We asked our friend Eric Atkinson, founder of Salty Sols Surf School, which were his top 5 surf spots at Costa Rica. This is what he wrote for us. Enjoy the waves.
1- Witch’s Rock
One of Costa Rica’s best beach breaks, if not the best!!! Beautful location, most people that are going to surf this spot will go by boat leaving from Playa Coco (about a 40 min boat ride) or from Playa Flamingo (about an hour and half boat ride). Some people prefer to make the drive in from National Park Santa Rosa, which you will definitely need a 4×4 as the road is pretty gnarly to get all the way down, if driving in, you may want to bring a tent and some supplies to camp a night or so and surf as many barrels as you can possibly handle!
Upon arriving in boat you are already anxious enough as you have seen videos and heard stories of this amazing place, and if you are going when there is a decent swell in the water, you will really start to get pumped as you are flying in the boat over the open ocean swells and know that you are gonna score this place good! You see the big huge white rock that serves as your barrel heaven backdrop.
Witch’s Rock has several main peaks that work pretty well depending on swell direction and tides, it is a very consistent beach break that works with Swell direction from the South and North and lots of offshore winds hit this part of the coast. More often you will be surfing with good strong offshore winds, beautiful lefts and rights, surfing it with long period swell in the water expect some serious paddle outs and for the barrel hungry.
This place has big ones and plenty of them! And then if you want to surf one of Costa Rica’s juciest right hand point breaks, just go 20 minutes north by boat and, if the swell is decent and out of the South West, Ollie’s Point will put a smile on your face for days!!!
The nice thing about these spots if you go by boat is that Wtich’s Rock is usually surfed at higher tide and Ollie’s at the low tide. So it is a full day of surf and fun for everyone!
2- Nosara (Guiones)
Playa Guiones is another of the top 5 surf spots at Costa Rica. It has a really consistent beach break that has a wave for everyone. It seems like it’s one of those places that people go and even if the conditions aren’t the best, they always have fun. This area is very pretty, the beach itself is about 7 kilometers long, with waves for every skill level, fun for shortboarders and longboarders alike. It can get busy here, but since there are so many peaks, you can usually pick a spot that is less crowded and just paddle out and always score some waves.
The winds aren’t as consistent here as they are a bit North of here, so usually the early morning hours and sunset sessions will be the most consistent, with light offshore or glassier conditions, although in the dry season this area can also see some hard offshore winds as well, and works ok with low tide and the high tide.
3- Santa Teresa
Santa Teresa and Mal País is another top 5 surf spots of Guanacaste. It is located in the Nicoya Peninsula. It host a number of good breaks, from juicy fat longboard waves, to fast hollow beach break, reef and points. Playa Carmen in Santa Teresa is a favorite amongs the intermediate surfer, longboarders and those who want an easier paddle out and not too strong of current with lots of fun waves, lefts and rights and a pretty consistently good sandbar. Further north up the beach, usually the heavier, faster and more hollow the waves become and usually surfing more at lower tide and incoming. There is some more easy going beach break and an offshore reef break in Manzanillo that is a bit fickle and needs lots of swell to work. Mal Pais has a couple of reefs that work nice with some decent swell, can be shallow in some areas.
Avellanas is one of those beaches that also offers a bit for everyone and every skill level. Situated in Northern Costa Rica, this is another beach blessed with alot of good strong offshore winds in the dry season, and works well with swell out of the south and the north.
Avellanas has a variety of waves. With some decent swell in the water you can see nice peeling lefts in front of the parking lot “La Purruja”, left hand reef break that isn’t always super consistent, but when breaking can be a really nice wave. Most people tend to surf out in front of Lola’s restaurant and a bit north of there at Palo Seco, here is beach break offering both lefts and rights and works best mid-high tide. These waves can be fast, fun punchy waves for the shortboarder, or just drop in, pick your line, cross step to the nose on your longboard and get those 10 little piggies over the tip and style your heart out!
Up the beach a bit more you have some nice wave that break in front of El Estero, some nice A frame peaks on it’s given day and at the very north end of the beach, with some decent swell in the water we have “Little Hawaii” This is a right reef break that works best with solid swell and can hold waves up to double over head or bigger, but boards with good volume work pretty well in this wave as it doesn’t tend to be real top to bottom, staying somewhat fat and juicy.
After all this surfing , sit back, relax in a hammock or the wood chairs in Lola’s, people and dog watch and sip a cold Pilsen and pat yourself on the back as you watch the beautiful Costa Rican Sunset!
5- Playa Negra
Pretty awesome right hand reef break, that can hand you one of the sweetest barrels or possibly one of the worst wipeouts you have experienced! Negra is a wave that when other beaches are closing out because the waves are too big, this beast just grows, getting scarier, but still holding and pumping out big hollow barrels.
Negra can be a fun playful wave that is chest to shoulder high or triple overhead and ferocious. So pick your days according to your level. Playa Negra is pretty much one takeoff zone, so 10 or more people in the water here can feel crowded, and is usually surfed by a pretty skilled bunch. best surfed chest high to a couple feet overhead from mid tide to high tide.