Surfing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica ~ Lots of people enjoy it and I highly recommend it, but not for us, we just watched and lived vicariously... My husband and I are not surfers, however, you need to hear about this amazing surf spot in this quaint little kick back town.
Rolling surf, warm temps, beautiful beaches, salty air, ice cold beer, surf shops galore and great Costa Rican food... a perfect recreational recipe. We left our posh resort in the Guanacaste Province on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica to explore what real Costa Rica was like. After some investigation, we learned that Playa Tamarindo is on the top of the list for great surfing in Costa Rica.
We thoroughly enjoyed staying at the Andaz Papagayo Resort and became friends with the locals that worked there. After our many lively conversations, we asked them where we should go to see their favorite local places. We rented a car and drove about an hour's drive through dusty small towns, and past fruit stands selling incredibly sweet pineapples and mangoes. We encountered lots of potholes, picturesque farms and even a few lazy cattle walking across the road. It was super fun for us because we live in the city and never experience anything like this!
Playa Tamarindo is still unspoiled, certainly not too over commercialized and a great spot to enjoy for the day, the weekend and even the week if you attend their many surf schools. There really is only one long street that runs alongside the vast beaches, so everything you need is right there with just a short walk. Lots of shops full of Costa Rican collectables intermingled with fashionable surf wear and beachy accessories are there for you as well.
We found several casual cantinas where you could sit back, watch the waves, drink an icy cold Imperial and devour some "Big Ass Nachos". Eat at Joes offered all of these niceties and even had the WiFi password posted on a handmade sign on the wall. All of the tourists in the restaurant were busily using cell phones because everyone needs the internet while in the middle of Central American "nowhere", right? Although, it sure was a cute way to welcome you and offer this amenity to the Internet starved.
Additionally, Joe's is the home of the very popular Witch's Rock Surf Camp.The local surf is great for beginners as well as advanced surfers. The warm 80 degree water makes it much more comfortable to learn and to fall off!
In the sweltering heat and humidity, we happily perspired, drank our beer, gobbled up the nachos, listened to awesome 70's rock and roll and had a great time experiencing this small surf town. When we saw the "Big Ass Nacho" signs, we knew we had found a place with our kind of humor.
Our day trip to Tamarindo was such a departure from our typical luxury travel, but most certainly enhanced our view of the real Costa Rica. We were able to enjoy a gorgeous, air conditioned, first class resort, yet still have a great deal of fun hanging out in the casual environment of Tamarindo. Tamarindo is such an authentic, friendly, restful place on the coast of the Pacific Ocean where many surfers come to surf and soak in the scenery. It is not to be missed when you travel to the tropical paradise of Costa Rica.
Here are a few of the Tamarindo surf schools. After speaking with several surf school students and seeing their salty smiles, they confirmed it was a great place to surf!
Iguana Surf School
Witch's Rock Surf Camp
Tamarindo Surf Camp
Kelly's Surf Shop
Banana Surf School