The Ultimate Guide To Surfing Santa Teresa - Green Iguana Surf Camp

The Ultimate Guide To Surfing Santa Teresa

Introducing The Surf At Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is a gorgeous surfing spot in Costa Rica that makes tropical vacation dreams come true. The light sandy beaches here and naturally sprouting palm trees give an escapist getaway vibe for those who love carving waves. 

We adore that this place doesn’t attract many tourists so far, which makes it a real hidden gem that ensures you don’t get irritated with crowds. However, it’s not as unknown as it once was, yet it won’t get nearly as much surfing traffic as in more well-known surfing beaches, such as Huntington Beach.

This spot is remote, as the Nicoya Peninsula is 6.5 miles from Santa Teresa. The beaches are separated into several sections, allowing surfers to explore the area while on their vacation. The great thing about these broken-up beaches is that surfers with different skill sets can find the oceanic slice that suits them.

So, whether you’re a beginner or used to carving up huge barrels, there’s likely to be waves here that are ideal for you. In our opinion, Santa Teresa is one of the best places to go as a beginner surfer in Central America. This is because it’s pretty easy to paddle out on the beaches here, and there aren’t always tricky waves to navigate.

Places To surf In Santa Teresa

Playa Santa Teresa 

This is the main beach in Santa Teresa, conveniently located next to the town with the same name. The coastal highway is next to this shoreline, making it a super easy beach to access by car. Suppose you want to stay in Santa Teresa. In that case, there are so many brilliant hotels and resorts made for surfers to rest themselves.

Because it’s so convenient, this beach is famous amongst surfers so you can expect there to be a real buzz when you visit here. In addition, you’re likely to enjoy the vibes in this area both in and out of the water. This is because so many laid-back restaurants are selling delicious food near here. 

The waves often break well, which means it’s perfect for those looking to get powerful rides onshore. In addition, the Pacific currents from the West and SouthWest are pretty forceful, meaning there are breaks aplenty for you to choose from.

The waves can reach from 5 to 8 feet tall, which means that you can reasonably hope for hollow ones that you can ride through. These tubes are often seen in Playa Santa Teresa, which delight many surfers who enjoy the magic of being encased by curving water. 

However, if you’re new to the surfing world and can’t imagine how you’d begin to carve through a tube, this place has also got you covered. Depending on the weather, waves reaching just 3 feet tall can appear, which are more manageable for beginners. These break easily, allowing you to practice in the frothy-edged waves. 

If you’re brand new to surfing, you can enjoy being taught by trained professionals at surf schools. This means you’ll have someone looking out for you as you practice the basic surfing skills. And, your instructor should guide you away from dangerous situations that you previously didn’t know about.

Playa Hermosa

To the North, Playa Hermosa blends into Santa Teresa’s shoreline, which allows you to have plenty to play with. Unfortunately, the water is typically more broken up than smooth, meaning the waves aren’t as defined as closer to Santa Teresa town. 

A benefit of going to this spot is that you won’t have to wait for ages to catch a wave because there are many fewer people reaching this beach. In addition, the swells come from the westerly direction, which turns into great waves for beginner and intermediate surfers practising riding in.

There is the Playa Hermosa Point to the right side, which is a rocky place that knocks back waves. This means that it’s a spot for expert surfers to go if they want a challenge when the tide is high. To ensure you get the best waves at the point, you have to make sure you time it well. 

At the Playa Hermosa Point, you must pick your moment to get the most giant waves that come off the rocks. We strongly recommend that you exercise caution when you go to this surfing spot because the hidden rocks can cause you to become injured if you’re not careful.

Playa Carmen/ Mal Pais 

At the Nicoya’s end, Mal Pais is a tiny settlement where fishermen live and is home to some amazingly surfable waves. These breaks are so great because the spot is in a Southwesterly position, which means that the waves are consistent. 

Playa Carmen is within this region, an area only suitable for surfers that can deal with challenging waves. There is a reef and rocks, which cause the waves to rise up. This means that we don’t recommend you visit Mal Pais if you’re a beginner because it’s a gnarly spot.

The swells can be super big, with hollowed-out waves falling overhead. You can ride these barrelling waves if you can withstand catching them, which is particularly tricky to achieve. To get these waves, you’ll need to time your dip in well so that you can get into the glassy watery belly.

Mal Pais/ Punta Barigona

To get great waves in Punta Baragona, you’ll have to wait for a big storm out in the Pacific ocean. Once there’s enough power in the swells, the waves can reach 6 feet tall or more. Unfortunately, the waves aren’t worth dealing with if they’re smaller than this height because you can’t get the advantageous hollowed-out water pockets. 

When the waves get going, they form tubes that allow you to quickly surf inside them over the treacherous reefs below. Because this area requires large waves, we don’t recommend heading here if you’re a beginner. You have to be a near expert or professional to deal with these conditions.

Please beware that rocky patches can catch you off guard, so make sure you thoroughly research the area before getting in the water. Because you need strong currents to surf in this place, you must know where the rocks are and you can quickly be dragged into them.

Places To Stay In Santa Teresa

If you’re searching for a place to stay that’s surf-friendly, we’ve got you covered! When looking for accommodation, it’s essential to bear in mind the location and how easy it will be for you to get to the ocean. If walking to the sea is high on the priority list, we advise you to choose accommodation on the south-north highway next to the shore. 

Santa Teresa Surf Vista Villas 

If you want a place to stay that’s nestled in nature, we highly recommend the Santa Teresa Surf Vista Villas. This is because this accommodation is in a jungle, home to exotic monkey species! However, this spot is beloved by those who enjoy stunning tropical vistas because there are breathtaking views aplenty here.

The decor is light and airy, perfect for those seeking a chilled-out space to hang out after coming in from the ocean. Dreamy decking overlooks the azure waves and has adorable hammock seats hanging from the roof. 

As if this wasn’t awesome enough, there is also a swimming pool here for if you fancy cooling down without getting your surfboard. We love that the hotel runs an airport shuttle, so you don’t have to worry about organizing transport when you arrive or leave. 

The super-popular Santa Teresa beach is just 750 yards away from this accommodation, so it doesn’t get much more convenient for surfers than that! This is an ideal mid-range budget option, a comfortable and clean place to base yourself throughout your vacation.

There are many rooms with sea views available, so if you go as a group, you can all enjoy gazing out at the ocean in your own spaces. If you want a break from surfing, the surrounding area offers horseback riding lessons, diving opportunities, and fabulous restaurants. 

Surf & Yoga Lodge Santa Teresa

Suppose your main aim is to lead a relaxing and refreshing holiday. In that case, we advise you to consider staying at the Surf & Yoga Lodge Santa Teresa. As the name suggests, you can enjoy taking part in many yoga and fitness classes here with trained instructors.

If you want to simply unwind in your accommodation, spa packages are available, which offer diverse treatments. You can get a full body massage, your hair cut/styled, soak in the public bath, enjoy beauty services, and even get a body wax here! 

This is an ideal hotel if you want to feel like you’re living in a handy little tropical village. This is because there’s a little shop selling food in the resort, there is an airport shuttle, and you can even hire a car to explore the local area. 

There’s a magnificent pool, and the rooms have minimalist decor, which lends themselves to visitors shedding their busy lives and breathing deeply in. 

Mal Pais Surf Camp 

If you’re on a tight budget, we advise you to stay at Mal Pais Surf Camp. A massive benefit to booking in here is that you are so close to excellent waves, which means you can roll out of bed and you’re already nearly in the ocean! 

Even though it’s ideal for those who don’t have a lot to spend, it does have luxurious touches, including the stunning outdoor pool. This is lined by palm trees and sun loungers reflected in the turquoise water, rippling in the sunlight. 

This surf camp is just over half a mile from Santa Teresa Beach, perfect for those who don’t mind a short walk to the waves or hiring a car.

The Surf Seasons In Santa Teresa

There are two surf seasons in Santa Teresa called the Green Season and the Dry Season. For the absolute best waves, we advise you to go to Santa Teresa in the Green Season (otherwise known as the wet season) because the swells come from the Northwest and Southwest.

If you do find yourself in Santa Teresa during the dry season, you’ll still be able to surf. The waves aren’t as forceful as those found in the Green Season and may not always be there, but the water is warmer. 

Green Season (From May to August)

You might be wondering why the Green Season is called this in Santa Teresa. It got its name from the surrounding jungle blossoming gorgeously green foliage and colorful flowers during this time. So, if you go to Costa Rica for surfing at this time, you’ll be sure to see some stunning natural scenery.

Storms are common in these months, making for brilliant waves forming in the Southwesterly and Northwesterly areas. This weather is ideal for surfing here because there will be stunning waves nearly all the time!

However, for the best breaking waves, we recommend you visit during the middle of the season because this is the time you’ll see many tubing water formations. 

Super gnarly waves occur here around June and July, perfect for expert surfers to enjoy. 

Dry Season (From October To April) 

There are fewer storms from the Pacific during the dry season than in the green season, meaning you won’t be able to catch as many gnarly waves. The weather is often warmer than the other season, meaning you can enjoy shore-based activities such as volleyball. 

However, if you came to enjoy huge hollowed-out waves, you might be disappointed. That’s not to say that surfing during the dry season isn’t incredible. The waves are super consistent, only a little less than in the green season, so you can still have fun.

As the breaks tend to be less intense than in the green season, we recommend heading to Santa Teresa during this period if you’re a beginner. Also, the waves aren’t as powerful as in the other season. This means it’s perfect for those getting to grips with balancing their surfboards. 

You can get away with wearing shorts and a rash vest in this weather because the water is often pretty warm. However, we advise going to a surfing school to learn the ropes if you’re brand new to surfing. This is because the trained instructors can ensure you don’t get caught in any sticky spots in the ocean.

Santa Teresa Surf Shops

As this is a surfing area, brilliant shops cater to surfers in Santa Teresa. These are often really easy to find because they’re beside the road that flows through Santa Teresa.

Kina Surf Shop

At Kina Surf Shop, you can find much more than high-quality surfboards. The staff can give you valuable advice about the area, ensuring you make the most of your time in the ocean. In addition, you can book lessons with a trained instructor to brush up on your skills here.

If you haven’t bought your own surfboard, you can rent one in this handy shop and even stock up on rash vests, tools, and accessories needed to make your vacation run smoothly.

Denga Surf Shop

Though it’s small, it’s mighty! Denga Surf Shop has so many beautiful surfboards on offer. In addition, it stocks big brands such as Billabong, RipCurl, O’Neill, and Quiksilver, which can help make your surfing holiday super good. 

In addition, this shop hosts surf lessons with certified instructors, which last an hour and a half. Every class comes with a board, rashguard, wax, and leash, too! This surf shop is renowned for its quality gear amongst the surfers in Santa Teresa, so you can be confident that you’re in safe hands. 


Santa Teresa is a beautiful place to vacation because it’s packed with surfing opportunities, chilled vibes, and gorgeous scenery. So whether you’ve never ridden a surfboard before or feel more comfortable in the water than on land, there are waves for you.

Staying in Santa Teresa is easy, even if you’re on a budget. The low-cost options aren’t without luxury, too! This, combined with the handy access vehicles on offer that will take you to the airport, means that you can enjoy this tropical paradise without worrying about logistics.

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