Best surfing beaches in Costa Rica on the Caribbean coast

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Surfing at Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica. Photo Credit: RodrigoXCB via Flickr

It often seems that whether coming into or leaving Costa Rica, someone has a surfboard.

Most surfers wend their way to the impressive Gold Coast off the western Pacific Coast for some of its famous Costa Rica surfing beaches like Witches Rock where part of the classic surfing movie, Endless Summer II, was filmed.

Many are interested in the beaches around Tamarindo, one of the country’s most popular vacation spots.

And, certainly, no Costa Rica holiday is complete without passing time in Jaco, a party town that just happens to have great close by surfing beaches. Beaches like the pristine, Blue Flag certified, Playa Hermosa, home to the yearly (August) Quicksilver International Surf Championships.

There’s even a beach, Pavones, along the southern Pacific coast that has the second longest wave in the world, almost two miles of surfing on a single wave!

While the Pacific coast is justifiably famed for surfing, the less visited Caribbean coast also has some of the best surfing in Costa Rica, especially around the laid back little town of Puerto Viejo, a mix of Costa Rican, Caribbean (think Bob Marley), and international influences. You will find ex pats and visitors from Eastern Europe to southern South America plus, naturally, Americans and Canadians.

It’s in this relaxed, eclectic community that you’ll encounter the Salsa Brava where a heavy reef break is reminiscent of Hawaii. Some call it Costa Rica’s heaviest, best waves, as electrifying as any coral reef double-up right tube on the planet.

However, if you haven’t yet guessed it, this surf isn’t for beginners. but each year, from January through April, professional surfers and some of the world’s best amateurs descend on the little town to challenge the Salsa Brava.

Unless you are in that august group, maybe another close by beach is where you should pass the time on your board.

Here are a couple of suggestions.

Playa Cocles (Cocles Beach) is about a mile south of Puerto Viejo. A Blue Flag beach, you’ll find good sized swells with breaks to both the left and right. This beach is one of the most well liked for both locals and travelers, surfers or non-surfers.

If you head a few miles farther down the coast, you’ll come to Manzanillo Beach with its fantastic water, good enough for snorkeling, and consistent surfing waves.

And, should you like to do more than surfing, visit a local indigenous tribe, the Bribris, or cross into nearby Panama and enjoy wonderful Boca del Toros.

Whether you like nature, laying on the beach, adult nightlife, tropical weather, fishing—-and a zillion other things—-Costa Rica vacations has something for you. And, if surfing excites you, take a few moments and visit some of the best surfing in Costa Rica along the Caribbean.

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