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5 Best Surf Towns in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is located on the isthmus of Central America which connects North and South America.

It has the Pacific Ocean on its left and the Caribbean Sea on its right which means it has many miles of coastline and plenty of opportunities to surf some epic waves.

It is an amazing country with so much to offer.

This charming country has great beaches for surfing, amazing lush rainforests, and a beautiful landscape.

With so much to offer it is hard to narrow down your trip here.

That is why I thought I would put together a list of the best surf towns in Costa Rica. This is a list of the best surf towns, not the best waves in Costa Rica.

These are spots that you are going to want to stay in while you surf some of the best waves in Costa Rica.

After living in Costa Rica for 6 years and spending a fair amount of time in these towns. I decided to make a list of the best surf towns and eliminate spots that didn’t deserve to be on the list.

These surf towns made the list, not only for their epic waves but for their great restaurant and other appealing aspects.

That will make you want to park your surfboard up and enjoy a coconut on the beach after you surf.

These are my favorite places to visit when I am looking for a laid-back beachy surf town in Costa Rica.

A combination of great waves and great town vibes.

There are so many awesome places to stay in this beautiful country, the hardest part is deciding where to stay in Costa Rica.

Awesome Costa Rican Surf Towns To Visit

Tamarindo Sunset

1. Tamarindo

Located in the province of Guanacaste, Tamarindo is a popular surf spot because the waves are generally consistent year-round. Like most spots in Costa Rica, you can count on year-round warm water

Tamarindo is the perfect surf town that mixes nightlife with ridable waves. Which is the main reason why I ended up living here for 6 years.

The most popular time to visit this area is in the months of January through April when the weather is completely bone dry and the rest of North America is freezing cold.

Its very hot and dry during these months. It can even be in the 90s Fahrenheit. So if you are looking to freshen up your winter tan, this is the perfect place to do so.

If you enjoy winter, you can also visit in the wet season from May- December. This time of year is my favorite. It is not as hot, everything is green and you usually get an afternoon rain shower.

They normally only last an hour, which makes them the perfect time to take a nice vacation siesta.  

Tamarindo has a nice long beach. So it is easy to find your own section and be secluded, or you can choose to rent a beach chair and have rum and coconuts brought to you.

It is a great place for all surfing levels since there are many surf breaks all within walking distance.

If you aren’t a surfer, don’t fret. Tamarindo is the perfect spot to learn. You will almost always see surfing lessons going on here.

Its a popular and laid-back surf town. There are a lot of other water sports being offered along the beach as well.

These include scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, and various boat ride options.

It is one of the best beach towns near Liberia.

Looking for more ideas of what to do here?

Playa Dominical, Costa Ria

2. Dominical

Located in the province of Puntarenas which is another very popular surfing location, Dominical is a great spot for a surf trip.

It is a lot like Tamarindo but on a much smaller scale.

Located on the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica, it is another popular surfing destination. One of the best surf towns in Costa Rica.

The beach town is known for its large waves that are consistent year-round so you cant go wrong with a visit to Dominical any time of year. 

Dominical Beach is located near the mouth of a river which is also where you’ll find the best waves, and hopefully, even barrels.

I don’t recommend trying to surf this wave if you are just getting started.

Dominicalito Beach nearby is a better spot for beginners. The waves are smaller and slower. Beginners or those looking for new skills can also take surfing lessons on easier beaches nearby. 

The best time to visit, of course, is in the dry months from December to April when rain is not expected and the temperature is warm.

If Dominical sounds more like your vibe, be aware that it does tend to rain more in the southern parts of Costa Rica, so best to avoid coming here in September and October.

Dominical is a popular beach town because of its great surf waves and its charming small-town vibe.

Its not the best place for swimming or snorkeling in Costa Rica due to the strength of the waves so keep that in mind if youre traveling with non-surfers. 

It is a great place to check out while on your vacation in Costa Rica.

Best Surf Town in Costa Rica Santa Teresa

3. Santa Teresa

Also located in the province of Puntarenas, Santa Teresa is another great place for surfing.

Its located on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula which is a very different area compared to the rest of the country and has more greenery, rivers, and hills.

The location is not as touristy as other parts of the country. This is mainly just due to not being able to access or get there easily.

However, its popularity comes from avid surfers, digital nomads, and ex-pats who enjoy the area.

Its now a bustling little town but more remote than the rest of the country.

Great for travelers who don’t like seeing loads of tourists.

The best time to visit for good weather is in the dry months because it still has some great greenery.

However, its very beautiful in the wet months when everything is the healthiest and most luscious, you just have to enjoy the rain.

 The waves here are great for surfers, but they can be strong so it’s not the best area for swimming or snorkeling on the main shoreline.

There are, however, some inlets of water off the coast that are better for swimming.

You will love this area. The town has hippie vibes and the waves are very consistent and hollow.

In the water, you will find that is isnt too crowded.

So you can really take advantage of the space and not have to battle for waves.

However, the waves are stronger here, so the waves are better for intermediate and advanced surfers.

The beach here is long and wide.

Santa Teresa is not only one of the best surf towns in Costa Rica it is also one of the best beach towns in Costa Rica.

Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica

4. Playa Hermosa

Another awesome surf town in Costa Rica is located in the Puntarenas province and is called Playa Hermosa. (There is also a Playa Hermosa located in Guanacaste so make sure not to confuse the two.)

Playa Hermosa is a surfers’ paradise. 

Every August it hosts Quicksilvers International Surf Championships where people from all over the world come to compete for the title or watch the event take place.

Its a great time to visit if you want to be among some of the best surfers in the world but its also a busy time for the town.

The rest of the year, Playa Hermosa is pretty quiet and not a very touristy place except for when surfers visit. It hosts some of the best sunsets in all of Costa Rica, they will take your breath away.

Need some inspiration on a catchy quote for your sunset photo? When you are not watching the sunset.

The best surfing spot in Playa Hermosa is in front of the famous tree called El Almendro” where the best break of the wave happens.

The waves are known to be very consistent and they can reach as high as 13 feet so this part of the coast is better for expert surfers.

Novice surfers and swimmers are encouraged to visit the town of Jacó nearby for lessons or just to practice where the waves are smaller. 

Nosara, Costa Rica Sunset 5. Nosara

Nosara is on the Nicoya Peninsula in the province of Guanacaste. The town is relatively small and not riddled with tourists. There are still plenty of things to do in Nosara.

This is great for surfers who visit because theyll have a lot of ocean space to themselves.

Nosara is a great chilled place to visit. People come to enjoy some surfing and yoga and skip the nightlife.

This area is great for all types of surfers including beginners because the breaks arent as strong as they can be in other places.

 Playa Guiones is the most popular beach in Nosara for surfing.

It has a mix of wave breaks including smaller waves for beginners and swells up to 14 feet for advanced surfers.

During both high and low tide, you can find some good waves. There are various surfing schools where you can take lessons and become one with the ocean.

Its a great town to visit during your future surfing adventure in Costa Rica. Very laid back. You will not find much nightlife here, so if you want that stick to Tamarindo.

If you plan on visiting Nosara you will most likely want to rent a car, since it is spread out and not easy to walk around.

When Is The Best Time To Surf In Costa Rica

Costa Rica has a large span of coastline that covers the left and right sides of the country. Only the top and bottom of Costa Rica touch land.

So it is not an island. Do not refer to Costa Rica as an island, because it is not one. 

Costa Rica is not wide but rather has a long and narrow shape. This creates ample opportunity to find great waves along the coast.

The Pacific Ocean side has 630 miles of coast and the Caribbean Sea side has 130 miles of coastline.

Usually, the best time to visit Costa Rica is in the dry months of December through April. The rest of the year is considered wet season and it could potentially rain every day, depending on where you are.

I love the rainy season in Guanacaste, other places it does tend to rain more often so beware of this when planning your holiday.

On the Pacific side, June through September generally have the best waves while on the Caribbean Coast, October to April have the better surfing conditions.

These differences are due to swells but Costa Rica waves are highly consistent so you can’t go wrong any time of year.

If you’ll be visiting during the wet season, you may find a lull in rain showers in the months of June and July so this would be the second-best time to visit Costa Rica.

Keep in mind that showers usually happen in the afternoons. So if you are afraid of getting wet when you surf lols, it is better to go in the morning.

Usually, winds do tend to be better in the mornings, and you can avoid more crowds as well.

Get up early and surf.

Costa Rica has pretty consistent temperatures and it rarely ever goes below 70 °F or 20 °C. The average temperature in the dry season is in the high 70s or low 80s Fahrenheit and mid to high 20s Celsius.

In the wet season, the average temperature is mid-70s Fahrenheit or mid-20s Celsius.

The waves are pretty consistent year-round which is a very attractive thing about surfing in Costa Rica.

Consistent waves and warm water, what more could you ask for?

Which Side Of Costa Rica Has Better Surfing

The Pacific side tends to have the better surf.

It has better waves for surfing because they are consistent and have some great breaks.

The Pacific side is more established. The surf towns are better. Even if you plan on camping rather than staying in a beach town.

It might be a bit more touristy than the Caribbean Sea side but better for what you are looking for.

There are great beaches all along the Pacific coast which makes it easy to hop around to various places and try out different waves.

The Caribbean Side is more untouched with fewer tourists there, and not as constant waves,


Costa Rica is a beautiful country with a vast landscape and an amazing coastline.

Its a great place for surfers from all over the world to visit and try out some of the famed waves that this country offers.

You can expect pretty consistent and strong waves in the warm turquoise water to get you in the surfing spirit.

The best time to visit for surfing is during the dry months and the best area is on the Pacific Coast side of Costa Rica but you really can’t go wrong with a trip to this beautiful country.

You will be happy you visited and you will love any of the best surf towns in Costa Rica you decide to visit.

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