Imagine that twenty years ago Tamarindo, Costa Rica was still a tiny fishing village. No tourist chotsky shops, no international restaurants, dirt roads (well, there still are dirt roads!), and uncrowded surf. Since the release of the surf film “The Endless Summer II” in 1994, featuring Tamarindo and Costa Rica as a beautiful wave and warm water surf destination, this tiny fishing village has boomed into the second largest beach town in Costa Rica.
Why? Not only is Tamarindo is a great place to learn how to surf with its gentle surf, it’s also the surrounding beaches offer more advanced waves. Pretty much, there are waves for any level of surfer. Combine that with other family-friendly activities, excellent restaurants, and a lively nightlife, and you have a winning combination. Tamarindo attracts visitors from around the world year round.
Two of my favorite places to surf arePlaya Avellanasand Ollie’s Point, but there is nothing like rolling out of bed, walking five minutes down the the beach, and surfing your local break. I call Tamarindo home and the Rivermouth my playground.
Tamarindo tends to be more of a longboard wave and most people usually head out of town to surf other beaches. I do like to get out of town a couple of days out of the week, but surfing the Rivermouth in the mornings is like the atmosphere at your local coffee shop; you paddle out, say your hellos, have a quick chat or laugh, then mid-sentence paddle to catch a wave. Best type of your morning cup-of-joe!
Since Tamarindo is the second largest beach town in Costa Rica, it definitely is no secret surf spot. But if you are new in town, here is some local knowledge. Please just be sure to look left, right AND in front of you before dropping in on a wave…Tamarindo tends to get crowded and you never know who else is going to be sharing the wave with you.
Surf Guide to Tamarindo Costa Rica
Rivermouth (Estero): One of my favorite breaks is at the Rivermouth. Depending on positioning of the sand bars, there can be some phenomenal lefts and/or rights. Best time to surf is mid-high tide, but can be super fun at low tide. It is one of those waves that you just need to keep on checking all day as the wave changes with the tide.
Beachbreak: Located right in front of the parking lots, a lot of beginners take lessons here, but with the right swell there are some amazing lefts that can take you all the way to the Rivermouth. Best time to surf is mid-high tide.
Pico Pequeño: This wave is a reform wave coming off of the rocks of Pico Grande. Pico Pequeño an unreal spot for aspiring young kids wanting to be shredders. Usually when nothing else is breaking in town, there at least will be a small wave at Pico Pequeño. Surf at high tide.
Pico Grande: During a good swell, this wave can be amazing, with rights and lefts breaking off of the rock. Pico Grande is a fast, more advanced surfer wave. Surf at high tide.
Capitán Suizo: This break is located all the way down the beach, towards Playa Langosta. Surf schools bring their students here, but during a good swell, Suizo is a really nice wave. Also, since Suizo faces a different direction then the other spots in town, if the wind is coming from the south, it will be offshore vs side-shore elsewhere in town. Best time to surf is high tide.
On top of these breaks, with a certain swell, there are some other spots that break…but I can’t give away all the local knowledge!