4 Best Costa Rica Stand Up Paddle Boarding Destinations

Stand up paddleboarding is gaining in popularity, particularly among those who are already traditional-style surfers. Stand-up paddleboarding allows surfers to try a new sport. They can venture out farther, catch more waves per set, and it also offers a better view to see incoming waves, allowing surfers to pick and choose the best.

Bay of Papagayo, Guanacaste

Costa Rica Stand Up Paddle Boarding Destinations

A fun take on paddle boarding at El Mangroove Hotel in Papagayo

The Gulf of Papagayo is a great paddle boarding destination as it is protected from the wild ocean waters by the Peninsula Papagayo. Locations with calm waters and inlets are ideal for beginners. It’s especially fun when the waters are clear, generally in the dry season, so you can see marine life from above. Many hotels, like the Andaz Resort, have complimentary paddle board rentals that you can arrange right from the beach.

Golfo Dulce, Osa Peninsula

Costa Rica Paddle Boarding

Stand Up Paddle Boarding on the Golfo Dulce

The Golfo Dulce is also highly recommended as it is protected by the Osa Peninsula. There is also an incredible amount of underwater diversity in the safe, protected bay of the Golfo Dulce. Marine life like humpback whales and dolphins return to the bay each year to mate.

Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste

Tamarindo is a great paddle boarding beach for a variety of skill levels. Off the coast of Tamarindo Beach sits Capitán Island which protects Tamarindo from intense waves and offers a fantastic location for beginning paddle boarding. For more of a challenge, paddle boarders can move beyond the island’s protective boarders to the rougher stretches of sea.

Lake Arenal, Arenal Volcano

Paddle Boarding Costa Rica

Lake Arenal Paddle Boarding

Travelers can also experience a calm version of stand up paddle boarding on Lake Arenal beneath the Arenal Volcano. Lake paddle boarding is a smoother alternative to ocean paddle boarding for in-land adventurists. Arenal Volcano paddle boarding is often arranged as a day tour.

Paddleboarding in Costa Rica is a great way to get out on the water, particularly for those who are either already surfers or prefer not to get soaked! There are even some yoga practitioners who swear by practicing out on a paddle board – paddling into the ocean, then carefully balancing in their poses as they float! More on Costa Rica yoga here.

Costa Rica Paddle Boarding FAQ:

SUP, or Stand Up Paddle Boarding, is a relatively new sport to most of the world, only really taking hold in the early 2000s. It is something of an offshoot of surfing. Paddleboarding uses a stand-up paddle to propel a person across the surface of the water while standing on either a special paddle board or on a surfboard.
No, this is a fantastic sport for beginners or experienced paddlers. There are calmer waters, mentioned above, that are considered more ideal for beginners. The open ocean is more of a challenge than paddling on inland lakes like Lake Arenal.
It's not! All levels of physical fitness can do this - provided you can get up and balance on the board! Furthermore, you can go for as long or far as you would like. It is what you make it!