Guys and gals alike have been flocking to Costa Rica for years now for
the surf spots alone. Currently, surf tourism makes up approximately 20
percent of the country's annual tourists - this means about 200,000
surfers visit the country each year just to ride some of the world's
most incredible waves.
Surf spots are easily found up and down Costa Rica's Pacific (west
side) and Caribbean (east side) coastlines. Waves on the North Pacific
Coast are generally a bit smaller than ones you'll see in high season
(December through April) and during tropical storms on the Caribbean.
But the waves are consistently good year-round. During rainy season
(April to mid-December), you'll find the best swells on the Pacific
side, but during the dry season on the west coast (December through
April), you'll continuous well-formed waves.
The Caribbean Coast on the east has a notoriously shorter, less
reliable surfing season, but the frequent tropical storms and
hurricanes often equal killer swells. In general, the surf is best
during the hot and dry season (October until April).
Water temperatures don't vary that much on either side or throughout
the seasons-the water is more than comfortable 80 degrees Fahrenheit
(27 degrees Celsius) all year long.
The more than 800 miles of Pacific and Caribbean Ocean coastline are
home to many of the top international surfing competitions every year.
This past August, Billabong hosted the ISA World Surfing Games 2009 in
Playa Hermosa. A seemingly endless volcanic, black sand beach just 5
minutes south of the popular tourist destination of Jacó (10 minutes
south of Los Sueños), Play Hermosa is the ideal location for more
experienced surfers. Playa Hermosa is an especially ideal location
because its waves break only 13 feet from shore. With steady, 4 to
8-foot-high waves and warm Pacific waters, you can catch quality rides
all day long.
Beginner and intermediate surfers don't fear. The nearby town of Jacó
offers surfing lessons for all levels taught by local and international
experienced surfers speaking a variety of languages. Spend a day or a
week in the water, many different surf packages are available and can
be organized in advance or on a day-by-day basis. Surfing is so
appealing in this area that Jaco is now known as the "Land of
Adventures and City of Surf." Surf by day and take advantage of all the
nightlife, restaurants, and convenience of a bustling, small town
during your time out of the water.
For an even more chilled-out vibe, try Mal Pais and Santa Teresa
located on the tip of Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula and just an hour
boat ride from Jacó. This very small community is tucked away along
golden beaches with a breathtaking backdrop of green vegetation. An
ideal location for surfers looking for a remote, individual surfing
experience with no frills and just good waves in a beautiful
atmosphere. Here you can find your surfing zone and get away from it
If you want a true surfing adventure, travel to Puerto Viejo (Salsa
Brava) on the Caribbean side. This Hawaiian-style reefbreak is known
around the world for its size and power. When there is a swell, the
biggest waves in Costa Rica break right here. You need to paddle in and
out through a small channel in the reef. Experienced and
adrenaline-seeking surfers only! If you want more variety, a mile or so
south you'll find Playa Cocles, a consistent beachbreak, and a few more
miles south of that is Punta Uva.
Wherever you and your board go, don't forget your rash guard and lots
of sunscreen to protect yourself against the Costa Rican sun.
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