Nicoya Peninsula Costa Rica
The Travel Guide to the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica, with detailed Maps, Hotels and Tourist Information

Surf in Santa Teresa and Malpais

Surf in Malpais and Santa Teresa

Surf in Malpais /Santa Teresa

The beaches of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa host some of the best surf spots in Costa Rica. There are a variety of world-class breaks with ideal surf conditions throughout the year.

Surf Malpais

The main surf beach, Playa El Carmen, is on the border between Malpais and Santa Teresa. It has a good set of sand bars that offer some nice lefts and slightly longer rights. The break of Playa Carmen is popular with long-boarders but you can always find a few hot short-boarders pulling tail slides, aerials and 360s. Rip tides and beach breaks at Playa Carmen are less powerful than in other surf spots on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, which makes it well suited for surf beginners.
The waves tend to get heavier, faster and steeper as you head north towards Playa Santa Teresa where you find various point breaks, such as the "Suck Rock".


Overview of Surf Spots:

Surf Map of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa

   Surf Map of Malpais and Santa Teresa

Surf in Mal Pais:

El Carmen:
A long right and a shorter left, surfing over sand. It is the best break for beginners learning to surf.

The other surf spots in Malpais are more challenging and not suited for beginners:

Punta Barrigona:
A reef break with a long lefthand which wraps around the point turning into a great hot dog wave. This area needs a lot of swell to work properly. Watch out for the rocks.

Sunset Reef:
Another lefthand reef break with a fast take off followed by a long workable wall. Gets hollow with size and offshore winds and also needs a good swell to work. Take care as surfing over the shallow reef can be dangerous.

Surf in Malpais

Malpais, Punta Barrigona

Surf in Santa Teresa and further north:

Santa Teresa:
Usually bigger and more hollow than Playa Carmen, Playa Santa Teresa presents a variety of beach breaks, point breaks and high swells for the more experienced surfers. The surf is better at low tide when waves tend to be faster.

Playa Hermosa:
A long sandy beach with easy going beach breaks, both lefts and rights, well suited for surf beginners. Also popular with kite surfers.

Manzanillo:
The reef is offshore at the north end of the beach. Very fickle wave which needs a lot of swell to work.