World-famous breaks in Costa Rica draw surfers from across the globe. Because of their already-known status, we hope talking about them isn’t a complete breach of the rule book. Costa Rica has long been a coveted destination on the surfer’s map and these top surf beaches prove precisely why.
Want to discover more of Costa Rica? You can now live the ‘pura vida’ with Culture Trip on our carefully curated nine-day trip. Besides surfing, you’ll get to go rafting down jungle rapids, hike Arenal Volcano, spot sloths in the Monteverde cloud forest, and hike to secret waterfalls – with a Local Insider as your guide.
Witch’s Rock, or Roca Bruja, is a world-famous surf break in the Santa Rosa National Park in Guanacaste. This is not a beginner-friendly place, and it is only accessible via boat or a very treacherous drive. The roads are kept in particularly terrible shape to inhibit poachers from having the chance of a quick escape. With the right swell direction, size and wind conditions, Witch’s Rock throws perfect barrels. There are multiple different breaks up and down the immense beach. Keep your eyes peeled for crocodiles, though, as they inhabit the river mouth here.
Playa Guiones is the main beach in Nosara, a yoga and surf hotspot. There are several peaks and different sections that offer waves suitable for beginners and experienced surfers. On a big swell, the paddle out can be exhausting, but well worth it. Playa Guiones can hold a lot of swell and works on most tides. There are several places where you can sign up for surf lessons and rent boards if you are new to the sport. It is important to learn the rules of surfing, surf etiquette, safety and the basics before you decide to venture out on your own.
Playa Hermosa (near Jaco) is a well-known surf spot. Unless the swell is small, this is not a great spot for beginners. The waves are typically pretty heavy and powerful. This is a spot where you can score an epic barrel. The sand here is black, so make sure that you bring your flip flops down with you, otherwise you might burn your feet.
Playa Dominical is a small but happening beach town in the Central Pacific region of Costa Rica. The beach is exposed and catches most swells, and there always seems to be a wave down here. The beach break can be quite heavy, especially on a bigger swell, while on a medium-sized swell, the waves can be really fun. Right off the beach there are a handful of bars, restaurants and cafes. This is a cool spot to post up for a while, and one where you will likely be able to score waves every day.
Pavones is recognized as the second-longest left point break in the world. Outside of small days, this spot is for intermediate to advanced surfers only. It is important to practise proper point-break etiquette (if you don’t know what this is, you need to learn before you paddle out at any point break). The wave is consistent and there is enough for everyone as long as everyone follows the rules. On big swells, it can get very busy, but with a little patience you might just get the wave of your life.
Salsa Brava is the premier surf spot on the Caribbean coast. It’s a fast and barreling wave that breaks over a sharp reef, and only experienced surfers should venture out here. The reef sucks the wave below sea level, so you can’t really see its true size until you are in the water. It breaks both left and right, but the rights tend to be longer. Salsa Brava has been called the Pipeline of Costa Rica.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.