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Costa Rica Tourism Institute welcome video:

A lot of times, travellers share their advice while meeting on the beach or at a restaurant. Below are some examples of questions travelers commonly ask before making plans to come to Costa Rica.

Click on each article written for the surf column of the Tico Times, Costa Rica's Weekly English newspaper, and the Beachside Resident, to learn more about planning your trip:

What to know Before booking a boat trip to Witchs Rock / Ollies Point

The Latest Scoop on Boardbag Fees

Costa Rica Surfing Overview - Written for the Tico Times Travel Guide - 2002

Surfing the Net to Find Answers for the Next C.R. Trip

Surfing - A Summary of Where and When to Go

"Paradise Afloat" - Six Days off the C.R. Coast

Dry Season on the Nicoya Peninsula

New Surf Web Links

Sunny Garcia Judges Nosara Surf Contest

Environmental Angle on Surf Trips

Surf Trip Advice for First Timers

Surf News and Environmental Update (9/06)

Trippin on Small Surf (6/07)

Travel Articles written for the Beachside Resident
~ Presenting contest, environmental, and community news
along with advice for surf travelers ~

March 2010

Get your basic travel questions about Costa Rica answered by the I.C.T.
(Costa Rica Tourism Institute)

If you are looking to retire in Costa Rica and want the 'real deal', check
www.therealcostarica.com

This table shows when the coasts are best to surf throughout the year on a 1 to 10 scale. (10 is the best) The chart does not factor in crowds or "El Niño", just general wind conditions, swell direction, and wave size.
 
Northwest Pacific
Central Pacific
South Pacific
Caribbean

January

8
5
5
9
February
9
6
5
10
March
9
6
7
9
April
8
7
8
6
May
8
6
7
4
June
7
7
7
2
July
7
7
8
2
August
7
8
8
2
September
7
8
8
4
October
7
9
9
5
November
6
6
5
7
December
7
5
5
8

SAMPLE QUESTIONS ASKED

Related to Travel

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If you are thinking of heading over to the Caribean, Puerto Viejo Satellite has a list of great restaurants in the area. Check out the list here..

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If you ever need to see a list of flights to and from San Jose airport plus their arrival or departure gates, just check their web link here.

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The new highway with tolls is open from Escazu to Orotina. To find your way to and from San Jose, check out this map. Click for written directions from the airport to the highway.

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Costa Rica may seem at times an idyllic paradise, so it's easy to leave common sense at the door of your cabina. Top ten safety tips for traveling in Costa Rica:

• Never leave anything of value in a parked car, even if it’s locked.
• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or important documents. Carry a copy of your passport, not the original.
• Stay alert. Thieves usually work in pairs and distract their victims.
• Steer clear of overly friendly streetwalkers; they often are pickpockets or muggers.
• Never leave luggage, cameras or other possessions unattended in public places, restaurants, taxis or buses.
• Avoid placing luggage on overhead racks on buses – a favorite target for thieves. Keep all valuables with you at your seat; if you must place items on the racks, keep an eye on them.
• Bring a small flashlight. If you have car trouble or another car bumps yours, avoid pulling over until you reach a well-lit, public area.
* Don't go surfing or swimming alone and watch for rip currents.
* Clean out your ears if you surf or swim near rivermouths.
* Don't speed. "It's better to lose a moment in your life then your life in a moment."

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From CRMercado.com - add the number 8 before all numbers starting with 3, 8 or 9 (cell phone lines) and that you add the number 2 before all landlines, such as 6 and 7.

Examples:
222-1234 > 2222-1234
643-1234 > 2643-1234
886-1234 > 8886-1234
377-1234 > 8377-1234

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How do you get to San Juan del Sur, Nicarauga, from the Pan American in Costa Rica?

Answer - You can get to San Juan del Sur on the bus easily. Cross the border and take the next bus north. Get off at La Virgin. Wait for the next bus to San Juan del Sur (max wait 45 min.) Hospedaje's here go for 50 cords a night $4. Eat at the mercado for 15 cords. Exchange is 12.56 to one

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Where can I find good maps of Costa Rica?

Maptak.com has detailed zoom in/out maps. For maps that show hotels and restaurants, check out CRMaps.com. Tico Travel has the best surfbreak descriptions map.

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What are your recommendations regarding travelling with surfboards?

Answer - 1) Use removable Fins and put 3-4 boards in a bag, perhaps sharing with your friend. Often the airlines charge per bag as opposed to per board necessarily. Keep the total weight of the board bag under 50 lbs as anything over this is conspicuous and subject to extra fees. 2) Don't check in too early. Often, as it gets closer to the flight and more hectic at the check-in counter, the airline agent is more likely to either forget to charge you the excess baggage fees or decide not to charge you because she or he doesn't have time to do the extra paperwork involved. Obviously don't do this at the risk of not making your flight. 3) Always be super friendly. Initiate friendly conversation with the check-in agent and be cool. If the agent mentions the surfboard charge, first ask politely if there is any way she or he can waive it. If you are a frequent flyer and loyal customer of their airline mention this. If they will not waive the fee, do not argue with the agent or disrespect them - just show some class and pay. Otherwise you leave a bad impression for the surfers that come after you and make it harder for them.

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Related to - "When to go"

Sorry to bother you but wanted to head to Costa Rica in July/August for surfing when things are less crowded and less expensive. Are they good waves then and how is the weather? I know it is the rainy season and really want to go but can't afford it any other time. Any information would be much appreciated. ..Anna

Actually that time of year has great waves from swells starting under Australia. The rain does not really come down until Sept. and October, and it is still great surf weather. (offshore in the mornings) A lot of surfers from Florida and California head down at this time because it is smaller for them at that time of year and it is before school starts.

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Related to Surfbreaks

I was wondering if there is a wave that breaks out in front of Playas del Coco or is it flat all the time. I've heard two conflicting stories and was wondering if you could clear things up for me. ..george

I think you are refering to the Coco up in the Nicoya, close to Liberia. I have been there 3 times. All three were to take a boat trip to Witches Rock. The biggest wave I have seen there was one that maybe broke about thigh high, and it was shore break. Boats park there in the bay that do offshore fishing tours. It would take a huge West swell for it to break any bigger. Also check witchesrocksurfcamp.com for another opinion since they run their tours out of a hotel right there on the beach.

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Got a question about Nosara. I have surfed there a couple times in august -once it was really big and just not lined up very good not to mention a hell of a paddle out. The other time it was more controlled but just not that great of a wave. i was told this is a great longboard wave for a beachbreak but I have my doubts. I did check the beach just to the north of Guiones called Pelada and it looks to have a big left point that could work. What can you tell me about this area of surf. I love the vibe in Nosara so I want o go back but I want to catch great waves also. .. Tim

Answer- I have surfed this spot 2 or 3 times, and the best spot is right in front of the big palm tree that sticks out on the beach. The place I stayed at was Villa Taype, which is about 200 m. inland from that tree. The spot seems to work best when its head high to 1-2 overhead at midtide coming in. I have seen a couple of point breaks north, but it would be hard to imagine them breaking except when it's huge, which means that it might get a little hairy. If you want the best, go to Playa Negra. Of course it is crowded after 7 a.m., but it is a perfect right that barrels and breaks from low tide to an hour before high tide. Get there at 5:20 when it's light out, and it can be perfect. Another spot is Tamarindo, all the way at the rivermouth, that has a great right, a long ride. You just have to catch these spots early. And Marbella (a few km. south of Negra) is an empty left that breaks pretty far out. I live down south in Dominical, a very consistent beachbreak with a rivermouth spreading out the sand. The cool thing about C.R. is the variety of breaks, you should check them all out.

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I am coming to Costa Rica for the first time ever Dec 3 for two weeks and wish to travel as well as stay put for at least ha;lf the trip in a good spot for surfing. I am an intermediate level surfer and ride a 7' '8". I have only 30 + days in Santa Cruz CA under my belt but I have been learning fast. I am intimidated though! Can you recommend areas of medium swell (I do not need or want double overhead monster waves or expert only stuff) and I wish to avoid being an "outsider" in a spot that only "locals" have the control over if you get my drift. Please help!

Answer - A good spot to stay put at would be around Tamarindo. There are a couple of spots right out back that are good, but not that big. Then you can cross the estuary and find other more secluded spots. And when you are ready, you can drive 25 minutes north or south to find other breaks that you might like.

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I plan on going to costa rica in July. I am not interested in riding big heavy waves so I wan wondering if you could tell me where would be a good place to surf smaller mellower waves. I have been to Jaco but I would like some place different. Any advice is greatly appreciated. ..Neil

Tamarindo generally has smaller surf, since it's in a bay. Also south of Dominical, there is a bay where the waves are smaller. Also you can try the Caribbean side, like Cahuita and Playa Cocles. It mostly depends on the swell.

Related to Surfboards & Shops

Hello, my name is Ben. I live in Wilmington, North Carolina, and will be traveling to Costa Rica this Christmas for a week of surfing, and also will be living for the month of May in Panama, at a surf camp. I was wondering if you had any information about what the best type of board to purchase would be for the larger waves in Costa Rica and Panama. I already own a small fish and a 6'1" thruster for the small waves here, and plan to bring them along, but in case it actualy gets close to double overhead or bigger, what is the best size and board type to use, Generally? Squashtail? Pintail? Thickness?

Answer - As for a board, something in the 6.6 to 6.8 range seems to work fine in most conditions. I had a 7.4 mini gun, but only used it 3 times in a year. I would say a square tail or pin tail would be good and a thickness somewhere around 2.5 inches.

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I will be coming to CR at the end of september to stay through xmas and I was wondering if it would be possible for me to pick up a board down there rather than risk shipping mine. Are there any shops that sell new or used boards rather than just rent them. Thanks for your time.

Answer - Yes, you can find boards. The best ones are at Walking on Water Surf shop in Jaco and Mariesas and Hightide Surf shop in Tamarindo. Southwave Surfshop and Green Iguana rent boards in Dominical. Most all beach towns have at least one surf shop. In Jaco, Carton can shape you a custom board for you to be waiting when you get to town. Email him here. Good idea to get one here - those airlines are robbing people who want to travel with their boards, charging up to $100 a board!

 

 

 

 

 

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