Costa Rica is long known as a surfer’s paradise !!
Let’s go surfing now, everybody’s learning how,
come on and safari with me.
~ Surfing Safari, Beach Boys, 1962
Long known as a surfer’s paradise – for more reasons than just waves –
Costa Rica’s beaches continue to attract foreign surfers who come for
tournaments or just for fun. Since both coasts have exceptional curls,
more locals are also enjoying this imported sport. Check out www.
crsurf.com for the latest updates.
Also known as Witch’s Rock, Playa Naranjo is
one of the most famous breaks in Costa Rica with near-perfect tubular
waves. Hard to reach – four-wheel-drives routinely get stuck – it is located
in a wilderness area of Santa Rosa National Park, way up north.
Playa Naranjo was made famous in the film Endless Summer. There are
no facilities here – you have to camp. Siesta Campers (506/289-3898,
www.edenia.com/campers) rents fully equipped VW Westfalia camper
vans. Just to the south of Witch’s Rock is a spot known as Ollie’s Point,
named after Lt. Col. Oliver North. A secret airstrip nearby was once used
to supply Contra rebels across the Nicaraguan border. It’s nice to know
that something good has come from Ollie’s misdeeds – one of the two cargo
planes flown out of here has become a restaurant at Costa Verde in
Manuel Antonio. (The other one was shot down over Nicaragua, which
made US involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal public.)
Easy to get to and very popular. The three
main breaks are Pico Pequeño, a rocky point in front of the Hotel
Tamarindo; El Estero, a good river-mouth break; and Henry’s Point, a
rocky break in front of the Zullymar Restaurant. Each August,
Tamarindo hosts a season-end pro-am competition with a big purse. If
you’re interested in taking part, check www.crsurf.com for dates.
The Guanacasteco break features very hollow left and
right breaks, 10 km/6.2 miles south of Tamarindo. Nearby Nosara is a
nice little seaside town with right and left beach breaks.
PLAYA COYOTE, MANZANILLO, SANTA TERESA & MALPAIS:
These somewhat remote beach breaks, with several points, are increasingly
popular for their speed and consistency.
The closest surf beach to San José, this is a river
mouth with excellent access. Two km/1.2 miles south is Puerto Caldera,
with Jetty Break, a good left near a sea wall.
Jacó can get some rough surf and closes out when it is over five
feet. Inconsistent good beach break. South of Jacó is Playa Hermosa
and a few other nearby spots with strong beach breaks and good waveforms.
Waves are best on rising tides. Farther south there are many isolated
point breaks all the way to Quepos.
QUEPOS & MANUEL ANTONIO:
A small left point is at the river
mouth near the city. Next to the park itself there are left and right beach
breaks which offer good shape with larger swells.
Very strong beach breaks with good lefts and rights.
Windy, warm and popular, but frequently has riptides.
DRAKE BAY & OSA:
Located next to the beautiful Corcovado National
Park and accessible only by boat, this break features powerful
waves and swells.
Considered one of the world’s longest left points, Pavones’
waves have an international reputation for good shape and speed. Get
there by boat or bus, bring camping equipment or stay in rustic cabinas.
Nearby are a series of world-class rights. Situated just north of the Panama
Besides the area’s fishing, turtle watching and natural
canals, the Tortuguero beaches feature good break surf. The best is near
Puerto Moín, 15 km/9.3 miles north of Playa Bonita.
Its point/reef, left break has been described as
“thick, powerful and dangerous.” Five km/3.1 miles north of Limón.
A little island off Limón, Uvita is the spot where Columbus
first anchored in Costa Rica. It has a good but dangerous left break.
The park has waves year-round. Ask about Black Beach
Cahuita, a little-known spot with an excellent beach break.
PUERTO VIEJO - SALSA BRAVA:
The shallow reef here makes the voluminous deepwater wave that passes over it very big and tubular. This juicy and powerful
big wave is known as the Salsa Brava. Good surfers only.
The last surf beach before the Panama border,
Manzanillo features a fast beach break.
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