Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Because of Costa Rica’s location in Central America, it picks up both northern and southern Pacific Ocean swells (insider surfer knowledge – a “swell” is wind energy that travels across the ocean and creates surfable waves when it reaches land).
This means Costa Rica is one of the most consistent places to surf in the world. The water is warm year round, the culture is laidback, and there is natural beauty and cool wildlife everywhere. Costa Rica is also one of the easiest places to get to from the United States. It’s also a relatively safe country with a long history of tourism.
For more ideas on where to surf and stay in Costa Rica, check out the Top 5 Surf Camps in Costa Rica.
Tamarindo, located in the northwest corner of Costa Rica, is a small surfing and fishing village that has blossomed into a vibrant surf-tourist town with an active nightlife, international restaurants, and plenty of non-surf activities to keep you busy when the waves aren’t good.
While the waves in Tamarindo do get a little busy (especially during Dec-Jan), there are a handful of other great surf breaks only a short drive away. The variety of waves in the area makes Tamarindo a perfect surfing hub for Northern Costa Rica. It has everything from slow, soft-rolling beginner waves, to intermediate beach breaks, as well as advanced tubing reef breaks. No matter your level, there are waves to keep you busy.
In general, the waves in Costa Rica never get too big, which is another great reason it’s such a popular learn-to-surf destination.
When To Go:
As far as the waves go, you can surf year-round in Costa Rica. December to March is high-season for tourism, which means it will be more crowded in the water.
August to November is rainy season which means fewer crowds, but also more unpredictable weather. Expect at least an afternoon shower during rainy season with much more consistent storms in September and October.
My favorite month to visit is November/December when the land is still green and lush from the rainy season, but the hard storms are gone, and the crowds are still pretty light.