Costa Rica Surf Spots: Locals Reveal the Best


“This is the kind of day you dream about, just you and your friends, offshore winds, 85 degree water, quality waves, and the nearest parking meter is 800 miles away.”

The Endless Summer II, 1994

Costa Rica is known to have some of the best surfing in the world. Some of the best surfing spots in Costa Rica are located very close to Drift Away Eco-Lodge and Retreat Center. Surfers from all over the world visit Guanacaste surf beaches. The water is warm and the winds are perfect and the waves are awesome.  

Each surf location is different. Some surf beaches are better for beginners and novices. Others are mind-blowingly great, but only if you know what you’re doing. So if you’re planning a Costa Rica surfing vacation, you’ve come to the right place!

This article has some helpful information on the best surfing beaches in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. We asked local surfers and other surf experts for their recommendations of the  best places to surf in Guanacaste. We’ll get to their suggestions in a bit.  But first, some of the basics.

Surfing in Costa Rica: When To Go

child surfing playa avellanas
Surfers of all ages and abilities can enjoy the waves of Playa Avellanas. (photo courtesy Avellanas Surf School)

The North Pacific (that’s where we are) swell season is between November and April, the South Pacific swell season is between June and September. 

These are the times of year when large weather systems create consistent, surfable waves. Other times of the year the waves are created by local winds. But you know what? You can experience some great surfing in Costa Rica at any time of the year. For surf trips, Costa Rica is a great destination whenever you want to go.

Best Costa Rica Surf Beaches

Costa Rica surf beaches can be divided into four areas: 

  • North – the surf beaches of Guanacaste near the Drift Away Eco-Lodge and Retreat Center.
  • Central – the surf beaches of Puntarenas.
  • South – the surf beaches of Golfo Dulce.
  • Caribbean – the surf beaches of the southeast coast, near Limón.

The advantage of the northern surf beaches is that there are more consistent swells. Moreover, the region is much drier than the rest of the west coast during the wet season, when the best surfing happens.

Costa Rica Locals Reveal The Best Surf Spots

man surfing
Juan Roberto Arias Tyrell surfing the waves off the coast of Guanacaste. (courtesy Juan Roberto Arias Tyrell)

So what do the local surfers say? These people teach surfing, have surfed here all their lives, or have made Costa Rica a regular destination for their surf vacations. Their passion is for the waves! You can find these guys at various bars, restaurants, and shops around here. Buy them a beer and they may share more insider tips with you.

Playa Callejones

Distance from Drift Away Eco-Lodge: 5 km

Recommended by Andres Gutierrez, Receptionist at Drift Away Eco-Lodge 

“The best surf beach in this area would be Playa Junquillal and Playa Callejónes. Junquillal is a very fast wave with two sides. The good thing about this beach is that not many people visit it to surf. Callejones has a big wave on the right, and on the left a slow wave, and when it gets closer to the sand it is fast… and it is a secret beach.”

man surfing
Andres Gutierrez, Receptionist at Drift Away Eco-Lodge

Playa Negra

Distance from Drift Away Eco-Lodge: 3.5 km

Recommended by Jeronimo de Almenera, El Bar Kon Tiki  

“If you ask me the best spot around the area is Playa Negra, but you better have some level (experience) before paddling out there. Between the low tide and the high tide there is a considerable difference in the speed, power and danger factor. Please have a good and respectful attitude when surfing here as the locals are kind but get ticked off easily! For beginners and up, there is Playa Avellanas, a beautiful long beach break with many different peaks and an amazing beach vibe. There you can get everything from super long lefts for those that can surf, to nice soft beginner whitewaters that you can learn to stand on.”

Find Jeronimo and El Bar Kontiki on Instagram and Facebook @elbarkontiki, call 2652 9117, or email [email protected]

Playa Negra

woman boady boarding surfing

Distance from Drift Away Eco-Lodge: 3.5 km

Recommended by Luciana Warde, bodyboardist

“My best place to surf in Guanacaste is Playa Negra.

This is the reason that I decided to live here!

Perfect, consistent waves, warm water, beautiful sunsets… that is the reason to be here in Los Pargos.”


Playa Avellanas

Distance from Drift Away Eco-Lodge: 1.5 km

Recommended by Mauricio Ortega Chaves, Avellanas Surf School 

Avellanas Beach is one of the best places to surf in Costa Rica for beginners, and it is excellent for those intermediate and advanced surfers as well. 

A reef break called “La Purruja” is in front of Lola’s parking lot. It’s a world-class wave with the right swell direction and a challenge for most intermediate level surfers. The “Beach Break” is an ‘A’ frame wave that also breaks in front of Lola’s. Just north of Lola’s is a surf spot called “Palo Seco’. It is a smooth wave for those that are learning surfing or at a basic level. If you continue walking north, you will encounter “The Estero” which is a river mouth break and great for advanced surfers. Past “The Estero” is “Little Hawaii”. This wave is a dream come true for advanced level surfers that love to rip hard.”

Find Mauricio and Avellanas Surf School on Instagram @avellanas_surf-school  Facebook @AvellanasSurfSchool Telephone/WhatsApp 7105-2619, email: [email protected]

Playa Avellanas

Juan Roberto Arias Tyrell
Juan Roberto Arias Tyrell

Distance from Drift Away Eco-Lodge: 1.5 km

Recommended by Juan Roberto Arias Tyrell, Tamarindo Tico Tours Surf Concierge

“Playa Avellanas is the best surf spot for most kinds of surfers. It is a good surf spot for all levels with different peaks along the beach. The rest are more advanced spots that are best to keep undisclosed!”

Find Juan on Instagram @tamarindoticotours or email [email protected]

Playa Marbella

Alex Delmas
Alex Delmas

Distance from Drift Away Eco-Lodge: 32 km

Recommended by Alex Delmas, Surfboardbroker 

“I would say if the waves are small, under 5-6 feet, it’s very fun up in Marbella, and if the swell is pumping for a long period of more than 6 feet, and you’re an expert level, you should go to Playa Negra.”

Find Alex on Instagram @surboardbrokercostarica

‘The Secret Spot’

One surf spot never revealed by locals is “The Secret Spot” near Avellanas, made legendary by the 1994 surf movie Endless Summer II. Named because it is a special place for locals and their friends, who guard its location carefully for fear that this pristine wave would become flooded with surfers. You’ll be lucky if you find it.

Time and again Playa Negra and Playa Avellanas are ranked as some of the top surfing best beaches in Costa Rica. Both surf beaches are very close to the Drift Away Eco-Lodge and Retreat Center. Surfers in Tamarindo should seriously consider the short drive south, to escape the touristy areas and crowded waves to find a tranquil, rural and remote setting with some of the best surfing around!

Drift Away Eco-Lodge offers customized individual, couples, and family surf packages! Weekly family packages start at $599. Includes accommodation, daily breakfast, 5 x 90-minute lessons, bi-lingual surf instructor, board hire and rash guard.

Read about more activities at Drift Away Eco-Lodge and Retreat Center.