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North Pacific surf spots and breaks

North Pacific surf spots and breaks

Volcanic, white and gold sands meet the north Pacific creating some of the country's most powerful surf. Join the ranks of the wild and the restless on huge hollow rights at Witch's Rock or drop-in for a tube ride at Ollie's point and pretend you're in Endless Summer II. For those looking to take their first plunge, check out one of the many surf schools in Tamarindo, or find a board to rent on the beach.

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Ollie’s Point (Potrero Grande)

Named after U.S. Military General Oliver North, Ollie’s Point is a right point break with very fast, hollow waves. Surfing is best at high tide. Located off the coast of Santa Rosa National Park and only accessible by boat, this break was made famous by the movie Endless Summer II. Excursions to this world famous break leave daily from Playa del Coco and Playa Ocotal.

Witch’s Rock (Playa Naranjo)

One of the best breaks in the country, Witch’s Rock is located in Santa Rosa National Park. It’s known for fast, hollow right-point breaks and tamer lefts. Due to its secluded location, it can be difficult to reach, but for many, Witch’s Rock is the country’s most coveted surf destination.

The surf is best at high tide; watch for the strong winds between December and March. Be prepared with a trustworthy four-wheel drive vehicle, camping gear, food and mosquito netting. Surfers can get there by boat or 4WD vehicle. Boats leave daily from Playa del Coco and car rentals are available in Tamarindo and Playa Grande.

Playa Grande

Playa Grande is renowned for its near-perfect right and left breaks, which often barrel over your head. Swells are very consistent, so Playa Grande is a go-to destination for surfers who enjoy fun, frequent rides. The surf is excellent except during low tide. When the waves are dead, try the Tamarindo river mouth. Playa Grande is a 20-minute drive or 10-minute boat ride from Tamarindo. From Liberia, drive west toward Tamarindo and follow signs to Playa Grande.


Tamarindo brims with surf schools and board shops and its popular beach breaks are often crowded with beginners. Experienced locals often go for the bigger and usually less crowded waves in neighboring Playa Langosta. Tamarindo is a popular tourist town and is accessible by car, bus, private shuttle or airplane. Two other spots here worth trying: Pico Pequeno, a lava-finger reef in front known for excellent swells; and Bel Estero, a spectacular river mouth break.


Located just half a mile south of Tamarindo, Langosta boasts decent right and left point breaks that curl off the mouth of a small river. This area usually has larger swells than nearby Tamarindo, but the surf is not consistent. Best surf at mid-tide. From Tamarindo, take the main road headed south. Langosta is a half-mile south of town.

Playa Avellanas

Known by the surfing community as “Little Hawaii,” the prevailing reef break at the secluded Avellanas Beach can be a challenge even for seasoned surfers. The two-mile stretch of ocean offers five reefs and sand breaks with semi-hollow right and left point breaks. The best surf is at mid or high tide. From Tamarindo, drive six miles south to Playa Avellanas.

Playa Negra

Playa Negra has an incredible right-hand reef/point break. Consistent surf combined with near-perfect waves and barrels have made this beach one of Costa Rica’s favored surfing destinations. Anticipate steady breezes and ideal surfing conditions between December and April. Surf is best at mid or high tide, especially when the waves reach several feet overhead. From Playa Avellanas, drive three miles south.


This three-mile stretch of beach is best known for very hollow rights and lefts. Surf is best during mid or high tide. From Tamarindo, drive six miles south.

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