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How to Plan the Perfect Surfing Trip in Costa Rica 

Surfing trip in Costa RicaCosta Rica may well be one of the world’s best destinations for multi-sport, adventure-filled vacations yet there is one specific activity that attracts dedicated pros and amateurs from every corner of the world, and that’s a surfing trip in Costa Rica!

Planning a surfing trip in Costa Rica is made easy by the country’s profusion of dedicated seaside hotels. Popular surfing beaches boast a plethora of surf schools and you’ll also find an array of world-class surf camps – the perfect solution for those who want to learn and/or practice the sport daily during their stay.

Of course, on an adventure vacation in Costa Rica, you’re also able to spend just a day or two surfing its sensational beaches.

Whether you wish to enjoy a truly immersive surfing holiday in Costa Rica or just want to know the best places where you can rent a board for the day, we’ve got you covered!

Plan your perfect surfing trip in Costa Rica today!

Why plan a surfing trip in Costa Rica?

Surfing waves in Costa RicaEverything about Costa Rica goes hand-in-hand with the surfing ‘scene’ – the idyllic tropical beaches, the stunning climate, the amazing local food, and very laid-back culture and living costs that mean you can enjoy it all for a vacation budget that won’t break the bank.

Need more reasons to plan a surfing trip in Costa Rica? OK.

How about world-class waves?

Sunset surfing in Costa RicaCosta Rica is one of the few countries around the world considered genuine destinations for specialized surfing trips. Playa Grande, a relaxed seaside Guanacaste town, has topped so many lists of ‘best surfing beaches in the world’ that it’s become a source of pride for locals. From DriftMagazine to Holidify and even this US surf school in San Diego: everyone agrees that if you’re looking for the best surfing in the world, you could do no better than to vacation in Costa Rica.

Mostly, it’s because the country’s exceptional Pacific coast offers something for every kind of surfer. You’ll find world-class point breaks and hollow tunnels as well as ‘tamer’ waves that are ideal learning blocks. The waves are consistent and the breaks about the best Central America has to offer.

All of this, in a paradise setting that takes your breath away.

Plan your perfect surfing trip in Costa Rica today!

When is the ideal time to plan a surfing trip in Costa Rica?

Tunnel wave in Costa RicaExperienced surfers who’ve been here and surfed that, will tell you that every day in this paradise is a brilliant day for catching waves. Yet there’s no denying that some months are a little more ‘perfect’ than others, especially if you are a beginner, and especially if you wish to head to the southern half of the western Pacific coast, where seasonal climate changes can hinder good surfing.

The rainy season, which kicks off in May (and runs until about November) attracts the pro surfers – swells are huge and conditions challenging, something experienced surfers absolutely cherish.

During the dry season, you can expect those iconic blue skies, every single day and although the surf is not quite as impressive, it is just perfect for amateurs. Or pros who want to have a super enjoyable vacation and not mess with death-defying swells every day!

Plan your perfect surfing trip in Costa Rica today!

What should I pack for a surfing trip in Costa Rica?

Dedicated surfies will pack their own boards, as well as swim shorts /swimsuits, 50+ waterproof sunscreen (our sun can be brutal!) a basic first-aid kit, booties, a leg rope (or two), a repair kit, straps, and wax pot, as well as the surfing essentials like flip-flops, sarongs, cap, insect spray and a couple of towels.

Everything else is luxury! For more tips on what to pack for and adventure vacation in Costa Rica, see here.

Now, you’re probably wondering if it’s even worth bringing all your surfing gear with you to Costa Rica. The answer? It depends. If you just want to include a few surfing days here and there on a multi-sport vacation then it’s probably not worth it. Everything you need can be rented locally and it will certainly make traveling through the country and enjoying all manner of sports a lot easier.

Renting surfing gear in Costa Rica can also be cheaper given the sometimes-steep hike to bring one on an international flight. Gear can be rented by the day or by the week.

Some will argue that avid surfers will definitely want to bring their own board but here’s the thing: surfboards can suffer damage in transit and whilst it’s bad enough to ding your board at the beach, it is infuriating (and potentially costly) to crack it on a plane. Plus, if you do bring your own board, make sure it’s a solid all-rounder.

Plan your perfect surfing trip in Costa Rica today!

What are the best surfing beaches in Costa Rica?

So, if surfing’s your thang, then you should probably look west – specifically, to the country’s sublime Pacific coastline. Oh, is the Caribbean no bueno for surfing, you ask? Well, in fact, it is. It’s is SO good that it’s mostly reserved for seasoned surfers only. Google ‘Salsa Brava surfing’ and you’ll soon understand what we mean – hair-raising swells and barrel waves that’ll make you go all queasy.

Pin this amazing video to watch later!

There are also a few select spots on the Caribbean side for learners yet all things considered, there’s no denying the Pacific is the big surfing deal. Why? Because your options here are nearly endless, it’s easier and faster to reach this side of the country and there’s enough of everything else to turn a mere ‘surfing trip’ into an all-encompassing, totally unforgettable affair.

Plan your perfect surfing trip in Costa Rica today!

Here are the best and most popular playas for surfing in Costa Rica (note that they are in alphabetical order so we won’t appear to be playing favorites!):

Bruja – The Witch’s Rock is a wicked spot, made all the more enticing by the fact it’s nestled in the Santa Rosa National Park (way up north), a gorgeous spot revered for Olive Ridley turtle mass nesting events. The break here is world-renowned and best tackled by experienced surfers. You’ll need a boat or private road transfer to reach it but it will be worth every pothole.

Dominical – Laid-back Dominical is quite central along the coast and boasts a charming town with bars and cafés that tend to entice multi-day stays. The surf is awesome with mid-sized swells, runs the entire length of the 2-mile beach, and offers something for everyone. Probably the most consistent waves in this entire region.

Grande – The one that needs little introduction, Playa Grande is what turned Costa Rica from a surfing hidden secret to an international superstar a few years back.

Guiones – Nosara’s main beachy hub attracts yogis and surfies in equal abundance. Given conditions can get a little pesky, and crowds a little big, it’s not a beach we’d recommend for beginners.

Hermosa – Another experienced surfer’s hub, Hermosa is – as its name suggests – an absolute stunner. Consistent breaks, out-of-this-world barrels, and a marvelous beach scene make it unmissable for pros. Hermosa hosts the International Quicksilver Championship every year.

Mal Pais – Right at the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Mal Pais looks like a speck you’d easily miss on a tour of discovery. Yet this ‘little beach’ holds plenty of local and international surfing comps every year, so that’s all you probably need to know!

Pavones – Experienced surfers head to Pavones to tackle the world’s second-longest left point break. Everyone else? They just come here to admire in awe.

Pavones is on the Golfo Dulce, in the Puntarenas Province.

Santa Teresa – One of our favorite Nicoya gems, Santa Teresa is an extraordinary spot to explore if you’re a lover of all things off the beaten path. Mind you, there’s enough here to keep you entertained and active but its relatively remote location makes it feel like it’s a world away from civilization. The surf is tops, with conditions that are suitable for every skill level and three distinct and distinctly stunning, beaches.

Tamarindo – The fabulous all-rounder, Tamarindo offers breaks for world-champions and amateurs alike. Unsurprisingly, this is arguably the most popular surfing beach in the whole country. You’ll find a plethora of surf schools, shops, and camps here, as well as a great little town offering everything you need for an insanely enjoyable stay.

At Costa Rica Rios, we know that surfing is a hit with adults and kids alike and plan a day of surfing on almost all our package adventure tours in Costa Rica. This is the ideal option for those who’ve never tried surfing before and want to give it a go or anyone who enjoys surfing but appreciates all the other adventures our sunny shores have to offer.

We also plan tailor-made and affordable adventure vacations in Costa Rica – perfect if you want to choose the what and where, and have private transfers and guided excursions to boot. Whether you want to do a LOT of surfing…or just a little…we can plan the perfect travel itinerary to match your desires and budget.

Plan your perfect surfing trip in Costa Rica today!

Keen to know more? Contact us today!

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