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This is our guide to the Best Surf Towns in Costa rica.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro riding the barrels or a beginner looking to catch your first wave, Costa Rica’s diverse coastline offers a variety of breaks suitable for all levels. From the legendary swells of Playa Hermosa to the laid-back vibes of Tamarindo, we’ll explore the top destinations where the waves are as warm as the welcoming smiles of the locals.
So wax up your board and prepare to embark on a journey through Costa Rica’s most iconic surfing destinations – places where the sea meets the sky, and every wave tells a story.
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The Best Surf Towns in Costa Rica
From the bustling streets of Jacó to the tranquil, bohemian atmosphere of Santa Teresa, the surf towns of Costa offer more than just perfect breaks. They are places where surfers and travelers from around the world converge, share stories, and immerse themselves in the laid-back, pura vida lifestyle.
Join us as we journey through these enchanting surf towns, the true gems of Costa Rica’s surf scene.
Tamarindo, once a quiet fishing village, has evolved into Costa Rica’s most popular surf destination. Known for its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife, Tamarindo offers a unique blend of laid-back beach life and lively cultural experiences.
The town is bustling with an array of restaurants, shops, and bars, offering something for every taste and style. It’s a melting pot of cultures, attracting surfers and travelers from around the globe. Tamarindo is also an ideal base for eco-tourism, with nearby wildlife refuges and national parks.
How to get to Tamarindo
The nearest major airport to Tamarindo is Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia, about an hour and a half drive away. This accessibility makes Tamarindo an easy destination for international surfers looking to experience the best of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.
Best Surf Spots in Tamarindo
Tamarindo’s main beach is a great starting point for beginners, offering gentle waves and a sandy bottom. For more experienced surfers, Playa Grande, just to the north, presents more challenging waves. A short trip south will take you to Playa Langosta, known for its powerful breaks and less crowded line-up.
Seasonally, the famous ‘Tamarindo Rivermouth’ produces excellent barrels, attracting surfers from around the world.
Top Places to Stay in Tamarindo
Accommodation in Tamarindo caters to a range of preferences and budgets. For a luxurious stay, consider Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas, offering exquisite rooms and a serene atmosphere.
Surfers on a budget might prefer the laid-back vibe of Selina Tamarindo, a hostel that’s popular among the younger crowd. For a balance of comfort and affordability, Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort provides a prime location with easy access to the beach.
See also: 6 of the Best Surf Hotels in Tamarindo
Best Surf Camps in Tamarindo
Tamarindo is home to several surf camps, perfect for those looking to improve their skills or learn surfing from scratch. La Botella de Leche Hostel is one of the most popular, offering lessons for all levels, board rentals, and a lively social atmosphere.
Iguana Surf Camp is another great option, known for its experienced instructors and comprehensive surf packages that cater to both beginners and intermediate surfers.
Here are some of our favourite surf camps in Tamarindo:
See also: 4 of the Best Surf Camps in Tamarindo
Nestled on the Nicoya Peninsula, Santa Teresa is a hidden gem known for its stunning beaches and laid-back, bohemian vibe. This charming town is a fusion of local Costa Rican culture and international influences, creating a unique and welcoming atmosphere.
Visitors to Santa Teresa can expect a relaxed lifestyle centered around the beach, with an array of cafes, boutique shops, and yoga studios adding to the town’s eclectic charm. The town is also famous for its breathtaking sunsets, creating a perfect backdrop for an evening after a day in the waves.
How to get to Santa Teresa
The journey to Santa Teresa begins with a flight to Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José. From there, you have the option of a scenic drive through the Costa Rican countryside, which takes about 5-6 hours, or a shorter domestic flight to Tambor Airport followed by a 1-hour drive.
This journey, though a bit longer, is a small price to pay for the untouched beauty and excellent surf that await in Santa Teresa.
Best Surf Spots in Santa Teresa
The main beach, Playa Santa Teresa, is a favorite among surfers for its long, powerful waves and sandy bottom. Nearby, Playa Hermosa offers a more relaxed surfing environment, ideal for beginners.
For those seeking a more challenging experience, the reefs near Playa Carmen provide exciting breaks. The area is also known for its spectacular sunsets, adding to the overall surfing experience.
Top Places to Stay in Santa Teresa
Accommodation options in Santa Teresa cater to a variety of tastes and budgets. For a luxurious experience, Hotel Nantipa offers elegance and comfort, nestled right on the beach. Those looking for a more intimate setting might enjoy the boutique atmosphere of Mint Santa Teresa, a hillside B&B with stunning ocean views.
For budget-conscious travelers, the Buena Onda Bungalows offer a friendly and affordable option with a true surf-camp feel.
Best Surf Camps in Santa Teresa
Santa Teresa is home to several surf camps, ideal for those keen on immersing themselves in the surf culture. Lapoint Santa Teresa is one of the top picks, known for its personalized surf instruction and social atmosphere.
Another great option is Lucero, offering a range of surf and stay package that caters to different skill levels, ensuring a comprehensive surfing experience.
Here are some of our favourite surf camps in Santa Teresa:
See also: 5 of the Best Surf Camps in Santa Teresa
Nosara, a serene and picturesque town on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, is renowned for its commitment to wellness and sustainability. This tranquil haven offers a unique experience where the jungle meets the sea, creating a perfect retreat for surfers who appreciate both the waves and a mindful lifestyle.
In Nosara, visitors can expect a peaceful atmosphere, with yoga studios, organic cafes, and boutique shops dotting the streets. The town’s commitment to environmental conservation is evident in its lush landscapes and protected wildlife areas, making it a haven for nature lovers.
How to get to Nosara
The closest airport to Nosara is Nosara Airport (NOB), a small regional airport that mainly serves domestic flights. For international travelers, flying into Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia and then making the scenic two-and-a-half-hour drive to Nosara is the most common route.
Best Surf Spots in Nosara
Nosara’s crown jewel for surfers is Playa Guiones, a beach boasting consistent, year-round waves suitable for all skill levels. This long stretch of beach with its sandy bottom provides both gentle waves for beginners and more challenging breaks for seasoned surfers.
North of Guiones, Playa Pelada offers a more secluded surfing experience, ideal for those looking to escape the crowds. The area’s pristine waters and abundant wildlife add to the allure of surfing in Nosara.
Top Places to Stay in Nosara
Nosara has a range of accommodation options to suit various preferences. The Gilded Iguana is a popular choice for those seeking eco-luxury, offering comfortable accommodations in harmony with the environment.
For a more budget-friendly option, The Sunset Shack provides a relaxed, communal atmosphere ideal for solo travelers and backpackers.
See also: 6 of the Best Surf Resorts in Nosara
Best Surf Camps in Nosara
Nosara is home to several top-rated surf camps. Safari Surf School stands out for its professional coaching and commitment to sustainability, offering lessons for all skill levels.
Another excellent choice is the Selina Nosara, known for its friendly instructors and personalized surf experiences. These camps not only provide surfing lessons but also immerse you in the local culture and environmental ethos of Nosara.
Here are some of our favourite surf camps in Nosara:
See also: 4 of the Best Surf Camps in Nosara
Jacó, located on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, is a lively town known for its vibrant energy and bustling atmosphere. It’s a favorite among surfers and tourists alike, offering a unique blend of urban convenience and beachside charm.
In Jacó, visitors can expect a dynamic mix of local and international flavors, with a wide array of restaurants, shops, and nightlife options. The town also serves as a gateway to various outdoor adventures, including rainforest tours and wildlife experiences, making it a perfect destination for those who seek both surfing and exploration.
How to get to Jacó
The nearest airport to Jacó is the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José, which is approximately an hour and a half drive away. This accessibility makes Jacó an ideal destination for those looking to get into the surf as quickly as possible.
Best Surf Spots in Jacó
Jaco Beach itself is a great spot for beginner and intermediate surfers, offering consistent waves and a long beach break. For more experienced surfers, the famous Playa Hermosa, located just a few minutes south of Jacó, provides powerful and challenging waves, and is a site for international surfing competitions.
To the north, Playa Herradura offers a more relaxed surfing experience, with gentler waves and a picturesque setting.
Top Places to Stay in Jacó
Accommodations in Jacó cater to a wide range of preferences and budgets. For a luxurious stay, the Croc’s Resort & Casino offers upscale rooms and amenities, with direct access to the beach.
Budget travelers might prefer Room2Board Hostel and Surf School, which combines affordable lodging with a friendly, surf-oriented atmosphere. For those seeking a balance of comfort and convenience, the Oceano Boutique Hotel & Gallery presents stylish accommodation in the heart of Jacó.
Best Surf Camps in Jacó
For those looking to enhance their surfing skills, Jacó has several surf camps to choose from. The School of the World Surf Camp is highly regarded for its comprehensive surf programs and additional offerings in photography and yoga.
Another excellent choice is Damo Surf Camp, which provides personalized instruction and surf tours tailored to all levels, from beginners to advanced surfers.
Here are some of our favourite surf camps in Jacó:
Where to Surf in Costa Rica
Whether you’re drawn to the consistent breaks of Tamarindo, the secluded beauty of Santa Teresa, the eco-conscious vibe of Nosara, or the lively atmosphere of Jacó, Costa Rica’s surf towns cater to every surfer’s dream. Beyond the surf, these towns offer a chance to connect with diverse cultures, indulge in local cuisine, and explore breathtaking natural landscapes.
In embracing the Costa Rican surfing lifestyle, you’re not just riding waves; you’re becoming part of a community that cherishes the ocean, respects the environment, and lives life to the fullest. So, pack your board, embrace the adventure, and dive into the unforgettable experience that is surfing in Costa Rica. Pura Vida!
Enjoyed our guide to the Best Places to Surf in Costa Rica? Take a look at more of our surf travel guides here.