1) Get this book: (seen below) The Surfers Guide to Costa Rica
by Mike Parise. It is wonderful. It will give you more information
than you will possible use in one trip. Unless of course your
one trip is going to be permanent. It runs about $21.95.
2) Get your passport
3) Choose where you want to visit. There are tons of places
to surf in Costa Rica on both oceans. (Pacific and Caribbean).
We usually start in the south at Jaco for a few days and work
our way up to Tamarindo for the end.
4) Get a flight. (duh). Set yourself up with an expedia account
and have them send you weekly rate info on flights to/from Costa
5) Call and make reservations for the car and your lodging.
While I have winged the whole trip, time you spend searching
for a room could be time better spent in the water.
1) Clothes? This is what you need for one week.
- 2 pairs of surf trunks, that way one pair is always drying
off while you are out surfing your ass off
- 3 Tshirts
- 1 pair of sandals
- something to wear on the flight down and the flight back.
Try to avoid wearing anything heavy (aka Goose Down Jackets
or the like) because you will have to drag it around with you
for the whole trip. If its 10 degrees out here, suck it up,
wear shorts and think "in 6 hours, I will be in Costa Rica"...
- passport and drivers license
- credit card (visa or mastercard)
- as much sunblock as you think you will need. It is no fun
being red. It is no fun peeling halfway through the trip. 10
minutes will burn you without proper protection.
- some bandaids, toothbrush, toothpaste, maybe your shaving
kit (the girls are beautiful in Costa Rica)
- wax (tropical) 4-5 bars should suffice for a longboarder.
- one surfer magazine, one issue of Hustler (all guys trip)
- If you want to bring a camera, dont bring anything too fancy
as it may get ripped off. Bring a cheap rugged camera, or an
underwater camera for the surfing shots.
-film if you need it
- good leash (Some spots can pound the hell out of you)
- tie down straps for the roof rack
- While you can rent surfboards in Costa Rica...odds are that
you may not find a board that is just like the one you ride
on a weekly basis. We bring the boards. You may not want to
bring that brand spanking new Robert August....bring the other
one that is still pretty good that works in all around conditions
that has some brown spots and a few dings.
- Get a durable surfboard travel bag
- Get some bubble wrap from Mailboxes Etc and maybe some "rubber"
(not styrofoam) pipe insulators from Home Depot. Wrap the decks
and put the insulation around the rails. Tape it all together
and it should get the boards down to CR just fine. I have never
had any major damage.
- Getting the boards onto the plane may/maynot cost you $70
dollars. Me? I always get screwed while my buddies never have
to pay. I always get the supervisor who bones me for the $70.
But, be nice and you may sneak through.
- You will go through customs when you get to Costa Rica, so
be prepared to stand in a small line.
- The airport in San Jose has gotten much nicer just in one
year and you will be able to find your baggage and rental car
desk fairly easily
- If you have an early flight back, make sure that you get there
at least 2 hours before your flight. The line can be long which
is a pain in the ass if you have boards with you.
- Map below
(click map to download in PDF)
- The Surfers Guide has the best reviews bar none. It also
has all the information you will need to make reservations..
- The night before your departure try to get reservations at
the Hampton Inn which is very close to the Airport
- Most of the major car rental places are represented down
there . Alamo, Dollar,
Avis, Hertz, Thrifty, Budget and National. There are websites
popping up all the time for car rentals so it helps to look
there first, know what you want to rent and how much you should
expect to pay for a week.
- Get a 4x4, sometimes its muddy, sometimes its sandy, sometimes
its dirt. Always get a 4x4 though.
- They have many auto listed to rent, but all they ever seem
to have is the Diahatsu Terrios, which is a smaller version
of the Suzuki Sidekick. Not too bad but probably not what you
- Some have racks for surfboards, some do not. Ask for one that
does when you reserve.
- ( Note on the federales ), do the speed limit usually 80-90Kph
on highways and 40-60Kph on secondary roads. The police have
speed traps everywhere. If they flag you to the side of the
road be cordial and honest about your plans. They will most
likely ask for your drivers license or passport, have a look
and let you go.
- People do drive very fast down there, if someone wants to
pass you let them pass...its no biggie. You will eventually
do some passing on your own.
- Crime is all over the world, Costa Rica is not immune to this.
Lock the car at all times and do not leave anything of value
sitting in plain view.
-Tamarindo. There is a fellow who comes down to the beach and
may/may not photograph you. His name is John
Lyman, and the deal is this, if you are surfing and you
see a big telephoto on the beach, he may have grabbed some photos
of you. When you get home from your trip email him the date
and time you were out, as well as a brief description of yourself
and what you were riding. If he has something, he will email
you some thumbnails and you can purchase the real deal through