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Surf Guide: Surfing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Surf Guide Costa Rica

Surf Guide: Surfing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo is one of Central America’s best known surf spots and that’s not without a reason. There are a number of great surf spots around and the town has something to offer for everyone. The town is known for hosting a lot of tourists from the States and Canada and from time to time a lot of Europeans can be found here as well.

We also wrote a guide on activities in Tamarindo, as there is a lot to do besides the surfing. You will never be bored here.

Best time to surf in Tamarindo

Tamarindo is known for its surfing all year round, really! These paragraphs below is meant for people whom are really seeking (based on the last couple of years) the most excellent month based on the statistics. However, as we all know that the Earth is getting more and more unpredictable, it’s also hard to make such an overview as precise as we would want to.

Surfing for beginners in Tamarindo

During my visit to Tamarindo, I found out that the surf for beginners is really throughout the entire year. The best months tend to be between December and April, but also all of the other months are very suitable for novice surfers. When making your way down to Tamarindo to learn how to surf do not hesitate as you will be learning heaps at any time!

Surfing Playa Tamarindo
Surfing Playa Tamarindo

Surfing for advanced surfers in Tamarindo

Experienced surfers, whom might be seeking larger and more consistent waves, are in general advised to visit Tamarindo between May throughout November. It is important to be aware you might get some rain but the surf will be well worth it.

On the contrary, Tamarindo hosts a lot of great surf spots and normally you will encounter challenging-enough circumstances all year round. Mother Nature will decide and her decisions are getting more and more unpredictable so we also would advice you to not stick to a set number of months too much.

Best time to go surfing in Tamarindo

When asking the experts, most will probably tell you that March has the best surf. This (generally, not always) will still be dry-season and swells can come from both the North Pacific as the South Pacific. You are also likely to encounter a nice off-shore wind, creating very fresh, nice and consistent waves all around. However, Tamarindo is well known for its surfing throughout and it’s certainly not limited to only the month of March, so let this not be leading you too much.

Surfing around Tamarindo

The beach of Tamarindo especially offers great conditions to novice surfers and longboarders. However, there are many other spots around which have different conditions, including ones that suit more advanced surfers.

Surfing at Playa Tamarindo

Tamarindo has a beach with a number of waves, where two main ones are being distinguished; Witches Rock and Capitan Suizo, which are two establishments which are widely known. Just off Witches Rock, you will also find the Rivermouth, waves on the longitude of the rivermouth itself.

Surfing at Witches Rock, Tamarindo

During my visit to Tamarindo, I joined a surf lesson with the group of students who were doing the Spanish + surf course and this took place at this spot. Witches Rocks works basically the entire year and it’s a great spot for beginners. The sandbanks create nice and consistent waves, perfect for learning how to surf. You will find a number of surf schools in the water, but it’s surely not busy.

Read on after the photo…

Surf lessons Tamarindo
Surf lessons Tamarindo

Surfing at Rivermouth, Tamarindo

A few steps to the north is where the river debouches into the sea. Another sandbank creates amazing waves for longboarders. Novice surfers generally do not get here that much as it’s more difficult to peddle out there.

Surfing at Capitan Suizo, Tamarindo

This spot is also excellent for surfers. It’s not always working but most of the times, you will have a lot of ‘white water’, creating ideal circumstances to stand up for the first time. Here you will also surfing in front of some of the beach bars so in case you don’t mind being watched, this is the best spot for you.

Surfing at Playa Avallenas

This beach, about 40 minutes driving south from Tamarindo (with the actual distance being much smaller, but the road forces you to go all around), has two faces really. When it’s small, the spot is ideal for beginners. Especially around both sides of the big dead tree, novice surfers will have great fun.

Avallenas can also be really big and those days, inexperienced surfers really need to stay out of the water. Experienced surfers will make their way to this beach in large numbers and that’s not without a reason. Especially the Little Hawaii can get pretty immense.

Decent sized waves
Decent sized waves

Surfing at Playa Grande

Playa Grande requires a half an hour drive (also here, that’s due to the road, actual distance is much closer) and can be a great spot for beginners too. If Playa Tamarindo is flat, lessons might take place here. The thing you would need to be careful with is the strong current which might pop up every now and then. When you feel confident enough to stand up, you can try Las Casitas, a wave that generally is fairly consistent.

In general Playa Grande works best at mid-tide and has a sandy bottom, which starts from 2 hours after low or dead-tide. Playa Grande offers a number of waves, which can be fun for surfers from different levels. You will encounter Las Palmeras and Palm Beach Break, among some other waves.

Other beaches which are worth checking out

Looking to go surfing in this region but you would rather not come to Tamarindo, there are plenty of other options. Costa Rica has an amazing coast line with great surf spots. Feel free to have a look at our surf guide of Santa Teresa. Also, just a couple of hours away, across the border to Nicaragua, you will find great surfing in and around San Juan del Sur and Popoyo. We did also write a Surf Guide Nicaragua which is worth checking out.

Sunset Tamarindo
Sunset Tamarindo


Co-founder of SurfaWhile, with a passion for travel, surf, cooking, salsa, football and meeting new and interesting people.

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