If you are a surfer and either are living in Quepos or Manuel Antonio, or just traveling through, sometimes you may want a different wave to ride. You could go south to Dominical if you want bigger waves at a beach break, or check out any one of the beaches from Isla Damas north to Bejuco. But Esterillos Oeste, the last major exit before Playa Hermosa, has two things the rest don’t – a rocky point break and a giant mermaid statue.
This rocky point is at the far north end of the beach. It is actually a patch of rocky ‘fingers’ that stretch out into the ocean. The rocks make the wave break more evenly and also increase the power of the wave in some spots. The best part is when the waves are double overhead or bigger, they can break REALLY far out – like 300-400 meters out – and although they are huge and lumpy, with a bigger board a surfer can ride the wave almost all the way in. The point set up also offers a way for the surfer to dodge the bigger waves that come in while they are trying to paddle out.
When the waves are small, or under head high, there are two sections just to the north of the main beach access that work better. The outside section is taken up by mostly SUPs and longboarders, and the inside is for the shortboarders and bodyboarders. With a little luck the outside connects for a long ride. The locals rule the peak, but if you are respectful they will share some sets. The crowds are spread out a little more since there are three other sandy peaks within a few minutes walk. If it is small then usually it does not break well at lower tides. However, you can walk or take a dip in one of the many tide pools along the rocky section of the beach.
Besides the rocky point setup, my favorite part about this beach is the mermaid statue. This work of art is perched on a concrete slab about 100 meters out into the ocean. At low tide you can walk out to it and gaze in the direction she gazes as the sun reflects off her bronze mane and tail. At higher tides she is pounded by the relentless surf and at times completely submerged. When I am surfing I have often used her as a reference point for how far I’ve drifted out to sea or down the beach.
If you have time to stay, try the breakfasts at Rancho Coral. They are right on the beach with a great view of the waves. They make a tasty pizza, too. If you just need a snack or to stock up for a beach picnic visit Super Sol – only a block from the beach on the main road. For dinner my favorite place is El Patio (for the burgers and BBQ pork ribs with sweet potato fries) and Los Almendros (for the curry or the seafood).
For places to stay I prefer Rancho Coral since I could just walk through the garden path to the beach and there is a good sandbar right in front. There are dozens of cozy home rentals and a few budget cabinas as options, too. Send us a note (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want us to help you plan your trip to Esterillos Oeste. It is one of my favorite beaches on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.