Why Jaco, Costa Rica is a Surfer’s Paradise
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Why Jaco, Costa Rica is a Surfer’s Paradise

Date Published:
Jul 20, 2022
Why Jaco, Costa Rica is a Surfer’s Paradise

Why Jaco, Costa Rica is a Surfer’s Paradise

Jaco, Costa Rica has tons to offer any vacationer and tourist, but for surfers, it’s a must-visit destination. Its versatile waves and long beaches make it one of the most renowned surfing destinations throughout Latin America. So don your rash guard, slather on your waterproof sunscreen, and head to Jaco for a surf experience to remember!

Heading into Jaco

Surfers at Jaco Beach

One reason Jaco, Costa Rica is a popular destination for traveling surfers is that it's so easily accessible from Juan Santamaria Airport. Once you deplane at SJO, you'll only have about an hour and a half drive ahead of you before arriving in Jaco.

This beach town is built up around surf culture. You'll see plenty of surf hostels that welcome wave-lovers, as well as schools offering surfing lessons. If you decide not to travel with your own surfboard, there will be plenty of vendors to rent you one at a great price.

If your stay in Jaco, Costa Rica has surfing on the itinerary, find yourself a spot on the southern headland for the most quality waves. Jaco's different beaches boast the perfect balance of varied and reliable swells for you to take advantage of.

Our Favorite Beaches to Surf in Jaco:

Playa Jaco

If you're a surf novice, we recommend heading to Playa Jaco to start your vacation. The waves here are smaller than the surrounding beaches, and you'll have access to left, right, and A-frame waves to practice on. There’s plenty of room for everyone to claim their spot on the ocean.

Stick to the southern side of Playa Jaco, which has better protection and waves that hold their shape more than the exposed northern stretch. This area is popular for surf schools and beginners.

Playa Hermosa

For more of a challenge, Playa Hermosa awaits you with some of the most reliable surf in Costa Rica. This Jaco beach is an official World Surfing Reserve and hosted the Billabong World Surf Tournament in 2009.

Playa Hermosa - which means "beautiful beach" - stretches over four miles long and is a refuge of tranquility. The tubes here are bigger, making it a favorite spot among locals and intermediate surfers who enjoy the consistency of head-high waves almost every day of the year.

Just be wary in this area - crocodiles and stingrays use this beach as a breeding ground!

Roca Loca and El Gato

These two surf spots in Jaco, Costa Rica offer unforgettable swell experiences, but they are only recommended for advanced surfers.

Roca Loca must be accessed by scaling down a cliff by Punta Guapinol. Powered by the rock reefs at the southern end of the bay of Jaco, the waves are steep with fast right runs. They break over a large rock, so use caution when taking advantage of these powerful swells.

Not far from Roca Loca, El Gato offers fast, 8- to 10-foot left waves on a rocky stretch of beach. It is mostly frequented by local surfers and can only be ridden with swells from the South.

Plan Your Full-Day Surf Tour

Surf in Jaco area

Catch the best waves along the bay of Jaco and Los Suenos with the direction of one of Adventure Tours’ local surf guides! The full-day surf tour is for advanced surfers only and will make sure you get some excellent tube time on the top breaks in Jaco, Costa Rica.

If you are just a beginner, book a spot with a Costa Rican ex-pro surfer at Jaco Surf Lessons. You’ll learn all about water safety, wave position, surfing etiquette, and each step of mastering the surf.