With its delightful food, charming nightlife, and miles of sandy beaches, Costa Rica certainly lives up to its name. There are various surf breaks with smooth waves and sandy bottoms, and left and right waters. Add all that to year-round swells and warm waters, plus the variety of surfing camps for novice and seasoned surfers.
We have picked the best beginner beaches to learn surfing in Costa Rica for you:
1. Santa Teresa
Playa Santa Teresa sits about 150 km west of San José on the Nicoya Peninsula in the Puntarenas Province. It is a slightly commercialized surf town on the Northern Pacific coastline. Also, regular and shuttle buses run between Santa Teresa and San José several times per week.
The surfing vibe in Playa Santa Teresa is relaxed, with high-end restaurants and luxury accommodation options nearby. The place is great for groups of friends, especially couples, and there is also plenty of board renting opportunities for learners.
If you’re a beginner and not that confident of your surfing skills during peak hours, try surfing between 2 PM to 4 PM when crowds are at a minimum.
A km-long beach break can easily handle bigger swells but works well between 2 and 4 ft. Playa Santa Teresa is one of Costa Rica’s best beginner beaches. Because of its preceding popularity, you can expect swarms of people when the sun is out and the waves are shooting. It’s not particularly dangerous, but still, you should watch out for sharp rocks in some areas and rip currents which can develop as the tide changes. If you are just starting out, you should consider some guidance and utilize surf lessons available in the area.
The consistent green swells run through May to December; hence, do try visiting Costa Rica during these months to score a solid wave count. Some of the best places to stay in Santa Teresa are La Posada Surf Hostel and Selina Surf Club Santa Teresa.
2. Playa Avellanas
Playa Avellanas is located on the Golden Coast of Guanacaste Province, around 30 minutes west of Santa Cruz and 20 minutes south of Tamarindo. Book a flight to Liberia airport and take a budget private shuttle or taxi from Tamarindo. Nosara is renowned as the surfing and yoga capital of Costa Rica, so it is quite commercialized, the benefit of which is the amount of amenity for learning to surf and surf travelers as well as restaurants and other luxuries. The negative is that it is busy, and you may not feel like you’re having a really authentic central American experience. There aren’t many nightclubs, but you can enjoy many fun dining options.
Playa Avellanas is more calm and peaceful than Tamarindo, Costa Rica’s coastal party capital. Playa Avellanas offers the ideal blend of surfing, socializing, surfing, and relaxing. The beach offers many tours and activities when the waves are at level.
In Playa Avellanas, renting a surfboard for 24 hours costs around $10-$15 on average. You can also rent for a longer period of time and even pay less per day.
Playa Avellanas is for everybody; whether you are new to surfing or could stand up on a board before you could walk- here, you can learn to surf perfectly. It is an actual surfer paradise as it offers five distinct breaks and is among one of Costa Rica’s best surfing beaches. Little Hawaii is a well-known wave, and due to plenty of surf sports, the crowds are a little less.
Playa Avellanas receives swells all year round coming from both the North and the South. Larger and more consistent surf is from March to November.
The best places to stay near Playa Avellanas are Mikado Natural Lodge, Drift Away Eco, and Little Hawaii Avellanas.
3. Playa Hermosa
Playa Hermosa is located about 1.5 hours away from San José in the Northern Puntarenas Province. You can book private shuttle buses and taxis from San José international airport.
Its beaches have very little to offer except for the sand, sun, and high-quality waves, but the lively vibe of Jaco compensates for it. It offers a vibrant party scene plus plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy the nightlife. You can also visit one of the many rainforests, volcanoes, cascades, lagoons, and rivers in the local area for a change.
Playa Hermosa deals with all kinds of tides and is exposed to nearly every swell direction. This means you can discover waves when the swell is coming from the northwest and the southwest. This place is incredible for beginners who want to learn to surf.
The majority of surf rental shops will also provide surfing lessons. These are usually priced between $50 and $70 for a two-hour surf lesson.
Playa Hermosa is one of Costa Rica’s safest beaches, so you don’t need to be concerned about dealing with rocks or reefs under the wave break.
Months between May to October have larger surf. The swells are also excellent during the dry season.
Some good options for places to stay near Playa Hermosa are MoonShadow, Condominio Villa Hermosa, and Hotel La Gaviota.
4. Playa Dominical
Playa Dominical sits about 45 minutes south of Bahia Ballena de Osa district, with Dominical as a neighboring town. You can rent private transport, a bus or a shuttle, and it will take around 4-5 hours from the San José terminal. A quicker option is to book a 20-minute flight from San Jose to Quepos.
The small surf town of Dominical may appear to be a tired little town, but if you dig deeper, you’ll be wonderfully astounded by its evening vibe. Return and enjoy its coastal atmosphere or unite with the diverse crew of those who call it home.
It’s a beach town that you’ll inevitably fall for and can’t stay away from, but there is no denying it’s growing busier by year.
You can rent surfboards and other surfing gear, ATV’s and get surf lessons through many surf shops present there and enjoy your learning experience to the fullest.
Playa Dominical is one of the best surfing beaches for beginners in Costa Rica, with a wide range of waves plus board rental shacks. Dominical Beach is very exposed to swells, and waves can range between 5-6 feet at largest. Try surfing here on a high tide if you’re a learner when waves are a bit softer.
Dominical Beach offers a lot of enjoyable surfing throughout the year. December to April are the best months to plan surfing in Playa Dominical. The best places to stay near Playa Dominical are Waterfall Villas Rio Lindo Resort and Cuna del Angel.
5. Playa Guiones
Playa Guiones is located On the Nicoya Peninsula in Guanacaste Province. The nearest town is Nosara, about fifteen minutes away by taxi quad or tuk-tuk.
Liberia is the nearest international airport and is only 2.5 hours away. Rent a car or taxi and drive to your lodge.
Playa Guiones is a volcanic and sandy beach that stretches up to 7 km. Playa Guiones gets large swells but works best when it’s 4 ft and below, which is an ideal size range for learners. With its sandy bottom and dazzling view, learners see this as one of the best beginner beaches of Costa Rica.
The waves are very moderate, regardless of whether there’s low or elevated tide well suited for your learning endeavors. If you’re a beginner hoping to improve your skills, try enquiring with locals for the best surf spots.
Both wet and dry months are favourable for surfing. The drier months offer up reliable ocean breezes and cleaner swell that is ideal for amateur surfers.
April to November sees bigger surf and more wind, and the beaches can get crowded.
The best accommodations near Playa Guiones are The Sunset Shack, Airstream by the Sea, and Gilded Iguana.