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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    15

    Costa Rica surf vacation info

    Looking at a trip most likely in June to Costa Rica. My wife and I have not ocean surfed, unfortunately we are landlocked here in Kansas (I know it sucks). We wakesurf and wakeboard almost every weekend in the summer. Hopefully we can pick up surfing fairly easily. Anyway, I am looking at Witch's rock surf vacations. They are on the beach in Tamarindo. Any advice and feedback would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Midgaard
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    Costa Rica surf vacation info

    I like Dominical, but it's pretty quiet and a little dirtbaggish down there (which I prefer). Think I put a shirt on twice the last week I was there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Park City
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    We rented our own place in Mal pais

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-...Vacations.html

    It was awesome, laid back, cheap. That was a few years ago though
    I rip the groomed on tele gear

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Wasatch Back: 7000'
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    Playa Hermosa near Jaco has some of the bestest, cheapest surfing in Central America. Watch out for the rip tides and sometimes dangerous conditions
    "My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day's work for an honest day's pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police." M. Thatcher (RIP)
    "...
    Judges smoke it, even the lawyer too...So you've got to legalize it..." Peter Tosh

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    7,239
    I stayed in a hostel in Mal Pais ten years ago, had a fucking blast. I think it's one of those places where people really have to wonder if it's worth going back to wherever it was they came from. At least back then.
    .....I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record

    http://procatinator.com/?cat=80

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    180
    Santa Teresa and Mal Pais are my favorite spots and there is a beach break north in Santa T that is ok for beginners. Tamarindo is more built up, but waves are a little better for beginners. I will suggest Sayulita in Mexico if you are open to that. That is probably one of the worlds best waves for novices. Horizon hotel in Santa Teresa is my go to spot and keep going back. PM if you want full on info.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    2,259
    Quote Originally Posted by akdoc13 View Post
    Looking at a trip most likely in June to Costa Rica. My wife and I have not ocean surfed, unfortunately we are landlocked here in Kansas (I know it sucks). We wakesurf and wakeboard almost every weekend in the summer. Hopefully we can pick up surfing fairly easily. Anyway, I am looking at Witch's rock surf vacations. They are on the beach in Tamarindo. Any advice and feedback would be appreciated.

    I hate to tell you but surfing is incredibly hard. You don't just pick it up. Wake boarding is about riding, being a beginner surfer is about catching waves and standing up. You wake boarding skills will help you once you can paddle and stand up, but paddling and standing up is very tough.

    I went to Jaco about a decade ago. Lots of fun, but Playa Hermosa is very punchy and not a beginner break. The break in the town of Jaco will be better. I would definitely take a surfing lesson, it will help quite a bit.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

    "I didn't have a grandfather on the board of some fancy college. Key word being was. Did he touch the Filipino exchange student? Did he not touch the Filipino exchange student? I don't know Brooke, I wasn't there."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    livin the dream
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    Quote Originally Posted by akdoc13 View Post
    Hopefully we can pick up surfing fairly easily.
    Ha. You won't. Just adjust your expectations and have fun.
    Best Skier on the Mountain
    Self-Certified
    1992 - 2012
    Squaw Valley, USA

  9. #9
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    Sep 2005
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    Wasatch Back: 7000'
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    Long Duc's thoughts on Playa Hermosa is 100% correct. There are decent swells just north of Manuel Antonio State Park and just south of Quepos.
    "My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day's work for an honest day's pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police." M. Thatcher (RIP)
    "...
    Judges smoke it, even the lawyer too...So you've got to legalize it..." Peter Tosh

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    15
    Thanks for the recommendations and direction. I don't have really high expectations, just wanted to learn at some point in my life.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by akdoc13 View Post
    Thanks for the recommendations and direction. I don't have really high expectations, just wanted to learn at some point in my life.
    Just riding whitewater in on a longboard is fun. When you actually go sideways on a wave you will be hooked and will definitely go again. I wish I could give you better advice about Tamarindo, I just have not been there. I would second what I have heard about Sayulita, although I have not been there either. Just find a place with warm water, consistent south swells and a surf school.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

    "I didn't have a grandfather on the board of some fancy college. Key word being was. Did he touch the Filipino exchange student? Did he not touch the Filipino exchange student? I don't know Brooke, I wasn't there."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Have been to Tamarindo and to Mal Pais/Santa Teresa. Just got back from ST right after Thanksgiving this year. If you want a laid back, chill vacation, I'd go with MP/ST. If you want night life (and all that brings with it), go for Tamarindo.

    I had a blast both places, but they were definitely different vacations. Both places have world class beach breaks great for beginners that just PUMP. It's weird to go to Hawaii or somewhere else have to wait a couple minutes between waves.Tons of non-surfing things to do both places as well.

    The best beginners spot in Tamarindo isn't at Witch's Rock from what I remember. It's a bit south of there, through the estuary, and more in line with town.

    I've got a bunch of good MP/ST rec's if you go that route. Happy to give them to you.

  13. #13
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    Jun 2004
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    Watch out for crocs near those estuaries and river mouths! When we were surfing Boca Barranca we saw what might have been a croc. It looked like a log but when we saw it again it was in a place where it would not have drifted based on the current. It was only waist high so we got out of the water fast.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

    "I didn't have a grandfather on the board of some fancy college. Key word being was. Did he touch the Filipino exchange student? Did he not touch the Filipino exchange student? I don't know Brooke, I wasn't there."

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Long duc dong View Post
    Watch out for crocs near those estuaries and river mouths! When we were surfing Boca Barranca we saw what might have been a croc. It looked like a log but when we saw it again it was in a place where it would not have drifted based on the current. It was only waist high so we got out of the water fast.
    Truth. We paddled across the one in Tamarindo the first day on our boards, but after getting a glimpse of a handful of crocs 100 yards up river we decided to start paying for the $1 ferry ride instead.

    Stingrays in there too I believe.

  15. #15
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    Jun 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phildo_Baggins View Post
    Truth. We paddled across the one in Tamarindo the first day on our boards, but after getting a glimpse of a handful of crocs 100 yards up river we decided to start paying for the $1 ferry ride instead.

    Stingrays in there too I believe.
    A number of years ago there was an attack on a surfer at Playa Hermosa by a croc. He survived. I'm not sure exactly where on the beach it occurred.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

    "I didn't have a grandfather on the board of some fancy college. Key word being was. Did he touch the Filipino exchange student? Did he not touch the Filipino exchange student? I don't know Brooke, I wasn't there."

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Warrrrrrrshington
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    1,097
    If you're looking at Tamarindo look a few clicks north at Playa Grande. Much quieter and less crowded, Tamarindo can be a zoo in the water, way more room to spread out at Tamarindo. At the north end of the beach and then a bit south of the Ripjack Inn are good beginner breaks, get a place either in the north end or middle-south, get gear from Frijoles Locos Surf Shop and sign up for surf lessons every day. I liked Point Break Surf School but there are tons of lessons available, including Frijoles. Note, if you do want the nightlife of Tamarindo it's a 20-30 minute drive around the river, but there are plenty of places to eat in Playa Grande.

  17. #17
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    Feb 2004
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    MN
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    1,281

    Costa Rica surf vacation info

    I go to CR every December. Been there for 8 years now. Tamarindo is a shit show. My advice, go to Playa Negra. Stay in the Hotel Playa Negra. Nice little bungalows. Restaurant on site, and a 5 minute walk to the town of Playa Negra. Great restaurants. Great people. Three places to surf from the hotel with two in 1 minute walking distance. Sandys and Negra. Sandys is fun in the right swell size and direction. All sand break. Not crowded. Negra is a reef. If it's good lots of local rippers, but gringos get waves. Head 10 minutes north by car to Avellanas. Again, all sand. Long Beach with 6-8 different places to surf. Will get busy 2 hours before high tide to about an hour after high tide. Some locals, but tons of tourists. Easy to jump right into the lineup and get waves. Had two really good days there this year. Lots of lefts and rights. Cool restaurant at the beach too. My two cents.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Cruzing
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    7,761
    If you want moderate surf, and laid back jungle style with yoga, and other eco-tourist stuff nearby, my friend really likes going to Nosara. Offshore in the mornings; gentle to moderate surf.

    I'd 2md Mal Pias. It was my favorite place down there.

    Dominical is fun too, although the smallest in winter.

    A good few questions to ask: When do you plan to go? What else do you want out of your trip other than a place to get in the water daily?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    15
    We are planning to go in June. I know that's not prime season but it's when we can get away. We are low key, we don't care about night life, going out till 2am etc... I would really like beachfront accommodations, so that narrows the search as a lot of these little hotels seem to be more up in the jungle. Good food would be great but aren't that picky really. Warm water, decent place to learn to surf and a comfortable room as close to the beach as possible. Thanks for all the advise, I am still trying to decide between mal pais, santa Teresa and possibly playa grande. Tamarindo is out we don't like crowds. Will look more into nosara.

  20. #20
    megajennyposts Guest

    Awesome post

    Going on a vacation it's always been a pleasure for me.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    621
    Whatever you do stay the fuck away from pavones. All of you.

  22. #22
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    Oct 2013
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    621
    Actually if you are from alaska you get a free pass.... enjoy the 2nd longest left in the world.... plenty of waves for ya.

  23. #23
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    Jun 2007
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    Cruzing
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    Quote Originally Posted by akdoc13 View Post
    We are planning to go in June. I know that's not prime season but it's when we can get away. We are low key, we don't care about night life, going out till 2am etc... I would really like beachfront accommodations, so that narrows the search as a lot of these little hotels seem to be more up in the jungle. Good food would be great but aren't that picky really. Warm water, decent place to learn to surf and a comfortable room as close to the beach as possible. Thanks for all the advise, I am still trying to decide between mal pais, santa Teresa and possibly playa grande. Tamarindo is out we don't like crowds. Will look more into nosara.
    If I recall correctly Playa Grande only breaks at high tide.

    Teresa had lodging right on the sand. Make Pias, a hundred yards off. Not a bad walk. Surf tended to be good all day, but offshores in the morning and evening and slight on shore mid day. We'd drink and nap for a few hours mid day.

    Surf is a bit more wild, thumpy than Playa Grande. Especially ST which could get hollow. If you find you are improving there were some decent point break slabs in the Pacific side. And end of the road past Montezuma on the Bay side the cove had a real nice reef break.

    I have no idea how Pavo mrs is as a learning wave. It is a long point, and from footage it seems pretty mellow and easy to surf. kingdouche could offer up his opinions, but you can really trust him as he is kind of an asshole and no one here actually knows if he ever left his mom's basement in Bishop.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    MN
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    Only good surfing in CR is around high tide. Two hours before and an hour after. Low tide is pretty much unsurfable any where I've ever been. It it is surfable, it is shallow and super sketchy. Look at a tide chart and plan your trip around it so you are not stuck having to surf at 5:30 am.

    Playa Negra area. Sandy's just south of Negra is a good beginner break. Avellana's is a long beautiful beach with 6-8 breaks. All sand. It's a few miles north of Playa Negra. Can stay in Playa Negra. Hotel Playa Negra is nice. We stay there every year now. . JW Marriot is 5 miles north. Nicest place I have ever stayed at in my life. Spendy, but I swear five people were assigned to me the entire time I was there. Never has service like that. Mountain biking, zip lining, fishing, small town rodeos all close.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Cruzing
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    I spent a week in Mal Pias and surfed all tide. Not an issue at all. In fact, I thought it was a bit better (punchier at least) at low tide. Totally different than up north.

    I've never spent time in Nosara but a good buddy goes down almost every year with his family. He had the same experience regarding tides as I did.

    Also, Hermosa and the beach south of there both seemed fine at low tide. The reef near Montezuma is certainly a low tide break.

    So it kind of depends on where you are.

    I thought the high tide thing near Tamarindo was due to off shore shoals that blocked swell at lower tides. As opposed to sketch reefs. But I was only there passing through for a day, so not sure about that.

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