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Surfing paradise

Costa Rica

Wake up to the raucous calls of the howler monkeys, ride the waves in the early morning light and unwind with a cocktail in your hammock at the end of the day. Costa Rica is a real surfer’s paradise. 

Catch the waves
Costa Rica Surf 02 Intro
Rob Francis / Alamy Stock Photo

Costa Rica literally means ‘rich coast’. And the country absolutely lives up to its name. Miles and miles of white sandy beaches and unparalleled waves make Costa Rica one of the top surfing destinations in the world. However this region offers much more than just fabulous waves. The combination of laid-back beach towns, pristine natural beauty and sultry reggae-fuelled nights transform your surfing holiday into an unforgettable experience. 

Costa Rica Surf 03 Nosara 1
Matt Seaver


Costa Rica Surf 04 Nosara 2
Rob Francis / Alamy Stock Photo

No shoes, no shirt, Nosara

Close your eyes and picture an easy-going surf town surrounded by jungle and wildlife, steps from endless golden beaches. Too good to be true? That’s Nosara. This surf and yoga paradise is one of the most gorgeous surfing destinations in all of Costa Rica. Here you will find three magical beaches connected by winding gravel roads.

“No shoes, no shirt, Nosara” is the motto of this little paradise, which perfectly sums up the town’s carefree vibe. 

Costa Rica Surf 04 Nosara 3
Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

Start the day with breakfast at the popular Beach Dog Café (tip: try the banana bread French toast!). Then grab your surfboard and walk the short distance from your beach bungalow to the sea. Playa Guiones is Nosara’s most popular beach. And it’s easy to see why: surfers can count on a yearly average of 300 days of surfable waves, with spots that are suitable both for beginners and advanced surfers. Take the plunge and test the waves. 

Costa Rica Surf 05 Pura Vida

‘La Pura Vida’ is a popular expression in Costa Rica. The translation is ‘Pure life’, but for Costa Ricans it means so much more. For them, the statement is all about enjoying life. And that is a very fitting description of the already easy-going lifestyle of the average surfer. 

Costa Rica Surf 06 Jaco Hermosa 1

Playa Jaco and Playa Hermosa

Surfing and partying

For an experience that is almost the complete opposite of Nosara, head to Jaco. This lively beach resort is perfect for beginner surfers. With five kilometres of beach, Jaco is the closest of these beaches to Costa Rica’s capital of San José and attracts both locals and travellers.

Costa Rica Surf 07 Jaco Hermosa 2
Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
Costa Rica Surf 07 Jaco Hermosa 3
age fotostock / Alamy Stock Photo

Nearby Playa Hermosa is far quieter and offers much bigger waves, more suitable for advanced surfers. This black sandy beach also hosts the yearly International Quicksilver Championship, where hundreds of professional surfers show off their amazing skills on the board. 

At the end of the day, Villa Caletas is the place to be. Perched high on a cliff, the hotel also boasts an amphitheatre with spectacular views of the Gulf of Nicoya and the Pacific Ocean. This is the perfect place to grab a cocktail and watch a magical sunset.

Costa Rica Surf 07 Jaco Hermosa 4
Villa Caletas
Costa Rica Surf 07 Jaco Hermosa 5
Villa Caletas
Costa Rica Surf 08 Santa Teresa 1
Julien Delmouly

Santa Teresa

Costa Rica Surf 09 Santa Teresa 2
JAMES LANGE / Alamy Stock Photo
Costa Rica Surf 09 Santa Teresa 3
Funky Monkey Lodge

After a day riding the waves, head to the Funky Monkey Lodge to chill. This hotel has a laid-back restaurant with a cocktail bar where you can often catch some music. The sushi nights on Wednesdays and Saturdays always draw a crowd. Fancy spending the night here? The lodge offers its guests a wonderful jungle swimming pool and a beautiful yoga studio. 

Costa Rica’s most beautiful beach

The beach of Santa Teresa has been ranked in the top 10 of Central America’s most beautiful beaches for many years. There are no high-rises, traffic or throngs of people; only trees, beach and sea. A consistent offshore wind makes this a favourite destination for surfers of every skill level. At low tide, the waves become even faster and more challenging. The best surfing months are May through December, during the rainy season.

Costa Rica Surf 09 Santa Teresa 4
Yadid Levy / Alamy Stock Photo
Costa Rica Surf 09 Santa Teresa 5
Blynk Images / Francis Martineau / Alamy Stock Photo
Costa Rica Surf 10 Domincal 1
Kenneth Rivera


Camping along the beach

The rugged ocean at the surf town of Dominical draws surfers from around the world, spending the night in camper vans along the palm-tree lined beach to get an early start and catch the best waves. This town lives and breathes surfing. Don’t expect large hotels – Dominical is hippie, happy and simple.

The many mellow rum bars set the tone for the town’s easy-going atmosphere. 

Costa Rica Surf 11 Domincal 4
age fotostock / Alamy Stock Photo
Costa Rica Surf 11 Domincal 2
Blynk Images / Charles Knox / Alamy Stock Photo
Costa Rica Surf 11 Domincal 3
Al Argueta / Alamy Stock Photo
Costa Rica Surf 11 Domincal 5
Cara Koch / Alamy Stock Photo

There is more to life in Dominical than surfing. Inland, the beach gives way to mangroves and rainforest that are perfect to explore by kayak. Or take a hike to the Nauyaca Waterfalls and dive into the crystal clear water. 


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