How will the tide affect your trip in Costa Rica?

January 25, 2019

#FelizFriday! 

Did you know Costa Rica has really large tide swings between low and high tide? And what the heck do I mean with a (large) tide swing?

The tide difference between where low tide is on the beach and where high tide is in Costa Rica is 8-10+ feet -- this means that if you're standing on the beach right on the shoreline at dead low tide, 6 hours later that spot will have 8-10 feet of water covering it.  
And the tide is constantly changing, ebbing and flowing between low and high in a 24 hour period. In fact, in a 24 hour period, there will be 2 high tides and 2 low tides. And the exact time of low and high tide is always moving -- for example, high tide in Costa Rica was at 5:46AM and tomorrow morning high tide will be a littler later, at 6:38AM.(You can see the movement in tide with different tide lines in the sand in the image below, "Beach Day".)

Aerial image of white sand beach and turquoise water of the beach at Playa Conchal, Costa Rica. Aerial beach print by Samba to the Sea at The Sunset Shop.
BUY "Beach Day
"


So how will the tide affect your trip in Costa Rica?

  • If you surf, I suggest planning your surf trip to Costa Rica when the tides are high in the morning. Why? Most surf spots in Costa Rica work during mid to high tide. When the tide is high in the morning, like it was this morning, the second high tide of the day will be in the afternoon 12 hours later, so at 6:17PM today. Two high tides during day light = double surf session!

    Wingnut from Endless Summer hanging five surfing in Tamarindo Costa Rica. Photographed by Kristen M. Brown Samba to the Sea at The Sunset Shop.
    BUY "
    Hang Five"

  • During low tide at sunset, you can capture some magical sunset reflections off the low tide sand....just like in the image below, "Where the Sky Meets the Sea"!

    Surfer walking on the beach during a beautiful sunset in Costa Rica. Sunset surfer print by Samba to the Sea at The Sunset Shop.
    BUY "Where the Sky Meets the Sea
    "


  • If you're planning your wedding in Costa Rica  (or elopement or family photos), I always suggest to my clients to pick the day where the tide will be furthest out in the afternoon right before sunset. Why?The best time of day to photograph is in the late afternoon right before sunset, and if the tide is further out around sunset, you'll be able to take advantage of a lot more open beach space for your photos. AND in a lot of places in Costa Rica, photographing on the beach during high tide is impractical because the ocean comes all the way up, covering the sand and hitting vegetation -- in the image below, the high tide comes all the way up to the palm trees! (But, if you're photographing with me during high tide in the afternoon, I know exactly what locations are best to do beach photos!)

    Beach palm trees in Costa Rica. Beach print at The Sunset Shop by Samba to the Sea.
    BUY "Shake Your Palms
    "


And how does the high tide during sunset affect where I chase sunsets?! When the tide is high in the afternoon during sunset = very little beach to walk on with a lot of people squished together, I like to hike the hills behind Tamarindo with Gidget!

 To check the tides for up to a year out, Check out thistide chart via Tamarindo Tides.

 

Pura Vida,

How will the tide affect your trip in Costa Rica? Aerial image of wave breaking in Playa Avellanas Costa Rica. By Kristen M. Brown Samba to the Sea.

 


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