From the Pacific to the Caribbean coasts, Costa Rica is home to a variety of amazing surfing spots. Let’s explore some of the best surfing spots in Costa Rica and provide useful tips for an unforgettable surf trip.

When it comes to surfing, Costa Rica is a true jewel tucked between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Boasting hundreds of miles of coastline split between the East and West coasts, this Central American paradise is famous for its year-round surf, favorable climate, and consistent waves. The debate is perennial: which side of Costa Rica offers the best surfing experience?

The West: The Pacific Paradise

The West Coast, bathed by the Pacific Ocean, is renowned for its consistent, year-round surf, spectacular sunsets, and has some of the best surfing spots in the country.

Playa Tamarindo

One of the most popular locations is Playa Tamarindo. A former fishing village, it is a surfers’ mecca now, renowned for the long, consistent waves that welcome all levels of surfers. Facilities like surfboard rentals, surf schools, and beachfront accommodations make it a complete surfing destination.

Santa Teresa

Further south, the beaches of Santa Teresa and its never-ending swell provide the West Coast with yet another fantastic surfing spot. Its powerful, fast, right-hander waves are a treat for experienced surfers.


Pavones is known for having one of the longest left-hand waves in the world. When the conditions are good, rides of up to half a mile are possible, making it a “must visit” for serious surfers.

The East: The Caribbean Charm

The East Coast, facing the Caribbean Sea, is known for its turquoise waters, great restaurants and reggae music, but its select surfing spots have their own charm.

Puerto Viejo

Salsa Brava, near Puerto Viejo, known as the “Heavy Caribbean,” provides the most powerful wave in Costa Rica. A coral reef induces a hollow, fast-moving wave that is best left for experienced surfers.


Cahuita, on the other hand, offers a more gentle surf, making it an excellent choice for beginners and intermediates.

Notably, the East Coast’s surf season is less consistent than the Pacific, with the best conditions generally found between December and March.

In the end, Costa Rica’s beauty and biodiversity, combined with its warm, friendly locals and delightful cuisines, truly make both the East and West Coasts worth a visit for any surfing enthusiast. Whether you’re a beginner catching your first wave or an experienced pro, you’ll surely find a location to match your surfing ability and style in this coastal paradise.

To uncover more about what are the best surf spots Costa Rica has to offer, go check out the Discover Pura Vida travel blog. They’ll give you an inside look into the best spots to catch a wave, as well as provide tips for both beginners and experienced surfers. Connect with the local surfing scene and get a taste of the pure life, or as Costa Ricans say, Pura Vida!

Travel Tips for your Costa Rica Surf Trip

To make your surfing adventure in Costa Rica unforgettable, keep these useful tips in mind:

  • Best time to surf: While you can surf year-round in Costa Rica, the best time for Pacific coast surfing is from April to November as the rainy season generates consistent swells. On the Caribbean coast, the prime surf months are January to March and June to August.
  • Surfboard rentals & lessons: Most surf towns offer surfboard rentals and lessons, so you don’t need to worry about bringing your own gear.
  • Sun protection: Costa Rica’s sun can be very strong, so always wear reef-safe sunscreen and rash guards to protect yourself.
  • Travel insurance: Ensure you have travel insurance that covers surfing-related injuries, as accidents can happen.
  • Eco-friendly practices: Costa Rica prides itself on its eco-friendly practices, so be mindful of the environment and respect the local community during your stay.


In conclusion, while both coasts have their own charm and are judged differently by diverse surfing enthusiasts, the West Coast is typically acclaimed as better for surfing due to its consistent surf conditions and a great array of spots suitable for all levels. However, if you prefer unpredictability and enjoy the challenge of powerful fast-moving waves, then the East Coast may hold that thrilling surfing experience for you.

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