Costa Rica has become a popular surf destination for good reason. There’s consistent year-round surf, it’s relatively inexpensive, the water temperature averages around 27° C, and there’s an ever-present relaxed vibe with magical powers to relax your every last ounce of stress.
Costa Rica is home to some really incredible breaks. Witch’s Rock and Ollie’s Point in the northern region are two of the most famous because of Endless Summer II. They’re also the kind of waves that surfers spend a lifetime daydreaming about.
Pavones in the far south region is another world-class wave that rivals Chicama in Peru as one of the world’s longest lefts. It can take you about 8-10 hours to drive from the Tamarindo area to Pavones, so if you’re only staying for several days, you probably won’t want to spend half a day on the road.
You’ll find the most consistent year-round surf in the northern region – between Tamarindo and Malpais. It’s also fairly easy to get around depending on the weather and road conditions so you can explore a lot of different breaks. This area loves a south swell so some of the best swells tend to fall in the April to October time frame.
Board rentals in Costa Rica can range from 10–25 USD per day and a lot of surf shops are pretty laid back and negotiable on pricing. If you rent the board for an extended period of time you will most likely get a better rate. If you bring boards, then you just have to pay for extra baggage fees, which can range significantly and cost you anywhere from 50–150+ USD each way. Check out our breakdown on surfboard bag fees to get an idea of the best and worst airlines for surf travel.
If you’re a beginner surfer, you’re in good hands, or rather, waters! Costa Rica is a great place for beginners because the water is warm, there are small sand-bottom breaks all over the place, and surf schools on just about every corner. Most surf schools include board rental in a package, so you’re covered. Rates for surf lessons will vary depending on how many people are in your group.
Cost of a group lesson: 45–60 USD per 2-hour session (including board rental).
For the more intermediate to advanced surfers, there are a few options to hop on some surf charters for the day and check out some legendary spots like Witch’s Rock and Ollie’s Point. The prices can be more expensive than surf charters in places like Indonesia, but like with most surf destinations, you might be able to find some less expensive options when you get there.
Prices vary big time, but you can find boats starting at around 100 USD per person. Here’s some companies that organize trips to Witch’s Rock and Ollie’s point: Boo’s Adventures, Single Fin Surf Charters, Serendipity Charters.