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  1. #1

    Costa Rica in August

    Heading down south in the first week of August to get some flat spell relief. Never done Costa before, so I thought I'd see what you guys have to say. Going with my gf, who is just learning. She's come with me to Puerto Rico twice and had a great time, so she knows it's not gonna be some spa-treatments-and-mai-tais all-inclusive, but after reading some stories about people getting stuff lifted in Jaco, I want to make sure we go somewhere that she won't feel sketch. A decent surf school would also be nice - I've tried teaching her, but that usually winds up with her on the beach mad at me ...Would also love to go somewhere with some decent scuba diving as well.

    Anybody who's been down recently have any info? Thanks a ton!


    check us out - may be what your lookign for

  3. #3
    Hey Green Iguana School in Dominical is cool, very laid back. Smaller/quiet surf community, waves were great a year or 2 ago in August, trips to diff spots in the AM, they had a scuba shop in town with lessons, etc if you wanted. The owner lady was cool to book with and flexible regarding pro-rating the price for the length of the stay etc.

    Its not the ritz, but they had A/C if you wanted, 'discoteca' on Saturday, and like I said its a real tight but friendly little community down there. Mostly Eu student-types and surfers. Went to another town on the south-west coast (forget the name) and it was real sketchy by comparison (had more resorts, but also more $$ and drugs) so skipped out to GI, didn't regret it.

  4. #4
    Jaco isn't that bad. You've been to other countries in the tropics? Yes, then nothing in CR in terms of safety and security will surprise you. It's not too far from the airport, and easy access to other non-surfing activities for the gf.

  5. #5
    your girl will be happiest put up in one of the many AC'd high end places available in Tamarindo or Jaco / hermosa. Aside from a straggler located somewhere along the way, thats pretty much it if she is looking for a mai-tai and a massage type of place. About 90% of costa rican hotels have scorpions in the showers. My recommendations- the Best western in Tamarindo (they have the monkey bar), the backyard hotel in playa hermosa, private house rentals in dominacal. Enjoy! My girl and I are headed down about time also, I go every year and am never dissapointed. From playa grande to pavones, august is SOLID!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    In a state of flux
    x100 on Backyards in Hermosa!!! having been to CR multiple times, I would NEVER take my wife to Jaco. During the day probably for shopping and whatnot but no way at night. One other thing to consider...I think (and someone can correct me) that August is full on rainy season down there so that may be an issue for you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Seattle, WA
    I hit it September two years ago, only time I've done the late rainy season. My thoughts:

    1. The roads were ****. By that point, it's been raining for many weeks, so get ready for some serious mud. It's not a big deal really, just accept that you and most of your stuff will get soaked. Anything you need dry should be in a dry sack or plastic bag.

    2. Don't go on any "sick boat trips" to Witch's Rock/ Ollies Point. Late summer simply isn't a good time for those spots. Ollies perhaps, but only if there's a mega south swell. We got totally scammed. 300 bucks to some guy who swore it was overhead/offshore the day prior...we got knee high and crap. We later learned that it simply isn't the right season, so save your money and skip that nonsense.

    3. Jaco/Hermosa is pretty damn safe. Personally I would stay at one of the little places at Playa Hermosa. Sure, the best western is "most safe" but it's also 3x more expensive than many other little spots that are in front of the surf and have killer food, etc. I stayed at the Garsons' camp "Loma Del Mar" about eight years ago and had a freaking blast. They had this sick compound up on the hill and 2 great meals each day, two cool surf guides, etc. One of those guys, Freddy Quiros, is pretty much raking in the cash down there right now (or so I've heard). He's a really nice guy. I don't know if he has any accommodations, but I'd recommend giving him a shout out. At very least, he probably has great recommendations. The ( site is still updated every day, so I bet you can reach him through there. As a hangout, Jaco itself is played. My second trip there, beer prices had been raised from 25 cents to 3 bucks, and it just wasn't the same. I did hear stories of people's cars getting ripped off, though never first-hand. Never heard of any assaults.

    3. Tamarindo. I've only been there once. We stayed at Hotel Crocadilo, and it was a freaking blast there. It's owned by this French ex-pat family who cook both local food and French baked deliciousness. We got skunked for waves there, but I would recommend the hotel. Tamarindo waves...not so much. Playa Grande was great, though I don't know what it's like to stay nearby (maybe someone else here does...).

    4. We spent a few days staying in Avellanas, south of Tamarindo, about an hour or so. It was very chill there. Cheaper prices, way fewer people. Apparently, they get good surf there, though we got skunked for the most part. Right down the road is Playa Negra (Endless Summer II), which is every bit as awesome as in the movie. It's a pretty long right with both tube sections and whack-able lips. These hilarious French dudes live next to the parking lot and have like 100 cats. It's quite a scene. It's a nice chill beach to hang out, even if the waves aren't great.

    All in all, expect rain and possibly inconsistent swell. In the end it'll still be a blast, just don't expect perfection and you won't be disappointed. As for diving, I have not done any there, but I'm sure there's someone here who could contribute...hope this helps!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by live aloha View Post
    2. Don't go on any "sick boat trips" to Witch's Rock/ Ollies Point. Late summer simply isn't a good time for those spots. Ollies perhaps, but only if there's a mega south swell. We got totally scammed. 300 bucks to some guy who swore it was overhead/offshore the day prior...we got knee high and crap. We later learned that it simply isn't the right season, so save your money and skip that nonsense.
    Thanks a ton, guys. All solid advice, and particularly good to know the boats aren't worth it... I'll save my money for scuba. Also, good to know about the scorpions!

    Getting excited.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    I have always been under the assumption that the "green" season is optimal for surfing on the Pacific side. I stayed in Tamarindo for the second time last July and experienced HH to OH+ waves every high tide.Ollies and Witches were having very similar conditions the day I was there. My girlfriend had a blast in Tamarindo; tons of shopping, restaurants/nightlife. The crime issue I feel is exaggerated in Costa. I have said this before on this forum, but go walk though Camden, parts of Philly or Wilmington then tell me Costa is "dangerous". I am heading back to Costa Rica in 3 weeks for a nice 14 day excursion with my gf and friends. It depends on what kind of surf you're looking for regarding break recommendations, check out the site below for more info. I personally like to stay in Tamarindo because its a central location and it's a fun town.

    This is great site with a map of all of the major breaks and info

    A good reference guide book worth reading before you make the trip.

    "The Northern Pacific Coast is generally the most consistent destination from December ~ April. During this season, strong offshore winds combine with ideal swell directions to put breaks like Witches Rock, Playa Negra and Playa Grande in perfect form. The Central and Southern Pacific Coasts are generally best between May ~ November as the south swell season creeps in while the Caribbean Coast tends to pick up the best conditions from November ~ March. These are certainly generalizations which are by no means, guaranteed. However, using these characterizations is the best way to plan your vacation. "

    This is a really nice hotel which I stayed at last summmer. It is clean, safe and your gf should have zero problems staying here. The location is right on the beach and in the center of the town. I would suggest upgrading to the ocean front rooms if possible.
    Last edited by andrewk529; Jun 27, 2011 at 06:45 PM.

  10. #10
    I enjoyed the guanacoste region (playa grande ,tamarindo) in december but ive heard from alot of people nosaro is the best overall area for surf and location. You can still access jaco and the central region and the guanacoste at about equal distances. Several friends have recomended it Ill check it next time for sure. I took my wife and she had a good time. We never felt threatened the whole time but then again we really didnt hang around tamarindo at night as much.The drive from Tamarindo to flamingo at night seemed sketchy cuz theyre isnt much lighting on the roads. Hope yall have a great time. Maybe the tropics will be heating up for the east coast by then for everyone who isnt as lucky to be heading south.