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surfing playa cocles 
 - Costa Rica

Caribbean surf spots and breaks

Caribbean surf spots and breaks

White sand beaches, reef gardens, beach breaks and a few reef breaks so large they've earned the name Wild Sauce, that's Salsa Brava in Spanish and it's one of the biggest, wildest sets anywhere in Costa Rica. Ride the best of the Caribbean surf breaks south of Limon in Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Cocles, Punta Uva and Manzanillo.

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Waves in the Caribbean tend to be more seasonal than those on the Pacific coast so make sure to check the weather before planning your adventure. Visit December to March for the best chance to ride the Caribbean's crazy sets. 

Playa Bonita

Three miles north of Limon Playa Bonita features a strong left reef break that crashes on the north side of the beach creating challenging conditions; recommended for experienced surfers only. Bonita can be reached by car, public bus, or plane. From San Jose, take Route 32 through Braulio Carrillo National Park and follow signs to Guapiles, Siquirres and Puerto Limon.

Uvita Island

The long, powerful reef break at Uvita Island is considered one of Costa Rica’s best and most exhilarating lefts. Uvita Island can only be reached via a one and half-hour boat ride from Limon. Be sure to check the boat schedule, as hours are not set in stone.


This quiet beach south of Limon promises consistent, year-round surf. Left and right beach breaks are common, but the beach closes out when surf rises overhead. From Limon, drive south following signs to Westfalia. Breaks are visible from the road.

Playa Negra - Cahuita

Spanish for Black Beach, this Cahuita surfing hotspot is secluded and offers a strong beach break. Cahuita is a popular beach town and has a wide range of accommodations and amenities; it’s an economical base for further Caribbean surf explorations. Cahuita is accessible by car, public bus, or private shuttle. The closest airport is in Limon. From San Jose, take Route 32 to Limon and continue on Route 36 south to Cahuita.

Salsa Brava

Puerto Viejo’s Salsa Brava (Spanish for Wild Sauce) is aptly named – the churning surf creates challenging waves. Here, the ocean’s depths abruptly run onto a shallow reef where the water has no place to go but up – forming the biggest waves in Costa Rica. The left breaks are extremely challenging making Salsa Brava only suitable for advanced surfers. The waves often reach 16 feet tall with a five-foot lip; the break clears out when swells rise above 25 or 30 feet.

Puerto Viejo is accessible by car, public bus, or private shuttle. The closest airport is in Limon. From San Jose, take Route 32 to Limon and continue on Route 36 south to Puerto Viejo.

Playa Cocles

About ten minutes from Puerto Viejo, Cocles Beach promises a tamer sort of challenge. Surfers of all skill levels enjoy consistent waves and strong breaks. The beach is lined with surfer-friendly hotels and other amenities. From Puerto Viejo, take the main road south for two miles, following signs to Cocles.

Punta Uva

Spanish for Grape Point, Punta Uva is a quiet and secluded beach with clean beach breaks suitable for beginners and moderate boarders. From Puerto Viejo follow the road to Manzanillo for approximately seven miles, following signs to Punta Uva.


This fast beach break creates excellent rights. Due to its secluded location, boarders often have waves all to themselves. Riptides are strong on the eastern end of the beach, so be careful. From Puerto Viejo, follow the main road heading south out of town for approximately nine miles. Manzanillo is also accessible via public bus or private shuttle.

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