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Costa Rica Surfing

Costa Rica surfing is world-class, and is in itself oneof the country's major tourist draws accounting for around 10% ofall visitors annually. With point breaks, beach breaks, reefbreaks, river mouths, relatively big waves, and one of the world'slongest lefts at Pavones (try standing up for 2-3 minutes on akilometer long wave!), surfing Costa Rica is both diverse andrewarding.

Costa Rica SurfingRental board selection and lessons are available in some of the bigger and more popular beach towns like Tamarindo,Jaco, Quepos, and Puerto Viejo, though in myexperience rental selections in Puerto Viejo arefairly poor. It's also possible to rent equipment from one of thesurf shops in and around San Jose. I happened tolearn at Tamarindo, which is a great wave forbeginners, but can be quite crowded on weekends and in highseason (generally around winter time for those of us living in thenorthern hemisphere).

If a Costa Rica surfing safari is what you're mainly interested inthough, my recommendation is to renta 4x4 with a roof rack and bring your own board. The majorityof airlines will consider a properly bagged surfboard as one ofyour checked luggage pieces. And it's easy to throw some extraclothes and maybe a snorkel set into your board bag.

As for domestic flights, one of the companies doesn't acceptsurfboards and the other will charge you extra. This makes havingyour own SUV much more convenient, besides it allows you thefreedom to find your own secluded Costa Rica surf spots. Apart fromthe main beach breaks at Tamarindoand Jaco,you will find one of the nice things about surfing Costa Rica isthe lack of crowds. When your trip comes to a close it's quite easyto sell your board.

There are well over 40 known breaks to choose from whenyou're surfing Costa Rica, and many more that are yet to bediscovered. And while the never-ending left at Pavones certainlyhas its fans, others surfers in the know are quite loyal to thebreaks at Olly's Point, Witch's Rock (Roca Bruja),Playa Grande, Playa Negra, Malpais,Matapalo, and Salsa Brava on the Caribbean.Witch's Rock and Olly's Point, made famous in Endless Summer II,are both reached by charter boat out of Playas del Coco (thoughWitch's can be reached by the gnarly roads of Santa Rosa NationalPark).

I surfed Witch's once, and had the heart-racing pleasure ofdiscovering one of my fellow surfers was a 7ft long crocodile.Costa Rica surfing is a non-stop adventure!

While great wave sets can happen any time of year as a result ofclimatic occurrences and swell directions, the best wavestend to come in particular seasons and are worth considering beforeembarking on your Costa Rica surfing trip.

December through April is usually best for the Northwest Coastof Costa Rica in the Guanacaste canton. Along the central andsouthern Pacific coasts, the season producing the best waves isfrom April to November. Large waves roll into the Caribbean coastfrom December to the end of March, lighting up such legendary sitesas the reef break at Salsa Brava -- a notorious board breaker andrewarding challenge for the skilled surfer.

If you were looking for a weeklong Costa Rica surfing trip, you'dprobably have the best luck rentinga 4x4 and concentrating on exploring the many sites along theNorthwest coast of Guanacaste and heading down the NicoyaPeninsula. There are plenty of places to surf and some fun beachtowns like Tamarindo to keep you occupied at night.

Before you plan your trip, it also doesn't hurt to look up theswell reports and check out some of the webcams that are availableso you know where to concentrate your efforts. Big or small though,Costa Rica is guaranteed to be a great time. Pura vida!

Go back to CostaRica Travel from Costa Rica Surfing

Looking for another great Central American surf zone? Check out some El Salvador Surf spots. I've surfed El Sunzal and it's a sweet wave.

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