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Travel Info - Costa Rica
Best Travel Time All of our surf camps in Costa Rica are located along the Pacific Ocean side of the country where you have a tropical Air & water temperatures all year so you can travel here any time.
From April to August you have the biggest surf in Costa Rica, with more swell to suit more advanced surfers. However, during these months it’s also the rainy season, meaning that once or twice a day the heavens will open. The rain doesn’t last long and doesn’t cool the temperature much, but it does makes travelling harder than normal as roads turn to mud after the heavy downpours. During the rainy season you also have unfavourable winds during the day meaning you have to surf early in the morning, or late in the afternoon.
The most popular time to go is from the beginning of December to the end of March in the dry season. During these months the surf may be a touch smaller, but its super consistent and it’s also the perfect time to swap the European Winter for tropical weather and great waves.
Air & Water Temperature Along the Pacific Coast, air temperatures can reach 40°C and water temperatures range from 23°C to 30°C. It never gets cold, so no need to bring a wetsuit. It is recommended you wear something like a rash vest or t-shirt to keep the sun at bay while you’re out in the water and definitely pack some good sunblock. We also recommend you bring some booties if you are planning on surfing reef breaks. The Coral can be sharp and hide things like Sea Urchins.
The surf in Costa Rica ranges from mellow beach breaks for beginners to shallow, hollow reef breaks for the pros. With the east and west coast of Costa Rica so close together you can always find great waves, especially with the help of the local guides and coaches who can read the charts and find the perfect waves for your skill level while also taking into account the swell direction, tide & wind.
Guanacaste - Northern Pacific Coast
Playa Grande oder Las Tortugas Just north of Tamarindo you will find this beach break. It’s well known for its fast and hollow lefts & rights that break consistently throughout the year. Its proximity to Tamarindo means that the line-up can get pretty crowded at times.
Tamarindo Located next to Santa Teresa, Tamarindo is one of the most popular waves on the Nicoya Peninsula. At this beach you have waves that break on the sand banks around the river mouth, as well as on shallow reefs.
Avellana Playa Avellana is a good alternative to Tamarindo for beginners. It’s a little harder to get to but once you arrive you’ll be greeted by lefts & rights along the beach. The bottom is mainly sand with a few rocks.
Playa Negra – Guanacaste One of the best right-hand point breaks in Costa Rica. The rock reef almost gets exposed when the tide is low. The wave is hollow and fast making it a great place for more advanced surfers.
Playa Coyote Just north of Punto Coyote you’ll find this heavy beach break that caters more to advanced surfers. The waves are fast, but if you paddle into the right one you can get a ride up to 300 meters along the beach.
Mal País und Santa Teresa Mal Pais and Santa Teresa are located on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula and made up of 2 long beach’s split by various rock formations. There are 3 main surf spots called Playa Santa Teresa, Playa Carmen & Playa Hermosa. These spots are extremely consistent and work on all tides. When the swell is bigger it’s a great place for more advanced surfers. And if you’re just starting out, Playa Carmen offers mellow waves perfect for learning. This spot is directly in front of the Banana Beach Café which is highly recommended.
Southern Pacific Coast
Playa Jacó Jacó is a super lively artist town with plenty of restaurants, bars and plenty of opportunities to go shopping. The beach is relatively big and is perfect for beginners, especially during the dry season. In the rainy season the swell that rolls into the bay can get relatively big and caters more for advanced surfers.
Playa Hermosa Located just south of Jacó and famous for its fast and powerful shore break. The further south you head along the bay, the further out to sea the waves break. The little village of Hermosa located just of the black volcanic sand beach has great restaurants, cafés and bars, most of which have an amazing ocean view.
Playa Esterillos There is a rock reef located not far away from the beach where you can catch easy lefts & rights perfect for longboarders, beginners, and intermediate surfers. When the tide gets low you have to be a little cautious about the reef becoming exposed.
Dominical Made famous from the original surf film ‘Endless Summer’ this spot is one of the most popular beach breaks in Costa Rica. It caters more to advanced surfers and works any time of year, on any tide.
Drake's Bay Only accessible by boat, Drake’s Bay breaks on the sand banks around the river mouth and is never crowded. When the swell is from the north its worth checking out.
Pavones Supposedly the second longest left-hand point break in the world which is hard to measure, but on the right day with a large south swell it is extremely long. It’s easy to get to if you travel through Golfito, but the wave itself is fickle and needs exact conditions to work properly.
Playa Negra – Limón Limón is the largest port city on the east coast of Costa Rica. The beach at Limón has a few surf spots, one of which is a super shallow coral reef break that caters to pros, and further south you have a few more spots that are very similar and just as dangerous.
Puerto Viejo – Salsa Brava A beautiful little town with real Caribbean flair and a great little beach break as well as a reef called Cocles. The reefs on the Caribbean side are a lot sharper than those on the Pacific side.
Manzanillo Is only recommended to surfers who are already very comfortable in larger waves on shallow reef. This wave is a steep and fast right-hander that packs punch. The spot is located in a picturesque part of the country that’s worth checking out regardless if you are surfing, or just watching.
Flights Costa Rica is easily accessible with airlines like Lufthansa, British Airways & Iberia who fly regularly. Lufthansa takes boards under 2 meters and 23kg for free, but if your board is bigger the fee is 100€. Iberia charges you 150€ if your board if it is under 2.5m and total luggage weight is under 23kg. British Airways lets your board on for free as long as it is under 1.9 meters and total baggage is less than 23kg.
Travel Documents No Visa is required for travellers coming from most countries as long as your stay is under 90 days and you have a return ticket. Your Passport must be valid for 6 months after your date of arrival. If you travel to Costa Rica from neighbouring Panama or Nicaragua make sure your passport is stamped when you leave Panama or Nicaragua, and stamped when you enter Costa Rica and Vice Versa.
When you depart Costa Rica you will be charged a 29 USD departure fee as well as a 6 USD airport tax that can be paid in USD or Costa-Rica-Colón (CRC), the Costa Rican currency.
In Costa Rica your Debit Card will only work at Banco Nacional and Banco General with the maximum amount you can withdraw being 200,000 CRC per day, which is roughly 300€. Its best to take some USD and a credit card with you on your trip. It has happened that major credit cards don’t work so try to keep a little bit of cash on you at all times.
Vaccinations If you happen to come from a country where Yellow Fever exists, then you need confirmation that you have been vaccinated against it. Otherwise just be up to date with your normal vaccinations. The Zika Virus has been reported in Costa Rica in small numbers and there is a low risk of Malaria so protect yourself from mosquitos as much as possible.
Ensuring you are drinking clean water is also important when you travel to Costa Rica. If you would like any more information regarding your trip to Costa Rica, click here.
Legal Notices Drugs are highly illegal, and taking shells, plants and animals out of Costa Rica is also forbidden.
So that your trip to Costa Rica with Pure Surf Camps is a total success we've put together a few tips for your surf vacation:
Spanish is the local language and learning a few words or phrases will definitely work wonders. A good phrase to remember is ‘Pura Vida’. This can be used in a variety of ways including as a greeting, a farewell, as well as a way to say thank you.
Try the fresh coconut. Not only are they delicious and healthy, but the vitamins are perfect if something you ate or drank is wreaking havoc on your stomach.
Gallo Pinto is a traditional breakfast that consists of rice, beans, with side options like fried egg or chicken. It’s a great way to start the day and get prepped for your time out in the surf.
Public transport is well worth using. Its affordable, reliable and comfortable. You’ll experience a more authentic part of Costa Rican culture and the friendly locals will help you get off at the right stop. The main roads are modern, but the smaller side roads can get real muddy so if you’re renting a car, best to get a 4-wheel drive.
Bring plenty of high quality sun block. The sun is strong, and the sunblock in Costa Rica is expensive.
Don't skip the tip. Costa Rica has been influenced by the American tipping culture, so a 10% tip is almost prerequisite.
Respect the locals, plenty of Europeans strip off at the beach which isn’t appreciated. So keep your bikini or boardshorts on.
Unfortunately, the crime rate is quite high, so leave your valuables in the safe back at camp, and explore with the necessities.
The roads get a little tricky when it gets dark, so if you are taking a road trip in your rental car, try to get to your destination before sunset.
Costa Rica - 'Pura Vida'
Costa Rica has been described as the Switzerland of Central America because of not only it mountainous inland regions, but also because of its international neutrality and relatively high standard of living. Every year about 1.5 Million visitors travel to the country to relax on the beautiful beaches, explore the mountains and rainforest, or, of course, surf.
The natural beauty of both the coast and inland regions is spectacular, and not only are the landscapes beautiful, but also the diverse animal life you will encounter. You’ll see everything from Howler Monkeys sitting in the trees to Tukans’ flying overhead. A trip into the jungle is definitely worth an afternoon. A trip to Costa Rica will not only give you the opportunity to surf epic, world-class waves, but you will also be able to explore an amazing jungle that is full of life, relax on tropical beaches, learn about an ancient culture and meet super friendly locals.
Learn to surf in Costa Rica
Surfing along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica you will find amazing beach, point & reef breaks to cater to everybody, from those of you catching your first waves, to seasoned pros. Where Costa Rica is located in Central America you have tropical temperatures all year with a dry, and wet season. The dry season, from December to April, provides great waves with predominantly offshore winds along the Pacific side and consistent swell. During the rainy season, from April to August, its best to surf early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the wind is at its lowest. The swell during this period is bigger and more powerful and suits more advanced surfers. September and October tend to be the 2 months where the surf conditions in Costa Rica aren’t great.
Surfing in Santa Teresa or Mal Pais for example is perfect for everybody. You’ll find waves for beginners and advanced surfers along the beach, its amazingly beautiful, and there are plenty of opportunities to explore the Nicoya Peninsula.
Surf Camps - Costa Rica
Surf Camp Costa Rica
Crystal clear water, perfect waves, stunning jungle scenery, plenty of wildlife, ancient culture and impressive volcanos. This is everything that will greet you when you decide to travel to Surf Camp Costa Rica.
The camp is 100 meters away from the beach and is surrounded by a tropical garden, all with an ocean view. At the camp you can choose to stay in comfortable free standing wood bungalows or double/triple rooms in the main house. The different options either have a view of the jungle or ocean and are all extremely comfortable, with modern furnishings and fittings.
The camp provides all meals, starting with a healthy and delicious breakfast every morning. The breakfast consists of muesli, bread, cold cuts, cheese and most importantly, amazing locally grown and roasted coffee. In the evenings the chefs will prepare amazing local and international meals, as well as making vegetarian and gluten free options.
The surf spots surrounding the camp seem to have constant waves. There’s even a wave directly on the beach by the camp that is easily accessible on foot. If you want you can upgrade to the Premium Package where an intensive Surf Course is included. You can also choose to take part in the Surf Guiding where you will get to explore the waves along the coast with local and knowledgeable guides.
When you’re not surfing you can take part in yoga classes with a professional instructor to improve your core strength, balance and fitness to improve your surfing on land. You can also skate the mini-ramp, or take a trip into the jungle which comes highly recommended.
Surf House Costa Rica
Find perfect, empty waves in Costa Rica when staying at the Surf House, run by Lapoint Travels A.S. The long swell lines generated in the Pacific Ocean roll towards the Costa Rican coast to create surf that will get every surfers heart rate up.
The Camp is located on the hill next to the beach meaning you have stunning ocean views from everywhere, even the pool. If you’re lucky you might even see a whale swim by while looking out towards the ocean. You can choose to stay in extremely comfortable double or dorm rooms which all have private bathrooms.
Before you hit perfect waves the team provide a hearty & nutritious breakfast to give you the energy to power through. The team make use of the local tropical fruits in conjunction with muesli, yoghurt and amazing freshly brewed coffee. After your first surf session the team will prepare a brunch for you when you get back. For dinner you can either check out one the many local and international restaurants in the area or eat at the restaurant at the camp.
Surf House Costa Rica offers 3 different Surf Course options designed for different skill levels. All the courses will take you to the waves that best suit your skills and will show you some of the Costa Rican coastline. The surf school team are all experienced and internationally qualified.
The time spent out of the water will definitely not be boring. If you want, you can chill at the camp and relax in the pool, but you can also go on jungle excursions to check out the Sloths, Howler Monkeys and plenty more jungle inhabitants, or you can take part in yoga classes.
Surf Hostel Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the perfect destination if you want to escape the cold & grey European winter months. The camp is located directly next to the beach where you will find epic waves only meters away from your doorstep. Surf Hostel Costa Rica is run by Don Jon’s S.A. who provide an amazing surf adventure.
You can choose to stay in the dorm, double rooms or in the apartments. The rooms are furnished with comfortable wooden furniture and are perfect for relaxing evenings. If you want to chill outside you also have plenty of hammocks scattered throughout the property with a relaxing jungle view.
Daily breakfast is provided by Surf Hostel Costa Rica that consists of fresh tropical fruit, yoghurt, muesli, pancakes and delicious breakfast burritos. Every morning a freshly brewed pot of local coffee will greet you in the dining area as well. After your surf the team can also make you an amazing smoothie.
In the evenings you have the onsite restaurant where you can order fresh fish specialities or local Burritos. Where the camp is located also makes checking out the local bars and restaurants super easy so you can enjoy a cold beer next to the beach while watching the sunset.
There are beginner and intermediate surf courses on offer from Surf Hostel Costa Rica, both find the best waves, are run by qualified & experienced coaches, and have small groups. The coaches will be with you every step of the way to take your surfing to the next level. When you are not surfing the crew can organise jungle tours, diving & fishing trips or horse riding.