Best Surf Spots in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most surf-spoiled nations in the world, and with no shortage of breaks, naming the 10 best surf spots in Costa Rica is no easy task. The country most definitely has its standout waves, and while Costa Rica is mostly beach break, there are a few notable (even world class) reefs and points.

  1. Ollie’s Point: Nestled near the Nicaraguan border, this little gem is named after Olliver North for his connections with Central American rebellions. Ollie’s Point is a perfect little right point that breaks into a small cove. The fact that the wave is boat-access only should keep the crowd down, but the wave’s appearance in The Endless Summer II makes Ollie’s one of the more popular surf destinations in Northern CR.  Despite the crowd, Ollie’s is still one of the best surf spots in Costa Rica.
  2. Witches Rock: Another Endless Summer II wave, this consistent beach break is usually a package deal with an Ollie’s boat trip. Plenty of room to spread out means crowds are not a factor. Witches Rock is synonymous with offshore winds and barrels all day.
  3. Playa Grande: Just North of Tamarindo, this massive beach break offers up some of the best waves in Costa Rica. It’s consistent and big enough to keep the crowd factor to a minimum.
  4. Jaco: This town/wave tries to call itself the surf capitol of Costa Rica, but it’s really just the closest beach to San Jose and the airport. Mediocre beach breaks and a slightly smaller swell window means that Jaco beaches are not really the best surf spots in Costa Rica. However, Jaco is most definitely the best place to get a good price a used surfboard, or a young hooker, if you’re into that sort of thing. Nearby Playa Hermosa is the best bet wave-wise.
  5. Playa Negra: In a country full of great beach breaks, this is one of the best. For power and shape, Playa Negra is easily one of the best surf spots in Costa Rica.
  6. Mal Pais/ Santa Teresa: Situated at the end of the Nicoya Peninsula, these two small towns are some of the most consistent waves in this very consistent country. The surf never gets huge here, but it never really gets small either, and the broad gentle beach breaks are some of the best surf spots in Costa Rica to learn to surf, or to use as a training ground for more progressive surfing.
  7. Dominical: This is one of the more powerful beach breaks in the region. Dominical can offer up some bone crunching barrels, or beach long closeouts. It depends on what the sandbars are doing. When it’s on, Dominical is certainly one of the best surf spots in Costa Rica.
  8. Pan Dulce: This long right pointbreak needs a huge swell to work properly. When it’s working Pan Dulce is one of the best waves in Costa Rica and one of the best point breaks in the region.
  9.  Pavones: This goofy-footed jewel of Central America is practically located in Panama. In fact, in the rainy season, Panama is the only way to get to Pavones, as all the Costa Rican roads will be washed out. Long, fast and perfect, this left-hand pointbreak is without doubt one of the best waves in Costa Rica. It can get California-crowded when it’s cranking, but the 300 yard lineup tends to spread the herd.
  10. Salsa Brava: Surfers wouldn’t have named the place Brave Sauce if this little reef didn’t pack a punch. Yes, it is on the Caribbean side and yes, the Caribbean does get serious swell, especially in this little corner. Compared to Pipeline, Salsa Brava is the best reef-break barrel in Costa Rica, and unlike most of the rest of the country, this psychotic reef is no place for beginners.
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