In contrast to the more well-developed tourist areas, the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica is one of its most pristine natural areas with huge tracts of rainforest. Transportation options to the area are limited, but surfing enthusiasts will be well-rewarded for their efforts.
Playa Dominical and a number of nearby areas just beyond the Manuel Antonio National Forest enjoy some of the most picturesque backdrops of any surf spot in the country. The Baru and Quepos River mouths in combination with regular swells provide plenty of exciting surf action for surfers of all abilities. This isolated area of the country is at the nexus where two global currents meet, enjoying very consistent swells suitable for world-class surfing.
One additional popular spot in this region of Costa Rica is Pavones, a left-hand break point that provides world-record long rides. Popular with backpackers and campers due to a lack of tourism infrastructure, Pavones regularly produces rides lasting up to a mile in length. Be aware, however, that surfing in this area is unpredictable. Bigger and more consistent waves can usually be found between April and November.
Cabo Patapalo is the counterpoint to Pavones, located just across the bay. Enjoying the same access to ocean swells, Matapola takes a bit more work to get to, so it is far less crowded. Ideal for beginners wanting space to practice their surfing skills, Cabo Matapalo is worth the long trip overland.