Along with Playa Jacó in the Central Pacific and Playa Pavones in Golfito, Tamarindo is without question one of Costa Rica’s 3 great surfing meccas.
For beginners, if you don’t know what you’re doing you can find yourself competing for waves with expert surfers – who often don’t have a lot of patience for newbies. More often than not, the best place for a complete beginner to learn is along a section of beach that is not particularly famous for its big waves.
Here is RPM’s list of the best mild surf spots in and around Tamarindo for beginner surfers.
1. In front of Witches Rock
The portion of beach directly in front of Witches Rock Surf Camp is ideal for learning how to surf almost year-round. And when you start to improve, the rivermouth’s intermediate to advanced waves are only a few feet away. This is quite a large area of beach, so there is plenty of room for people to spread out.
2. In front of Capitan Suizo
Just in front of the Capitan Suizo hotel there is a great surf break for beginners. Although it can be a little fickle, when it’s good it’s very good. The waves here are usually pretty mild with lots of white water, perfect for learning how to stand up on the board. If you don’t see anyone else surfing here, the waves might be too small. Try again in a few hours.
Avellanas can be great for beginners when the waves are SMALL. Don’t try to surf it on a gigantic wave day or you might get crushed. Definitely stay away from people who look like they know what they’re doing (avoid Little Hawaii and the Rivermouth). Surfing along either side of the big dead tree near Lola’s is great for beginners, because the waves are relatively small and very consistent.
4. Playa Grande
Playa Grande is another beach that can be great for beginners when the waves are on the tame side. Only surf here if you’re a strong swimmer, as surprise currents can pop up out of nowhere – and they can be quite strong. Once you feel comfortable getting up on the board, try Las Casitas near the estuary, in front of the brown wooden building. There you’ll find consistent waves.
Surf Etiquette Rule of Thumb:
Surfing in Tamarindo definitely comes with a “secret handshake” among locals, along with a delicate (and largely unspoken) system of rules and etiquette while in the lineup waiting for a set. Check out Witches Rocks’ article: The 5 Rules of Surfing Etiquette. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, they are:
Rule #1 – Don’t Drop In On Another Surfer
Rule #2 – The Surfer Closest To The Peak Has Right-Of-Way
Rule #3 – Paddling Surfer Yields To Surfer Riding Wave
Rule #4 – Don’t Ditch Your Board
Rule #5 – Don’t Be A Snake