Costa Rica Surf Report: April 2012

CRsurf Team Rider Leilani McGonagle. Photo: Fabian Sanchez

Costa Rica Surf Report
By Greg Gordon


Caribbean Coast: The first two weeks of the month will stay fun, with consistent surf from waist- to chest-high. Toward the middle will be one more major swell, and then the season fades fast with April ending with knee- to waist-high waves. Overall, the beauty of the area offers a wealth of healthy activities, from standup paddling tours to diving the nearshore reefs.

Pacific Coast: It’s a longer wait this month for waves, with the first two weeks only offering head-high to overhead sets on the biggest days; otherwise, smaller, chest-high surf. The first major SW swell arrives on the 17th, with surf 2 ft. overhead, and will stick around through the 20th. After a few more smaller days, the month ends with more solid south swell.

Full moon: April 6
New moon: April 21


I just got back from a two-week trip, traveling almost 1200 miles and surfing every dawn patrol and most sunset sessions. Along the way I found a cool skate park hidden along Lake Arenal, and noticed that most beach towns were not crowded, the roads were in excellent shape, and the waves at least head-high and offshore for most mornings of the trip. Thanks to the Hermosa Surf Inn and Hermosa Surf Bungalows, two sweet spots right in front of the better breaks in Playa Hermosa.

Summer time is prime time for southern hemi swells, and now is the time to plan your vacation. Flights can be found from Orlando for $330 roundtrip, but book it now to avoid the cheap seats selling out. There are plenty of quality car rentals at low season rates, but with gas getting pricy and speed traps, you may just want the locals to do the driving and get you to the breaks fast.

Also, travel agents recommend getting insurance for a reason. Not everyone has a perfect trip, and if something turns up missing or you take a misstep, a few dollars spent in advance will prevent some major losses later. CR Surf Travel Company can explain all the options and provide an economical plan that will cover you, your friends, and your family.

Email us to help plan your customized vacation:

Skate park at the Volcano Brewing Lodge. Photo: Lake Arenal


CRSurf team rider Leilani McGonagle made history in March by being the youngest competitor to win the Women’s Division in a national surf contest at only 12 years old. The level of surfing in Costa Rica has exploded in 2012, with multiple surfers competing on the world stage and making it to the finals platform.

The next national contest takes place April 24-25 in Playa Camaronal, south of Samara. This is the first event on the circuit ever held at this beach break, which is known to focus any swell two feet bigger than surrounding beaches. You can also catch local contests each Saturday behind the Backyard Hotel in Playa Hermosa.


The lifeguards in Dominical are no longer able to work full time since there have been not enough contributions to keep their program running. Tortilla Flats sells t-shirts and stickers, but what is needed are donations by those who want to help save lives. Learn more about the group at

If you want to give back while on your summer vacation, we know of many volunteer opportunities along both coasts where you can donate time to building schools, tracking sea turtles, cleaning beaches, and teaching English. Your imagination is the limit to what can be accomplished, and we will help to ensure that you find a safe, affordable, and meaningful experience.

CR Surf Travel Company is a member of 1% for the Planet, pledging to donate one percent of our proceeds to environmental causes. It is part of our mission to help keep our oceans blue by supporting small hotels and camps that contribute to their community.

Friends Russ and Amber enjoying some downtime at Playa Negra

To find out other events in the beachside communities of Costa Rica, just sign up for our surf report:
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