Surfing List of Breaks
Complete List of Surfing Breaks: Information about breaks flows geographically north to south, and west to east. That means we start in Tamarindo to the Pacific North and end in the Caribbean with Puerto Viejo. While there are literally more than a thousand surf breaks in Costa Rica, we focus here on the best breaks for each major location in Costa Rica. We made this as an easy one pager read for you, but feel free to visit the individual surfing break pages for more info!
Access by Boat Only. 2 mile stretch of beach with hollow sand bottom beach breaks creating long lefts and rights. Take off can be steep, however offshores generally keep the wave open and easy to surf.
Best conditions: with a west/southwest swell at incoming to high tide.
Access by Boat Only. Right point at the rivermouth with fast, hollow waves that roll on the beach endlessly breaking over a rocky bottom (hence, Endless Summer II). Take off at a series of rocks with slow entry.
Best conditions: at outgoing to mid low tide and south/southwest swells.Offers a great beach break with waves year round.
Exposed beach break just north of Tamarindo with hollow peaks. Can get crowded at the main peak but there are plenty of fun lefts & rights on the outside ref. & beach break.
Best conditions: at mid – high tide with offshore flow.
Exposed beach break just north of Tamarindo with hollow peaks. Can get crowded at the main peak but there are plenty of fun lefts & rights on the outside reef & beach break.
Best conditions: at mid – high tide with offshore flow.
Solid right beachbreak with hollow waves as they hit the inside reef..
Best conditions: on a due WEST swell with offshore flow and at mid-high tide.
A lava finger reef with a right that can be mushy to barrelling.
Best conditions: at a mid tide. Located south of the rivermouth.
|Playa Avellanes / Negra
A series of rights and lefts from a rivermouth offering a series of peaks including reefs and beach breaks. The northern end of the rivermouth boasts an outside reef break, “Little Hawaii,” which works best on a west or northwest swell and is ideal for longboarders. The rivermouth is a rock bottom right that can get very hollow and best at low tide in the am.
Best conditions: west or northwest swell and ideal for longboarders.
12 kilometers south of Tamarindo offering a rock-reef right break that is fast & hollow at low tide creating a picture perfect ride. Negra will pick up swell from many directions and crowds can be a factor.
Best conditions: in the morning with a mid tide going out.
A beach break and a left reef that work better on higher tides. There are many peaks with hollow, fast rights and lefts. The waves jack up off the sandbar creating a tough entry. On a large enough swell, try surfing at Playa Blanca directly in front of the Iguana Azul which offers double overhead epic lefts.
Located between Junquillal and Ostional, this is one of the area’s most consistent breaks offering excellent conditions with the presence of offshore winds. No services.
Beach and reef break with rights and lefts that works on higher tides and south to southwest swells. Located north of Nosara.
Great beach break with peaks and shallow rock reef lefts that get barrelling with a large south or southwest swell.
A rock reef on the north side which is best with a north swell at incoming high tide. Not very consistent and gets very crowded (L & S).
A beach break with a left point that works better at high tides and early in the morning. This area offers some of the most consistent year round surf ranging from head high to double overhead and much less crowded than the Tamarindo area.
Located waaaay down there between Nosara and Mal Pais. Nice beach break that is surrounded by rocks. This break is very consistent and offers surf year round.
Best conditions: from the south, or southwest.
|Santa Teresa & Mal Pais
|Playa Santa Teresa
Good lefts and rights at this hollow beach break. Tends to pick up more swell than nearby breaks and holds shape better at low tide. Take a right at the crossroads and continue 3km.
Best conditions: on west/southwest swell.
A beach break that peaks with some rock reef. This wave offers a long right wall and a shorter left breaking over a sloping sand bottom. When these breaks get big, try the nearby reef breaks in Manzanillo or to the south of Carmen.
Best conditions: on west/southwest swell.
|Playa Hermosa & Jaco
A very long left that breaks off a rivermouth. This is an ideal wave for longboarding as it does not get hollow, however on a good day, rides are up to 500yds. Best on south or southwest swell & dawn patrol. Water can be extremely dirty after a rain so be prepared!
A rivermouth break with a left breaking at low, incoming tide over a sand bar. This break needs a large swell from the south/southwest. Just to the south, you will find “El Hoyo” which is a thick, hollow right hand which forms off a jetty and breaks over a sand bar. It is more consistent than Boca Barranca. To get to ” El Hoyo,” you must enter the port and “convince” the
guard to let you through.
|Playa Tivives & Playa Valor
Offering a variety of lefts and rights, beach breaks and rocky points (Valor). Tivives offers rights & lefts breaking with strong currents; the mouth of the river creates and almost perfect, tubular left (beware of crocs & dirty water). Valor is accessed by paddling across the river.
Best conditions: at incoming high tide with a south swell (L & S).
A horseshoe, A-frame reef break with a powerful, hollow left and mellower right. Be aware of low tides as rocks are exposed. Best at mid – high tide with a southwest/west swell. Boat access only from Herradura Bay.
Long beach with lefts and rights breaking and sandbottom and rocks. This area is smaller than Hermosa and a good option for beginners. Best in front of Club Del Mar at the south end, in front of Surfer Factory in the middle, and in front of the white fence at the north end.
Experts Only. A right which breaks in deep water over a reef. It is one of the heaviest spots on the coast offering long, clean rights. Climb down the cliff just before the highway takes you down into Jaco. Paddle out through a narrow 8″ wide channel visible on the inside reef at low tide. Best on a due WEST swell at low to incoming tide.
Long stretch of beach offering some of the most consistent conditions on the Pacific Coast. A variety of sandbars have formed creating a pounding and tubular beachbreak. The following are the breaks that line this beach:
- Terraza - a fast, hollow right breaking in front of a group of visible rocks. Several other breaks just south of this break offer less punishing waves breaking
over a sandbar.
Best conditions: on a west/southwest swell from low to mid tide incoming.
- Backyard - a very consistent sandbar located at the entrance to the dirt road in Hermosa. This wave breaks close to the beach and is generally hollow with rights and lefts.
Best conditions: on a southwest/west swell at mid – high tide incoming.
- Almendro (Almond Tree) - breaking in deeper water than most of the hotel breaks, this break also offers a sandbottom with rights and lefts.
Best conditions: on a south/southwest swell at mid- high tide incoming.
- Corners - breaking in even deeper water creating a little more size, more sandbottom rights and lefts. Generally bigger than northern breaks of Hermosa.
Best conditions: at low to mid tide and a west/southwest swell.
- Tulin - located in front of the Soda Tulin about 10 minutes south of the Backyard, this break is consistently a few feet bigger than the hotel breaks. There is also a rivermouth break further south (with crocodiles) with a perfect line-up in ideal conditions.
Best conditions: at low tide on a west swell.
Breaking over a sandbar on the inside and outside on a submerged reef. Generally outside breaks reforms on the inside for more beginner surfers. No crowds and best conditions at high tide on a south swell. To get here, travel south of Hermosa for 20 minutes and enter at Esterillos Oeste.
Beach break offering long waves breaking close to the shore.
Best conditions: at mid – high tide on a south/southwest swell.
|Damas Rivermouth – Boca Damas
Access by Boat Only. A very strong, and hollow right. This wave is best at low tide filling in with a mid size to large swell from the northwest or west.
|Quepos Rivermouth – Boca Quepos
A long, perfect left coming off the pier. At low tide, you can catch hollow, strong waves. Needs a large swell to break. Best conditions with a west/northwest swell at low tide.
Turd alert: water can be dirty.
A short beach break located at the northern most end of the beach in Manuel Antonio.
Best conditions with a medium to large swell from the south/southwest at mid to high tide. With a big swell, you can also surf the outer reef with offers long, open rights, ideal for longboarding by paddling across the river… beware of crocodiles!
|Mar y Sombra
With the presence of a LARGE swell, this beach break offers a strong & often tubular left and right. Best conditions at mid to high tide and a large swell from the south/southwest.
A strong, yet short left & right point located just south of Playitas.
Best conditions with a small – medium swell from the south/southwest at mid – high tide.
A reef break offering a long, perfect right running up to 200 meters. A very natural wave only surfable at low tide with a big swell from the S or SSW. (L & S).
|Playa El Rey
Very similar to Playa Hermosa; this isolated beach break offers lefts and rights that close out with the presence of a big swell. Always bigger than nearby breaks so if you are in Manuel Antonio with non-surfers and are looking for relief, check this place out. No crowds with several peaks and is only accessible via a palm plantation about 15 minutes south of Quepos.
Best conditions at mid – high tide incoming.
Strong beach break with lefts and rights. Fairly consistent break, located about 45 minutes south of Quepos. The northern end of the beach offers bigger sets while the southern end is better for intermediate surfers.
Best conditions: at mid – high tide.
A powerful, and steep right hand wave that breaks best at mid tide offering fast rides. Because it faces the open ocean, it picks up more swells & is more consistent than nearby breaks.
Best conditions: at mid tide and a west/southwest swell.
A large, yet slow right that breaks over a reef in the middle of breathtaking Backwash Bay. Due to the steep beach, the waves generally jack up creating steep sections; great longboarding. Not as consistent as Matapalo, however, when it is going off, outshines Matapalo.
Best conditions: from mid- low tide and south/west swell.
A long right point break that needs a large swell to work. With ideal conditions, you can expect up to 500 yd tubular rides. This wave has several fast sections that break over a rocky bottom.
Best conditions: with a large swell from the south at mid tide.
The legendary Pavones… point break left, with great distance in rides – almost .75 miles. Yes, that’s miles. Obviously, one of the longer breaks in the world. This break is erratic but when it’s good, it’s reaaally good.
A reef break with rights and lefts located just south of Pavones. Good place to check out if Pavones is too small or too crowded.
Best conditions: at mid to high tide with a swell from the south, or west (L & S).
Access by Boat Only (South). Welcome to the end of the world. Very, remote & powerful reef breaks located on the very tip of Costa Rica on the border of Panama.
Best conditions: with a swell from the south or SSW. Accessible only by boat.
Access by Boat Only. This island located off the coast of Limon offers an excellent, yet, dangerous left that breaks on a reef. This is most powerful left in Costa Rica with three sections and facing a coral reef. Best days offer waves with 10 ft faces and is accessible only by boat from Limon.
Offers a great beach break with waves year round.
Best conditions: in the early morning with swell from the south or east at almost any tide (L&S).
A thick Hawaiian style wave that builds in deep water and breaks over a shallow reef. Offers both lefts and rights, however the right is generally faster, with a steep entry. This is most powerful wave in Costa Rica and the best conditions with an easterly swell which can produce up to triple overhead surf.
This beach break offers a more consistent break with lefts and rights breaking close to the beach. This wave tends to jack up with a big swell due to the steep beach entry …beware of currents.
Best conditions: in the early morning before the winds blow it out. However, you can surf here all day as the wind often improves the lack of form.