Planing on going to Costa Rica in jan 2010 wheres the best place to stay and have guaranteed waves. Id like to stay at Playa Hermosa because of the bars and casinos but im not sure one whether there's waves then. But id also like to be able to get to witches rock while im there im in need of some help deciding because not everyone coming is surfing. Plane tickets are also more to get to libera then San Josť
I've been to costa rica twice and loved it there. We were there for 9 days last March, and tried to hit most of the west coast, which was a hard task. We drove to Dominical the first day, then to Matapalo for two days, and the surf was absolutely amazing there. over head high both days. Then we headed back through dominical and up to hermosa that night. Hermosa was a great place to be, but it's "built up" compared to matapalo and dominical. We went up to Punteranas, but it wasn't breaking there. Wish it was, that break looked super long and fun. Then we headed to Montezuma for the night, and around to Malpais. Would have been nice to stay there another day or two, but had to head north to Islita. There is a place there that is super hard to get to, but the waves were breaking good. It's the beach south of Punta Islita, way out in the middle of no where, but there was no one. There are a few river crossings there, so it's difficult to get to. Finally we made it to Nosara, and really liked it there.
We had wanted to make it up to witches rock, but everyone told us that it is difficult to get to, but if the waves aren't good, then you're out of luck. As it was, it seemed like the best waves were behind us, so we stayed in Nosara instead of traveling further up. Next time I'd like to get there.
My recommendation, if you can, is check the swells right before you head out, and make a game plan. It takes alot of time to travel there, the roads are crappy. But we headed to matapalo because the surf was supposed to be "epic" on the forecasts. After that, we were riding high for the rest of the trip. Don't worry about lodging too much because you can almost always find a place for $30 or less. Get an SUV for sure. Spend the extra dough. And bargin for everything. feel free to send me an email if you want more info about my trip.
my first post, look forward to posting on here.
To help you out, check the FAQs page of the website I run for surf travel in Costa Rica- www.crsurf.com. January is not consistent for swells, so you are better off along the central Pacific coast between Hermosa and Dominical. Then check the models and forecast for Witchs Rock, make a boat reservation with a licensed captain, and take a boat trip. It is a fun time even if you don't surf since you can snorkel, walk or hike around empty beaches, and see some pristine habitats. Generally a quality day trip is $300/boat for 5 people plus $15 each to enter the Santa Rosa National Park. You have to officially sign in and give passport #'s to get the permit. Illegal boats are out there, but you don't want to be on one if caught by MINAE officials. Also, it contributes to crowding the break. Witchs can handle 40-50 surfers spread out on the many sandbar peaks, but Ollie's is a right point with only a few takeoff spots. Add a dozen longboarders and it's hectic.
You would want the swell to be showing at least 3 to 4 feet to guarantee something fun to ride. Witchs breaks best from two hours before high tide to just past high tide, although when it's smaller can be hollow and fun at all tides. Ollie's is best on lower tides coming in and needs a little more swell to show its potential. Try to plan it where you get there early when offshores are more likely. January is a great month for consistent offshores.
A couple of boats have permits to stay overnight, so you are the first one in the lineup and the last one out. Check out the Aquadesiac here.
Are you checking out Playa Hermosa near Jaco? Some travelers have taxied to the wrong town from the airport. Preview the break at rovercam.com or papagsurf.com for vid. More consistent surf. Hard to get skunked. Too big then Jaco, Esterillos,La Isla (point break) and Herradura.
In terms of surf, I would go Hermosa over every where else. It's consistent all year around, so while it's not as good as Witches Rock when it gets epic, its more accessible and breaks better in winter. Also because of the size of the beach, you can go farther south to avoid crowds at the main few peaks up north. I rented a board for a week for $150 at Carton Surfboards on the south end of Jaco, quality local boards, and they let you exchange the boards whenever you want (you can ride a thruster one hour and a quad the next)
In terms of accomodations, it really depends how many people you are planning on going with . When I went we stayed in Jaco (not great surfing), but from the south end a very quick cab ride to Hermosa (the cabs have surf racks if you ask for them),we rented a house (www.vrbo.com) and it was $200 for the entire week per person. Also Jaco and Hermosa have more to do at night than Tamarindo. If you are staying in a hotel, I'd just stay in front of the main break in Hermosa.
You need to head to the central pacific...Jaco, Hermosa, Esterellios, Bejuco, Dominical. I've been travelling to CR for over 7 years spend 3 weeks a year down there. Playa Hermosa and Domincal are the most consistent surf spots in CR. The average 4 - 6 surf just about everyday. Even when rovercam.com reposrts say "Flat", it's still waist high in Hermosa. My wife and I love it so much that we recently purchased a condo in Jaco. Check it out in the rental section of Swellinfo. Jaco is a great place to use as a base camp. Jaco isn't worth travelling half way around the world to surf, but it can get good. Jaco is only 5 minutes north of Playa Hermosa, which is a world class break for intermideate to advacned surfers only. This was the site of the ISA world games in August. There are enough peaks that you can find one all to yourself. If you head south 10 - 15 minutes from Hermosa you'll come to Esertellios. There is a great rock reef at the north end of the beach. Look for the statue of the mermaid...this shows where the reef is. It breaks WAY out and is a fun, soft, mushy, wave. The further south you go the more hollow the wave. South is all beach break. No matter where you go, CR is a great choice for a surf vacation. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask. I've know quite a bit about CR, the people, government, and culture. It's an awesome place with great locals and food.