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Your guide to surfing in Costa Rica

Article by GVI


Posted: February 9, 2023

Experience the Thrill of Surfing in Costa Rica

For decades, surfers from all over the world have found incredible waves and unforgettable adventure in Costa Rica. With stunning beaches and amazing weather year-round, Costa Rica is an ideal destination for any surfing enthusiast. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, it’s time to experience the thrill of surfing in Costa Rica. 

Why Costa Rica is an Ideal Surfing Destination

Costa Rica boasts world class surf breaks, some of the most consistent waves in the world, with plenty of swell and warm water all year round. The Pacific Coast offers the longest and most consistent swell, making it an ideal destination for intermediate and advanced surfers. Plus, Costa Rica is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and has some of the most hospitable locals that you’ll ever meet.

Costa Rica is also home to a variety of different surf spots, from beginner-friendly beach breaks to challenging reef breaks. There are plenty of surf schools and camps available to help you learn the basics or improve your skills. And with its tropical climate, you can enjoy surfing in Costa Rica all year round.

Discover the Best Surfing Spots in Costa Rica

The country is full of great surf spots, with different areas offering different challenges. On the Caribbean side, there are more relaxed beaches with gentler waves and breathtaking views. On the Pacific side, the more advanced surf spots attract surfers from around the world seeking more challenging conditions. Popular surf spots include Tamarindo, Witches Rock, Playa Hermosa, Santa Teresa and Playa Naranjo. No matter your experience level, there’s plenty to explore.

Costa Rica is also home to some of the best surf schools in the world. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, you can find a school that will help you hone your skills and get the most out of your surfing experience. With experienced instructors and a variety of courses, you’ll be able to find the perfect fit for your needs.

How to Prepare for a Surfing Trip to Costa Rica

Before heading out to surf in Costa Rica, it’s important to make sure you have the necessary gear. This includes a wetsuit or rash guard (if necessary), surfboard, sunscreen, and sunglasses. You’ll also need to make sure you have a valid passport or visa (depending on your country of origin). Finally, research the best surf spots ahead of time, so you can make the most out of your trip.

It’s also important to be aware of the local laws and customs in Costa Rica. Make sure to familiarise yourself with the local regulations and safety protocols before you go. Additionally, it’s a good idea to bring a first aid kit and any necessary medications with you, just in case of an emergency. Finally, make sure to bring enough cash to cover any unexpected expenses.

Learn the Basics of Surfing Before You Go

If you’re an absolute beginner, it is recommended that you take a few surfing lessons before hitting the waves. While you can learn on your own, taking a few classes will give you a better foundation and help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Your instructor can help you learn basics such as how to stand up on your board, how to read waves and how to paddle out. Once you’re ready, you can hit the water with confidence.

What to Pack for a Surfing Trip to Costa Rica

In addition to your surfing gear, there are a few other items that you’ll want to bring along with you on your trip. This includes beach/swimwear, toiletries, a first aid kit, and any medications that you may need. You should also pack snacks and drinks for your time at the beach, as well as a supply of dry clothes so you can stay warm after a day in the water. Finally, don’t forget your camera!

It’s also important to bring along any necessary documents, such as your passport and travel insurance information. Additionally, you may want to bring a waterproof bag to store your valuables while you’re in the water. Finally, don’t forget to bring a good book or two to enjoy during your downtime.

Get Ready for an Unforgettable Adventure

Surfing in Costa Rica is an unforgettable experience that will stay with you for years. From learning basics to hitting big waves in top spots, this is one journey that will leave you with memories for life. So plan ahead and get ready for an adventure like no other.

Costa Rica is home to some of the best surfing spots in the world, with waves ranging from beginner-friendly to expert-level. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, you’ll find something to suit your skill level. Plus, the stunning scenery and warm waters make it the perfect place to enjoy a day of surfing.

Get the Most Out of Your Surfing Trip With Local Tips and Advice

To fully enjoy your time in Costa Rica, it’s best to connect with locals. They know the best waves and have insider tips for everything from local culture to which restaurants are worth checking out. You can do this by speaking with family members or friends of friends that live in the area, checking out local message boards, or even attending events focused on surfing and water sports.


To fully immerse yourself in the local culture and to bring meaning beyond adventure to your surfing trip, why not join a short-term volunteer project? GVI runs conservation and community development projects from two bases in Costa Rica. Marine conservation options would make a perfect match for your surfing trip.

Find the Perfect Accommodation for Your Trip

Costa Rica caters to all budgets, so it’s easy to find the right accommodation for your surfing trip. From beachside hotels and hostels to private cabins and camping areas – there are endless options when it comes to places to stay while enjoying the waves. Do research ahead of time so you can find the ideal spot for your vacation.

Enjoy Other Activities During Your Stay in Costa Rica

When you take a surfing vacation in Costa Rica, you will find plenty of activities to explore off the water as well. From zip-lining in Arenal Volcano National Park to kayaking along the coast and exploring Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve – there’s plenty of adventure waiting for you. From scuba diving and sport fishing to horseback riding, whitewater rafting and more – you’ll find yourself constantly busy during your time in Costa Rica

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