take a boat.

Dominical: Dominical surfing beach is comparable to Hermosa beach to the north. It gets almost, if not as good here if you ask me. The thing that makes Surfing Domincal so good is the place itself. It’s a quiet town with a good nightlife, just enough to do, and yet generally there’s not too much noise and obnoxious “surfer dude” behavior. There’s also a point to the south which hold a big swell when Dominical beach closes out.

Playa Hermosa: No Costa Rica Surf Trip would be complete if you didn’t get tubed at least once here. Hermosa Surfing Beach can get so good. The first time i surfed there it was a couple feet overhead and I wanted to sit on the beach and check things out a bit before paddling out. No dice. The sand was scorching so I had to run to water and jump in. My first wave was a right that threw over my head as soon as a bottom turned. I didn’t make it out because I closed my eyes. Since then, I go back whenever the swell hits right. Playa Hermosa offers up heavy, hollow, perfect beachbreak. Located 20mins south of Jaco Beach on Costa Rica’a pacific side. The one downside might be the crowds, but it’s worth it.

Boca Barranca: Another long left point break. The take off spot sits just outside a rivermouth, which can spew some pretty gross water after a rain, but other than being aware of that, this place gets amazing. If you are traveling from Jaco to Mal Pais, which I have done countless times, then Boca Barranca is on your way. Plan your travel so you get the for dawn patrol - it’s best in the morning. Rabbit Kekai Longboarding contest has been held here for 14 years running. The local kids here ride anything that floats and they rip.

Playa Negra: A perfect right reef break. Playa Negra holds a big swell, up to triple overhead. There are plenty of places to stay in the area, and you are fairly close to other beach breaks like Avellanas, Langosta, and others. The wave itself on an average head high day is pretty competitive, and the locals have it wired. Crowds thin out when it gets big, but you have to be a strong surfer to challenge Playa Negra in double or triple overhead conditions. Biggest I’ve surfed it is about double overhead. Perfect wave, crowds can be a bummer.

These are a few of my favs. More to come…


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