One of the western hemisphere’s most geographically diverse environments, the Central American country of Costa Rica is known for its rugged terrain that ranges from towering mountains and volcanoes, lush rainforests and sandy white beaches. The country’s breathtaking beauty has made it one of Central and South America’s most popular tourist destinations, and due to its unique geography (bordered by the Caribbean to the east, the Pacific to the west), surfing in Costa Rica has attracted surfers of all ages, skill levels and nationalities.
WHY SURFING IN COSTA RICA IS UNIQUE
Unlike other well-known surfing ‘hot spots’ such as Hawaii, Southern California and Australia, Costa Rican beaches have avoided over-commercialization, resulting in fewer crowded beaches, leading to more problem-free surfing opportunities. This often-overlooked yet important factor hasn’t gone unnoticed by ‘serious’ surfers who regularly rave about Costa Rica, boosting its fast-rising reputation among the global surfing community.
COSTA RICA’S CARIBBEAN SURFING
Because of Costa Rica’s unique geography, surfing on the Caribbean (eastern) coast differs greatly in both conditions and length of season from the Pacific (Western) coast. Seasonal tropical storms produce a shorter optimum time period, but the waves produced are equal to any in the world.
Puerto Viejo is a thriving Caribbean seaside resort town draws experienced surfers from all over, eager to test their skills in some of Costa Rica’s most spectacular waves. Other popular Costa Rican surfing destinations include Westfalia, noted for steady, reliable waves, Playa Bonita, similar to Puerto Viejo but more ‘beginner-friendly,’ and Portete Beach, popular not only among surfers but also for snorkeling, swimming and many other family-friendly attractions.
COSTA RICA’S PACIFIC SURFING
Playa Naranjo (or Witch’s Rock) features excellent surfing conditions between December-March, and provides expert training for both beginning and intermediate surfers. Nearby Playa Grande also features superb surfing and relatively crowd-free beaches. Boca Barranca is more tourist-friendly, but has become renowned for its long surf runs that are always highly sought-after by surfers. Hermosa Beach is a popular destination for local surfers, known for its miles and miles of secluded coastlines, ideal for either surfing or just exploring the region’s natural beauty. Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coastlines are more isolated and present more of a challenge in simply accessing them, but the surfing opportunities are in abundance. Playa Dominical, Pavones and Cabo Matapolo are other popular Pacific-side surfing spots.
Spectacular adventure, sightseeing and challenging surfing make a Costa Rican vacation ideal for the entire family.