The Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Costa Rica are lined with good to epic waves that, between them, cater to all surfing abilities. Punchy beach breaks, long and mellow pointbreaks, and barreling reef breaks can all be found in Costa Rica.
In this article, we have championed five of the country’s best surf camps so that you can get as excited as us about a Costa Rican surf trip
The Seasons in Costa Rica
In Costa Rica, there are two seasons, the wet season and the dry season. The wet season starts in May and lasts until late October. May, June, July, and August are not particularly wet in general.
Sometimes you get late afternoon rain but it’s usually brief. Then, the sky clears out and you get a beautiful evening, it’s almost like clockwork.
September through October can have heavy rain at times, and the rivers may overflow into the ocean, making the water brown which isn’t the best time to jump in the ocean with your surfboard unless you want to get sick.
Conditions for surfing are generally good through the wet season with active storm systems frequently forming out in the ocean.
The dry season starts in November and lasts until the end of April. In the dry season, you get little to no rain and lots of sun.
The conditions for surfing are typically excellent and consistent, with offshore winds in the morning and light onshores in the afternoons. The surf from November through March is smaller, waist to shoulder high with occasional head-high surf.
As you approach April the southern hemisphere starts to activate and decent swells can be sent up getting overhead size. The most consistent months are from April to August with frequent shoulder to overhead size waves.
September and October can get huge!! But often this size comes with tricky conditions.
LaPoint Surf Camp – Santa Teresa
As is the case with every LaPoint surf camp across the world, their Costa Rican camp offers surfers an experience like no other. Nestled within the jungle and set just back from the palm-tree-lined beaches of Santa Teresa, this is a special part of Costa Rica that just so happens to have some of its best surf breaks nearby.
Santa Teresa is a quirky surf town with an attractive buzz that’s hard to deny and La Point is its premier surf camp that’s run by surfers for surfers.
The surf house at La Point is nothing short of magical. The luxurious pool area looks as if it belongs in a 5-star hotel. Except the only difference is that it’s filled with your surfing buddies and not greased up hotel clientele in speedos. The pool is the central hub of La Point, and once you take one look at it, you’ll understand exactly why.
Palm trees, pool bars, cabanas, lounge chairs, after a big day of surfing, there’s no place else you’d rather be. The dorm and double rooms are light and inviting with stained-wood trim helping to give them a noticeable warmth. Hang-out areas, delicious and fresh food, yoga classes, laid-back vibes, you won’t have a choice but to be living that sweet Pura Vida life at La Point.
A week-long stay at La Point looks very similar no matter what level of surfer you are, the only difference is where you surf. Each of the three surf packages includes 7 nights accommodation, 7 breakfasts, 5 dinners, 6 days of surf equipment, surf theory, and transport to the surf.
You have a choice between beginner, intermediate, and an independent surf program that runs every week of the year. If you’re not too sure where you fit within this scale, just book the one that you think is the best fit for your surfing ability and it can always be altered on arrival or after your first day of surfing.
There’s also a stay-only package at La Point which lets you use the facilities as your own and join the crew at mealtimes.
Nearby surf spots:
- Santa Teresa beach
- Playa Cocal
- Playa Hermosa
Witch’s Rock Surf Camp
Located in the surf-centric town of Tamarindo in the north of Costa Rica, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp is one of the original surf camps of Costa Rica.
This wave-rich stretch of coast is where it all started for Costa Rican surf travel, and for good reason, the place is littered with a variety of world-class waves. Points, reefs, beach breaks, whatever style of wave tickles your fancy, you can find it around Tamarindo.
You know when a surf camp says they’re “oceanfront”, but in actual fact, they’re across the road and up a small hill with a slight view of the ocean? Well, this isn’t one of those camps. Many of Witch’s Rock’s private rooms are literally down on ocean level with nothing but grass between your view from bed and the surf.
This unique vantage point to the waves is just one of the ways that Witch’s Rock cemented itself as the powerhouse surf camp of the area. They have a total of 18 rooms that each feature contemporary decor, an aircon, a hot shower, and a safe to store your valuables.
The camp is also known for its in-house bar, restaurant, and impressive surf shop that has all the gear you will ever need to shred in the surf. However, if you book in with a surf package, then all that is taken care of anyway.
The team at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp has been doing it right since 2001, therefore, they know exactly what surfers want, and have tailored three unique surf packages to suit all levels of surfer. These packages aren’t the same program dressed up with a different name either. They have been tirelessly tweaked to give each level of surfer the kind of experience that they’ll want to come back for and tell their friends about.
Witch’s Rock simultaneously runs a beginner surf school, an intermediate surf program, and advanced surf tours. From boat tours that take advanced surfers to surf Witch’s Rock and Ollie’s Point in the Santa Rosa national park, to comprehensive surf schools that utilize the gently peeling waves right in front of the camp. Whichever level of surfer you are, you’ll be salty, crispy, and stoked by the time Witch’s Rock Surf Camp is done with you.
Nearby surf spots:
- Estero river mouth
- Tamarindo beach break
- Playa Grande
- Witch’s Rock
- Ollie’s Point
- Capitan Suizo
- Henry’s left
- Henry’s right
Zopilote Surf Camp
“Guaranteed year-round, constant & neoprene-free surfing in warm water, right in front of the most breathtaking views of Costa Rica. Come experience new adventures every day! Arrive as a guest, leave as a friend.”
Playa Hermosa is about five hours from the San Jose airport, so it’s suggested that you take a taxi to the bus terminal, then take a direct shuttle (Transporte Cobano) and then finally a taxi to Playa Hermosa.
Another possibility if you want to travel more comfortably and faster are the local flights from San Jose to Tambor (twenty-five minutes).
From there you would have to take a taxi to the surf camp which is approximately a one hour drive.
Playa Hermosa is an ideal place to learn to surf, improve your surfing technique, or have a blast as an advanced surfer in some world-class waves, it has it all!
With its consistently breaking waves, this area offers conditions for beginners or advanced surfers at any time and tide. In the Surfcamp they have a wide variety of boards for you to choose from: longboards, funboards, fishes, shortboards, foamies, you name it.
There are 4 main breaks near the camp, all great waves in their own right.
- Playa Hermosa – left & right beach break
- Mal Pais – left & right reef break
- Playa Santa Teresa – left & right reef
- Playa Manzanillo – left & right reef
The surf camp is located in the jungle just before Playa Hermosa (Spanish for “beautiful beach”) and it’s only a two-minute walk to the beach from the camp. The camp can house up to 16 guests, divided into 4 shared cabins.
There is also a beautiful pool, chill area, lots of hammocks, book sharing area, guitars, surfboards, and lots more.
Near the surf camp, you will find an array of cafes, a small supermarket, and many other small cute shops.
A 10-minute drive south takes you to Santa Teresa – a vibey small town with bars, restaurants, beach clubs and legendary beach parties for the party animals out there.
Costa Rica with its deserted vast beaches and warm crystal water is the dream location for a life-changing surf trip. As you drift off to sleep with the sound of breaking waves and howler monkeys chirping in the distance, you’ll find it very hard to leave.
Safari Surf Costa Rica
The nearest airport is Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR), from there you will be picked up by the surf camp crew and taken to your hotel.
“Explore Nosara and get to know the relaxed vibe of a sleepy “surf town” with the wellness and focus of a world-class yoga destination. Immerse yourself in a unique synergy of people in and out of the water.
Get to know our passion for surfing, our fantastic local community, and the culture behind our surf school.”
This surf camp experience is one for the more luxurious surfer not on a travellers budget. This is the glamorous Costa Rican surf experience satisfying all your cravings, from sunset surfs to full-body massages.
At Safari Surf you will be immersed in local culture as well as the contagious surf culture. With its immense surrounding beauty and dreamy waves, this place is unforgettable.
Safari surf offers extensive beginner classes and advanced sessions for expert surfers, sharing their passion for the art of riding waves. This camp prides itself on leaving a minimal carbon footprint.
El Manglar Restaurant has become a must-visit for guests and residents.
Featuring distinctive Costa Rican and fusion dishes, prepared with freshly harvested ingredients, including seafood caught by artisanal fishermen, the meals here are always accompanied by homemade bread, jellies, or dressings.
The amazing food paired with the staff’s friendly smiles and attentive services creates one of the most authentic and enjoyable dining experiences in Nosara.
Other than surfing, Safari Surf offers a variety of other activities. From horseback riding, paddleboarding, kayaking, massages, guided hikes, fishing and yoga classes, there is plenty to keep you entertained in this magical land.
The peak swell is from January through to April, the months following this are more varied in terms of swell consistency.
The accommodation during your stay will be at Olas Verdes Hotel. Olas Verdes is a small Costa Rican boutique beach hotel and home to Safari Surf School. It provides the serenity you desire with easy access to the surf.
This hotel is nestled in an abundance of nature, with beautiful ocean and wildlife sounds. Playa Guiones is surrounded by native trees with howler monkeys overhead, immersing you in the true Costa Rica.
Olas Verdes is a L.E.E.D certified hotel, the most used green building rating system worldwide. A LEED certificate provides a framework for healthy, efficient, and cost-saving green buildings.
Olas Verdes has been consistently operating with minimum impact and a reduced carbon footprint by continuously improving its sustainable practices.
A stay at Olas Verdes is a guarantee that your trip is contributing to community development programs and the preservation of the local environment, from animal rescue centres and environmental non-profit organizations to an adopted local public school in Las Delicias.
The best waves in the area :
- Playa Nosara – beach & reef break
- Playa Pelada – left & right reef break
- Playa Guiones – left & right beach break
- Playa Ostional – left & right beach break
- Playa Garza – left & right reef break
Selina Surf Camp Nosara
Selina Nosara is a plush, state-of-the-art facility that indulges in so much more than surfing. This is a place where world travelers flock to work remotely, practice yoga, explore nature, and just generally unwind. Classed as a hostel, this will be the most impressive hostel you will ever check into, and trust us when we say, you won’t want to leave.
Within striking distance of the stunning surf beaches of Playa Hermosa and Playa Guiones, it is strategically positioned to offer very high-grade surf packages for avid beginner and intermediate surfers looking to holiday and surf in style.
As we’ve already hinted at, Selina Nosara runs an extensive program that caters to all. Think of it as a wellness hub that puts your quality of life before everything else. Yoga, meditation, self-realization courses, social events, adventure tours, jungle hikes, whatever your wildest Costa Rican dreams have dreamt up, Selina Nosara is the place to live them.
The hostel is one of the most beautiful collections of buildings we’ve ever seen, using palm leaves and wood to create a tropical oasis set within the Costa Rican jungle. You have a choice between private and dorm rooms at Selina Nosara, or splash out and upgrade yourself straight to one of the private plus suites. Whatever your budget, this splendid slice of paradise will help you become the surfer and person you were always meant to be.
Selina Nosara’s surf camp package is, as expected, a comprehensive offering that is designed to give you plenty of time in the surf. The package includes daily breakfast, six picnic-style lunches, and three dinners. All your surf equipment will be taken care of, and, each day, you’ll be given a 2-hour surf lesson by one of the qualified instructors.
Come the afternoon, if you’ve still got some fuel left in the tank, you’ll have time to practice what you learned in the morning session with organized free surfing sessions. This isn’t Selina’s first hostel or rodeo, they know guests like to party, so they also organize nights out into Nosara town as part of their surf programs.
Nearby surf spots:
- Guiones beach
- Playa Nosara
- Playa Pelada
- Playa Ostional
Kiban’s Surf Hostel – Samara
Kiban’s Surf Hostel is a fun and energetic place that is geared toward surfers looking for adventure. Just like the last two surf camps, you will find Kiban’s on the west coast of the Nicoya Peninsula facing the big, blue, and beautiful Pacific Ocean.
The nearest international airport is Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR), which is a 60-mile drive away and flies direct to American cities like Houston, New York, Miami, and even Toronto. The way in which Kiban’s stands out from the standard surf camp crowd is that they offer unforgettable experiences both on top of and underneath the water.
Diving is a huge part of what makes Kiban’s Surf Hostel tick, and it has been a popular addition to their weekly surf program for a very long time.
Kiban’s is a surf camp that focuses on providing a good time while keeping things nice and simple. This isn’t a fancy camp with luxurious trimmings like Selina Nosara, Kiban’s is a basic camp that can offer super competitive rates as a result.
The hostel is clean, colorful, and well-maintained while still retaining a casual vibe. It sleeps a total of 40 people split between private rooms, mixed, and female-only dorms. Surf, yoga, snorkel, dive, kayak, wherever you’re looking to get your adventurous fix, Kiban’s is ready to deliver it.
The camp also features an in-house bar and puts on weekly barbecues and beach bonfires to give guests the chance to mingle and get to know each other in a relaxed setting.
Kiban’s surf/ dive and yoga package is a seriously scorched deal that will stoke you out for a whole lot less than most surf packages. Available year-round, this 7-night package includes daily surf lessons, daily yoga classes, and the chance to dive the reef just off Samara beach. That’s right, Kiban’s is uniquely located within the confines of a picturesque reef-protected bay that creates a safe haven for gentle surf, and water sports.
If you’re an experienced surfer, then do not fear, as a 10-minute drive along the coast in either direction will have you face to face with unrestrained Pacific Ocean energy to test your limits in. There’s no mention of food being included in the surf package at Kiban, however, when you see their jaw-droppingly low prices, factoring in a week of food will still feel like you’ve got lucked into the deal of the century.
Nearby surf spots:
- Playa Samara
- Playa Carillo
- Playa Buena Vista
- Playa Barrigona
- Guiones beach
Surf The Jungle – Puerto Viejo
Found on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, Surf The Jungle is the best surf camp in Puerto Viejo by a long shot. Their surf guides and coaches are highly experienced surfers who know this stretch of coast better than anyone. Whether you’re looking to book a beginner package or test your outer surfing limits at the powerful and world-class waves of Salsa Brava, the team at Surf The Jungle is ready to put you in the spot.
Surf The Jungle operates out of a casual hotel that is conveniently located right across from the beach. The hotel is private and only for surf camp guests, so there’s no need to worry about non-surfers coming in and ruining the chill vibes around camp. If you’re looking to stay and just surf, without the surf camp package, then there’s also the option to book in for private or group surf lessons with the highly accredited surf guides.
However, there’s no denying that Surf The Jungle’s surf package is highly refined and tailor-made to make the most of this unique part of the world, and should be snapped up if you can afford it.
At present, Surf The Jungle is only putting on one surf camp week every month, running from January through to April (which is their main surf season). If these dates don’t suit you, and you’re looking to book with a group, get in contact with the team and they will organize a personalized package for your specific needs at a time that suits you best. If you can work around the exclusivity of their dates, then great because what they’re offering is pretty special.
Not only will they keep you well-fed for your entire week-long stay with breakfast, lunch, and dinner sorted each day, but they also go above and beyond in a few other ways too. Surf photography and videography, guided kayak tours, airport transfers, waterfall hiking, and 12 hours of surf lessons, you’ll be wishing your holiday could turn into forever by the end of the week.
Nearby Surf Spots:
- Salsa Brava
- Playa Bonita
- Isla Uvita
- Playa Vargas
- Playa Cocles
Selina Surf Club Puerto Viejo
Located in the small town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, this hidden oasis of Costa Rican treasures brings you one of the most organic experiences to be had in Costa Rica.
Located just above sea level, Puerto Viejo weather doesn’t fluctuate much, with temperatures ranging from 34ºC to 20ºC. Although the weather can be very unpredictable, rain tends to fall evenly throughout the year.
However, this won’t stop you from seeing everything Puerto Viejo has to give!
The nearest airport is the capital, San Jose Airport, roughly 215 kilometres away. There is public transport available as well as private transfers that can be reserved when booking with the surf camp.
This quintessential tropical getaway is located on the Caribbean side of the island. The most popular package is the seven-night Jungle Surf package.
This package is one of the favourites and includes seven nights accommodation and daily breakfast, lunches and three dinners. Also included are four daily surf lessons and free surf time in between.
There are many excursions to be enjoyed away from the waves such as rafting, hikes, boat tours, snorkelling, yoga, jungle night walks, kayaking, cooking classes and nights out to the town’s best spots for the party animals amongst you.
This is a surf camp experience like no other, where the ocean and the jungle meet, oozing reggae vibes and contagious smiles everywhere you turn.
Surf spots nearby :
- Salsa Brava – left & right reef break (one of the more dangerous waves in Costa Rica, not for beginners!)
- Playa Cocles – left & right beach break
- Playa Negra – left & right beach break (perfect for beginners)
Casa Del Mar Surf Destiny
Casa Del Mar is located in Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula.
The nearest airports are in the capital, San Jose and Tambor Airport. Public transport is available but also airport collections are organised by the surf camp.
The best time of year to surf in Santa Teresa is from April to October, where you get the larger swells of the season.
From December to March the waves are smaller but nice and clean, this is perfect if you are a beginner and is probably the best time of year to stay at the surf camp. The Wind is not usually a major factor with glassy offshore mornings most days.
The nine-day surf camp package is a perfect way to experience the full Costa Rica vibe, allowing yourself to fully dig into the waves and the culture.
Excellent lodging in shared accommodation or optional private double cabins if you want some privacy. There is breakfast, lunch and dinner provided at the camp. Five two hour surf lessons are included as well as whatever equipment you want.
There is also pre-surf fresh fruit and coffee, full post-surf breakfast, snorkelling tours at the gorgeous Tortuga Island, fishing tours, 3 yoga sessions and a full body massage.
Casa del Mar Surf Destiny is situated between the world-famous surf beaches of Playa del Carmen and Santa Teresa.
The best surf spots nearby are :
- Playa Carmen – left & right beach break (ideal for beginners)
- La Lora – left & rich beach break
- Playa Hermosa – left & right beach break
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best season for surfing in Costa Rica?
Depending on which coast you’re looking to book a trip to, there is good surfing in Costa Rica all year long. On the Pacific coast, strong SW swells push up from the southern Pacific from May through to late October. That being said there are still very rippable waves over the winter months on the Pacific side too, it’s just less consistent than in summer.
If you’re thinking of hitting up the Caribbean coast, then look to book between November and April when the strong Atlantic Ocean swells make their way into the Caribbean and light up the many heavy waves of the region. Unlike the Pacific coast which gets waves year-round, the Caribbean is pretty lackluster from May to October, suiting learner surfers best.
Are there sharks in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica is home to many thriving and biodiverse underwater ecosystems for which sharks are the apex predator. However, thankfully shark attacks are extremely rare in Costa Rica and Central America in general.
This is because the area is more frequented by reef sharks and other species that aren’t too curious about nibbling on people. Tiger, bull and great white sharks are the three main species that attack people around the world, and they are rarely spotted in Costa Rican waters.
Costa Rica is a tropical surfer’s paradise where the weather is warm, and the waves are world-class. The variety of waves in Costa Rica has helped turn it into a surfing mecca because every surfer can find their own slice of surf-heaven here.
The people are friendly, the food is fresh, the coconuts are ripe, the drinks are flowing, the list of reasons why Costa Rica is one of the most desirable surfing destinations in the world are well documented. So ditch the wetsuit, pick up a fresh pair of boardshorts or bikini and come and experience the Pura Vida way of living, it’d be a little rude and a lot more silly not to!