7 Best Surfing Spots in Costa Rica

Experience the best surfing in Costa Rica! Famous for its surf breaks, Costa Rica is a world-class surfing destination for both beginner and advanced surfers. With great surfing on both coasts – including point and beach breaks, lefts and rights, reefs and river mouths – surfers from around the world come to surf Costa Rica and enjoy the warm water and year-round waves. Often what the waves lack in size, they make up for in length. One of the longest left breaks in the world can be found here! Many of the remote beaches and breaks along both coasts are accessible, but the following world-class surf destinations are the most popular.

Tamarindo Beach | Guanacaste


Sunset surfing from Tamarindo Diria Hotel

Tamarindo hosts several national competitions every year, and the booming development has led to great restaurants and shops and a fun nightlife for surf-fans. Tamarindo is quickly becoming a tourism hot spot, partially thanks to the surfing and the availability of eco-tours in an area that avoided attention for many years. Tamarindo Beach is also a great beginning surf beach.

Espadilla Beach | Manuel Antonio

Espadilla Beach is a great beach for beginning surfers. Espadilla is the main beach of Manuel Antonio in the Central Pacific region.  The southern end of the beach at high tide is a good starting spot for beginning surfers. The northern end of the beach can offer more of a challenge for experienced surfers. Surf lessons can be arranged in advance or surfboards and lessons can be purchased from Manuel Antonio.

Jaco Beach | Central Pacific Coast


Jaco is a small yet bustling beach town, geared towards the travelers who come for the waves and stay for the party. Jaco beach is good for new surfers (particularly at low tide), and there are a variety of rentals and lessons available throughout town.

Hermosa Beach | Central Pacific Coast

To the south of Jaco, Hermosa Beach attracts experienced surfers. It is known for having the most consistent waves in Costa Rica. The beach is truly beautiful, but due to strong surf, it is often left quiet and empty.

Dominical Beach | South Pacific Coast

Further south on the South Pacific Coast is another surfing hot spot, Playa Dominical. Dominical is pristine and off the beaten path so there aren’t as many tourists as some of the more popular beaches in the north.

Cabo Matapalo & Playa Pavones | Osa Peninsula


Surfing from Lapa Rios Ecolodge on the Osa Peninsula

Even the Osa Peninsula has some nice surf breaks. Cabo Matapalo, on Osa’s southern tip near Puerto Jimenez, has a few dependable right surf breaks. The waves aren’t too high here so this is a great destination for beginning surfers. Playa Pavones on the other side of the Gulfo Dulce has one of the word’s longest left-hand surf breaks, but you won’t find much more than surfing happening there.

Salsa Brava & Playa Cocles | Puerto Viejo, Caribbean Coast

On the Southern Caribbean Coast, the main attraction of the popular beach town of Puerto Viejo is Salsa Brava, the largest wave in Costa Rica. This famous dangerous surf break is for the most experienced of surfers. Close by, Playa Cocles offers a beach break only slightly less intense.

Take Costa Rica Surf Lessons.


An introduction to surfing at Lapa Rios Ecolodge

New to surfing? Lessons are always a great way to start out, and whether you’re 7 or 70, being able to ride the perfect right point break is something to write home about! With water temperatures around 80 F, or mid-20 C, you’ll enjoy a day spent in the ocean as much as at the beach.

Costa Rica Surf FAQ:

Tamarindo Beach, Jaco Beach, Samara Beach, Guiones Beach, and Espadilla Beach (the main beach of Manuel Antonio) are all great for beginning surfers.
You can surf year-round in Costa Rica, even in the green season (May – December). The green season tends to have larger, more consistent waves.
We would recommend the Pacific side. If you do surf on the Caribbean Coast, it will likely be on the Southern Caribbean at Salsa Brava or Playa Cocles. When the surf is good, there can be lots of crowds. Additionally, there are less breaks and they are less consistent year-round than the Pacific Coast.