Throw in the addictive Pura Vida lifestyle, warm and friendly locals and magical little coastal towns, and the only question left to ask is where the best spot to surf is in Costa Rica.
That’s why we’ve put together a selection of our favourite surfing towns and beaches in the country, to provide a little inspiration for those of you on the hunt for a surfing holiday that is a little further afield.
Best Surf Towns in Costa Rica
When it comes to surfing in Costa Rica, it’s not just about the waves; it’s also about the unique surf towns that dot the coastline, each offering its own distinct charm. Jungle-backed and bursting with character, you’ll find amazing spots where by day you can feel the thrill of surfing on the swell of the Pacific, and by evening, drink in the deep red sunset with a cold beer as you catch up with fellow surfers. From the southern reaches to northern Nicoya, here are some of the best surfing towns in Costa Rica:
1. Tamarindo – A Surfer’s Paradise
Located on the northern Pacific coast, Tamarindo is synonymous with surfing in Costa Rica. This bustling town boasts consistent waves, warm waters, and a vibrant surf culture. Whether you’re a beginner looking to catch your first wave or an advanced surfer seeking challenging breaks, Tamarindo has it all. The nearby Playa Langosta is a favourite among experienced surfers.
And of course with its salt-water estuary and surrounding jungle, this little gem in the Guanacaste Region is also a beautiful destination for a wildlife holiday in Costa Rica.
2. Nosara – A Hidden Gem
Nestled on the Nicoya Peninsula, Nosara is a hidden gem cherished for its laid-back atmosphere and world-class surf breaks. Playa Guiones is the star attraction, with long, mellow waves perfect for both beginners and experts.
What makes Nosara truly special is its commitment to sustainability and eco-tourism, which although this shines through in every travel experience throughout the country, is a particular focus at this Costa Rican surf mecca.
3. Dominical – Wild Surf and Untamed Beauty
Dominical, on the southern Pacific coast, offers a more rugged and less crowded surf experience. Playa Dominical is famous for its powerful beach break waves, drawing advanced surfers in search of a challenge. Nearby breaks like Playa Hermosa and Pavones offer additional options for those seeking adventure.
For those on the hunt for a little more of an offbeat adventure in Costa Rica, Dominical is exactly where to surf and find like-minded, free-spirited travellers.
4. Santa Teresa – A Bohemian Surf Haven
Santa Teresa, located on the Nicoya Peninsula’s western coast, is a haven for surfers and free spirits alike. With sandy roads, a laid-back vibe, and consistent waves at Playa Santa Teresa and Playa Carmen, it’s the perfect destination for those seeking both surf and relaxation.
And with fishing, snorkeling and kite surfing also on offer at this booming Pacific coastal town, you can mix up your surf holiday with any number of activities to get the pulse racing, all whilst drinking in beautiful views of jungle-backed, golden-sand beach.
5. Jacó – A Convenient Escape from San José
Just a short drive from the capital city of San José, Jacó is a popular destination for its convenience and accessibility. Jacó Beach offers a consistent beach break suitable for all skill levels, while nearby Playa Hermosa caters to more experienced surfers with larger, more challenging waves.
Jacó also comes with the added bonus of Manuel Antonio National Park, one of Costa Rica’s most diverse, yet most accessible areas for spotting wildlife including sloths, Capuchin monkeys, dear, snakes and more.