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Southern Nicoya Peninsula Surf Spot Guide


Guide to Surfing the Southern Nicoya Peninsula

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Surf Breaks of the Southern Nicoya PeninsulaThe Southern Nicoya Peninsula is a secluded gem in Puntarenas province of Costa Rica. From cascading waterfalls, long stretches of white sand beaches, luscious nature, rivers to colorful markets and friendly atmosphere, the Southern Nicoya Peninsula has earned itself a well deserved reputation among travelers. Its towns include Santa Teresa, Mal Pais, Montezuma, Tambor, Manzanillo, Cobano and Paquera. The peninsula has plenty to offer. Be it sunbathing on the beach, waterfall trekking, exploring the dense forests, catching the waves or diving into the water, The Southern Nicoya Peninsula is a perfect holiday destination.

The area is blessed with several surf spots which are:

Surf Breaks

Playa Los Cedros

Playa Los Cedros is on the southern side of Montezuma, about halfway to Cabuya, on the southern Nicoya Peninsula. It features a left handed reefy rocky point break that works only during the high tides. Although the spot is full of rocks, the break is great for beginners. Due to its short waves, the surf spot is usually ignored by experienced surfers, so beginners and intermediate surfers have the spot to themselves most of the time. Be it a weekday or a weekend, the break almost never gets crowded. When the tide is low, the break is all rocks and small sea creatures. During a high tide, Playa Los Cedros becomes one of the best breaks to surf.


Cabuya is located on the southern end of Nicoya Peninsula. It has a small cemetery island by the name of Isla de Cabuya found only a few meters away from the coastline. It has a heavy point break that goes to the left and requires big swells from the south to work. The break is unpopular as it is faraway and inconsistent. During the low tide, it is possible to walk out to the spot. You can also hire a boat from Montezuma or Cabuya to take you directly to the break. If you happen to be in the area, Cabuya’s point break might offer an awesome platform for surfing.

Playa Hermosa

Playa Hermosa is a beautiful beach found just north of Santa Teresa.  The beach is widely undeveloped and remains a secluded and beautiful platform for various adventurous and leisure activities. Just like its neighboring beaches, Playa Hermosa boasts a great surf spot. It has a beach break that goes to both left and right from the center and to the north, a fantastic point break can be found. The best time to surf the beach break is at a mid tide while the point break can be surfed any time of the day. When the tide is high, the beach vanishes and the surf closes out. At Playa Hermosa, have a romantic stroll, a lazy picnic or surf to your heart’s content.

Playa Grande

Playa Grande is a sublime beach in Montezuma. The beach is a superb holiday destination for tourists who are looking for a serene yet fun getaway. The beach has a great surf spot, a beach break, that works best during mid and high tides with swells coming from the south. It is about 30 minutes walk away from Montezuma to the north. The spot has ideally consistent waves suitable for intermediate and advanced surfers

Playa Santa Teresa

There are three major breaks in Santa Teresa; La Lora Amarilla, Casa Cecilia and Suck Rock.

Playa Carmen

Playa Carmen presents a great beach break with several peaks that break with a long right and a short left. Swells of excellent height are raised southern and northern hemisphere throughout the year. The waves of Playa El Carmen are forgiving so beginners and intermediate surfers can easily practice.

Suck Rock

Suck Rock is a popular right hand break with fast, large and steep waves often rising up to 20 feet. Before closing out, the waves can get double overhead. It is best surfer during a high tide when the swells are big. When the surf condition is at its best, waves up to 20 feet tall have been reported!

Casa Cecilia

Casa Cecilia is a popular and easy break that presents nice waves all year round. When the tide is low, the waves are perfect for beginners to practice, however during large swells, the break can be a challenge to ride. There are many rock formations on which the waves break generating left and right barrels. You can also sit leisurely on one these rocky ledges and enjoy the view.

La Lora Amarilla

La Lora Amarilla is regarded as one of the top five surf destinations in Costa Rica. It is named after a bar called La Lora Amarilla which is situated on the road at the beach access. It features hollow, A-shaped waves which break in both directions at a low tide. When the currents are strong and the tide is high, the wave can create a large wall of water up to 150 meters! La Lora is free from rocks; features perfectly shaped consistent waves making itself a most favored surfing destination.

Mal Pais

Mal Pais boasts a number of surfs spots including Mar Azul and Sunset Reef. Playa Carmen is generally considered part of the Santa Teresa beaches.

Mar Azul/Punta Barigona

Mar Azul is a left handed reef break featuring rock formations, multiple peaks, overhead swells and infrequent breaks. The break offers a daring challenge to experienced surfers.  The best time to surf is at mid to high tide. The break is only recommended to professional surfers. Big swells come from West and South and breaks directly in Mal Pais.

Sunset Reef

Sunset Reef is a left hand rocky reef break forming large barrels. The surf is very fast at first and then results in large ride-able wall. Experienced surfers can have a lot fun when strong swells rise with great winds. Watch out for the shallow reefs.


Playa Manzanillo is a sublime white sand beach located just north of Santa Teresa.Its northern end features an offshore reef break which is somewhat inconsistent and unreliable. The waves break to the right and left over a reef rocky bottom. he spot is often crowded on weekends. Watch out for rip currents and rocks.

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