The past couple of weeks I have been revealing some local knowledge on the surf spots here in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. (In case you missed them, check out my posts on Tamarindo and Playa Avellanas.) So what spot is up next? The long stretch of beach located across the Tamarindo rivermouth, appropriately named Playa Grande.
Playa Grande, is quite the contrast to Tamarindo. Once you cross the rivermouth, all the beach front development stops. This is because Playa Grande is located in a protected national park called Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas. The long stretch of beach is an ideal nesting ground for the Leatherback turtle, the largest marine reptile. And even though I'm partial to the sunsets in Tamarindo, the sunsets in Playa Grande are pretty magical as well!
Surfing Playa Grande
A beach break, the nice part of Playa Grande is that there are waves up and down the stretch of beach, so you can walk as far as you wish (or not) to find a nice, uncrowded wave. Grande tends to be a bit more, well, grande, than Tamarindo since it faces more towards the South (Tamarindo is perfectly set up for those north west swells). In general, the best time to surf is mid-high tide.
The main peak is located right in front of the main parking lot in Playa Grande. A really nice A-frame wave, there are lots of lefts, rights, and sometimes barreling sections, but this peak can get quite crowded. Definitely respect the locals.
On top of the main peak, there are some other coveted spots up and down the beach…but I can’t give away all the local knowledge. You will just have to walk down the beach and find the spots for yourself!
How to Get to Playa Grande:
From Tamarindo, you can either take a panga across the Tamarindo rivermouth (always be careful when crossing the end of the Tamarindo rivermouth as Crocodiles inhabit the estuary - - small Panga boats are available for about 500 colones one way to take you and your surfboard across the river) and then walk the beach (if you can, bring some water with you as it definitely is a walk on the beach!), or drive about 30-40 minutes. Parking is 1,000 Colones (about $2USD)
Where to Eat in Playa Grande:
Besides grabbing a pipa (fresh coconut water) for about 500-1,000 Colones after surf, a couple of my favorite places for post surf food in Playa Grande are: Rip Jack Inn, Taco Star, and El Huerto.
And if you need anything surf related, Frijoles Locos Surf Shop in Playa Grande pretty much has anything you need, from surfboard rentals, surf lessons, and an awesome surf shop.