One of my favorite places here in Costa Rica is Playa Avellanas. It is a little slice ofPura Vida-dise – – Playa Avellanas has been named as one of the top beaches in the world on several occasions. This pristine beach has a relaxing beach front restaurant called Lola’s, and of course, beautiful waves to surf. In fact, surfing Playa Avellanas is a longboarder’s dream – – definitely one of my preferred spots to surf in Costa Rica! If you’re planning a surf trip to Costa Rica OR looking for a perfect beach to spend the day, check out my guide to surfing Playa Avelllanas below:
Bienvenido a paraíso! Welcome to surf paradise!
Playa Avellanas is a long sandy, crescent shaped beach. In contrast to Tamarindo, there practically is no development located beachfront. Waves break up and down Avellanas, from sandy bottom beach breaks, rivermouth, to the reefs. You can either park at Lola’s to do your surf check or at Cabinas las Olas and walk down the beautiful mangrove pathway to the beach. Both spots offer great post-surf food.
Lola’s at Playa Avellanas
Right in front of Lola’s is a beachbreak that offers rights and lefts. This is a popular spot since it is a quick walk to the parking lock and consequently it can get crowded. Be sure to be careful of the rocks on the inside when coming in from a session. Best time to surf is mid-high tide. There is a parking lot at Lola’s – – be sure to bring 1,000 Colones ($2 USD) to pay the parking attendant. They will watch you car and even hold your car keys if you’re headed out to surf – – but, to be safe, never leave anything valuable in the car. Post surf, there is a hand crank shower near the parking lot entrance – – possibly the best outdoor shower in Costa Rica! But, like a lot of things in Costa Rica, it doesn’t always work or, in dry season, there will be no water.
Palo Seco (Dead Tree):
A five minute walk from the Lola’s parking lot, or a quick walk from the Cabinas las Olas pathway, is another beach break called Palo Seco. Look for some wiry dead trees and you have found the spot. Or, since waves break pretty much in between Lola’s and Palo Seco, just paddle out where you see the best waves. As you walk further away from the parking lot, the crowd usually disperses. Definitely worth walking a little further! Best time to surf is mid-high tide.
Insider Tip: If you are walking the Cabinas las Olas pathway during the middle of the day, make sure you wear your sandals as the wood board walk gets quite hot to bare feet!
A little further down from Palo Seco is the Rivermouth. The waves here are usually a little bit bigger than the beach breaks as the waves peak over a small reef. The Rivermouth offers some quality rights and lefts. Be careful of the reef / rock on the inside during low tide when surfing at lower tides – – I’ve seen one-a-many surfers hit it! Best time to surf is low tide.
On top of these spots, there are some other coveted reef breaks if you’re willing to explore…but I can’t give away all the local surf knowledge!