Last Updated: 17.10.2023
Learn to surf in Costa Rica and discover why so many beginners return year after year to this peaceful Central American nation.
Once regarded as a hush-hush surf destination for Americans in the 60s and 70s looking for empty line-ups and peeling pointbreaks, Costa Rica has since become one of Central America’s most popular destinations to learn surfing.
These days, beaches such as Santa Teresa, Tamarindo and Playa Hermosa along with iconic breaks such as Witches Rock draw surfers from all over the world like moths to a flame. Promising warm water, good vibes and enough swell to slake even the hungriest wave warrior’s appetite. Making it one of those rare places where even the highest expectations are often met and then some.
In this sense the country sells itself. But there’s no reason why we can’t give you a few more excuses to book a trip. So whether you’ve managed to score a couple of weeks off work or are about to embark on the backpacking adventure of a lifetime, here are 9 reasons why the team here at Rapture Surfcamps reckon you should learn to surf in Costa Rica.
1. No Dearth of Waves – For All Skill Levels
Costa Rica has pointbreaks, beachies, reefs and even a couple of secret rock slabs. It also receives plenty of Pacific Ocean swell all year-round. Essentially making it one of the most consistent places for surfers to visit in the Americas.
As a beginner, you’ll be pleased to know the sand bottom waves in Costa Rica are second to none. We’ve already mentioned breaks such as Santa Teresa and Playa Hermosa, however, with 350 kilometers of coastline there are plenty of other options to suit all skill levels, such as Playa Avellanas. So as soon as you master the art of standing up and begin surfing across the face of a wave, you can start exploring some of the more challenging breaks on offer.
2. Enjoy Perfect Water Temperature
There have been some recent advances in wetsuit technology that makes surfing in 4 millimeters of neoprene relatively comfortable. But if we’re being honest, there’s nothing quite like learning to surf in Costa Rica in water that’s north of 25˚C wearing only a bikini or boardshorts and a rash vest.
Call us suckers for tropical conditions, but we firmly believe that it’s actually a little easier to pick up surfing in warm water. Maybe it’s the fact that you’re unencumbered by a wetsuit. Or perhaps it’s because the cold can slow down your reaction time, making it harder to get to your feet. Whatever the reason, we’re happy to report that the water here is ridiculously warm. Bordering on bathtub temperatures during May, June and July and ensuring that you’ll never have to wear a wetsuit when hitting the waves.
3.Plenty of Lay-day Activities
Unlike surfing in Nicaragua, Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline is just as susceptible to onshore winds as every other country in the world. But the good thing here is that when the wind switches in Costa Rica, there are still plenty of other fun activities you can do to while away the day.
Go on a trek into the jungle and try to spot a lazy sloth, strap into a harness and zip line over the verdant green jungle or explore the many waterfalls and lagoons found throughout the countryside. With so much to do besides learning to surf in Costa Rica you’ll never be bored. And since there are too many exciting tours to try and things to see in one visit, you’ll always have plenty of reasons to come back.
4. Affordable Surf Lessons
Yes, Costa Rica is probably the most expensive country in Central America for backpackers. But take it from the team at Rapture Surfcamps, it is possible to learn to surf in Costa Rica and enjoy the many other activities it has on offer while adhering to a budget and it’s still cheaper than learning to surf in Europe.
That being said, many people who simply book surf lessons or hire their board on the beach may find that their costs add up quickly. The reason for this is that it takes more than one day to master the basics of surfing, therefore it will take more than one lesson or multiple days of equipment hire before you start feeling confident in the water. With a surf camp though you’ll have everything provided for you, including gear, meals and accommodation. Which means more money to spend on doing all that other fun stuff in Costa Rica.
5. It’s a Peace-loving Nation
If you’re seeking mellow vibes and a relaxed atmosphere then it only makes sense to learn to surf in Costa Rica, given that it’s probably the most peace-loving nation in the world. A bold claim to make we know, but there’s plenty of evidence to back up that statement.
For one, Costa Rica has enjoyed a democratic government for over 60 years. Resulting in more stability and security for its residents. Since 1949, its constitution has also forbidden the nation from ever raising a standing army, which just goes to show how anti-war Costa Rica actually is. But if you still need further proof that Costa Rican’s are lovers, not fighters, the country is now home to the United Nations University for Peace. Yep, that’s a thing.
6.There’s a Law against Bad Coffee
Early morning surf sessions are great, don’t get us wrong. And it’s always much easier waking up with the sun when there’s the promise of good waves and warm water. But do you know what makes our team here at Rapture Surfcamps practically bounce out of bed each morning? Costa Rican coffee!
It’s so good that people travel from all over the world just to sample it. There’s even a law that makes it illegal to produce any type of coffee other than 100% Arabica, which is the highest quality of coffee beans available. This means that if you learn to surf in Costa Rica, you’ll also get the chance to taste some of the best coffee in the world. And who doesn’t love a rich cup of coffee to get them fired up for a day of surfing?
7. You can Surf all year-round!
Yep, you read that correctly. You can surf in Costa Rica all year-round. That means no matter where you are in the world, you can pretty much pull out the calendar and pick a month at random to visit and still be guaranteed good weather and quality waves.
To break it down more for you, the wet or “rainy” season in Costa Rica is from May until mid-November. During this time the waves tend to be bigger and more consistent, making it perfectly fine for beginners but perhaps a little limiting when it comes to the variety of surf breaks you can paddle out to. If you want to learn to surf in Costa Rica and maximize your time in the water, the dry season will produce waves that are a little more friendly in terms of size, but with hotter weather and less rain to cool you down. Either way, you’re going to score some fun surf.
8. Accessible and Convenient
Unlike some Central American countries, you can fly to San Jose directly from Europe. So, if you’re planning on learning to surf in Costa Rica and hail for the Old World, you’ll be happy to know that it’s actually pretty accessible.
Iberia, for example, flies directly to the country’s capital from Madrid, as does Air France from Paris, KLM from Amsterdam and British Airways from London with a total flight time that averages about 11 hours. If you can’t find a direct flight though there are also plenty of other airlines that fly from Europe to Panama City. Which is then only a quick 1 hour and 15-minute fly into San Jose and the learn to surf experience you’ve been dreaming of.
9. Live the Pura Vida life
You may have heard before that local Costa Ricans are a gregarious bunch. Always up for a laugh and some fun in the sun, their positive outlook on life is underlined by the concept of Pura Vida, which roughly translates to ‘Pure life’ or ‘Simple life’.
To be fair, any translation of this philosophy won’t do it justice. Since Pura Vida is a concept that’s so ingrained in Costa Rican culture that it’s become a way of life. As a phrase, it can even be used to say ‘Hello’, ‘Goodbye’ or even as a response to a casual ‘How’s it going?’. All you need to know though is that it is an attitude, an emotion and a feeling of contentment all rolled into one. And something that you’ll experience firsthand when you learn to surf in Costa Rica.
Ready to catch the ultimate wave adventure? Join us at Rapture Surfcamps Costa Rica for the surf experience of a lifetime! Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to ride your first wave, our pristine beaches, expert instructors, and vibrant surf community await. Book now and let the waves of Costa Rica carry you to the adventure you’ve been waiting for!
Hear What Rapture Surfcamps’ Guests Are Saying:
Learn to surf with Rapture Surfcamps today! COSTA RICA
Book your trip to this peace-loving country to enjoy Pura Vida and good waves under the Central American sun
You can surf in Costa Rica all year-round, tha means you can pick a month at random to visit and still be guaranteed good weather and quality waves.TAKE ME TO COSTA RICA
FAQs About Surfing in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is renowned for its consistent and quality waves along both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The country offers a variety of surf breaks suitable for all skill levels, making it an ideal destination for surfers.
The best time to surf in Costa Rica varies by coast. The Pacific coast experiences prime conditions from December to April, while the Caribbean coast’s surf season is typically best from October to February.
Costa Rica boasts numerous surf spots, including Tamarindo, Jaco, Santa Teresa, Pavones, and Playa Hermosa. Each location offers a unique surfing experience, from beginner-friendly waves to challenging breaks for advanced surfers.
Yes, Costa Rica caters to surfers of all levels. There are plenty of surf schools and mellow beach breaks ideal for beginners, while more experienced surfers can find challenging point breaks and reef breaks.
Absolutely. Costa Rica hosts numerous surf camps that cater to various skill levels. These camps offer expert instruction, guided surf sessions, and a supportive environment for surfers looking to enhance their skills.
Costa Rica’s surf culture is characterized by its laid-back atmosphere and the welcoming nature of local surf communities. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned surfer, you’ll likely feel embraced by the friendly surf culture.
Yes, Costa Rica hosts various surf competitions throughout the year, attracting both national and international surfers. Events like the Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro bring together top talent to showcase the country’s surf scene.
The water temperature in Costa Rica generally ranges from the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (24-29°C). This warm water temperature makes it comfortable for surfers year-round.
Costa Rica offers a plethora of activities beyond surfing, including zip-lining, hiking through rainforests, exploring volcanoes, and indulging in the country’s rich biodiversity. It’s a perfect destination for those seeking a well-rounded adventure.
Transportation in Costa Rica is generally accessible, with well-maintained roads connecting various surf destinations. Renting a car, hiring private transportation, or using local buses are common ways to navigate between surf spots, each providing a unique travel experience.