The Best Surfing in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has long been recognized as one of the world’s best surfing destinations. While it doesn’t boast the biggest waves, the “pura vida” lifestyle and variety of beach and surf conditions has earned Costa Rica a place on the surfer’s map. There are white, pink, tan, brown and black beaches to choose from and a selection of surf breaks – point breaks, reef breaks, beach breaks and river mouths. Costa Rica is also an affordable surf destination – the warm water temperatures are free, and the cheap flights, great restaurants and varied accommodation options won’t put a dent in your wallet either When it comes to surfing in Costa Rica the biggest decision you’ll have to make is which breaks to try out. Here’s rundown of some of the top surf trips in Costa Rica.

Ollie’s Point

In the North Pacific you’ll find Ollie’s Point, a fast and hollow right point break. This break was made famous by the movie ‘Endless Summer II’. Like most breaks in the area, it’s best at high tide (try to avoid it at low tide). Ollie’s point can only be accessed by boat. The best way to get there is to take a boat in from Playa del Coco for the day.

Witches’ Rock

Witches’ Rock is one of Costa Rica’s most famous and popular surf breaks. Witches is beautiful and remote and well known for its fast hollow rights. Smaller conditions also produce good lefts. It’s not always possible to get to Witches by land, so your best bet is to get a boat trip out from Playa del Coco. You can also stay at the Witches Rock Surf camp and catch their boat out to the break (a good idea if you’re traveling as a single).

Playa Grande

Playa Grande is a beach break that has consistent fun, ride-able waves. It often has perfect right and left peaks and can hold waves up to almost double-overhead. There are a number of accommodation options in Playa Grande.


Tamarindo is one of Costa Rica’s biggest surf towns with a buzzing night life and many accommodation options. There are two fun breaks here – El Estero (a river mouth break) and Pico Pequeno (a reef break).

Avellanas and Playa Negra

10 km south of Tamarindo, Avellanas offers 5 different reef and sand breaks off a stunning 2 mile stretch of beach. Avellanas is easily accessed from Tamarindo, or there are a few accommodation options close by. 5 km south of Avellanas is Playa Negra, often referred to as one of the best breaks in Costa Rica. It’s a consistent and powerful right-hand reef break.


There are a number of different breaks in and near Malpais, including a long right and shorter left beach break at El Carmen and Santa Teresa. Hurry to this area – it’s one of the last uncrowded surf spots in the country!

Playa Bonita

In the Caribbean, Playa Bonita offers a powerful left reef break/point. It’s a shallow break that can be dangerous for inexperienced surfers. Playa Bonita is only 5 km north of Limon.

Puerto Viejo/Salsa Brava

The Salsa Brava break near Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast offers the biggest surf in Costa Rica when there’s a swell. The only way to get to the break is to paddle out through a small channel in the reef. If you want to surf big waves in Costa Rica, this is the place! But beware; it’s not suitable for beginners. There are a number of food, entertainment and accommodation options in nearby Puerto Viejo.

Above is but a small selection of surf breaks in Costa Rica. To discover all the surfing that the country has to offer, hop on cheap flights to Costa Rica and let the surfing begin!

About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

2 Responses to The Best Surfing in Costa Rica

  1. NLM says:

    Every time I read a surfing article, I am tempted…but I’m still doubtful that I could do it…Thanks for the post, though. It’s good to dream, right?
    NLM recently posted..Sibling Rivalry? Us?My Profile

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