Real Surf Trips
Costa Rica: Guanacaste
First-class Western style accommodation offered in Playa Negra with private pool which offers surf guiding to world-class quality breaks.
LowPressure's Stormrider Surf Guide says
With nearly a 180° swell window, the northern province of Guanacaste is very consistent with long-distance Pacific swells arriving from the S/SE around to the NW. The area around Tamarindo is best during the dry season (Dec-Apr) when clean, offshore conditions, sunshine and easy access make it a veritable tropical paradise. This is the nicest time to travel but you certainly won’t be alone as Tamarindo has grown into a popular destination for all kinds of tourists from surfers to nature lovers looking to explore the national parks and spot some exotic wildlife. May-Oct is the testing wet season, but this is a surf-rich time when perfect SW groundswell, provides bigger waves, albeit with a bit of afternoon onshore breeze.
Volcanic black sand, squeaky white sand and craggy reef can all be found in Guanacaste, including the well-documented wonder-walls like Potrero Grande, Roca Bruja and the peaks of Tamarindo, while off the map along the southern coast of the province lies plenty of less frequented beachbreak at Buena Vista, Samara, Carrillo and most notably Camaronal, where any sniff of S swell will hit the river-fed banks. Carrillo has some sizeable, offshore reefs and local surf operators provide boat trips for the journeymen, while beginners have an easy wave in the protected bay. Far more hectic are the SW-facing beaches of Bejuco, San Miguel and Coyote where empty peaks stretch for miles, but there may be some surfers hoping to score the reefs out on Coyote Point, which offer lefts in S winds and rights when its northerly.
Find more general info about when to go and statistics on the Low Pressure’s Stormrider Guide’s website.
Conditions provided by the Operator
This trip is set up mostly around 17 surf spots in a 7 kilometer stretch of beaches each with different wind, tide, swell angle, and lighting. We are based in a five-star pad overlooking the most consistent and perfect waves in the hemisphere: Playa Negra… a area that works on all tides and is still good even with onshore wind. Every other wave in the Guanacaste region is fickle and dependent on particular tide and wind conditions.
There are about 17 surf-spots close to Playa Negra, many spots are perfect — lonely waves that go unridden...
Playa Negra is an old coral volcanic reef break that is a perfect reeling right. All around Playa Negra are amazing spots, many still are not surfed. At high tide, Playa Negra is an easy wave with a dry-hair paddle out. At this tide it is common to see 20-30 surfers out — many beginners. At low tide a slamming barrel forms over a shallow reef leading to a ramp section. The paddle out (rock dance) at this tide looks frightening to beginner surfers (but is basic). At this tide and especially with a little onshore wind it is uncommon to see more than a few surfers taking advantage of these amazing waves.
Morning winds are light offshore and we are surfing beach breaks (some of the best in the world) with plenty of perfect peaks to choose from. The beach breaks only work with favorable wind conditions so we tend to focus on these spots when the wind is good (AM hours). One spot in particular faces south and is open to a lot of swell and wind making it one of the most fickle spots on the coast, but when it’s on it’s ON!. It can get crowded out but there are a lot of peaks to choose from. There are a couple other beach breaks that are rarely surfed, except by Real Surf Trips — people just don’t know about them.
Every variance in swell angle opens new possibilities in where we surf, we have reef breaks for every swell angle and condition, from a wave very similar to Playa Negra (never seen more than 6 surfers out there) to outer reefs reminiscent of the Eastside of Oahu, to a perfect right left reef setup that comes to life when the swell is too far south for Negra (5 minutes away).
It seems every nook and cranny of this coast has a perfect wave and we have all the swell/wind/tide angle formulas worked out — of our 17 spots, only 4 get crowded!
Witches Rock, Ollies Point, Labyrinth and a couple other mysto spots are a couple hours up the coast located in Santa Rosa National Park. We have the best captain and his two boats available when we make the call. There are now limited park passes available and our captain has most of them pre-purchased.
Los Pargos is the town where Playa Negra is located. Playa Negra offers several restaurants: famous Peruvian food at Cafe Playa Negra, French cuisine at Villa Deevena, Tex Mex at Jalepenos and Pizza at La Vida Buena. It has developed to be a small village catering to the active lifestyle featuring: a yoga center, adventure tours, several small shops, surf shops, surf rentals and various cabinas and hotels. The atmosphere in the streets feels peaceful and laid back, and maybe it’s the great surf of Playa Negra which puts this happy grin on the faces of most people you meet here.
With some of the most consistent waves and surf breaks in the region Playa Negra is an incredible surf spot in the northwestern region of Guanacaste. This dark sand beach holds a reef break making it ideal for the beginner surfer as well as the expert surfer. The pristine beaches of Playa Negra are dark-colored and rocky in many parts. For sun-bathing and swimming there is a stretch of sandy, protected beach some 100m south of the famous break.
Playa Negra is unique in that it breaks on all tides, picks up most all swell directions and holds almost any swell. It is the area’s swell magnet, therefore super consistent. Conversely, Playa Negra is the first to pick up swells and hold them the longest, a surfer’s dream.
Playa Negra may be a little harder to get to; and in some cases even find — by driving through local dirt roads without directional signs but worth the adventure, but dont worry, you are with us. Plus, we are strategically poised to go explore some of the lesser-known spots that will go nameless. Let’s just say they are close by and no one wants to show you where they are. We will take you there.