Riding the Waves: Best Surf Spots in Central America
Monday, February 11th, 2019
Dazzling beaches, friendly people, priceless culture, balmy climate and world-class surfing. Is there any wonder why Central America is a top destination for surfers of all skill levels? Here, some of the best waves on the planet are a short drive or plane ride from each other. Even for the novice or non-surfer there is a mystique and beauty to the special places and cultures that are home to the region’s best surf. These are some of our favorites…
Playa Jaco, Costa Rica
Famous for its remarkably consistent break, this Pacific-coast vacation destination is a top spot for advanced surfers, beginners, and non-surfers alike. Manuel Antonio National Park is close by and highly recommended as well — especially for those who wish to explore the inland rainforests and biodiversity.
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Santa Teresa is great for all levels of surfers to enjoy. Three different breaks create gentle waves for the beginner or large waves for the experienced. This quaint surfing village contains numerous surfing schools and shops.
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
If surfing is the main attraction then Tamarindo is a great place to learn how to ride the waves. With the calm sea suitable for all ages, Tamarindo is great surfing for the entire family. There is also a vibrant nightlife to experience after your long day on the beach.
Salsa Brava, Costa Rica
Continue down the Caribbean coast and you will find Salsa Brava, in
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, a shallow reef break of notorious power. The Caribbean Sea swells big and breaks heavy at this magical spot. Consider a helmet!
Playa Nosara, Costa Rica
One of the most consistent surf spots in all of Costa Rica. High and low tide surfing is available creating opportunities for both beginners and experienced surfers to enjoy the waves.
Witches’ Rock at Playa Naranjo, Costa Rica
This is where they filmed The Endless Summer II. Need we say more? Set against the iconic monolith rising out of the crystal-blue sea, you can find left breaks, right breaks, and scenery second to none. Consider bringing a photographer – these pics trend.
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
A favorite on the backpacker trail, San Juan del Sur is a constant party. The surfing has been famous for years, though, on the outskirts of town you can still break away from the hustle for some quiet moments in a big barrel. Within a 30 minute drive, there are even more beaches known for fantastic surf, each with a different flavor: Playa Maderas, Playa El Remanso, Playa Hermosa, and Playa Yankee.
Playa Colorado, Nicaragua
If you want it to be just you and nature, you and the waves, you want Nicaragua. The top surfing spots of this up-and-coming vacation destination are relatively unexplored. Enjoy the peace and majesty of the ocean and some unreal barrels amid the unspoiled sands of Playa Colorado.
Playa Popoyo, Outer Reef, Nicaragua
Only accessible by boat, Popoyo has no other size break but big, as it only breaks on the big swells. It takes big skills to hang. Be ready to break a board on these heavy right and left barrels. Alone with the ocean, far from shore, the Outer Reef touches something primal. Leave it to us to help make the journey to and from the this remote and secret surf paradise a breeze.
Bocas Del Toro Province, Panama
A rare Caribbean-side surfing treasure and also a rollicking party town, Bocas del Toro will present challenges for all levels of surfer, and a chance to experience something different on a coast that doesn’t see as much surf action as its big brother across the canal.
Silverbacks is a famous and consistent surf break accessible from Bocas Del Toro, Panama. What can you expect from a reef break that shares its name with an Alpha gorilla? Heavy, heavy breaks as high as twenty feet. Dubbed “the Hawai’i of Panama,” this epic wave has some smaller cousins nearby suitable for a variety of skill levels.
El Paredon, Guatemala
One of the best-kept secrets in Central America, El Paredon is a must-stop for surfers who know what’s up. As a guest in one of several isolated surfing camps, long and meditative days are divided between a surfboard and a beach blanket. Does life get any better?
Long Caye at Glover’s Reef, Belize
The Belize Barrier Reef blocks ocean swells, making good surfing hard to find in the one English-speaking country in Central America. Amid the breathtaking scenery, one really good surfing spot exists – Long Caye at Glover’s Reef. Northeast trade winds create a consistent break that will challenge intermediate and advanced surfers.
While Mexico is not technically in “Central America” jumping over to neighboring Mexico can be a great addition to your surfer’s tour. Since our agency books travel around the world we won’t let that stop you either! Here are a couple wonderful options to mix in some Mex on your surf tour.
Mexico’s Mazatlan coast is rightly celebrated for its beauty and its numerous long left breaks for all skill levels. The Sinaloan capital is also a thriving city rich with history, nightlife, and, of course, Mexican cuisine, one of the listed Unesco World Heritage cuisines.
Puerto Escondido, Mexico
For the advanced surfer and the true thrill-seeker, it doesn’t get better than Puerto Escondido. This tiny fishing village boasts some of the biggest waves in the world. If you’re a beginner, think twice. If you want to chance it, be prepared for the ride of your life.
Connecting the Dots – “Tour de Surf”
We bet reading about all of these amazing places to surf and relax might inspire a regional surfing tour for your next vacation. It can be challenging to plan a multi-leg surf trip and get it right. Between booking and timing connections, accommodations, transfers, gear rental, guides, teachers, etc. there’s a lot to handle. As professional Central America specialists for over 15 years we have a passion to help travelers get the most out of their travels and focus on the best part…getting in lots of surfing, culture, nature and enjoying the “Pura Vida”.
We also take pride in knowing what else to see and do to further enhance your experience. Whether you are planning a full itinerary around surfing or just want to learn during your trip, we can craft the perfect experience for you!!
If your wanderlust is calling, why not start by filling in our travel enquiry form or give us a call at (877)509-6033. We take the stress out of planning and deliver highly personalized travel packages and concierge service for individuals, families, and groups. Thanks again!
With an adventurous spirit,
Central America Journeys