The Best Surfing and Swimming Spots in Jaco Costa Rica
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The Best Surfing and Swimming Spots in Jaco Costa Rica

Date Published:
May 01, 2023
The Best Surfing and Swimming Spots in Jaco Costa Rica

Jaco, a lively beach town located on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is renowned for its beaches and surf culture. What most people don't know is that Jaco is adjacent to many beautiful swimming and surfing spots. Warm, sandy beaches, world-class surfing breaks, and gentle waves for swimming are all within reach. The Jaco area offers beach destinations that are perfect for a day of fun in the sun. In this article, we'll be exploring some of the best local swimming and surfing spots and offer inside tips about where to swim, catch a great wave, or just enjoy your day on the beach.

Surfing and Swimming in Jaco Beach

Playa Jaco is a dream destination for both surfers and swimmers. With an annual water temperature of around 83°F, the waters are perfectly warm year round. Playa Jaco is renowned for its consistent waves that cater to both beginners and seasoned surfers. With a long span of coastline, surfers will have plenty of space to catch the perfect wave. Both the northern and southern ends of the beach offer good waves for surfing. Bigger, longer, and more consistent waves can be found on the northern end of Playa Jaco, which provides great conditions for experienced surfers. The southern end of Playa Jaco offers smaller waves and fewer people, making it a perfect spot for beginners learning to surf or intermediate surfers looking to try out new techniques.

The central portion of Playa Jaco is a great choice for swimmers. The waves are smaller and less consistent than the northern and southern ends of the beach, making it the perfect spot for families or individuals looking for a refreshing dip. Less powerful waves break closer to the shore in the middle section of Jaco Beach providing a relaxing backdrop as you enjoy your sun-soaked beach day. You’ll want to wear plenty of waterproof, high-SPF sunscreen and bring your own beach towels from home so you can spread out on the sand after your swim.

Swimming in Herradura Beach


About 15 minutes north of Jaco, Herradura Beach runs along the coast in and around the Los Suenos Resort. Known for its warm waters, gentle waves, and soft sands, Herradura is an excellent beach for swimming. The average water temperature is around 80°F. Less crowded than Playa Jaco, Herradura Beach is great for relaxing without being disturbed. It’s the perfect beach for those looking for a peaceful, refreshing day of swimming and sunning.

Surfing at Playa Hermosa

With year round water temperatures ranging from 78°F-86°F Playa Hermosa is a famous surfing destination about 15 minutes to the south of Jaco Beach. It is well known for its consistent waves that are suitable for experienced surfers, especially those who enjoy challenging waves. There are two main surfing spots in Playa Hermosa. The northern end of the beach, known as The Almendro, is well-known for its large swells. The southern end, known as The Tree, offers less intimidating waves.

Playa Hermosa is open to swells coming from all directions, which gives it great year round surfing conditions. The best season for surfing is typically from mid-April to November, which coincides with the rainy season in Costa Rica. During this time of year, the swells are more consistent and the waves are bigger in size.

In general, the waves at Playa Hermosa can get quite large, usually ranging from 6 to 10 feet high. Because of the powerful waves and strong currents, it is advisable to surf at Playa Hermosa only if you are an experienced surfer. If you’re a seasoned surfer or a pro, keep in mind that Playa Hermosa can get crowded. Check your tide charts and try to get to the beach early to claim your spot.

The strong currents and undertows that make Playa Hermosa ideal for surfing make it less so for swimming. While this beautiful beach is perfect for lounging and splashing in the water, swimmers should use caution. Many nearby beaches like Playa Jaco and Herradura Beach provide better swimming conditions, so if your goal is a relaxing swim in the ocean, it might be better to consider your options. That said, Hermosa is a scenic, gorgeous beach with an incredible sunset view. It’s certainly worth a visit.

With short drive times and easy access to several local beaches in and around Jaco, you won’t need to search hard to find an ideal spot. Whether you are looking to swim or surf, you will be able to walk or catch a quick cab ride to some of the prettiest beaches in Costa Rica. So put on your swimsuit, grab your towel, and let’s head to the beach!