Top Surf Spots in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, surfing is more than just a tourist attraction; it’s a way of life for many all year round. The warm waters (80º F, on average) and magnificent swells attract local teens, professional surfers, and itinerant beachcombers alike.


There are waves here for all levels of experience, whether you’ve never touched a surfboard in your life before or are one of the best professional surfers on earth. It’s also a great place to learn. Lessons are fairly inexpensive, and there are surf schools on all of the most popular beaches. With lots of small sand-bottom breaks, many beaches have gentle spots for even the timidest newbies. When searching for a surf school, look for one with expert, certified first-aid instructors who are integrated into the local community

Of course, there’s a lot more to Costa Rica than surfing. The country offers activities such as diving, white water rafting, hiking, yoga, and effervescent nightlife. One of the great things about Costa Rica is how well surfing can be integrated into all the other activities!

There are fantastic sights like Poás—one of the world’ s largest and most spectacular active volcanoes—that shouldn't be missed

Here's a list of the country's seven finest spots:

  • Tamarindo: the classic

    In boisterous, popular Tamarindo (located—like many surfing locations--in the Guanacaste province), there are schools, shops, restaurants, and plenty of visitors to meet. Located on the northern Pacific, Playa Tamarindo has both easier and tougher beaches, so it's a great choice for surfers of different skill levels.

    Top Surf Spots in Costa Rica

  • Playa Grande: the best swells

    While technically part of Tamarindo,Playa Grande gets a mention on this list because it offers some of the best and most consistent swells in the country. Quieter than Playa Tamarindo, Playa Grande is still great for a range of surfing skill levels, and comfortably accommodates swimmers and divers as well.

    Top Surf Spots in Costa Rica

  • Witch’s Rock (Playa Naranjo): the most challenging breaks

    Farther north, Playa Naranjo, better known as “Witch’s Rock,” is known for its powerful and exhilarating breaks. Situated within Santa Rosa national park, it doesn’t offer accommodation, which makes it more isolated and surfing-focused. Surfers can camp, however, and it does host the famous surf camp for beginners.

    Top Surf Spots in Costa Rica

  • Samara: the beginner’s village

    While Samara might not be known for providing the biggest breaks, it does offer surfers a very authentic Costa Rican experience. The beach is perfect for those who are learning, and the town offers a snapshot of Costa Rican life, as well as a lot of other activities including kayaking, hiking, and snorkeling in and around the stunning coral reef

    Top Surf Spots in Costa Rica


  • Playa Guiones: the best weather

    Just to the west of Nosara, Playa Guiones offers over 300 days of surfing a year. The weather is ideal, and the coast provides some of the most consistent surfing conditions. Because it juts out into the Pacific Ocean, Playa Guiones offers both north and south facing swells for most of the year.

    Top Surf Spots in Costa Rica


  • Dominical: the lush paradise

    Located in the southern Pacific region of Costa Rica, Playa Dominical offers a gorgeous landscape that makes it a very popular tourist destination. The sleepy little town offers something for everyone—quiet beaches for beginners as well as more challenges breaks.

    Top Surf Spots in Costa Rica


  • Pavones: the longest left

    Pavones is known for having the second-longest left-hand surf breaks on the planet. Somewhat more isolated than other beaches, this beach is for those who love surfing and want to test their limits. With rides that can last over three-quarters of a mile, Pavones lets you live the surfer’s dream!

    Top Surf Spots in Costa Rica