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The Stormrider Surf Guide: Costa Rica and PanamaThe Stormrider Surf Guide: Costa Rica and Panama

The Stormrider Surf Guide: Costa Rica and Panama

The Stormrider Surf Guide: Costa Rica and Panama - Special

Costa Rica has rapidly become the most popular Central American surfing holiday destination and it is not just because it has great surf on both coasts. Other factors like political stability, tourist infrastructure, clean water, cheap cost of living, natural beauty, friendly people and good security compared to it’s neighbours has driven a tourism and property investment boom over the last 2 decades. Panama might not tick all those boxes at the moment, but it is fast playing catch-up and the quality of it’s waves easily matches those of Costa Rica, on both Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

País:
United Kingdom
Idioma:
English
Editor:
Low Pressure Ltd
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access_time7 min.
costa rica and panama

Costa Rica has rapidly become the most popular Central American surfing holiday destination and it is not just because it has great surf on both coasts. Other factors like political stability, tourist infrastructure, clean water, cheap cost of living, natural beauty, friendly people and good security compared to it’s neighbours has driven a tourism and property investment boom over the last 2 decades. Panama might not tick all those boxes at the moment, but it is fast playing catch-up and the quality of it’s waves easily matches those of Costa Rica, on both Pacific and Caribbean coasts.Playa Negra (LAURENT MASUREL)Costa RicaCR’s surf runs the full gamut of shapes, if not size, and each province boasts at least one draw card wave, often in the world-class category. Volcanic black sand, squeaky…

access_time6 min.
guanacaste

Potrero Grande (Ollie’s Point) (CHRISTOPHE ‘KIKI’ COMMARIEU)Summary+ CONSISTENT YEAR ROUND+ FUN SIZED WAVES+ PERFECT WAVES FOR ALL STANDARDS+ RICH IN WILDLIFE+ POLITICALLY STABLE– LACK OF SIZE AND LEFTS– OPPRESSIVELY HOT WEATHER– MILLIONS OF INSECTS– TOURIST PRICE INFLATION(YLVAIN CAZENAVE)Costa Rica is one of those rare destinations that has a choice of two coastlines influenced by two different oceans. The Caribbean side produces big wild waves during two short seasons, while the Pacific side gets pounded by medium-sized swells all year-long. With nearly a 180° swell window, the northern province of Guanacaste is very consistent with long-distance Pacific swells arriving from the S/SE around to the NW. The area around Tamarindo is best during the dry season (Dec-Apr) when clean, offshore conditions, sunshine and easy access make it a veritable tropical paradise.…

access_time6 min.
golfo de nicoya

Boca Barranca (JOHN CALLAHAN/TROPICALPIX.COM)Summary+ GREAT LEFT POINTBREAKS+ CONSISTENT, POWERFUL BEACHES+ BOTH SOUTH AND NORTH SWELLS+ EXOTIC, WARM AND FRIENDLY– BEST SWELLS IN RAINY SEASON– BEACHES CLOSE-OUT EASILY– CROWDED BREAKS, BUSY RESORTS– SOME BAD ROADS AND PETTY CRIMEIn the ‘70’s, Central America began to attract U.S surfers, looking for exotic waves close to home. Costa Rica was a major draw, where it was possible to be surfing an endless, peeling pointbreak, within an hour’s drive of the airport and a choice of two very different coastlines. Political stability, high degree of education and an absence of civil war, so popular in neighbouring countries, has earned it the reputation of being a ‘Latin Switzerland’. Compared to its population, Costa Rica has an incredible number of surfing expats and travellers, representing 10% of…

access_time6 min.
central puntarenas province

Rio Sierpe Rivermouth (BLUETRAILZ.COM)Summary+ HIGH SUMMER CONSISTENCY+ LOW CROWDS+ OSA NATIONAL PARK RAINFOREST+ DOMINICAL SURF TOWN+ GREAT EXPLORATION POTENTIAL– NO WORLD-CLASS WAVES– HEAVY SUMMER RAINS– CROCS AT RIVERMOUTHS– EXPENSIVE OSA ACCOMMODATION– TRICKY ACCESS TO DRAKE/CORCOVADO BREAKS(BLUETRAILZ.COM)Playa Hermosa (BLUETRAILZ.COM)Ollie’s Point, Witches Rock, Playa Grande, Tamarindo, Playa Negra, Mal Pais, Jaco, Hermosa, Matapalo, Pavones are the famous and familiar names on the Costa Rica surf map. Being the first Central American country to embrace US surfers, with the first surf tours beginning in 1985, many areas became a victim of their own success. There are still some amazing places lurking off the surfers beaten tracks and the area that extends south of Dominical to the Corcovado Park on Osa Peninsula still offers a lot to explore in lush tropical scenery. The wet…

access_time6 min.
golfo dulce

Pavones (MEZ/ESM)Summary+ PAVONES ULTRA-LONG POINTBREAK+ TOP QUALITY MATAPALO RIGHTS+ CALM WINDS+ WILD, EXOTIC AREA+ RAINFOREST WILDLIFE– SEMI-CROWDED– NOT TOO CONSISTENT– INTENSE RAINY SEASON– LACK OF ROADS– TROPICAL DISEASES AND INSECTSCosta Rica has become the darling of the Central American surf scene by providing consistent, fun, small to medium-sized beach and reefbreaks, but only one wave has stood head and shoulders above the rest. Pavones is the most awe-inspiring wave in the country and one of the longest lefts in the world. Perfect, ruler-edged, freight-train fast envelopes spinning down a benign cobble and sand point deep in the jungle. The Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf) provides a watery divide between Pavone’s lefts and Matapalo’s rights over on the Osa Peninsula, whilst the surrounding lush curtain of rainforest hides many other spots.(MEZ/ESM)Jeremy Saukel,…

access_time6 min.
limón

Salsa Brava (FITZPATRICK/SURFCARIBE.COM)Summary+ CONSISTENT, SEASONAL SWELL+ POWERFUL REEFBREAKS+ INSIGNIFICANT TIDAL RANGE+ LAID BACK CARIBBEAN STYLE– FLAT BETWEEN SEASONS– LACK OF GOOD BEACHBREAKS– EXTREMELY WET– PETTY CRIMECosta Rica is a member of that privileged club which receives swell from two very different suppliers on its schizoid coastline. The Pacific Ocean delivers year-round long distance swells from both the north and south, producing the perfect small to medium, west coast waves that Costa Rica is famed for. Not so well known is the fact that the Caribbean side receives fairly big and wild waves from short lived, seasonal storms, mainly centered off Colombia. It’s truly amazing how much power is contained in the short fetch Caribbean swells, which break in the 2-12ft (0.6-4m) range. It is possible to cross from Puntarenas on…

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