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Inside Scoop

Pavones is a surfing mecca. Locals come down on the weekends or whenever the swell gets massive. Tourists come from all over the world to surf the long left point. Besides surfing, the quiet town offers a lot of nature excursions and is simply a great place to unwind, away from the hustle of the larger beach towns.

Directions to Pavones: Drive south towards Golfito making a right at Palmar Norte and going over the bridge. Then at Kilometer 13, before you get to Golfito, make a left and head towards Zancudo. You go through some farms and then hit a river that you cross in a 4-car ferry. (get there before dark or you'll miss it and have to go to the border to get around the river) After that pretty much follow the signs. You go up and down some pretty big hills and make one more left that puts you going toward Pavones and not Zancudo. If you think you're lost, just ask directions.

If you want to be memorized by the surf in Pavones, check out this video by Dave Sanchez of Stone Fish Productions

Town Map

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Getting There

From the San Jose airport to Pavones is about an 7 hour trip. Thanks to Cabinas La Ponderosa, they have shared with us directions:

1. Leave San Jose on the new highway heading to Jaco. Before entering Jaco, take the coastal road south.
2. Travel south passing turns for Playa Hermosa, Quepos & Dominical. In Palmar you will meet with the Pan-Am Highway go right. Fill up on gas/ diesel here. This is the last gas real gas station, unless you are going into Golfito. You can get fuel in Pavones but only from a drum at the hardware store.
3. Then, in Rio Claro go right again. There will be a sign for Pavones around 4 to 5 miles on the right side of the road but be aware and pay attention. You will need to take a hard switch back left turn at this sign. The Rodeo Bar is on this corner. If you get to Golfito you have gone too far and missed the turn – go back and watch for the Rodeo Bar.
4. The rest of the way will be marked with new signs and will take around 1.5 hrs. Note: There is no longer a river ferry – it has been replaced with a long narrow bridge.
5. Make a right in Pueblo Nuevo (we have a small sign on the corner).
6. Make another right in Conte, there is a supermarket and bar here. You will be on the road to Pavones (45 min. from this point).
7. Stay left at the two forks in the road after Conte. The other roads go to Zancudo.

The bus to Pavones on the ferry

Another option is to fly in Golfito and take a taxi for about $80 each way. Nature Air and Sansa both fly this route. (Remember these airlines usually don't take boards over 7 feet)

Reservation Request

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The Ara Project - Macaw Conservation in Costa Rica

The Ara Project is a Costa Rican licensed zoological park and non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the two native macaw species of Costa Rica: the critically endangered Great Green or Buffon's Macaw (Ara ambiguus) and the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao). The Ara Project incorporates breeding techniques and aviary management in order to carry out controlled release programs in conjunction with Costa Rican wildlife laws imposed by MINAET (Ministry of the Environment, Energy & Telecommunications).. Visit for more information.

Leon Glatzer making it look easy in Pavones - Kerrupt Air - on YouTube

Pavones on a flat day with no waves

Surf Spots

Surf Break


Pavones One of the longest lefts in the world. With a double overhead southwest swell it can break for 600-700 meters, two minute rides. When there is no swell, it can go flat, with surf maybe waist high with a rising tide. Best tide is around high tide so the wave breaks in deeper water and one can make more sections. At low tide there are lots of slippery barnacled cobblestones to walk over to get to the wave. Can get very crowded with over 100 surfers on it when it is good. And many of them are locals so give respect and wait for the right peak to take off on. The drift also helps to spread out the lineup.
Punto Banco Punta Banco is about 4 km. south of Pavones. It is a point that breaks about 200 meters from shore and even though you walk out over sand, there are lots of ledges and boils in the lineup. It doesn't get crowded because the waves jack up and then mush out, making it difficult to paddle into. It's a good place to check if Pavones is too small or too crowded. To find it, look for the tiny airstrip in front of the Tiskita Lodge. Don't leave stuff in your vehicle!
Punta Burica This is the southern tip of Costa Rica, and the waves are as wild as the landscape. Best access is by boat, although during the dry season it can be accessed by 4wd. The beaches and rock ledges pick up swell from the South and Southwest and certain peaks light up depending on the tide and wave size.
Also visit the surf breaks on the Osa Peninula by boat!

Surf Camps



Venus Surf Adventures

Description: Surf camps based in Pavones and Hawaii. Packages include flights and taxis to Pavones, daily surf lessons, surfboard, yoga sessions, lodging, all meals, a boat trip to Matapalo, one massage, and a CD with photos from your trip.



Description: La Ponderosa offers a range of different accommodations for different needs and budgets, all have TV and air conditioning. After surfing one of the longest point breaks in the world you can enjoy pure relaxation with a massage or lounging by the pool. The private hotel restaurant is open all day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a full menu designed for surfer appetites. Meals can be purchased individually or as a package. La Ponderosa is owned by, operated by and designed for surfers. The owner has been surfing in Pavones since 1989. He is happy to help with information on tides, wave conditions and best times to surf. Beachfront location of hotel lets you check the surf while drinking your coffee. The big game room is just the right place to escape the sun and not be confined to your room.

La Ponderosa is also a great place to see wildlife. Macaws, parrots, toucans, iguanas, monkeys and more can be seen right outside your room. Explore twelve acres of nature trails. The resort has well-established trails through our gardens, orchards and forest. You will find staircases and bridges leading to their waterfall and lookout tiki hut. Email us now to confirm a reservation. These comfortable accommodations work perfectly for couples, groups or families.

Playa Zancudo

$7 pp+

Recommend your favorite spot.
Description: Great layout for a big group or a couples get away. Fantastic mattresses, ac, fans everywhere, pavones only ice machine, skate ramp, hot tub you can ice down for a hot day, fantastic kitchen, and plenty of room to lounge. Visited daily by wildlife and only steps to a fantastic beach. A 5 minute drive will land you at world famous pavones point or go a little further to one of the easier breaks that will finally give you the waves you have dreamt about! This place is truly a wave machine. 5 minutes in the other direction will take you to punta banco where time truly has forgotten. Mccaws, amazing beaches, tide pools, beach break, monkeys and more. They have lived in costa rica 13 years and this is the place we go to vacation! Some of the best restaurants in all of costa rica! In fact, la pina restaurant is steps from the house and the beautiful italian chef rosella makes some of the best food in all of our world travels :) enjoy a day filled with fishing, surfing , paddle boarding, nature hikes, waterfalls, horseback riding and more and come back to a home that can offer the best of high end amenities.

Description: Beach front cabinas with shared kitchen and bathroom, wifi and library access. Spacious parking and a beautiful garden. $ 15 per person, or room + surfboards $ 20 pp, kayaks or bikes for rent too. La Puerta de la Selva - rooms on the mountains of Pavones are available too, only a 15 minute walk to beach and 5 minutes to Pavones Yoga Center. A variety of tours are available, as well as fishing and surf lessons. Off season prices (Sept 1st thru Dec 14th) $10 per person with board, kayak or bike included.

* Has house rentals, too.

Rio Claro - great for fishing

Surf Shops

Sea Kings Surf Shop, right across the soccer field and La Esquina Bar
Has new and used boards, all surfing accessories, and ding repair

Recommended Tours

Price Range
Description: Surfboard rentals: $15 per day. Bike rentals: $10 per day. Kayak rentals: $15 per day.
High speed internet with: Printers, copies, skype International calls & wifi, plus Book exchange.
Fishing trips: $ 250. Marine ecotour: $200. Surfing Matapalo boat trip: $250. Water Taxi to Puerto Jimenez or Golfito: $250. Water taxi to Zancudo: $200. Fishing trips are 6 hours and include a drink and snack. English & Spanish spoken by boat captain. Open Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Surf Video to Get You Stoked!!
created by LivetheLifeTV

Latest Reports




- 9/23

Waves - 3 to 4 feet

Southwest med-period swell steady and South windswell slowly fading .

Weather: Low:74 High:76

Mist in the morning with light winds from the N. Torrential rain shower in the afternoon with light winds from the SW.

- 9/24

Waves - 3 to 4 feet

Small Southwest long-period swell picking up andSouth windswell fading .

Weather: Low:74 High:76

Mist in the morning with light winds from the N. Torrential rain shower in the afternoon with light winds from the WSW.

Sports Illustrated Article on Cabinas La Ponderosa ~ Pavones




CR Surf Travel Co. is an independent agent of Dugan's Travels, which is certified by CLIA, IATAN, and California Registered Seller 2054922-40 / Washington Registered Seller 602327942 / Fla. Seller of Travel Ref No. ST35992. Please refer to our travel policy page for all information on our travel services.

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