With hundreds of beaches along the coast, surfers have long flocked to Costa Rica’s waves, staking out breaks before the destinations had paved roads or supermarkets. In fact, many of Costa Rica’s more popular beaches have been surfing destinations for decades. Some of Costa Rica's surfing beaches are great for learning to surf while others are primarily for experts.
When you're not riding the waves, you'll enjoy the friendly and laid-back vibe of Costa Rica's surfing towns, such as Playa Viejo, offer. Costa Rica surfing vacations are the best of both worlds, because they allow you to enjoy a high-energy activity and rest and relax from the same location — the beach! When you need to take a break from the waves, go fishing in Tamarindo or snorkeling in Dominical.
With so much good surf, it’s hard to mention every worthy break, but the destinations listed below are some of the most accessible and popular surfing spots in Costa Rica. For even more info, you can get a personal perspective on surfing in Costa Rica with Anywhere's Costa Rica Surf Guide.
#1: Expert Surfer or Beginner, Santa Teresa Has a Wave for You — 365 Days a Year
The Santa Teresa is a slice of heaven and one of Costa Rica's rising gems. The region is collectively known as Santa Teresa - Mal País, and the coastline boasts consistent waves all year long. With more than a handful of beaches in the surrounding area offer a variety of waves and stunning scenery.
First time out on the waves? Don't worry, there's no shortage of excellent instructors ready to help you learn to surf or help refine your technique. Need a break from the waves? Santa Teresa is situated along the Nicoya Peninsula, which is an excellent place to snorkel, fish or hike through Costa Rica first nature preserve, the Cabo Blanco Absolute Reserve.
If this surf adventure includes children, you can walk along the rockier sections of beach to show them the creatures caught in tide pools. In between waves, you can take a nap on one of your hotel's hammocks, and close your eyes as dappled sunlight streams through palm trees. When the sun sets and it's time to come in from the last wave, you can reflect on your day over fresh ceviche and beers while reggae plays in the background.
#2: Dominical The Growing Town Built on Steady Surf
Surf your way down the South Pacific coast on one of Dominical's long barrel waves. Dominical is a popular beach town, but still doesn't see a ton of crowds. The beach also offers several points where the waves are excellent, so the prime surf spots don't get too crowded.
Still finding your surfing groove? The nearby Playa Dominicalito is a good option for beginner surfers. This absolutely beautiful beach is also better for visitors who prefer to swim.
When you're ready to take a break from surfing, consider seeing more of nature on trips to see the Nauyaca Waterfalls, into Corcovado National Park or out to Isla de Cano
In town, you'll find authentic Costa Rican surf culture and laidback accommodations. There are lots of options for budget travelers as well as upscale retreats.
#3: Nosara Beaches Are a Surfer's Paradise
Nosara is home to a variety of beaches such as Guiones, Garza, Pelada and others. When heading to Nosara you are in for a journey to the center of the Nicoya Peninsula and is a journey from wherever you are starting. If you want to skip the long drive daily flights are available from LIR or SJO airports.