Surfing Costa Rica: The Essential Guide

Discover key tips for planning your next adventure surfing, Costa Rica.

Planning your next surfing adventure in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world to surf.

With waves for all levels, it’s a great place to learn or improve your skills.

You can find good waves all year round, and there’s plenty to do when you’re not surfing.

We know that a great surf trip starts with finding the right spot.

That’s why we put together this guide to help you visit during the best Costa Rica surfing season.

So you can spend more time catching waves and less time worrying about logistics.

Costa Rica Surf Seasons

Surfing Costa Rica Aerial View

As with any destination, there’s a high and low season.

The price gap can vary considerably between the two; however, understand that as you're planning your surf vacation in Costa Rica during December – April might be when most people visit because it's their chance at beautiful weather without having too many other tourists around!

As mentioned before though – these busy periods do come with some drawbacks such bad water conditions due to heavy rainfall which sometimes causes flooding among other things.

High Season | Dry Season (December + January + March + April)

While prices are higher during high seasons, attractions are more crowded.

You should book your accommodations a month or two ahead of time to avoid disappointment and enjoy the sunburnt beaches while they last!

Over Holy Week (the week between Easter Sunday), many locals head down south for some fun beach time in Costa Rica's Southern Zone which has beautiful landscapes but can also get very hot with all those factors making it unpleasant at times even though there is plenty going on if you're into nature-related stuff.


The change from rainy season to dry is dramatic in Costa Rica.

The skies are often sunny, and waves can be found throughout the day at sea level up until overhead ranges depending on wind conditions which drive surfers crazy!

January + February 

You may not see any rain, but the waves will be in waist to head range.

With bigger surf sneaking up occasionally.


Get ready for a surfing trip to remember!

March is the best time of year in Costa Rica, when you can find some big waves.

The weather will be perfect and there's no rain or clouds overhead so it doesn't matter if sunburns your face from all that paddling out – we've got skin care products on board just waiting until they're needed most (I hear Pacific Ocean water really helps).


The days are getting longer and the sun is shining more often.

The weather during April will be beautiful with mostly sunny skies, some clouds to keep things interesting but no rain expected!

Low Season | Rainy Season (May + June + July + August + October + November)

The low season in Costa Rica is a great time to visit if you want peace and quiet.

The waves may be less crowded, there are fewer tourists around (making it easier forurance), the hotels discounted rates make accommodations cheaper as well!


May is a great time to come visit Costa Rica because waves are consistent.

The weather in May can be shades of blue with occasional rain showers, but don't let them fool you into thinking it's cold out!


The perfect day to take in some of the world's most beautiful views.

Clear blue skies during morning hours, with waves that are chest high out front and small beginner ones coming up farther than your head when you're standing at shoulder level or less.


July in Costa Rica is a great time to be adventurous and explore the country.

With an abundance of new visitors, there are many activities waiting just over every horizon!


The atmosphere in Costa Rica is definitely changing as we enter Veranillo (mini-summer).

The rain slows down and disappears, leaving behind clear skies with only light clouds.

Waves are still chest high but they're fading fast!


As the rainy season transitions into its second half, Costa Rica is transitioning back to normalcy.

That means it’s not too bad here in Guanacaste!

There are blue skies most mornings with rain coming and going around lunchtime on some days but generally they're sunny as well–wave heights range from chest high up overhead (1-2 meters).


Expect blue skies in the morning with sporadic showers starting afternooon.

High swells and big surf for those who want to try their hand at it, but small waves are perfect if you're just getting started!


November is an ideal time to visit Costa Rica with vibrant green surroundings and mostly clear skies.

The waves will be medium-sized in the waist to head range, so visitors can enjoy bonding over swimming or surfing while they're here!

What are the best longboarding surf spots in Costa Rica?

Surfing Costa Rica Tamarindo

Costa Rica has some of the best surfing in all Latin America.

The three main provinces that cover this gorgeous country are Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Limón which lie mostly towards North Central Costa Ricade judge by their location on maps!

Let's take a look at the best surf breaks the country has to offer:

Playa Nosara

What are you waiting for?

Get your surfboard and head to Costa Rica!

The three main provinces that cover this gorgeous country are Guanacaste, Puntarenas or Limón.

They lie mostly towards North Central though so make sure not get confused with other regions of the republic when picking a spot – just look at where there's waves rolling into shore first 😉

Playa Naranjo/Witch's Rock

This wave is for experienced surfers.

It breaks in front of Roca Bruja, an ancient volcanic rock once cursed by a witch who hated the tourists that descended on her.

Witch's Rock has always been one if not the most popular spot to catch some great waves because it rarely gets crowded out there making your session all yours!

Playa Grande

Located north of Tamarindo, this is a surf break for all levels.

You'll see sea turtles and crocodiles near the river mouths!

Playa Tamarindo

Tamarindo is a popular, laid-back surf spot located in the wide bay with river mouth.

The long stretch of white sand makes it an ideal location for wintertime fun and summer relaxation alike!

Playa Avellanas

The waves at La Isla del Mar are some of the biggest and best in all South America.

The spot offers five different sets, each with their own rating: Little Hawaii (XL), River Mouth (XXL), Palo Seco Super puppy discounted deal!

And Lola's plus size store which never compromises on quality or style; it has everything you need for your next adventure whether its a vacation down south or just hanging out here locally with friends old.

Playa Negra

A right-hand reef break with an iconic section that was featured in a popular surf movie.

The waves here come consistently and fast, making it great for adrenaline seekers!

Playa Guiones

Guiones is a small but bustling seaside town that has been know for its beautiful sunsets and many peaks.

Playa Manzanillo

Located on the Nicoya Peninsula, Playa Manzanillo is a secluded beach that has waves for all experience levels.

Playa Santa Teresa

White sand, tropical beach with hollow waves.

The place is not too crowded and offers multiple peaks to enjoy your vacation on the coast!

Mal Pais

The perfect getaway for those looking to relax on a beautiful beach with consistent waves.

You can find plenty of accommodation and rentals nearby, so you won't have any trouble finding something that suits your needs!

Boca Barranca

The second-longest left hand wave in Costa Rica offers an endless surfing experience.

Despite the water pollution, this dreamy point break gets irresistible when classic conditions arise and it is worried by both longboarders and bodyboarders alike for its perfect gentle slope with soft sand bottom that makes riding easy as pie!

Playa Hermosa

Located nearby to the popular surfing town of Jacó, Playa Hermosa offers some excellent waves for experienced and aspiring surfers.

The water is calm enough that even beginners can enjoy themselves without feeling too outclassed by more seasoned professionals – which makes this spot perfect if you're looking at starting up your own hobby or becoming an international competitor!

Playa Dominical

The waves at this spot are some of the most popular in all surf towns because they break near a river mouth.

You can barrel here too, but watch out for injuries and broken boards!


The second-longest left hand wave in the world, Pavones is a one minute ride that will take you to six or eight feet.

Crowded during high tide with long paddling sessions but it's worth seeing!

Crocodiles in Costa Rica

Surfing Costa Rica Crocodiles warning sign
Surfing Costa Rica Crocodiles Costa Rica

Yes, there are crocodiles in Costa Rica.

However, you don't have to worry about them snaking your waves our in the break.

Typically, you'll find crocodiles lounging in and around river mouths.

You'll find the best longboard surfing in Costa Rica

Longboarders will be excited to know that Playa Grande is a great spot for longboarding.

Plus, there are other surf breaks nearby such as Avellanas and Negra (Playas).

You can also take boat trips out into Witch’s Rock/Ollies point which offers some dreamy waves!

Another option near Esterillos makes it an excellent choice if you're looking more of resort town with amenities onsite like restaurants or shopping; but still want access too nature's beauty through hiking trails and camping sites outside city limits.

Jim Hogan (95/96 longboard champion) runs Jim Hogan Surf Camp.

Jim is your personal surf guide who will take you to some of the best spots twice daily.

He can transport all boards, so if it's a short stay on any island get him!

Learn to surf in a Costa Rica surf camp

Surfing Costa Rica Surfboards

Costa Rica is the perfect place for beginners and experienced surfers alike.

It's got more learning opportunities than any other country in Central America, with both casual lessons on its beaches or luxurious camps where you can enjoy all-inclusive amenities like food included (and probably some great waves too).

You'll find everything from family friendly trips for kids 8 years old + their families up through luxury experiences designed just right if this article

Costa Rica surf accommodations

Surf Retreats in Costa Rica generally last a week or two.

Some offering additional goodies such as yoga and meals when you're not in the water, but most only offer room service if booked at least 3 days prior to arrival date!

Check out this collection of beach apps we put together to help you on your next surf trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many waves can I expect to catch in a day?

This really depends on the surf conditions and where you're surfing.

If there are good waves, you could catch several in an hour.

If the conditions are poor, you might only catch one or two all day.

What is the best time of year to surf in Costa Rica?

The best time of year to surf in Costa Rica is from April to November.

This is when you can expect the waves to be the biggest and the water to be the warmest.

Do I need a wetsuit in Costa Rica?

No, you don't need a wetsuit in Costa Rica.

The water temperature is warm year-round, so you'll be comfortable in just a swimsuit or boardshorts.

What is the average cost of a surf lesson in Costa Rica?

The average cost of a surf lesson in Costa Rica is about $50 per person.

However, prices can vary depending on the length of the lesson, the type of surf camp you choose, and whether or not you want to add on extras like video analysis.

Do I need to know how to surf before I come to Costa Rica?

No, you don't need to know how to surf before you come to Costa Rica.

In fact, many people come to Costa Rica specifically to learn how to surf.

There are plenty of surf camps and schools that offer lessons for all levels, from beginners to advanced.

What is the best surf spot in Costa Rica?

There are a lot of great surf spots in Costa Rica, but it really depends on your level of experience and what kind of waves you're looking for.

If you're a beginner, Playa Grande is a great place to start.

For experienced surfers, Witch's Rock/Ollies point is a must-visit spot.

Do I need to bring my own surfboard?

No, you don't need to bring your own surfboard.

In fact, most surf camps and schools will provide you with a board to use during your lesson.

If you have your own board, you're welcome to bring it, but it's not necessary.

Are there any other activities besides surfing?

Yes! In addition to surfing, most surf camps and schools offer other activities like yoga, stand-up paddle boarding, and hiking.

So, even if you're not a surfer, you can still enjoy all that Costa Rica has to offer.

Do I need to speak Spanish?

No, you don't need to speak Spanish to surf in Costa Rica.

However, it is helpful to know a few key phrases like “por favor” (please) and “gracias” (thank you).

Most surf camps and schools will have English-speaking staff who can help you with anything you need.

Final thoughts on surfing Costa Rica

Costa Rica may not be the first country that comes to mind when you think of surfing, it is fast becoming a popular destination for surfers of all levels.

With its warm water and consistent waves, it's no wonder why!

If you're thinking of going on a surf trip to Costa Rica, don't hesitate – you won't regret it.