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April 4, 2023

It’s Swell Season in Costa Rica

Surfing in Costa Rica

When is the best time of year to embark on a surfing holiday in the land of pura vida?

Well … it depends on who you ask.

Beginner Surfing in Costa Rica

For beginner surfers, the answer is likely to fall between the months of December and April, Costa Rica’s dry season, when south Pacific swells are more mellow and ocean conditions often run glassy and clean from sunup to sunset.

A typical dry-season day at Dominical Beach, for example, will feature waves anywhere from waist to head high, with offshore winds in the morning hours and little to no wind for the remainder of the day. It’s a popular time to visit the area, with guests at our luxury vacation rentals escaping harsh winter conditions in the northern hemisphere, lathering on loads of sunblock and hitting the beach for fun, playful surfing sessions. Surfboard rentals are aplenty as are surf instructors on the beach. If you need equipment or a surf lesson, it’s simple to find.

Surf Spots near Dominical Costa Rica

During this time of year, sunset surfing can be awe-inspiring, with luminous colors lighting up the sky each evening at about 5:30 p.m. The tropical, picturesque backdrops along our local stretch of coastline each offer their own unique flavors for the traveling surfer.

Dominical Beach is the spot to be seen, with light crowds lining the shore and music playing from local bars and restaurants. It’s a party atmosphere as the sun dips down and fades away.

Dominicalito Beach, just 2 miles down the road, features some of the most lush jungle-to-sand canopy in the area and mellow, rolling waves without so many eyeballs on you. This is an ideal location to snap epic surf photos.

Venture a bit further south to Playa Achiote and you’ll be mesmerized by the sheer cliff that protects a fun, left-handed break.

Or pick out your own peak at Playa Hermosa, a wide-open beachbreak that always has waves that are just a tad smaller than Dominical.

Honestly, is there a better way to wrap up the daylight hours than by catching a long, peeling wave into the shoreline in water that’s warmer than a bathtub? We think not.

Experienced Surfing in Costa Rica


Now, if you’re looking for a bit more thump, some throaty power in your surfing, May through October is your top option. By May, as the fall season creeps in, Dominical Beach begins to show its teeth as larger, more powerful swells march up from South America. These are the months when Punta Dominical, a left-handed rocky reef just south of town, comes to life, delivering long, pulsing waves from far outside the point into a protected cove.

Traveling surfers from May onward will want to vary their equipment, packing a go-to, standard shortboard for the average-size days (think head high to a bit overhead), as well as a step-up board with added foam for when things get real (double- and triple-overhead waves). If you’re an advanced surfer hunting big barrels at low tide, be prepared to snap a board or two. The dynamic of “pay to play” is very much in effect in certain conditions at Dominical Beach.

In the May-to-October timeframe, the waves in southern Costa Rica are almost always best in the morning, as the offshore winds from the east whip through the mountains, creating classic surf conditions. Afternoon surfing sessions are more subject to passing storms. Rain doesn’t always mean jumbled surf, but it’s still best to get your waves in the morning just in case.

Southern Costa Rica always has Waves

Vacation Home Rentals-Dominical-Costa Rica-Gorda Vista

The moral of the story is this: Southern Costa Rica always has fun waves on offer. Certain seasons are better for beginners and intermediates, while other times of year favor advanced and expert surfers. It’s always important to know your limits in the ocean. There are full-time lifeguards in place at both Dominical Beach and Playa Hermosa. If you’re out with kids or inexperienced surfers, it’s best to paddle out near those lifeguard stations for optimal safety. And if you’re looking for a highly-trained surf instructor to show you the way, we can assist with that as well, just send a message to the email address listed below.

If you’re currently searching for the perfect vacation villa for your loved ones, a place that really allows you to show them what an amazing surfer you are (or can become!) contact YouGetHere Vacation Rentals at [email protected] and we’ll help you discover an ideal location for some incredible wave-riding adventures.


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