The Southern Zone of Costa Rica is the ideal location for all levels of surf to experience the joy of riding waves. There are many beautiful beaches along the coast, and each beach has different characteristics that influence the wave shape, power, and consistently. Listed below are three surf breaks that are unique and standout for each level, from advanced, to intermediate, and ending with beginner surfer level, here are our beach suggestions.
Playa Dominical is known worldwide for its hollow powerful barrels and shapely beach break that gets heavy when the surf is big. It is one of the best most consistent beach breaks in Costa Rica and also the location of the first lifeguard program in Costa Rica. With that said, Dominical is for intermediate to advanced surfers who know how to read the waves, rip currents and perform a duck dive. Dominical has many characteristics that make it unique from other beaches in area. The year round flowing river, the Barú, consistently outputs water and sand down the beach, this creates quality waves, however increases rip currents strengths dramatically, especially in the rainy season. Dominical is a south facing beach that is open to all swell directions, it is normal to expect larger and consistent waves, so even when the surf is flat elsewhere, there is always something fun to surf at ‘Playa Dominical’. With the large tidal change we have in Costa Rica and the long flat beach, these last make this spot surf-able on all tides. High tide is usually a softer wave, that are long and open, perfect for hacks, airs and cutbacks. During low tide, the waves get hollow, which makes what most advanced surfers are looking for, tube time!Dominical beach is the ideal location for surf camps to teach first time beginners to surf in the white water. Since there are no rocks, the waves are long and breaks are far out, so the beginners have a long distance to practice how to stand up on the surfboard and ride the waves all the way to the shore.
Playa Hermosa, about 7 km south of Dominical, is a long gorgeous beach great for the intermediate surfer for several reasons. The waves break closer to shore and are usually smaller and softer waves than Dominical. It is a friendlier wave to surf, with less effort and less intense for those working on improving their surf and ocean skills. It is a long beach with many peaks to surf without the hustling crowds, no crowds means more waves to be caught and to help improve your surfing. Given its name, it is a beautiful beach to enjoy all times of the day, but high tide is the best time to surf, it shuts down during low tide with poor wave shape and rip currents. When the surf gets big, it closes out causing the intermediate surfers to go to Dominicialito.
Playa Dominicalito, just a few kilometers South from Dominical, it is the ideal surf break for beginners and happens to be one of the most beautifully exotic beaches in Costa Rica. The formation and direction of the beach blocks out swell to reduce wave size and strength to make it perfect for those new to surfing, for those who are looking to improve their skills, or even for surfers who just want to enjoy catching fun mellow waves with friends. Dominicalito, is a natural harbour and can only be surfed on the mid to high tide, at low tide many rocks are exposed, so be sure to check the tide charts before heading out.
About the Contributing Writer Andrew Webster
Andrew’s passion for the ocean started as a young surfer in San Diego, California. He became an Ocean Lifeguard in Encinitas, CA, in 2003 and he moved to Playa Dominical, Costa Rica to serve the community as the Captain of the Dominical Lifeguards in 2008. His extensive background on surfing and ocean knowledge lead him to create a surf school, called Dominical Waverider Surf Camp, aiming to share his love for the ocean teaching the amazing sport of surfing with everyone.