Learning to surf couldn’t be easier than at Playa Samara. Not only does the long, sandy bottom create a smooth and gentle beach break, but there are 5 surf schools in town to help you get started. If you want to watch the action before or after your lesson, there is front row seating at several beach bars. But Samara is also a great base for making excursions to bigger waves nearby. With a multitude of vacation rentals and hotels, restaurants, shops and banks, it’s the perfect place to relax after getting beat up by breakers all day. Surfencinitas lists Costa Rica as one of 5 places with gnarly waves.
There are gnarly waves and great surfing at several quiet beaches close to Samara – you might
have the beach to yourself. From east to west, there are four greatbeaches within an hour’s drive, most much closer. There is world-class surfing at Camaronal –the pros train there. It’s also a turtle refuge and station so there are restrooms and showers available. (Stick around for an ”arribada” after dark.) You can walk to Playa Buena Vista from downtown Samara. If you catch a wave at Playa Barrigones, you might also catch a celebrity sighting – Mel Gibson owns property adjacent to the beach. Playa Guiones is the furthest from Samara but has the advantage of being close to Nosara, goodstopfor lunch.
The pros tell me the best time to surf is 2-3 hours before high tide. Sometimes lessons are also given 2 hours after high tide as well. (Remember, that on the Pacific coast, we have two highs and two lows each day, each being about 40 minutes later than the day before.) Included in your private or group lesson is use of a practice board for a few hours.
The surf schools are lined up along the beach. Jesse’s Surf guarantees that they can get anyone up and catching waves before you go home. C & C Surf gives 10% of profits to CREAR, a community afterschool program for kids. They have certified instructors, along with Choco’s Surf. Ticos Surf School also rents boogie boards and offers kayak tours. Matteo, at Marea Surf Shop & Café, can set you up with gear, tours or even private lessons. He’s putting together some kid’s packages.
So if you want gnarly or novice, Samara is the place to surf.