Playa Avellanas is one of the most fun and beautiful surf breaks in all of Costa Rica.
Aptly nicknamed “Little Hawaii”, this fun surf break has plenty to offer.
From gentle, tiny longboarding waves, to a steeper faster shortboarding wave, there is something for every surfer at Playa Avellanas.
If you’re intrigued by this lesser-known surf break, then read on for everything you need to know about Playa Avellanas surf!
An Overview of Playa Avellanas Surfing
Playa Avellanas is a mellow surf beach located about 30 minutes south of bustling surf town Tamarindo.
The beach is quite large, and features a variety of different surf breaks.
The parking lot is located on the southernmost part of the beach, so to access the surf breaks you’ll simply walk down to the beach from your car and hang a right.
When you get to Playa Avellanas, you’ll see that you can surf pretty much down the entire beach.
This means that not only will there likely be a break for everyone, but you can often find an uncrowded peak all to yourself!
Playa Avellanas features a mix of reef breaks, beach breaks, and even a river mouth to surf at, all located along the same stretch of beach.
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How to get to Playa Avellanas
Playa Avellanas is a 30 minute drive south of Tamarindo. The easiest way to get there is by car, since this little beach town is incredibly remote.
How to get to Playa Avellanas From Liberia
- By car:
If you are traveling to Playa Avellanas from Liberia, it is about a 90 minute drive by car. This is the easiest way to travel to Playa Avellanas!
You can find car rentals in Costa Rica for as cheap as $30/day.
- By bus:
The cheapest way to get from Liberia to Playa Avellanas is by bus. This will take about 3-4 hours and cost approximately $5-$6. The estimated bus schedule and route can be found here, but you should absolutely double check that at the bus station!
Bus routes are known to change frequently and there can be a lot of misinformation online, the very last thing you want is to be stranded on your surf trip!
How to get to Playa Avellanas From San Jose
- By car:
It will take about 5-6 hours to travel by car from San Jose to Playa Avellanas.
- By bus:
To take the bus from San Jose to Playa Avellanas, it’s going to take at least 7 hours to get there, and you’ll have to change buses at least once. You can find the approximate bus schedules here. The good news is, it should only cost you about $11 to make this trip.
Best Season to Surf Playa Avellanas
The best season for Playa Avellana surf depends on what you’re looking for.
For small and fun waves:
Surf Playa Avellanas in the dry season! The dry season runs from about December to April, and this is when swells are more mild, and conditions are more favorable for beginner surfers.
For bigger and heavier waves:
Surf Playa Avellanas in the rainy season! The rainy season in Costa Rica runs from about April to November, and features heavier swells that are more suitable to intermediate and expert level surfers.
P.s.: If you’re in the area, and the waves at Playa Avellanas aren’t exactly cutting it for you, then check out Playa Negra surf, a hollow reef break just down the road.
The Different Breaks at Playa Avellanas
This surf spot in Playa Avellana Costa Rica is located directly in front of the parking lot, and is actually a reef break.
In the dry season under most swells, this particular break isn’t really working.
However, in the rainy season, this left breaking reef break can become quite powerful and exciting.
If you’re visiting in the dry season or on a smaller day, keep walking up the beach for a bigger break!
Directly to the right of the parking lot (facing the beach), there is a beachfront restaurant named “Lola’s”. Right in front of this restaurant is another surf spot, also named Lola’s!
Lola’s is a beach break with lots of left and right breaking peaks that crop up.
Palo Seco means “dry tree” in Spanish, and this surf break is located a short walk North of Lola’s, directly in front of some dead trees.
This is a beach break, and breaks both left and right. It breaks a little heavier here than Lola’s, and is typically better for shortboarders!
At the very far northern end of Playa Avellanas, there is a powerful, rocky, right hand reef-break.
This break doesn’t turn on often, but when it does, it is best left to experienced surfers only.
Hazards of Playa Avellanas Surfing
The main hazard at Playa Avellanas is rocks. Especially in the southern part of the beach, there are lots of shallow areas and exposed rocks.
To stay safe, be aware of your surroundings, and try to jump/ fall gently off your board, rather than forcefully to avoid painful rock collisions.
Also, avoid diving headfirst off of your board!
Surfing Playa Avellanas FAQ’s
Is it safe to surf Playa Avellanas?
Avellanas beach is a beautiful surf break with lots to offer. Generally, this is a safe place to surf, especially on smaller swells.
However, it is a rather rocky beach, and when it gets big, it shouldn’t be surfed by beginners.
Is Playa Avellanas good for beginners?
Yes! Especially in the dry season!
Playa Avellanas has a ton of different breaks, many of which are fun little peaks which are just PERFECT for learning to surf.
Unless you come to Playa Avellanas when it’s massive, this is generally a really great beach for beginner surfers!
Playa Avellanas Surf Camps
While I personally have not stayed at a surf camp in Playa Avellanas, I know a few people who did and they said it was incredible.
Playa Avellanas is a pretty remote beach, so if you’re looking to meet people on your surf trip here, staying in a surf camp might be one of the best ways to do it!
A friend of mine was a yoga instructor at Rapture Surf Camp in Playa Avellanas, and she said it is one of the best surf camps in Costa Rica. It’s located right on the beach, and so you can surf to your heart’s content.
Where to Stay when Surfing Playa Avellanas
On a Budget
This surf and yoga retreat is located just steps away from the Playa Avellanas surf breaks! This bed and breakfast has a bar, restaurant, free guest parking, a lounge, and a garden.
Where to eat after surfing Playa Avellanas
Lola’s is the beachfront restaurant located directly adjacent to the parking lot. This is a great place to grab a drink for sunset, but keep in mind they are fairly expensive and touristic.
- Jalepeño Eatery
If you have a car, I highly suggest driving a few kilometers to get to Jalepeño Eatery. They have the most delicious breakfast and lunch menu, and the prices are fairly reasonable, especially for the giant portions you’ll get!
Tips & Tricks for surfing Playa Avellanas
- Tip your parking attendant!
If you’ve never surfed in Costa Rica before (or driven your car to a beach parking lot), then you may be unfamiliar with the parking attendants that organize the parking and stand watch over your car.
They’ll tell you where to park, and also keep an eye on your car while you’re surfing or enjoying the beach, and they are easily recognizable by their yellow or orange vests.
You should absolutely pass them a few colones, as they are working on a volunteer basis and the parking attendants actually do make the beach a whole lot safer.
- Get there early.
The early bird really does get the worm when it comes to surfing at Playa Avellanas! If you get there early, you get the best parking spot, more waves to yourself, and you get the best waves before the wind picks up.
Playa Avellanas Surf Guide: Final Thoughts
This is especially a great surf beach for those looking for really mellow longboarding waves to learn on.
I LOVE surf breaks like Nosara, and Dominical. However, both of those beach breaks can have pretty ROUGH paddle outs, which make them not the best surf breaks for beginners who actually want to catch green waves, and not just be hurled into white water waves.
So if you’re looking for some mellow green waves as a beginner surfer, or even just as a surfer who prefers fun little rollers, definitely give Playa Avellanas Costa Rica a chance!