The 10 Best Surf Towns in Costa Rica

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The 10 Best Surf Towns in Costa Rica

Located between the Pacific and the Caribbean, Costa Rica has earned its reputation as a world-class surfing destination, attracting wave enthusiasts from across the globe. With its diverse coastline and consistent swells, this tropical paradise offers a plethora of surf towns catering to surfers of all levels.

Inside each town are shops such as board rentals in case you do not have your surfing board with you and other amenities that are yet to be discovered. Let’s try to explore the 10 best surf towns in Costa Rica, each with its unique charm and waves, and find out which destination will fit your personality and preferences.

Tamarindo, Guanacaste

Cloudy blue sky, greenery on a beach

Tamarindo, which is located in Guanacaste, stands out as a paradise for surf enthusiasts. Its diverse surf opportunities accommodate both beginners and advanced surfers, with consistent waves that provide the perfect medium for skill development or thrilling challenges. The town’s abundance of surf resources, including numerous surf shops and schools, ensures that surfers have access to the equipment and guidance they need. 

Tamarindo’s welcoming surf community fosters a sense of camaraderie, creating an inclusive atmosphere that enhances the overall surfing experience. Beyond the waves, the town’s vibrant nightlife and beachfront dining options add an extra layer of enjoyment, turning Tamarindo into a destination where surfers can unwind, share stories, and indulge in diverse culinary delights against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.

What sets Tamarindo apart? It is not just its surfing opportunities but also its accessible lessons, making it an excellent choice for beginners and families looking to venture into the world of surfing. Experienced instructors guide newcomers through the basics, ensuring a safe and enjoyable initiation.

Furthermore, Tamarindo’s coastal beauty, with long stretches of golden sand, provides a serene backdrop for moments of relaxation, creating a well-rounded experience for those seeking a once-in-a-lifetime surfing adventure in Costa Rica. Having said so, Tamarindo shows the true spirit of surfing, offering a comprehensive and enjoyable experience for surfers of all backgrounds.

Nosara, Guanacaste

Blue sky and beach

You can find this great place in Guanacaste, Nosara. It continues to give an awesome experience for surf enthusiasts with its laid-back charm and pristine beaches. At the heart of this surfing haven lies Playa Guiones, a beach renowned for its consistent and beginner-friendly waves, which is perfect for surf lessons.

The gentle waves also create an ideal environment for surfers of all levels to revel in the sheer joy of riding the Pacific swells. The surf culture in Nosara embraces a relaxed vibe, making it not just a surfing destination but a unique getaway where surfers can connect with the ocean in an enjoyable setting.

Beyond the surf, Nosara offers a unique blend of thrill and excitement. The town is celebrated for its various yoga retreats and wellness centres, adding a holistic dimension to the surfing experience. After a day on the waves, surfers can immerse themselves in rejuvenating yoga sessions and spa treatments or simply unwind while seeing the great views of the place.

Nosara’s commitment to well-being creates a perfect synergy with the thrill of surfing, making it a destination where the mind, body, and spirit can find harmony in the embrace of nature. Whether you seek the exhilaration of the waves or the serenity of yoga, Nosara can give you a good time and overview of surf culture, which will result in you having a holistic well-being while taking a glimpse of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.

Dominical, Puntarenas

An island with greenery and sunshine.

Puntarenas, Dominical, is a must-visit destination for both surf enthusiasts and nature lovers. This coastal gem boasts a relaxed atmosphere coupled with excellent surf conditions, creating a peaceful setting for those seeking a harmonious blend of ocean adventures and natural wonders. The waves of Dominical cater to surfers of various skill levels, providing an ideal ground for both beginners and expert surfers to refine their skills to a much higher level.

Surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of the majestic Nauyaca Waterfalls, Dominical transcends its status as one of the favorite spots not only for surfers but for nature enthusiasts in general. The allure of pristine landscapes, lush greenery, and cascading waterfalls creates a picturesque backdrop for the surfing community.

The local surf culture adds a friendly touch, giving an environment where surfers feel a deeper sense of belonging. Whether catching waves or exploring the natural wonders that abound, Dominical can be considered as a destination that seamlessly integrates the thrill of surfing with the serenity of nature, inviting visitors to start a holistic journey along Costa Rica’s Pacific shores.

Jacó, Puntarenas

A beach and mountains

You can find this well-known surf spot in the province of Puntarenas. It is easily accessible from San Jose, and Jacó stands as significant proof of the wonderful surf culture and versatile waves that people could actually enjoy. Playa Jacó, with its consistent breaks, emerges as an ideal canvas for surfers of all skill levels. The waves, both forgiving for beginners and thrilling for advanced surfers, create an environment where every wave becomes an opportunity for progression and mastery.

Jacó’s allure extends beyond the waves with a dynamic surf infrastructure. The town has various surf schools and shops, providing surfers with the tools and expertise needed to enhance their skills. The post-surf atmosphere in Jacó is equally enchanting, with a plethora of après-surf activities. From beachfront bars to eclectic restaurants, Jacó ensures that the excitement doesn’t end when the waves do. The lively energy of the town, coupled with the plenty of activities you can do while you are in the place, transforms Jacó into not just a surfing destination but can also give you the best breaks in your life.

Santa Teresa, Puntarenas

Water and greenery

Situated in Puntarenas, Santa Teresa stands out as one of the best beach towns, offering a unique and authentic experience for surf enthusiasts. The town’s distinctive atmosphere, characterized by its artistic and laid-back vibe, sets it apart from other surfing destinations. Santa Teresa’s charm lies not only in its culture but also in its manageable yet powerful waves, catering to surfers ranging from beginners eager to catch their first wave to experts seeking a thrilling challenge.

The beauty of Santa Teresa extends beyond the surf, with the Pacific Ocean presenting breathtaking sunsets that cast a magical spell over the coastal landscape. As the sun dips below the horizon, surfers can have a fair share of the beauty of the evening skies, creating an unforgettable backdrop to their surfing adventures.

Moreover, Santa Teresa’s proximity to the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve adds an extra layer of awesomeness. Surrounded by lush biodiversity, the town provides a unique opportunity for surfers to connect with nature, offering a well-rounded experience that combines the thrill of bigger waves with the peaceful ambience of Costa Rica’s natural wonders. In Santa Teresa, every wave is not just a ride; it’s a part of an overall package waiting for you to unbox.

Playa Hermosa, Puntarenas

A beach and cloudy sky

Puntarenas, Playa Hermosa is definitely a surfing haven renowned for its stunning black sand beach and challenging waves, creating an ideal environment for experienced surfers seeking a thrilling and dynamic oceanic experience that will surely entice first-time goers for more. The dramatic backdrop of the dark sand enhances the visual allure of the beach, setting the stage for surfers to conquer the formidable waves that characterize this natural beauty waiting to unfold in front of your eyes.

Beyond its challenging surf, Playa Hermosa offers a tranquil atmosphere, providing experienced surfers with the perfect setting for focused and immersive wave-riding sessions. The absence of crowds adds to the allure, allowing surfers to fully connect with the power of the ocean.

Moreover, the proximity to Jacó ensures that surfers have access to additional amenities and a lively town atmosphere whenever desired. This magnificent blend of challenging waves and relaxing surroundings positions Playa Hermosa as a destination that caters not only to thrill-seeking surfers looking to experience world-class waves but also to those seeking a serene and focused surfing experience along the relaxing coast of Puntarenas.

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Limón

A beach image with sunshine and cycle near tree

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in Limón, tagged as one of the best surfing beaches in the world, welcomes surf enthusiasts with open arms, embracing the laid-back Caribbean charm that defines the town. Renowned for its vibrant surf culture, Puerto Viejo boasts a variety of reef breaks and point breaks that cater to surfers of all skill levels. The dynamic ocean conditions make it an ideal playground for those seeking a diverse and exhilarating surfing experience along Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast.

Aside from the high waves, Puerto Viejo’s unique appeal lies in its reggae-infused nightlife and cultural diversity; it will take a short walk from the beach for you to access all the amazing amenities it offers. The town brings out the positive energy in you as surfers can enjoy the rhythmic beats of reggae music, creating a lively atmosphere that extends beyond the surf.

The cultural tapestry of Puerto Viejo adds a unique flavor to the surfing experience, providing a colorful backdrop that enhances the overall adventure. Whether catching waves or exploring the town’s diverse offerings, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca emerges as a destination where the Caribbean sea spirit blends effortlessly with the thrill of surfing, creating an experience that goes beyond the ordinary along the shores of Limón.

Pavones, Puntarenas

Beach and cloudy sky

Located in Puntarenas, Pavones is not just a small town but a special spot for experienced surfers looking for something extraordinary. It’s home to one of the world’s longest waves paired with relaxing palm trees, a left-hand wave that’s a legend among surfers. But Pavones is more than just about surfing—it’s about escaping the stressful surroundings of the metro. The town is remote and quiet, giving surfers a chance to enjoy nature without the crowds.

Imagine long rides on the waves and soaking up the natural beauty all around you. Pavones isn’t just a surfing destination; it’s a peaceful haven for those wanting to ride the perfect wave and connect with nature in a calm and untouched part of Puntarenas.

However, the journey to this hidden paradise comes with its own thrill. Brace yourself for the adventure of navigating through dirt roads as you approach Pavones. The surrounding area is raw and all-natural, adding an extra layer of authenticity to your surfing escape. So, if you’re ready to trade the stress of the city for the serenity of the waves, a great surf trip awaits—an untouched slice of Puntarenas, where the surf is as wild and pure as the surrounding areas.

Playa Grande, Guanacaste

Beach picture with cloudy sky

Playa Grande is a hidden gem known for its mesmerizing beauty and nesting sea turtles. The waves here are just right, not too easy, and not too challenging—perfect for surfers who are past the beginner stage but aren’t looking for extreme waves. The best part? Playa Grande isn’t just about surfing; you will also experience a fair share of viewing the lush rainforests that it offers. The atmosphere is peaceful, providing surfers with a chance to unwind and enjoy the natural surroundings.

Plus, being close to Tamarindo means you can easily add a bit of excitement to your trip whenever you want. Playa Grande is more than a surf spot; it’s an ideal spot for surfers looking for that sweet spot between thrilling waves and a laid-back atmosphere in the heart of Guanacaste.

And here’s the bonus, Playa Grande’s closeness to Tamarindo means you’re just a stone’s throw away from a bit of excitement whenever you fancy it. Whether you’re drawn to the lively scenes of Tamarindo or prefer the silence of Playa Grande, this hidden gem is more than a surf camp or spot—it’s an ideal destination for surfers seeking the sweet spot between thrilling waves and a laid-back atmosphere in the heart of Guanacaste. So, if you’re ready for a surfing adventure that continuously blends the thrill of waves with the splendor of nature, Playa Grande is just around the corner, waiting to be discovered.

Mal Pais and Santa Teresa, Puntarenas

A boy is surfing

In Puntarenas, the amazing combo of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa creates a great spot for adventure-seekers like no other. Here, you’ll find the biggest waves yet gentle for every surfer, from easygoing to a bit more challenging. But it’s not just about the waves; it’s a whole cultural experience. Surfing in Mal Pais and Santa Teresa is akin to riding waves of creativity. The towns pulse with life, their streets alive with art and music that add an extra layer of inspiration to every ride.

It’s not merely about catching waves; it’s about becoming a part of one of the best places on earth that gives a breathtaking experience in each moment. The connection between surfing and the cultural vibes in Mal Pais and Santa Teresa transforms your experience into more than a physical ride—it becomes a holistic and fulfilling experience.

So, if you’re in search of an adventure that goes beyond the waves, if you crave a surfing experience that blends culture and creativity, then Mal Pais and Santa Teresa are your go-to places if you want to have a beach break in Puntarenas. Here, the ocean and the arts collaborate to offer a unique blend that will not make you wait for a high tide or low tide but an inspiring and colorful surfing escapade along the long beach Pacific shores of Costa Rica.


Costa Rica’s surf towns form a paradise that can accommodate surfers of all levels to explore their unique offerings. From the lively scenes of Tamarindo to the uplifting vibes of Playa Grande, each town has its distinctive story, waiting to be discovered by enthusiasts looking for more than just a good surf and a taste of local culture.

As you go on with your surfing adventure along the Pacific shores of Costa Rica, it’s crucial to keep in mind the essence of the surfing spirit—prioritizing safety, respecting the delicate balance of nature, and fostering an appreciation for the local surf community. Whether you are drawn to the consistent waves of Jacó, the peacefulness of Playa Grande, or the artistic energy of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa, each town contributes to the rich surf culture that defines Costa Rica as a world-class surfing destination.

Costa Rica, with its warm waters and diverse surf breaks, eagerly awaits surfers for a one-of-a-kind experience. The best beaches in this tropical haven provide the perfect place for you to experience the best waves of your lives. So, as you paddle out into the surf, remember to enjoy not only the rush of the waves but also the unique stories each town has to offer, creating a surfing journey that gives out more than just the physical ride. This journey becomes a mixture of memories woven into the vibrant paradise of Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline.

The 10 Best Surf Towns in Costa Rica

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