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Best Surf Spots To Learn: Costa Rica

 Best Surf Spots

Costa Rica is known for its miles of beautiful sandy beaches, amazing landscape and many rich animal species.  With the name Costa Rica meaning the “rich coast”, it of course lives up to its name by having some of the best surfing destinations in the world. From being a beginner to being a pro surfer there is a variety of different surf spots for everyone to have the time of their lives. With Costa Ricas Pura Vida lifestyle you will find waves without a problem. Most of these spots are well known for being uncrowded but during tourist season it could be dangerous surfing locations that you are not ready for. Here on the pacific coast side of Costa Rica we will tell you what the best surf spots are for travelers learning how to surf and or are traveling on a family vacation.

Playa Guiones: Costa Rica

This beach is one of the most consistent beaches in all of Costa Rica. It will break with barely any swell and can hold on the days where there is a lot of swell.  With a sandy bottom this beach break provides perfect waves that are small enough for beginners to learn on. It was considered one of the top surf lesson spots in the entire world- Best Places To Learn To Surf .  Even on a bigger swell there is always waves for beginners to catch but also fun rippable waves for advanced surfers. Not only does Nosara provide excellent surfing conditions, it is located on the coast of a blue zone where people live the longest, happiest, healthiest lives in the world. The water stays around 83 degrees all year round while having the cleanest water in Costa Rica this makes Playa Guiones the perfect choice for a surfing vacation. It’s a perfect small town that has been a well-known surf spot for many years. Nicoya is a center for yoga, alternative healing practices, and healthy living. Homes, shops, and restaurants are spread out in the forest along the coast. The main surfing beach, Playa Guiones, has a beach break surfable at all tides, with multiple line-ups. It’s virtually undeveloped, thanks to a large wildlife refuge that protects nesting sea turtles. Just the water, beach, and grass-covered dunes. It’s one of my favorite beaches for that reason. Go check out our pictures of our customers surfing Playa Guiones @- Playa Guiones Surf Album

Best Surf Spots

playa guiones

 

Playa Tamarindo: Costa Rica

Tamarindo has long sandy beaches for beginners and also reefs for more advanced surfers. The main beach is where all the action is happening, usually consisting of a lot of beginning surfers and also a lot of swimmers. If you want to surf Playa Grande you will have to drive around to get to the beach or paddle across a river mouth, which I don’t recommend for families or new surfers. Playa grande is a more advanced surfers waves and usually isn’t the best place to go if you are new to surfing. A 15 minute walk from Tarmindos main break you will find Playa Langosta. This surf spot is for more advanced surfers that want to surf a right/left point break. Most of these surf spots get really crowded, but if you go at the right time of year then you can score. Also the town of Tamarindo is very very crowded and more focused on the night party scene. If you are going as a family then I wouldn’t recommend these spots but if your a college student it’s a perfect place.  Playa Avellanas is more for intermediate to advanced surfers. It is a great waves for barrels and turns. This is surf spot with reefs and also great point breaks to have on. It does not have a town with shops and restaurants

Best Surf Spots

tamarindo

Marbella: Costa Rica 

Even when there is no swell, Marbella always offers very consistent waves. Marbella can get big and rough, but it’s perfect for advanced guests. Marbella is also a less crowded beach since it is so far away. This break is well worth the trip.

Best Surf Spots

marbella

Ostional: Costa Rica 

Ostional is a wildlife refuge south of Marbella. It’s one of the world’s most important nesting sites for Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. Here you can see thousands of turtles on the beach and surf amazing waves. This is a wave for advanced and intermediate surfers. Ostional is about a 2 hour drive from Tamarindo. When it’s the turtle season, our guides like to go surf and then stay after sunset to watch the turtles.

Best Surf Spots

ostional

Our most favorite spot to learn how to surf is Norsara, Playa Guiones. With how consistent the waves break, the small easy conditions, the quiet beautiful town, and the jungle atmosphere this is our #1 location to learn how to surf and or take family vacations. Check out our Costa Rican Surf Resort at All Inclusive Resort Costa Rica

 

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Traveling to Costa Rica: Liberia or San Jose Airport

What Airport to fly into when going to Costa Rica?

Traveling is all about location, location, location and every journey begins with the airport you land at. In Costa Rica, there are two main international airports for travelers to choose from: San Jose (SJO) and Liberia (LIR). We recommend selecting the one that best suits your budget and geographical needs based on what area you plan to spend most of your time. Since these two airports are located far away from each other and offer different benefits for travelers, here’s a quick breakdown to help you decide which one you should fly to when visiting Costa Rica. If  you are trying to get to Corky Carroll’s Costa Rica Surf Resort Liberia International Airport will be closer than San Jose International Airport.

Here is the two main airports and the difference between locations.

Map of Liberia to San Jose

Airport to Airport

Liberia International Airport

 Located in northern Costa Rica within the Guanacaste Province and near the Pacific Ocean is Liberia International Airport. “LIR” is the second main international airport in Costa Rica and is situated right next to Liberia City. Just over an hours drive from some of the most picturesque and popular beaches in the country, Liberia is an excellent choice for those looking to soak up the sun with perfect surf breaks and miles of soft sand.

Over the past 10 years, the Guanacaste region has grown to be a top tourist destination for travelers visiting the scenic and less crowded Northwestern coastline of Costa Rica’s Pacific Ocean. This is where you’ll find some of the best all-inclusive resorts, laid-back boutique hotels, and affordable surf hostels that Costa Rica has to offer, along with biodiverse national parks and watersports. It’s also the closest and most convenient airport for guests staying at our privately-owned surf ranch in Nosara, as the drive takes around 2.5 hours (compared to 5-6 hours if transferring to/from San Jose).

It’s worth mentioning that this airport recently underwent major renovations and improvements in 2012 and 2018 to make traveling even easier. And unlike the rough unpaved roads around San Jose, the well paved roads near Liberia make for a smoother ride with less traffic. If you’re headed to Guanacaste for the beaches, resorts, mountain corridor, or Nicoya Peninsula, the Liberia International Airport is the one to consider.

Best Choice For:

  • Beaches & Surfing
  • Avellanas
  • Coco
  • Flamingo
  • Grande
  • La Fortuna
  • Montaverde
  • Nosara
  • Ocotal
  • Playa Conchal
  • Playa Hermosa
  • Riu
  • Tamarindo
  • BoardMembers Surf Ranch – Nosara
  • Four Seasons Resort
  • The Hilton
  • The Westin Golf Resort – Playa Conchal

San Jose International Airport

Centrally located near Costa Rica’s bustling capital city of San Jose is SJO, the prime airport for tourists visiting the Central and Southwest regions of the country. This airport provides easy access to nature, local culture, and beaches set on the south end of Costa Rica’s Pacific Ocean. It’s also about 30 mins away from a variety of accommodations from budget-friendly hostels to high-end resorts.

If you’re flying on a budget, you might want to consider SJO as an alternative to the smaller and sometimes pricier LIR airport mentioned above. Flights can be $300+ cheaper than flying into Liberia but the price of cheaper flights is often times offset by the high cost of local transportation like bus or taxi transfers to and from the area, which can cost upwards of $200+ per ride.

If you are staying closer to Liberia or Nosara, it will take 4-6 hours of riding on busses or driving on hectic, high-traffic, rough roads to reach your destination from San Jose. SJO is also a 5 hour drive from our surf ranch which is nearly twice the distance as Liberia airport. If you’re tight on budget but have extra time to spare getting around town, than San Jose International Airport could be the better option.

Best Choice For:

  • Budget-conscious traveling
  • Exploring the hub of local culture and city life
  • Close to nature & wildlife activities
  • Beaches in the South
  • Dominical
  • Jaco Beach
  • La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano)
  • Manuel Antonio
  • Montaverde
  • Puerto Viejo
  • Punta Arenas
  • Tortuguero
  • Uvita
  • DoubleTree Resort – Central Pacific
  • Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort
  • Radisson San Jose

Inside San Jose Airport

If you’re still not sure which Costa Rica airport is best for you to fly to, the two most important factors to keep in mind are time and budget. Liberia is closer to some of the best surfing beaches in the country but flights can be more expensive. San Jose is closer to nature activities and the hustle and bustle of the capital city with generally cheaper flights but more expensive local transportation. Regardless of which airport you choose, you’re bound to fall in love with everything the spectacular country of Costa Rica has to offer! Go check out our Surf Resort details for transportation to the resort at Transportation to Corky Carroll’s Surf Resort