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Costa Rica Surfing Guide

Costa Rica – Surfers’ Paradise

Surfing GuideCosta Rica has millions of surfs breaks with waves coming from all directions on two coasts. There are populated breaks for those in need of company or an audience, usually bordered by empty breaks within walking distance. And if you want to get remote and exotic, there are plenty of perfect waves accessible only by boat or long hikes.

This tiny Central American country has become one of the most popular destinations for traveling surfers worldwide. Take a trip to Costa Rica and you will quickly see why – warm water, great food, affordable lodging, friendly people and a wide variety of waves.

Costa Rica is also a beautiful and peaceful democracy. The standard of living is one of the highest in Latin America, and education and literacy rates are high compared to other countries. Costa Ricans are nice, happy and well-mannered. And while Costa Rica is still a country fighting crime, violent crime is rare.

When is the best time to surf in Costa Rica? Anytime.
There are two seasons in Costa Rica: wet and dry. During dry season (December to April) the surf is, on average, smaller on the pacific coast and larger on the Caribbean. The wet season (May to November), also known as ‘green season’, surf conditions reverse, so the Pacific surf is bigger.

The dry season coincides with Costa Rica’s high season. This means it’s more expensive to travel here this time of year, due to heavier tourism that prefers drier weather. It’s also more difficult to secure lodging, meaning you’ll have less freedom to wander at will.
Prices start dropping shortly after Easter (you can even negotiate room rates) and it is a lot less crowded. The absolute cheapest time to travel to Costa Rica is during the months of September and October.


  • Passport: You are required to have a passport to get into Costa Rica, and it must be valid for 90 days following your entrance. You may also bring a copy of your passport to present to police officers and others who need to see it, as passports often get stolen.

  • Surfboards: You don’t even need to pack a board as rentals are fairly popular and convenient, especially if you are heading to popular surf centers. They have a wide variety of longboards and the selection of shortboards has gotten surprisingly good as well.
    If you still want to bring your own board with you, we highly recommend you to bring your small wave board, whatever that may be, since really big waves are rare.

  • Wax: You can buy wax in Costa Rica, but it costs twice as much as in the U.S. Plan on one to two bars of wax a week.

  • Soft racks (or tubing): Many rental cars come with racks, but none have straps.

  • Clothing: Since you’re headed to the beach, it’s unlikely that you’ll overlook your trunks, t-shirts and sandals, but some other items might be a little less obvious. You might consider packing or wearing a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks and shoes, for any special occasion or simply for cool nights or overly air conditioned places.
    Sunglasses, hats, sun block lotion and mosquito repellent must aslo be part of your packing list.

  • Credit Cards: Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. The lower priced restaurants and hotels usually don’t take credit cards. ATMs are common in bigger cities; however you may want to exchange some money into colones when arriving at the airport in Costa Rica.

  • Driver’s license: You can get around Costa Rica with a valid driver’s license for up to 90 days. At that point, an International or ‘Tico’ driver’s license will be required.
  • Maps: Costa Rica Guides provides you with elaborate country and regional maps at no charge.

  • First aid kit: Getting cut in the ocean makes you stand a good chance of getting an infection. We recommend you to pack and bring with you a first aid kit with the following items: antibiotics, antiseptic, waterproof bandages, gauze, tape, antibacterial soap, aspirin, Pepto Bismol, tweezers, earplugs and Q-tips for cleaning cuts and sand out of your ears.
Travel Agencies, after hours & weekends:
(506) 2257-4171

Toll Free:
Costa Rica: (506) 2233-5151
Fax: (506) 2233-5284
E-mail: [email protected]
*Rates are subject to change without previous notice, according to any tax changes or any government regulations.

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