Top 4 Best Surf Beaches in Costa Rica

surfer with yellow surfboard walking into the waves

No matter your skill or surfing experience (or lack thereof), Costa Rica is a surfer’s heaven for everyone. There are two beautiful coasts to choose from, endless surfing schools to help you hone your skills, and luxury beachside accommodations so you can stay only steps from the water. On the West coast’s Nicoya Peninsula you’ll find  great waves at Playa Hermosa on the northern tip, with Playa Carmen, Playa Mal Pais, and Santa Teresa surfing year round in Costa Rica in the south—each with their own enticements and distinct characteristics. 

In our opinion, the following four slices of paradise are the best surf beaches in Costa Rica!

1. Playa Santa Teresa

Playa Santa Teresa has our heart as well as our title of the absolute best surf beach in Costa Rica. The town itself would not be as well known without its famous surf beach, and Santa Teresa is famous both domestically and worldwide as a surfer’s paradise. Why is Santa Teresa surfing the best in Costa Rica? It has the distinction of being world-renowned for having the most consistent, year-round surf waves and conditions–a rare place, indeed.

There are a few beaches in this area that make Santa Teresa surfing king of Costa Rica’s watersports-loving culture. The main ones are Playa Carmen, Playa Malpais, and Playa Santa Teresa itself. Professionals as well as novices frequent surfing schools and retreats up and down the coast. Santa Teresa’s shoreline is long and diverse, and you can find wave heights and breaks suitable for all skill levels. The size of the beach and the remote peninsula it sits on means you’ll never be fighting for space with other surfers. It’s the ideal Costa Rican surf spot for just about anyone!

2. Playa Hermosa

Playa Hermosa is yet another tranquil, relatively uncrowded beach and a wonderful hidden gem in terms of Costa Rica surf spots. Its long, flat beach makes it extra appealing as a Costa Rican surf spot. Playa Hermosa is home to several beach camps, as well, including Perfect Sunset, Shaka, and the “old school” Zopilote. So if you’re looking to spend some time perfecting your form, this is the place to enroll in one that speaks to you.

While it’s not considered among the top tier of the best surf beaches in Costa Rica, it is nonetheless a charming escape from the bustle of more touristy areas, and a literal “breath of fresh air” for those who are looking for a bit of tranquility and a quiet place to learn to surf.

3. Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen offers both outstanding beach conditions for surfing, and  like Santa Teresa surfing in Costa Rica, there are plenty of laid-back beach bars and restaurants. If you’re not surfing, you’ll want to enjoy a fruity cocktail while watching the waves and enjoying the sun at this Costa Rican surf spot.

If you are an aspiring surfer, this beach is one of the ideal Costa  for beginners. Known for having several types of breaks that provide ideal surf conditions through most of the year, Playa Carmen’s tide breaks and rip tides are gentler than you might find in other areas of Costa Rica, so you can enjoy learning how to surf without the intimidation of more forceful waves.

4. Playa Mal Pais

If you’re looking for a serene spot that also features some of the best surf beaches in Costa Rica and even the world, Mal Pais is a beach you need to visit. Mal Pais is a smaller community, so the beaches are still pure with amazing waves and very few of the annoying distractions that come with more developed beach towns.

You’ll find this surf beach on any surfer’s Central America bucket list; it’s definitely among the premier Costa Rica surf spots for a multitude of reasons. You’ll find diving and snorkeling as well as the impressive waves that make Mal Pais a famous surf spot. Along the beautiful shore, you may catch a glimpse of serenity seekers enjoying pilates or yoga.

Its upbeat atmosphere is bolstered by a charming variety of bars, restaurants, and boutique hotels located right along the beach.

Stay At Casa Teresa For Your Next Surfing Retreat

Located steps away from the world-renowned Santa Teresa surfing spot in Costa Rica—the pristine Playa Santa Teresa—Casa Teresa is a luxury property featuring two villas with unsurpassed style and unmatched amenities. 

Our namesake original villa property, Casa Teresa, can accommodate up to 8 guests while our newest villa, Casa Teresa Grande, can accommodate up to 17 guests—and for larger groups you can also rent out both villas to book the Costa Rica surf vacation of a lifetime. Lavishly decorated with Moroccan-inspired decor, the villas feature amenities like private pools, spa-grade bathrooms, deluxe kitchen appliances, concierge services, and countless other comforts so you can relax in style after you’re done catching waves. Make your next surfing vacation one to remember as you visit the best place to surf in Costa Rica! Contact Casa Teresa to book a reservation today.