The Best Beginner Surfing Costa Rica Has Waiting For You

Turns out, there are plenty of great beginner surfing spots all over the world that also won't break the bank.

Costa Rica is one such place, with waves that are gentle enough for beginners but still offer a challenge for those who have been surfing for a while.

Some of the best beginner surfing Costa Rica has is along the Pacific coast.

In addition to its waves, Costa Rica is known for its beautiful scenery and friendly people, making it an ideal destination for anyone looking to learn how to surf.

Also see our guide to the 12 best surf hotels in Costa Rica.

Some of the best beginner surf spots in Costa Rica include:

  • Tamarindo
  • Jaco
  • Manuel Antonio
  • Pavones
  • Nosara

Tamarindo

best beginner surfing tamarindo costa rica

With its gentle waves and consistent surf conditions, Tamarindo is ideal for beginners.

Plus, there are a wide variety of beginner-friendly surf spots to choose from.

Here are our top three picks.

1. Playa Grande

Playa Grande is one of the most popular surf spots in Tamarindo. Beginners will love the gentle waves and ample space to paddle out. Plus, there are plenty of beginner-friendly breaks to choose from. Just be sure to watch out for the occasional riptide! 

2. Playa Langosta

Just down the road from Playa Grande is Playa Langosta. This surf spot is known for its long, left-hand point break. Beginners can paddle out at low tide and enjoy some beautiful waves as they ride all the way to the beach. Just be sure to give way to the more experienced surfers who will be coming in from the outside!

3. Sunset Beach

Our final pick for beginners is Sunset Beach. This surf spot gets its name from its unbeatable sunsets. But don't let that fool you—the waves here are just as good as the view! 

Jaco

Jaco is a great place for beginners to learn how to surf. The waves here are slightly more challenging than those in Tamarindo but are still manageable for beginners.

Learning how to surf can be a fun and rewarding experience. Surfing is a great way to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors. If you're planning a trip to Costa Rica, Jaco is a great place to learn how to surf.

Mostly, they are shore breaks that can be a bit more powerful than the waves in Tamarindo.

1. Playa Hermosa

This is one of the most popular surf spots in Jaco. The waves here are usually gentle and there is plenty of space to paddle out.

Playa Hermosa is also a great place to take surf lessons. There are several surf schools in the area that can help you get started.

2. Punta Leona

Punta Leona is another great option for beginners. The waves here are usually small and gentle, making them perfect for those just starting out.

Punta Leona is also a great place to relax and enjoy the beautiful Costa Rican scenery. There are several beaches in the area, as well as a nature reserve.

Manuel Antonio

Situated on the central Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the best places to surf in Costa Rica. The park is home to gentle waves and stunning rainforest surroundings, making it a favorite among beginner surfers. In this blog post, we'll share some of our favorite surf spots in Manuel Antonio so that you can make the most of your surfing vacation. 

1. Playitas Surfing Beach 

Playitas Surfing Beach is one of the most popular spots for beginner surfers. The waves here are gentle and the beach is situated close to many hotels, making it a convenient place to surf. If you're staying in Manuel Antonio, chances are you won't have to go far to find this beach. 

2. Esterillos Este 

Esterillos Este is another great place for beginner surfers. This beach is less crowded than Playitas Surfing Beach and offers beautiful views of the nearby rainforest. It's the perfect place to enjoy a quiet day of surfing with friends or family. 

3. Punta Arenas 

Punta Arenas is a surfer's paradise. This spot is known for its strong waves, making it a favorite among experienced surfers. If you're looking for an adrenaline-pumping surfing experience, Punta Arenas is the place for you. 

Pavones

Pavones is renowned for having the longest left-hand wave in the world. If you're a beginner surfer, Pavones can be challenging – but that's part of what makes it such a great place to learn!

Surfing conditions at Pavones can vary greatly depending on the time of year and the swell direction. The best time of year to surf at Pavones is typically between November and March, when south swells are most common. These swells provide long, rideable waves that are ideal for beginners. To pick the right surf spot, it's important to pay attention to both wave height and water temperature.

Wave height will vary depending on the swell size; as a general rule of thumb, bigger swells mean bigger waves. Water temperature varies depending on the time of year and your location; in Pavones, it ranges from 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit (20-26 degrees Celsius). 

For beginners, we recommend surfing at El Campito or La T Widow's Left.

Both spots offer long, gentle waves that are perfect for practicing your pop-up and riding stance. 

Nosara

If you're looking for the best waves in Costa Rica, look no further than Nosara. This small town is home to some of the best surf spots in the country, making it the perfect place to catch a few waves – whether you're a beginner or an experienced surfer.

1. Nosara's Main Surf Beach: Playa Guiones

If you're visiting Nosara for the first time, chances are you'll be spending most of your time at Playa Guiones – and for good reason. This is Nosara's main surf beach, and it's where you'll find some of the best waves in town. Beginners will love the gentle swell and long rides, while experienced surfers can challenge themselves with some of the bigger waves further out. 

2. Playa Pelada

For those days when Playa Guiones is just too crowded, head over to Playa Pelada. This secluded beach is located just around the corner from Playa Guiones and offers a more relaxed vibe. It's also a great place to take a break from surfing and enjoy some of the other activities Nosara has to offer, such as stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking. 

3. Playa Nosara 

If you're looking for even more peace and quiet, make your way to Playa Nosara. This remote beach can only be accessed by boat, but it's well worth the effort. Here you'll find pristine white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and some of the best waves in Costa Rica. Just be sure to pack everything you need for the day, as there are no facilities here. 

Costa Rica is a surfers paradise, and Nosara is one of its crown jewels.

Picking the best beginner surfing Costa Rica surf spot

The best beginner surf spot in Costa Rica will depend on your level of experience and what you're looking for in a surf spot. If you're a complete beginner, Tamarindo or Jaco are great places to start.

If you're looking for something a little more

These locations have waves that are gentle enough for beginners but still offer a challenge for those who have been surfing for a while.

In addition to its waves, Costa Rica is known for its beautiful scenery and friendly people, making it an ideal destination for anyone looking to learn how to surf.

The best beginner surf spot in Costa Rica will depend on your level of experience and comfort in the water.

If you're a complete beginner, Tamarindo may be a good option for you, as it offers gentle waves and plenty of instructors to help you get started.

  • The size of the waves: You'll want to find a spot with gentle waves that are easy to ride.
  • The crowds: A crowded surf spot can be overwhelming for beginners. Look for a spot that isn't too crowded so you can have plenty of space to practice.
  • The price: Surf lessons can be expensive, so look for a spot that offers affordable lessons.

Each of these beaches offers gentle waves that are perfect for beginners, as well as plenty of other amenities like restaurants and shops.

If you're looking for a more challenging wave, there are also plenty of options for advanced surfers.

Common questions about the best beginner surfing Costa Rica has to offer

Is Costa Rica good for beginner surfers?

Yes, Costa Rica is an excellent location for novice surfers. The waves are easy and regular, making it an ideal place to learn how to surf. In addition to its waves, Costa Rica is known for its stunning scenery and kind inhabitants, making it a great choice for people wanting to learn how to surf.

Where do beginners surf in Costa Rica?

Some of the best beginner surfing spots in Costa Rica can be found along the Pacific Coast. Tamarindo, Jaco, Manuel Antonio, and Pavones are all excellent locations for beginners, with waves that are gentle and consistent. These beaches offer lessons and equipment rentals, making it easy to get started.

Is Costa Rica a good place to learn how to surf?

Yes, Costa Rica is a great place to learn how to surf. The waves here are gentle and consistent, making it the perfect place to get started. There are also plenty of instructors and surf schools available to help you get started.

Do you need a wetsuit to surf in Costa Rica?

No, you do not need a wetsuit to surf in Costa Rica. The water temperature is warm year-round, making it comfortable for swimming and surfing. However, if you are looking to surf in colder weather, a wetsuit may be necessary.

Can beginners surf in Santa Teresa?

Yes, beginners can surf in Santa Teresa. The waves here are gentle and consistent, making it a great place for novice surfers. In addition to its waves, Santa Teresa is known for its picturesque scenery and friendly inhabitants, making it a great destination for those looking to learn how to surf.

What are the best beginner surf spots in Costa Rica?

Some of the best beginner surf spots in Costa Rica can be found along the Pacific Coast. Tamarindo, Jaco, Manuel Antonio, Nosara and Pavones are all excellent locations for beginners, with waves that are gentle and consistent. These beaches offer lessons and equipment rentals, making it easy to get started.

Final thoughts

If you're interested in learning how to surf, Costa Rica is a great place to start. There are plenty of beginner-friendly waves that will help you progress as a surfer, and the scenery is simply beautiful.