Surf Vacation? Surf Breaks, Pro Tips & Vacation Rentals in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

surfing in Tamarindo Costa Rica

There are many reasons to come to Tamarindo: a surf vacation Costa Rica and our vacation rentals in Guanacaste, Costa Rica are two of them! And they are great reasons.

If you’re here, you’re likely already drawn to Tamarindo’s epic surf, from beginner to advanced, some of which are world-renowned for their huge waves, big barrels, hard rights and lefts, and other serious challenges tailored to beginner, intermediate, and experienced surfers.

The big question for both beginner and skilled surfers is not so much where to go, but rather how to fit all the best spots into your stay. In and around Tamarindo, there are dozens of beaches, breaks, and frothy nooks and crannies that will thrill and challenge your skills (and help you build new ones). So, here’s an introduction to a few of our favorites:

Just North of the Tamarindo Diria


surf lessons Tamarindo Costa Rica

vacation rentals in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Prime among Tamarindo beginner surfing hotspots, this downtown swell is great for learning how to surf. (Be sure to check out our surf lessons!)

It’s easy to find: Stand with your back to the Diria, then look right: conditions here are great, with waves that are consistently small, and as long as you stay clear of the rocky breaks of Pico Grande and Pico Pequeno, the soft sands cushion any newbie falls. You’ll often find vendors peddling surfboards and lessons around here. Surf’s up! And we have a few vacation rentals in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, right here.

In Front of Capitán Suizo


Though surf is never 100% predictable anywhere in the world, the waves in front of Capitán Suizo are, more often than not, ideal for beginners: mild, frothy water with minimal pull – perfect for learning how to catch a wave, practice your pop-up, and ride one in.

Pro tip: If no one’s in the water, the waves are too small, even for brand-new surfers. Come back in an hour or so!

Playa Avellanas

Beginner to Intermediate

Playa Avellanas has a bit of a split personality: On calm days, when the waves are small, it’s a perfect choice for beginners. But on a big day – watch out! It’s advanced surfers only. But on those calm days, when Avellanas promises just the right-sized waves to learn on; on these days, grab your board and catch the waves around Palo Seco or Lola’s Restaurant, where the surf is both consistent and mostly tranquilo.

Pro tip: Be sure to stay south of the River Mouth and Little Hawaii, both big Avellanas surf hotspots and reserved for experts only.


Beginner to Intermediate

Casitas, named for the original rental houses that dot the beach, is located just across the river mouth at the beginning of Playa Grande. (Note: Definitely pay the ¢500/$1 for the lancha boat ride across the river, as there are crocs!)

As Tamarindo beginner surfing spots go, this one can be hit or miss. On a “good” day, there’s a decently sized break better suited for intermediates, but on calmer days, the surf is small enough for even beginners. Ask around before you get in the water!

El Estero

Beginner to Intermediate

beginner surf Tamarindo Costa Rica

The exposed river mouth at the north end of Tamarindo Beach offers some great and forgiving waves for beginner surfers. The winds here are good and can produce consistent swells that often lean towards intermediate level, but if you stick to the breaks that crash onto the soft and sandy sea bottom, you’ll get serious practice on your pop-ups and longer rides.

Pico Grande & Pico Pequeño

Intermediate to Advanced

Pico Grande and Pico Pequeño are two of Tamarindo’s most prominent breaks. To find them, head to Playa Tamarindo, stand with your back to the Diria, and look right. You’ll see rocky outcroppings: Pico Grande is on the left (south) and Pico Pequeño is on the right (north).

These are mostly advanced breaks, with Pico Grande offering big waves on good days, and Pico Pequeño providing shoulder-high waves. You can ride from Pico Grande into Pico Pequeño via the frothing whitewater between the two breaks. Be very careful, as these spots are for advanced surfers only during high tide and a definite no-go at low tide.

Isla Capitán (Captain Island)

Intermediate to Advanced

Isla Capitán, located right in front of Tamarindo Beach, is a bit of a hidden gem. This tiny island offers an exposed reef break that few frequent. The remote location and the rocky reef bottom make it suitable only for seasoned surfers.

Pro tip: You can either paddle out (40 minutes) or take a boat to get there. The effort is worth it, but be cautious of the rocks and only ride at low tide. 

Playa Grande

Intermediate to Advanced

We may have highlighted Playa Grande as one of our top Tamarindo surf spots for beginners, but it’s also a top pick for advanced surfers. This long stretch of sand features fast-breaking lefts and rights, barrels, peaks, and long rides. The surf is consistently good, making Playa Grande a mainstay for intermediate and advanced surfers alike.

Pro tip: Surf at mid- to high-tide for the best experience. 

Playa Marbella

Intermediate to Advanced

Marbella surf break Tamarindo

Located between Junquillal and Ostional beaches, Playa Marbella offers two primary surf spots: Playa Coco and Playa Frijolar. Both spots have consistent year-round waves and few crowds.

Playa Coco’s beach break offers huge waves and hollow barrels that break both left and right. Playa Frijolar features hollows and barrels with a sandy bottom, perfect for when you wipe out after a big wave. We love that these advanced surf spots often feel like our own private playground!

Pro tip: Surf at mid-tide for optimal conditions.

Playa Langosta

Intermediate to Advanced

Located about a kilometer south of downtown Tamarindo, rocky Playa Langosta offers fast currents, big waves, and left- and right-breaks at its southern end. On a good day, the waves provide a serious challenge, and even on a not-so-good day, Langosta’s surf offers thrills for skilled surfers who aren’t afraid of rocky bottoms.

Pro tip: Be cautious at the river mouth.

Playa Negra

Intermediate to Advanced

surfing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

A local favorite for its reef break, narrow peak, and thrilling right, Playa Negra is a must-visit for any surfer in Tamarindo. The break along the beach is tight, so try to visit during off-peak hours.

Pro tip: If you find yourself there during a busy time, remember your surf etiquette, exercise patience, and play nice.

Witch’s Rock

Intermediate to Advanced

Witch’s Rock is famous for a reason: it offers an incredible left that challenges even the best surfers. This world-renowned spot hosts many surf competitions, so you know the waves are big, the surf is consistent, and the challenge is real. On a windy day at low tide, prepare for seriously exciting barrels. Have fun and happy surfing!

Pro tip: Aim for mid- or high-tide for the best experience.

Where to Stay: Surf Vacation Rentals in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Wondering where to stay when you want to surf? We have just the place. Or three surf-perfect vacation rentals in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, to be specific!

Casa Maui

Tamarindo | 3 bedrooms | 3 baths | 6 guests

Casa Maui vacation rentals in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

A beautiful and ultra-modern home, Casa Maui is designed to exceed expectations and charm hearts. As soon as you step inside, you’re greeted by enormous sliding-glass panels that seamlessly blend the indoors with the outdoors, allowing natural light to flood the home and showcasing Guanacaste’s stunning jungle panoramas.

In addition to its gorgeous architecture, Casa Maui boasts fine amenities, including a private swimming pool, gym room, and media room. Best of all, the home is just across the street from Tamarindo Beach, famous for its surf, and Pangas Beach Club, voted one of Travel & Leisure’s 20 once-in-a-lifetime restaurants with spectacular views.

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Casa Quebracho

5 Beds | 6 Baths | Sleeps 12

Casa Quebracho Tamarindo surf rental

Welcome to Casa Quebracho, a little slice of paradise just waiting for you to make some unforgettable memories. One of the more unique vacation rentals in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, it boasts a main house and two separate “casitas,” already making for an incredible start: It’s the ideal setup for a surf vacation, family escape, or a group of friends wanting time together while still having their own chill space when needed.

There are so many reasons to love Casa Quebracho, but here are three: The property features two private casitas, perfect for families or friends seeking personal space and privacy. Casa Quebracho also boasts a prime location just minutes from Tamarindo town and its surfing beach – your tropical playground awaits! And to round it out, you’ll enjoy exceptional service (Monday to Saturday) with daily housekeeping, breakfast services in the morning, and a world-class concierge taking care of every detail, to ensure your stay is truly exceptional.

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Casa Colibri

Playa Grande | 4 bedrooms | 4 baths | 12 guests

Casa Colibri ocean view vacation rentals in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Well hello, beach lovers! When you’re yearning for the tranquil melody of waves crashing against the shore, Casa Colibri delivers. Nestled against a backdrop of glistening sands, Casa Colibri features a fabulous private pool with breathtaking sea vistas – the surf is close enough to touch! – especially mesmerizing at sunset. Imagine unwinding with your favorite drink and basking in this serenity. It’s like having your own exclusive resort experience right here.

But wait, it gets better. We’ve ensured this haven is stocked with everything you need for a worry-free getaway. From the fully equipped kitchen with ocean views to the cozy beds and hammocks that gently sway, we’ve thought of it all. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker eager to ride the waves or simply yearning for a lazy day under the swaying palm trees, Playa Grande offers it all. And the best part? It’s just steps away from your doorstep!

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Need Help Planning an Epic Surf Vacation Costa Rica?

That just happens to be our specialty!

Whether you’re venturing off the beaten path (or, shall we say, the ridden wave?) or sticking firmly to it, we can help you make the most of your time (and buck) here – even and especially if you’re traveling on a budget. At Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo, our job and calling are to make you feel at home, everywhere and anywhere you find yourself adventuring.

We offer a range of vacation rentals in Guanacaste, Costa Rica – everything from cozy two-bedroom condos to top-tier luxury Tamarindo, including ocean-view swimming pools, rooftop terraces, chef’s kitchens, and so much more. Search our inventory to find your perfect vacation home and then, get in touch for planning help from our friendly and knowledgeable concierge.