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Golfo De Nicoya, Costa Rica, CENTRAL AMERICA & CARIBBEAN


With waves all-year-round, surf towns have sprung up at Jaco and further afield on the Nicoya peninsula around Santa Teresa/Mal Pais. Despite shocking access roads requiring 4WD in the wet season, this wild area has become a surf-school heaven, trading on idyllic tropical scenery, incredible national park wildlife and mellow beachbreaks. The huge coastal province of Puntarenas begins on the Nicoya Peninsula, then crosses the Golfo de Nicoya, extending through Central Puntarenas Province down to the Panamanian border, encompassing the Golfo Dulce. The Nicoya Peninsula is where the thick tropical forest blankets the hills down to the sand, dipping its toes in the Pacific to create a laid-back vibe in the established eco and surf resort towns of Playa Santa Teresa, Playa Carmen and Mal Pais. This is a great beginner/intermediate zone where the beachbreaks are often mellow, but don't discount some firing morning sessions and some bigger waves on the points. The backside of the peninsula holds some surprising quality when bigger S-SW swells push in and hit a number of breaks that are all offshore in NW winds, which can be handy in the wet season. Cabuya Island Reef is a low tide reef way out off the tip of the √íCemetery Island√ď which is either a long reef platform walk or a boat ride. Los Reyes is nice righthand wall at the Lajas rivermouth and Playa Los Cedros gives goofies a short, mellow fun-run to slalom in idyllic scenery at high tide. Playa Grande is a solid 30min walk from Montezuma, but the rewards are proper hollow beachbreak peaks and a thick jungle backdrop in crowd-free pristine waters. Across the Golfo, more famous waves like the leg-burning rivermouth lefts of Boca Baranca, the busy tourist and beginner beaches of Playa Jaco, or the often daunting, thumping tubes of Playa Hermosa. Check out the peaks of Esterillos that has flexible, south-facing waves for most abilities.