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Costa Rica is undoubtedly an excellent place for any surfer to visit, whether you're a beginner or whether you could carve up a 50 footer in your sleep. The country's extensive coastlines on both the Pacific and the Caribbean sides are positively rammed full of good surf spots, and as the country is relatively small, it’s easy to drive or fly between many of the spots even if you’re tight on time.

Unfortunately, many of the really good breaks are prohibitively busy, particularly at peak times of the year. This means that the main problem for surfers in Costa Rica is not finding a good break, but choosing which suits them best, and finding somewhere that isn’t too busy.

To help you decide, here are 3 of the top (almost) unknown surfing spots in Costa Rica

Samara & Buenavista


Samara is a small, mostly surfing-orientated town located on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, facing the Pacific Ocean. Surfing aside, it is a lovely destination just to hang out and relax in, with a laid-back vibe and not too many people around. By night it’s a good place to party, too. Accommodation, food, and drink are all reasonably priced, and it’s the perfect spot to spend a few days.

Samara beach is closest to the town, and a good area for beginner surfers and anybody not taking their surfing too seriously. The waves are a little inconsistent and you won’t be getting many crisp green peelers here, mostly whitewater. This is due to a reef which blocks the developing waves from reaching their potential.

For anyone more serious, the real waves are just up the road at Buena Vista beach. Walk north for around half an hour and you will come to this much more secluded beach, where the waves are more suited to the more experienced surfers.

Breaks here are far more consistent, and it’s also much less busy in the water, meaning more time on the waves. There is very little in the way of development, so bring everything with you from Samara if you’re going to spend the day.

Playa Pavones


Pavones is a small and only basically developed town on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It rocks a super chilled out atmosphere, and houses a few restaurants, food shops, and small hotels. Beyond that, though, it’s an unassuming little beach town.

It might come as a surprise then, that Pavones beach happens to have one of the longest left-hand breaks in the world. If conditions are right, 1 wave can be ridden for several minutes straight, carrying you over a kilometer.

The reason that Pavones is not more overrun by tourism and developments is its location. It is very remote and relatively inaccessible as compared with many of the other surf towns. It is located just south (around a 1 or 2-hour drive) of the already fairly remote town of Golfito, and at least 8 hours or so to drive from San José. The conditions are also less consistent than other surfable areas, so many people choose more convenient beaches.

Saying that, the waves here are so good that when the conditions are perfect, word gets around and surfers from all over flock to Pavones to catch the fabled epic left.

Malpais-Santa Teresa



This example of a lesser-known surf spot is more of a stretch of coastline than a specific beach. Santa Teresa and Malpais are 2 towns located a few kilometers apart on the southwestern  coast of the Nicoya peninsula, and many breaks close to them are extremely good for surfing.

It’s one of the best surfing areas in Costa Rica because of its consistently good conditions, but also because of the choice. If a beach is too crowded, you can just find another up the coast that has fewer people. The selection of breaks also means that there is something for everyone in this area, with anyone ranging from beginner to pro being well catered for.

Visit Costa Rica for some of the world's best secluded surfing

You may have heard stories about Costa Rica being past its best as a surfing destination. While it’s true, of course, that time has taken its toll on some of the early spots, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still find amazing, quiet breaks all over the country.

You just need to know where to look.


Author Bio :

Nicoleta Radoi is the resident content blogger for uVolunteer. Nicoleta is an avid linguist, speaks fluent English, Chinese, French, Spanish and native Romanian. She spent a decade working in China in the education sector and working with major international development institutions and currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. She is passionate about volunteering, sustainable travel and has a soft spot for ethnic food.
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