March is one of the best months to take a trip to Costa Rica. It’s deep into the dry season, so that means longer mornings with offshore winds. The south swells start to pump up from New Zealand and Chile. And the Caribbean Coast is still firing from north-eastern swells sweeping south from the states. It’s almost a sure shot that you’re going to get waves and the roads to get there easily passable.
Spring Break and Semana Santa weeks will be the busiest, but the sunsets are just as scenic and there is usually a quiet spot to surf right down the beach from the masses. The locals from San Jose often make pilgrimages to Matapalo and Witchs/Ollies so expect these spots to get mobbed, but for all the right reasons. These places go off, especially when it’s too big everywhere else. A lot of the popular beachbreaks start to close out in anything bigger than four feet overhead, the evidence is the surfboard graveyard that covers the ceiling of San Clemente Restaurant in Dominical.
So where do you go when it’s too big? I like Esterillos, Pavones, Boca Barranca, Matapalo, and Ollies Point. The reason is the length of each wave and how it can handle the size. Sure, the ginormous sets that loom up to pound the inexperienced on the inside will always appear. But Ollie’s throws barrels for hundreds of meters, Matapalo has peaks taller than the trees. Esterillos can break up to a quarter mile out, Barranca breaks a quarter mile into the Gulf of Nicoya. And Pavones offers a chance for a minute-plus ride and a dollar beer to drink while walking back to the rivermouth (soda for the grommets).
There are some mysto left point breaks and righthand reef breaks that I could also mention, but those gems you’ll just have to discover for yourself. If you are a beginner, Tamarindo offers the largest number of surf camps and instructors per square mile in the world. The bay is well suited for blocking swell at the south end of it. Manuel Antonio and Dominicalito also are great spots to get surf lessons since those beaches are protected by a few islands. There’s a more complete list of breaks on the CRSURF website.
If you any questions about where and when to go, just send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org And of course check www.crsurf.com for the latest surf report, wave forecast, and local news to help you on your travels.
Next contests on the Circuito Nacional de Surf:
Playa Carmen on March 15-16
Dominical on April 5-6.