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December–April: Best Surf Season for Nicoya Peninsula

Waves are most consistent In Nicoya and on Costa Rica’s North Pacific Coast from December–April. Dominant offshore winds and ideal swell direction combine to make this the best time of year for surfing in this region. Standout breaks like Playa Negra, Witch’s Rock, and Playa Grande go off consistently during these months, so - no guarantees of course - but plan your surf trip accordingly.

November–May (Dry Season - Summer)

November marks the end of rainy season in Nicoya. Average midday temperature is around 36 degrees. Offshore winds begin in November and predominate December through February, which is great for surfing, and keeps the air cooler and more comfortable for those who aren’t used to tropical climates. During the first part of Dry Season the landscape is lush and green from the months of rain just prior. By March dry season has gotten into full swing. The roadsides are blanketed in fine dust and many trees lose their foliage. Temperatures by March are getting hotter during the days, though at night the frequent off-shores still keep it cooler. By the end of March the midday sun is simply scorching, so if you can’t handle heat, this is not the time of year for you. Towards the end of March - Dry Season ends and Rainy Season begins.

May–November (Rainy Season - Winter)

Rain always seems to arrive in torrents on or by Easter week (Semana Santa) in the month of May, which immediately jump-starts everything green and flowering back to life. Expect heavy rain April through May, about every second day and usually in the evenings or at night. By the end of May/beginning of June, Nicoya will get a week of solid rain from a big storm, then regular rain showers through the rest of June. Roads get difficult during the times of heavy rainfall, and you must have a 4×4. Even with four-wheel drive you wont be able to cross many of the rivers and wash-outs.

By the time September rolls around, heavy rains start up again and will remain consistent rain through October. October is the month travelers are generally discouraged to travel in Nicoya. Most of the restaurants and hotels shut down for a period as the sea and sky whip up continuous rainstorms. Some people still do travel at this time, but not the same numbers as other times of year when it’s dry. It is possible to catch some nice days during these months in between storms – and nice waves.

During Rainy Season, Nicoya becomes a lush rain forest, which is both beautiful, but also a more difficult environment to travel within. Washed out roads and constant storms can and will dampen your holiday fun! Temperatures get as low as 22 degrees.

July–August (San Juan Summer)

If you’ve read this far, then you’ve earned the privilege of hearing my little secret! Although this time of year is technically part of Rainy Season, there’s usually a 3–4 week break in the frequent rains, which the locals call San Juan Summer. Expect way less rain during this period than in June, September and October. Waves can get really good on the Pacific side during San Juan Summer and there are less people/surfers traveling as a rule. I have scored many amazing sessions during this mini-summer season, so I can tell you that this is a great time of year to give your rented 4×4 a mud-bath and surf the Nicoya Peninsula.


Nicoya Peninsula Surf Spots from North to South:

1. Ollie’s Point (Santa Rosa National Park)
2. Witch’s Rock (Roca Bruja - Santa Rosa National Park)
3. Playa Grande Rivermouth
4. Pico Pequeno
5. Old Man’s
6. Playa Langosta
7. Playa Avellanas
8. Playa Negra
9. Junquillal
10. Playa Marbella
11. Playa Ostional (Nosara)
12. Playa Pelada (Nosara)
13. Playa Guiones (Nosara)
14. Playa Camoronal
15. Playa Santa Teresa
16. Playa Carmen (Mal Pais)
17. Montezuma