Santa Teresa’s 5 Best Places To Surf In Costa Rica

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Santa Teresa’s 5 Best Places To Surf In Costa Rica

Best Places To Surf In Costa Rica

Pura Vida Adventures is located in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica at the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula and specifically at the beach of Playa Carmen. This area is known as a surfer’s paradise, because of the variety of surf breaks and consistent waves anytime of year. It is also known for its beauty and Forbes Magazine dubbed Playa Santa Teresa one of “The world’s 10 most breathtaking beaches” in the world. I think Forbes missed Playa Hermosa the stomping ground of Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady, because this is my favorite beach. It is absolutely stunning.

Best Places To Surf In Costa Rica Based On Surf Breaks

Here is a breakdown of the different surf breaks in and around Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. It also provides a guide of the surfing level, the best tides to surf and the best swell direction. Our favorite websites for surf reports for the Santa Teresa area is Surfline and Magic Seaweed. You can also get local tide charts from CR Surf.

Playa Carmen, Costa Rica

Best Places To Surf In Costa Rica

This beach is located when you first roll into Santa Teresa at the cruz (crossroads) at the intersection of Santa Teresa and Malpais. Playa Carmen is a gently sloped sand bottom break that stretches for about a mile with multiple peaks which produce long, fun, peeling rights and lefts. At the northern end of the beach, you can see a series of right and left peaks breaking over a slightly steeper sand bottom.

Experience: All Levels – Great beginner break
Tides: works on all tides, but it is best for beginners between low to medium tides
Swell Direction: works on all swell directions but the best are S and SW swells

Playa Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Best Places To Surf In Costa Rica

About a 10 minute drive to the north of Playa Carmen. Santa Teresa’s sandy ocean bottom has a steeper incline which produces more powerful right and left breaking waves providing a more challenging ride. If you want to get barreled, this is the beach to go.

Experience: Intermediate – Advanced
Tides: works on all tides, but is best between medium to low tides
Swell Direction: works on all swell directions but the best are SW and NW swells

Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica

Best Places To Surf In Costa Rica

The remote splendor of Playa Hermosa strikes a chord in the hearts of surfers searching for spectacular beach with jungle views. A short 20 minute drive from Playa Carmen, you arrive to find a sparkling white sand beach delivering a combination of rights and lefts. When the swell is big, the point break at the northern end of the beach starts to work.

Experience: All Levels – Great beginner break
Tides: works on all tides, but it is best between a medium to high tides
Swell Direction: works on all swell directions but the best are NW and SW swells

Mar Azul, Costa Rica


A few curving sandy coves to the south of Playa Carmen in Malpais is the locally famous left hand point break “Mar Azul”, where we often spot sea turtles in the lineup. Mushy long lefts peel away from a flat reef bottom toward a deep channel. This spot needs at least a 4 to 5 foot swell coming from the S or SW combined with a rising high tide which tends to produce waves a couple of feet smaller than the beaches.

Experience: Beginner/Intermediate – Advanced
Tides: works only 2 hours before or after high tide
Swell Direction: only works on a S or SW swells

Cabuya, Costa Rica


Surf Safari! When the strong steeply angled S and SW swells reach more than 6 feet and begin to fill in the eastward side of the peninsula, we load up our surf van for a full day excursion. Cabuya, also known as Lajas, is an easy, rolling right point break which forms over a smooth stone bottom peeling for about 150 yards, making it one of the longest waves in the area. We surf this break on an incoming tide from medium to high tide and waves tend to be several feet smaller than the beach breaks on the west side. A deep channel makes for an easy paddle out and safety zone where you can relax and take in the gorgeous green coastline looking toward the National Park of Cabo Blanco. Guests of Pura Vida Adventures that have been lucky enough to score this break often say it is the highlight of their trip.

Experience: Beginner/Intermediate – Advanced
Tides: works on a medium to high tide
Swell Direction: works on only S or SW swells

Conclusion

Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world to surf. The PVA team is committed daily to finding the nearest and best place to surf in Costa Rica, so you don’t have to do any scouting. Book one of our women’s only or coed retreats to check surfing off your bucket list.

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