The Pacific coast of Costa Rica is fast becoming one of the hippest spots on the backpack merry-go-round. It’s a surfer’s paradise in Central America’s most laid-back holiday spot. Areas such as the Nicoya peninsula and Dominical further to the south are the real hotspots where the beaches are sublime and trees and rocks tumble down the meet the fine, white sand – Costa Rica has a reputation for its magnificent flora and fauna and there’s nothing to be disappointed about on that score here. Pelicans and frigate birds wheel overhead as the booming calls of howler monkeys resound from the nearby rainforests. For those not satisfied by the ocean alone there are also numerous hikes in the region and due to Costa Rica’s relatively small size you are never far away from the eco-tourism centres further inland.
Sticking out like a spare limb into the temperate waters of the Pacific, Nicoya has a myriad of unspoiled beaches where the breakers roll in consistently offering great surfing for all levels of ability whether you’re a pale rookie paddling out for the first time or a sun-gnarled veteran. It is this variety that makes the area perfect for one of the world’s fastest growing sports and the region has had a fantastic reputation in the worldwide surfing community. A few years ago villages such as Santa Teresa were no more than a few sawmill and plantation, but with the boom of tourism in the area numerous services are now provided by locals offering the dusty streets a ramshackle charm – a perfect setting for the laid-back surfers and the ever-growing community of young visitors. For those just wishing to hang out then there a numerous beach shops ready to serve tourists indulging in the local pastime or for those more serious about surfing, there’s even a surfing school close by.
Further to the East is Dominical, probably Costa Rica’s most famous surfing grounds having been host to the very first East Coast Pro Tour event in 2007. It’s slightly less isolated than the Nicoya region offering easy access to the surrounding national parks and nature reserves and nearby Nosara lies just beyond Dominical. The area is famed for its “surf camps” where surfing, accommodation food and activities are all included in the package and because of the huge area that could accommodate an unlimited number of participants means that the opportunities for surfing are endless. The region has recently reappeared on the international scene and many high profile surfers have since relocated on from the trials of Nicoya to take part in this prestigious international regatta.
Top surfing hotspots
If you’re ready to take the step out onto the award winning waves then one of the top attractions for surfers new to Costa Rica might be Costa Rica’s little-known surfing capital Patrick’s Bay. The region is still relatively small, welcoming just over 100,000 residents and encompasses 365 kilometres of coastline encompassing five main beaches and several coves. The beaches are recognised as one of the world’s best so don’t expect to find an abundance of tiny patchy beaches but a varied and exciting range of locations. In Chao Phraya National Park visitors can discover one of the greatest ever introductions to surfing for amateur to pros and also watch the yearly migration of thousands of fur seals, during which they can be seen from the coast to a distance of over 100 kilometres.Further along the coast the sandy beaches and coves are also home to a plethora of colorful fish and marine life encompassing a colourful array of tropical receptions.
Another of the Patrick’s Bay’s gems is called Playa Tortugas. Also preferring the calm waters than the more boisterous Atlantic Ocean, Playa Tortugas is renowned for its excellent waves, wonderful all year round surf and superbaviaour. The beaches in this idyllic Caribbean paradise also offer splendid protected access to a number of hiking trails and the vast jungle areas covered by the National Trust or Sierra Norte Rural Park.The thirteenth cave is only a five or six minute taxi ride outside of the city and will offer its own unique experiencesetpiece of mind blowing panoramic Caribbean scenery.
To the North of the island,Fuerteventura has a number of marvellous beaches especially favoured by windsurfers, kite surfers, lifesavers and kayakists. Some of the beaches in Fuerteventura are relatively small, perhaps because of the location, in some cases you might consider them to be interconnecting trails rather than individual beaches. This is all good and well, but if one really wants to get the full adventure (and it has to be said that Costa Rica on the whole doesn’t exactly offer the greatest of beaches) thenit’s definitely worth travelling further, to places such as themountain range and the beautiful and virtually untouched rainforest of Monteverde, to name just two.