There are bazillions of Costa Rica surf hotels out there. We’ve done the awful chore of hopping beaches and breaks in this palm-fringed paradise to whittle the numbers down and find the very best. It’s hard work all this, y’know.
From eco-friendly lodges that blend seamlessly with the lush coconut groves of the coast to luxury resorts where surf lessons and spa treatments go hand in hand, there are some seriously spectacular Costa Rica surf hotels on the menu these days.
It’s easy to see why there are just so many to pick from. They speckle a shoreline that’s now firmly written into the annals of surf-travel legend.
We’re talking a land of uber-famous surf towns a la Tamarindo and Santa Teresa, the home of the peeling lefts of Pavones, and the chilled escapes of Nosara and Manuel Antonio, all of which have fine waves to suit pretty much any level and a consistency that would make Bali blush.
But, back to the hotels. We’re not overstating things here when we say that Costa Rica’s offering of surf stays is now arguably the best in the world. The boom in ecotourism and surf tourism that’s happened here in the last decade or two has fuelled the coming of accommodations seriously worthy of remark.
So, get ready for boutique lodges with infinity pools that gaze over the wild Pacific Ocean, for sleek cabanas nestled in protected jungles, and luxury pads where the calls of the resident howler monkeys echo through the canopies.
My lord these are some beautiful places to vacation with the board in tow!
We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!
This is just one part of our complete overall guide to surfing in Costa Rica
- The Nomadic Hotel – Varying budgets will feel at home in this uber-chic boutique on Playa Guiones
- The Gilded Iguana – A stunning luxury pad with history in the heart of Nosara
- Arenas Del Mar – A sumptuous and opulent resort hotel in a quiet cove near Manuel Antonio National Park
- Surf Synergy Surf Camp – A hilltop escape that offers luxury and surf relatively close to San Jose
- The Green House – A very slick selection of eco villas amid the coast jungles of Santa Teresa
- Olas Verdes Hotel – A luxury surf hotel that’s just about perfect for families
- The Beach Bungalows – Quiet cabanas with a pool in the backstreets of Tamarindo
Prefer a surf camp? We have a complete guide to the best surf camps in Costa Rica
The Nomadic Hotel
Set just back from the trim-ready walls of gorgeous Playa Guiones, The Nomadic Hotel is something truly, truly special.
From the rooftop hangout space to the garden pool, it’s a lesson in elegant surf-chic styles. Everthing is artfully curated to produce a space that’s at once thought-provoking and relaxing, complete with timbered teak beds, geometric tiles, oodles of polished concrete (of course), and locally inspired art pieces on the walls.
What’s great is that The Nomadic isn’t just for the monied crowd. They’ve purposely tried to nurture a more diverse environment by offering hostel rooms (which are downright posh-tel rooms if you ask us) next to spacious private suites (such as The Nest, a pad that’s perfect for couples wanting a real home away from home)
Of course, there’s a pool on site; a salt-water one hidden under a canopy of palm trees.
You’ll never be more than 10 minutes from a wave at The Nomadic. A quick walk through the chilled backstreets towards the shore will bring you to Guiones’s lefts and rights; it’s a beach that has something for all levels depending on the tides and swell direction.
The Gilded Iguana
Location: Playa Guiones
The Gilded Iguana has been there since the very begininngs of Nosara. Back in the 80s, when it was a bar, it was the heart and soul of the small wave-loving community. Fast forward four decades and it’s still a central pillar of the Nosara surf scene, though perhaps better known for chic architectural design and some of the best boutique lodgings on the Pacific coast. That’s no overstatement.
Let’s dig in…
A revamp in 2017-18 took Iguana from cool to very cool. The place has been lauded by design mags and travel mags (yours truly included) the world over.
Staying true to the core principles of Guanacaste architecture, it’s still centered on a stilted bar-restaurant space that lets the air flow freely. Around that, there are a series of rooms and suites that are bohemian yet unpretentious, each of which artfully masters the surf-jungle aesthetic – think roofs of palm thatch, wicker light shades, and balconies that sprout into the rainforests to peer at howler monkeys and whatnot.
Stays are augmented by complimentary botanical soaps, plush bathrobes, organic tea and coffee whenever you want it, and desk spaces (just in case you do need to work).
The in-house surf club is highly respected in the Nosara area. They’ll organize lessons and rental in a jiffy, with qualified local and international coaches who can help you get started or take your surfing to the next level.
Arenas Del Mar
Location: Manuel Antonio
We know that Manuel Antonio is usually high on Costa Rican bucket lists. That’s why this seriously stunning resort makes it onto our list of the best surf hotels in Costa Rica. You can come here to explore the sloth-filled jungles one day and then hit the surf the next. They even have a private in-house instructor ready and waiting to help you learn, with one-on-one and family tuition options on the menu.
Now, to the hotel itself. This one’s gorgeous. A curvy infinity pool (which isn’t the only pool, at that!) peeks out from the gardens and spills straight onto the shoreline, where it meets a slender sliver of dark sand before the lapping Pacific Ocean. The rooms are super plush, with floor-to-ceiling windows in the seaview suites opening onto the water, monsoon showers, flat-screen TVs, high-speed WiFI, and more as standard.
This is the one to go for if you want high luxury living and proper R&R, and want to surf and see the amazing Manuel Antonio national park in the same trip.
Surf Synergy Surf Camp
The Surf Synergy Surf Retreat beckons on the hillsides just out of Jaco. It’s fantastic if you’re super eager to get on the waves fast after jetting into San Jose – the town is a mere two hours’ drive in a bus from the airport and packages include roundtrip transport to the airport.
We also like it for the balance between wellness and surf – daily yoga, cycling trips, and SUP tours are all part of the mix here.
Guests get a healthy breakfast that’s loaded with Middle Eastern baked eggs and succulent tropical fruit, the perfect fuel for surf days, along with lunch and dinner (all meals are included; all-inclusive really means all-inclusive here!)
The pad itself benefits from being amid the jungles to the north of Playa Jaco, which is where you’re likely to be surfing each day. We say benefits because that part of town is MUCH quieter than the buzzy center. There’s even room for a swimming pool with individual lanes, a yoga shala, ice baths, and some lovely tropical gardens with views of the surrounding rainforests.
The Green House
Location: Santa Teresa
Consistently rated among the top 10 rental pads in the surf town of Santa Teresa, The Green House is a regular recommendation here on The Surf Atlas.
There are plenty of reasons for that. But, first, just look at the location. These self-contained eco pads jut out from the emerald tops of the rainforests on the hills above the beach. They’ve got 180-degree panoramas of the monkey-filled coast forests because of it, and mean you’ll be truly immersed in that Puntarenas nature you’ve heard all about.
The hotel has just three self-contained unites to pick from: Mint, Moss, and Myrtle. They’re all roughly the same, though Mint is a touch more spacious. Each comes with an inviting splash pool that gazes through the jungles, a terrace for sunset watching, and its own kitchen-diner space, all of which is beautifully done out in natural woods and dark metals.
One thing to note: Be sure to rent a 4X4 if you’re planning on staying here. The hotel is hidden some 300 meters above Santa Teresa along a bumpy dirt track. It’s only 5 minutes’ driving to the surf but it’s a job for the off roader for sure.
Olas Verdes Hotel
Location: Playa Guiones
The fantastically rated Olas Verdes Hotel has partnered with the exceptional Surfari Surf School to offer what we’d say is one of the best luxury offerings in the laid-back hippy beach town of Nosara for surf travelers, but especially those coming with the kids in tow.
The hotel has a charming location between coconut trees and sea grapes, where it opens up onto a tiled garden with a bean-shaped pool. The suites themselves are colorful and comfy. You can book them as a single traveler or ask for combined rooms, which are perfect for larger travel groups and families.
We love the colourful, Pacific-coast design elements that flow throughout, from the sea-themed mosaic art to the tiled floors and large teak bedspreads. We also love that aforementioned surf-school partnership, which ensures you’ll get some seriously good tuition on the local beaches here if you book through the hotel.
The Beach Bungalows
Run by uber-friendly Leti and Nico, this series of timber-built bungalows, nestled in the green jungles some 750 yards from the main Tamarindo Playa, is a fine place to bed down if you want to surf, chill, and surf some more (and then chill some more!)
The pads range from small cottage-style boltholes to bigger casitas that have air con. All have ensuite bathrooms and access to a central pool that’s surrounded by colorful Tico flowers and plants.
The breakfasts at the hotel are divine – think fresh fruit bowls and zingy fresh juices, followed by big omlettes and eggs topped with handpicked parsely, all finished with plenty of local Costa Rican coffee.
They organize surf lessons for $35 per person for group lessons and $65 per person for a private session. Just ask when you check in or message before you arrive.