Hello Costa Rica backpackers! Or should we say, surfer people? Either way, welcome! Today we’re going to talk about some of the best surfing hostels you can stay at in the wonderfully diverse country of Costa Rica, where you can start your day with a sunrise surf, go for a hike in a dense jungle, hear the bizarre calls of the howler monkeys (if you don’t know what I’m talking about here, we highly recommend checking out a video, the sound may take you quite by surprise if you’re not prepared,) and even finish your day off with a sunset surf on a different beach.
We spent about six months living in Costa Rica and can definitely recommend it as your next surf holiday. Not only are there a ton of beaches and surf breaks to choose from, but the water is a balmy twenty-seven degree or more, and the nature is absolutely stunning.
Money-saving tip: Compare hostel prices with Hostelz.com. They compare prices from Hostelworld, Booking.com and others with 1 click.
One of our favorite things about the time we spent there is being able to wake up at four-thirty in the morning and go for a sunrise surf, calmly walking into the water without a wetsuit and realizing that the water is actually warmer than the air- we have always associated early morning and late night surf with the cold and let me tell you, folks, feeling the warm water on your skin as you step into the dark ocean is something truly magical.
Good to know: There are plenty of great Yoga Retreats in Costa Rica that combine Yoga classes with Surfing. This is something worth considering. If you can’t decide between surfing and practicing Yoga, with Pura Vida Surfers in Santa Teresa, Puntarenas, you can practice both all day! With its many long beaches, it is an ideal place for lovers of surfing or for those who want to learn to surf.
Where to book your Yoga Retreats?
There are two major websites to use. We are working on a big comparison guide, stay tuned. The two best sites are:
We put all of the best Costa Rica hostels on the beach on a map.
This map is here to help make your planning easier. It lists all of the above locations, with each surf hostel added to the map. Simply tick/untick areas you’re interested in visiting and find the best surf hostels in that area.
List of the Best Surf Hostels in Costa Rica
Are you in search of the best surf hostels Costa Rica has to offer? Well, you are in the right place. This guide will help you choose the surf hostel that is perfect for you.
Best Surf Hostels in Tamarindo
Tamarindo is definitely one of the most touristy towns you will find. It is very famous for being a surf town but it has got its charm between the Saturday morning farmers market, local artisans, a surprising range of food options, and access to multiple surf beaches within walking distance.
The main beaches you can reach without access to a car are Playa Tamarindo, a super long beach with options for beginners out to the left at Capitan Suizo and more advanced options closer to the middle and right the beach.
Playa Naranjo, AKA Witch’s Rock is located way out in Santa RosaNational Park and is very difficult to access by land. However, those of you very dedicated to surfing will not want to miss the opportunity to catch a boat and check this spot out although it is one of the most well-known waves, it doesn’t ever get crowded thanks to the inaccessibility. That said, this wave is definitely for those of you who are experienced as well as brave!
Also in this area is Potrero Grande Beach/Ollies point, powerful, fast and hollow waves in a super remote location with a rocky floor and a right point break with waves stretching up to 270m across, waves ranging from one to three meters make it more suitable for experienced riders, this place is also only accessible by boat.
Playa Avellanas is a ten km drive away from town and also has some stellar waves for people of all levels. There are five wave peaks to choose from, catering to beginners and experts alike. You can also choose to walk over to Playa Langosta), although this is definitely for the braver surfers, as there are crocodiles milling about closer to the river mouth.
The same goes if you choose to check out Playa Grande. Crocodiles are a common factor when it comes to surfing in the Guanacaste region, but that has yet to stop people from enjoying the waves! If you continue on past Playa Avellanas, you will reach Playa Negra, a 45-minute drive south of Tamarindo, where the waves are quite fast and strong; perfect for adrenaline junkies!
One of the best party hostels in Costa Rica, Hostel Selina is scattered all around Latin America. Backpackers have a great experience there, and really enjoyed themselves when staying at Selina. Due to the fact that it’s a chain, they have more funds available to fully deck out the place, making it not only aesthetically appealing but also a super great spot to make friends and socialize.
These hostels tend to have more of a party vibe, so if that is what you’re looking for it is the perfect place for you! Dorm rooms range from fifteen to thirty euros, depending on how many people are in the room and whether you opt to have breakfast included, while a private room is between 75 and 95.
The one in tamarindo does have surfboards you can rent. As a general rule of thumb, any town along the coast in Costa Rica is sure to have surf gear rentals, so don’t worry too much about planning around that before you arrive.
More of a bed and breakfast vibe, dorms are around 25 euros a night while a private room is a whopping 135, so the pricing is a bit higher, but this is more of an intimate, luxurious option compared to the party vibes of Selina.
Bonga House has a swimming pool, AC and ceiling fans, an outdoor terrace and even a booke xchange. There is an airport shuttle as well as 24hour security, so if you’re nervous about safety it’s a good bet! That said, in my time spent living in Tamarindo, I always felt completely safe and at ease.
Up next we have the region of Nosara. Fair warning, Nosara can be quite a pain to get to via public transportation, and if you rent a car be prepared for some incredibly bumpy and rugged terrain. That said, Playa Guionesis absolutely massive, stretching 7 kilometers and allowing opportunities for surfers of all levels to enjoy some good waves.
This is also one of the most popular tourist destinations, so there are a lot of people out on the water and many surf schools competing for the best sections of the beach. Nosara is famous for both surfing and yoga, so take advantage of the wide range of yoga classes offered while you’re here!
This area is so far removed from any other towns, that the prices can also get pretty high.
Selina Hostel Nosara is around five euros per night. Although it is equally as nice as any other location, this Nosara beach hostel is also a solid 25-minute walk down to the beach. You can choose to have breakfast included for an extra fee and rest assured that you will have access to a security locker, AC, swimming pool, hot showers, and a microwave.
Towels are not included though, so be prepared to pay an extra fee or travel on your own- microfiber towels are a great addition to your packing list, as they take up almost no space and are also awesome on the beach as they don’t collect nearly as much sand as regular towels.
Hostel Nicoa is an hour’s walk or a 10-minute drive/taxi ride away from the beach. With this in mind, it is very highly reviewed and run entirely by locals, so it offers an opportunity to escape the tourist trap of Nosara and be quite close to the SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary.
They include free breakfasts as well as parking, security lockers, adaptors, kitchen, swimming pool, BBQ, book exchange, an outdoor terrace, AC, hot showers, 24h reception, tours and travel desk, and airport transfers! One night here will cost you around 20-25euros so this is definitely a great option if you’re planning on renting a car during your trip!
Up next we have the Nicoya Peninsula! There are quite a few beaches to check out in this area, but be prepared to either spend a lot on taxis or rent a car, or have lots of patience with public transport. You will find plenty of ex-pats here, people who came to check out the waves on a vacation and never left.
Within this area, the most popular beaches are Playa Manzanillo, Playa Santa Teresa, and Mal Pais.
Here at Selina Hostel Santa Teresa, the dorm room ranges from 25-35 euros. Although the reviews make this specific location out to be a little less sociable, so possibly it is not the best option for solo travelers or those of you looking to make friends.
Compared to the other Selina locations they have a lower value for your money rating and atmosphere, but the location is still quite convenient. Breakfast is not included in the price for a room, although they do have bikes for hire, luggage storage, board games and a pool table, and a desk for booking tours and trips.
It has a perfect location and it is 2 km away from Hostel Dos Monos South.
Another hostel is Hostel La Posada! Ranging in price from eighteen to sixty euros per night, depending on whether you opt for basic or deluxe, this hostel has great reviews and is very close to the beach. A big plus is their fully equipped kitchen, as well as a bar and billiards table, hammocks, and a lounge with a very laid-back vibe to make friends and connect with other travelers- something many reviews mention as being the reason they stayed longer than planned.
All of the rooms have WIFI, AC, Cable TV, a security box, and hot showers. They have adaptors, a BBQ, book exchange, parking, a swimming pool, and it is also wheelchair friendly!
On your way down south towards Jaco and Uvita, you will pass the province of Puntarenas, and the Playa Boca Barranca which has the second-longest left-hand wave in the country and is quite popular amongst longboarders and bodyboarders as well. This area doesn’t have too many hostel options, so we would recommend maybe stopping here for the day to surf and enjoy but heading down to Jaco for accommodation.
Upon arrival at Jaco, check out the Playa Jaco which is perfect for beginners and offers both right and left-hand waves, although this does make it quite crowded. Playa Hermosa is just ten kilometers south of Jaco and has consistent waves for intermediate and advanced surfers alike, reaching waves of up to thirteen feet and offering many opportunities for barrels- not recommended for beginners.
One perk here is that because of the strong surf, the beach doesn’t get crowded and you can have way more opportunities to catch a wave. Make sure you don’t confuse this beach with the other Playa Hermosa, located just north of Coco- that beach has no waves at all. And while you are there, you can also drop to Marino Ballena National Park.
Looking for the best hostel in Jaco? Selina Hostel Jaco has dorms at 17 to 22 euros per night, this specific location of the branch offers yoga and salsa lessons daily, as well as movie nights and a swimming pool to socialize at.
The hostel also has security lockers, meeting rooms, bike parking, a swimming pool and outdoor terrace, airport transfers, 24h security, and a travel desk to help you plan and organize your time in the area.
Like most of the other locations, here you will find a restaurant and bar to eat in if you don’t feel like wandering around the city. This is your kind of spot if you’re looking to make friends and have a more active stay.
Dorms range from 17-23 euros per night, while private rooms are between forty and sixty, and this place scores high in terms of bang for your buck. Although it is a little over two kilometers away from the city center, it has super high ratings, is a great place to rest and relax, and is a mere one hundred and fifty meters from the beach.
There are some restaurants nearby as well as some really nice hiking trails to explore in your downtime. Casajungla Hostel has free breakfast and parking, luggage storage, airport transfers, and shuttles, 24h reception, bike hire, and a tour desk, a common room, adaptors, cable TV, book exchange, outdoor terrace and BBQ, ceiling fans, as well as towels.
Talk about two-for-one! Not only does Room2Board offers accommodation, but it is only a kilometer and a half from the city center.
Dorm rooms are between 17-25 euros per night, while a private room is between 6-8 euros per night, depending on how luxurious a stay you want.
Breakfast is not included, but you do have free towels and parking, surfboard storage, laundry, tour office, swimming pool, cinema room, foosball tables, a rooftop bar with rocking chairs and hammocks, yoga classes twice a day, and it has won awards three years in a row for being a stellar hostel!
They offer SUP lessons as well as surf lessons and rentals and aim for a very sociable atmosphere so get ready to make some friends.
Between Jaco and Dominical, you have Playa Espadilla which is worth checking out if you’re in the area. The south section of the beach is perfect for beginners, while those of you with more experience will enjoy checking out the northern part.
Folks, this spot was one of my absolute favorites during my time spent in this gorgeous country because the Manuel Antonio National Park is an absolute gem! I saw sloths, toucans, all kinds of beautiful birds, and some really impressive nature.
Ladies and gentlemen presenting, once more, Hostel Selina Manuel Antonio! The price range is from 18-28 euros a night for dorms, and between 85 and one hundred and eighty for privates.
This Manuel Antonio hostel is located twenty minutes walking from the beach and boasts that super fun social vibe as its other locations thanks to the yoga deck with daily classes, fully equipped kitchen, cinema room, restaurant, bar, and outdoor terrace.
There are board games and a foosball table to wind down after a long day of surfing. It also offers security lockers, book exchange, swimming pool, AC, laundry, tour desk airport transfers, and 24h security.
Although it is a solid hour walk from the beach, if you have a car this hostel is definitely worth checking out. Planet B Hostel is super highly rated, quite cheap, offers vegan breakfasts, yoga, all kinds of tours and classes, and was built with so much love that you can really feel the relaxing vibes as soon as you step through the door.
Private rooms are around 63 euros a night, while dorms start as low as thirteen and range up to eighteen.
Further down you have the areas of Dominical and Uvita, two towns quite famous for their waves and hippie vibes. Playa Dominical has very fast and hollow waves, resulting in closeouts risky for both surfer and board.
The town itself is very surfer friendly, with lots of cool shops and restaurants to check out while you’re there, without being overwhelmingly touristy. It’s charming and quaint, an entirely different world from the party atmosphere of Tamarindo.
Super close to the city center and very highly rated, people rant about how clean and welcoming this hostel is and many even say it is the best hostel they have ever stayed at.
Breakfast isn’t included in Cool Vibes Beach Hostel, but they have a cafe where you can grab some food before heading out for a morning surf, as well as hot showers, security lockers, and cable TV.
While it doesn’t have nearly as many gadgets and technology to distract you but in all honesty, this is such a nice area to explore and just chill in that I can assure you, you won’t feel like you’re missing out. Dorms are around nineteen euros a night while privates range betweenc35-55.
Be sure to book in advance, this place gets filled up quickly!
Rated lower than Cool Vibes, Piramys Hostel and Tour Agency isn’t quite as clean or luxurious in its facilities, but people still seem to have a good time staying here, saying that while it wasn’t the cleanest or most comfortable, the staff are really helpful and quick to set you up with whatever tours or materials you may need.
They have a restaurant, bar, and cafe as well as security lockers, book exchange, ceiling fans, hot showers, a common area, and outdoor terrace, as well as bike hire and a travel office, plus late checkout! Dorms are between twelve and fourteen euros while privates range from forty to eighty.
If we move further down to the Osa Peninsula, which is quite the hidden gem- many don’t even think to check out this area which ensures that the beaches are quite empty and offer opportunities for beginners and experienced surfers alike to enjoy some fantastic surf breaks, barrels, and rolls.
This section of Costa Rica is absolutely magical- getting there requires taking a one-hour boat trip from Sierpe, or making sure you rent a very powerful car to power through the bumpy terrain. During the rainy season, there is a river that fills up quite a bit and can cause trouble making it over to the other side, so make sure you do your research beforehand and pay for that extra car insurance no matter how pricey it may be. That said, it is probably the most breathtaking drive I have ever been on, and well worth checking out if you have the time and resources.
Although Drake Bay itself doesn’t have waves, you can take a 22-minute boat ride to the part of the peninsula directly facing the pacific, where you will find many incredible wave breaks. Just be aware that these beaches and waves are usually off wild and unridden sandbars, and may not be the safest. This section of CR offers the best waves during the summer months, with May standing out as the ultimate time to surf.
While there, you can check out the Rio Terraba Watermouth, one of the largest rivers of Costa Rica with some crocs and sharks scattered amongst the rip currents and waves breaking about 500m from the river mouth- only accessible by boat making it an unpopular spot to surf.
Cabo Matapalo is definitely more crowded with its three peaks and waves breaking for up to 300m, a swell is a must in order to take advantage of the waves, and make sure to watch out for boulders and ledges along the beach.
Matapalo Backwash can be reachable through either a boat trip or an hour and a half 4×4 drive out. This beach is marked by a giant rock sticking up in the lineup and requires the waves to be head-high or more to surf, although its remote location at the tip of the peninsula makes it hard to get to, you will be rewarded with empty waves.
Pan Dulce/Sweet Bread is the third break at the tip of the peninsula that requires a really big swell to break, but under the right conditions it can go for over 300m, best right before or after low tide, and the easiest access is from Pavones by boat.
Playa Zancudo/Mosquito beach is about 1 1-hour drive from Golfito. It’s a beach break off a huge river mouth with big sandbars building up whenever there’s a decent swell, best during high tides and a big south/southwest swell, not crowded since it’s more famous for fishing than surfing.
When you come to Drake Bay, be sure to bring cash! There are no ATMs here so make sure you bring plenty, as it’s always better to have too much than not to bring enough and end up missing out on some incredible experiences- the rainforest here is famous for being incredibly diverse and gorgeous.
If you want to explore the Corcovado national park, make sure to get reservations well in advance, at least a month during high tourist season, and maybe stock up on some food before heading over as the prices in this super remote area can get quite high.
Two and a half kilometers from the city center, this place offers all kinds of tours and excursions, free coffee, lockers to keep your stuff safe, and a mere 2-minute walk to the beach. Martina’s Place is wheelchair friendly, 24h security, wake-up calls, luggage storage, hot showers, a book exchange, ceiling fans, a cafe to grab some food, or you can cook in the communal kitchen and hang out on the outdoor terrace while playing board games.
Dorms are around fourteen euros a night, while private rooms range from twenty to fifty, and the place comes highly rated for its cleanliness and the friendly staff.
Located inside the jungle, Corcovado Jungle Hostel offers meals three times a day and gives you a chance to get off the beaten path. You can share a tent between two people for about 26 euros, or opt for a dorm at 13, and they provide plenty of options for adventures and tours so you definitely won’t be bored!
They have a common room as well as some basics for cooking and storing food during your stay, as well as an outdoor terrace, 24h reception, airport transfers, a travel desk, a bar, a restaurant, and a cafe for munching throughout the day. Towels are not included, so either bring your own or some extra cash to rent one.
Corcovado Foundation Biohostel is all about keeping this part of paradise clean and well taken care of- all profits go right back into funding environmental projects in Corcovado park, and it’s super clean with exceptionally friendly staff. They have a yoga deck overlooking the ocean and vegan/vegetarian options to choose from at the bar.
Dorms are around eighteen euros per night while private rooms are between 34-44. This hostel is located in El Progreso, a very small and remote town that isn’t really touristic, so make sure you’re okay with either walking twenty minutes to the beach or paying fifteen euros to the main town when you want to go out.
That said, they have free airport transfers and towels, a BBQ, hot showers, ceiling fans, a washing machine, security lockers, bike hire, board games, 24h security, and a travel desk.
Playa Pavones (March- November), home to the second-longest left-hand wave in the world, is located in the south of Costa Rica bordering Panama. You can ride this wave for up to a minute, but make sure your paddling skills are up for it. Although it’s a great spot for surfing, there really isn’t much else to do in this area, so keep that in mind when you’re planning your trip!
People are quite happy with the garden and beachfront location, as well as friendly staff and an airport shuttle. Dorms are around 26 euros a night while private rooms range from 58-86 euros and they do a great job setting you up with tours and rentals.
Caza Olas has a picnic area as well as a shared kitchen and offers all kinds of activities including walking tours, water sports facilities on site, snorkeling, horseback riding, hiking, and fishing.
In Cabinas Carol, breakfast included, this seems to be a cheaper option overall, covering around 34-44 euros for a private cabin. People rave about how comfortable the cabins are, and how nice it is to cook in the outdoor kitchen, as well as having an awesome location and daily yoga classes.
Many people ended up staying longer than planned because they enjoyed the atmosphere so much, often gathering with other guests in the outdoor kitchen to chat and swap stories from their trip.
Another perk is the surfing is quite close, and the staff is happy to go above and beyond to make sure you are taken care of- one guest even mentioned how much the host helped them when they got sick and needed a doctor.
We have listed the best hostels Costa Rica has to offer! But you know it, Costa has more hostels for you. Take a look at these hostels and start planning your vacation.
Monteverde Rustic Lodge
The enchanting Monteverde Rustic Lodge may be found in Monteverde, Costa Rica. This lodge is set in the mountains. It provides free breakfast in the form of a homemade style meal, in addition to free Wi-Fi.
The apartments are decorated in a rustic manner and provide views of the surrounding garden. A shower is included in each of the private bathrooms.
There are a variety of dining choices nearby, in addition to a grocery store, and the Monteverde Rustic Lodge is just a 5-minute drive away.
The Monteverde Rustic Lodge has a tour desk that can help guests plan activities like canopy tours, night walks, and horseback riding excursions in the stunning Monteverde Cloud Forest.
This hostel is just 3.6 km from the base of Arenal Volcano, and it has free Wi-Fi, baggage storage, and a snack bar. There is also a swimming pool for guests to use.
Shared dorm rooms and tents for up to 2 people are available at Arenal Backpackers Resort. Lockers and central air conditioning are standard in the dorms. Towels and soap are provided at no cost in the communal bathrooms and showers.
There is a restaurant at Arenal that offers local specialties, as well as a bar where guests may unwind after a day of sightseeing.
In addition to a round-the-clock front desk, there are sun decks and laundry facilities available to guests. The hostel can set you up on a number of different excursions, such as trips to the nearby La Fortuna Waterfall and hot springs, as well as treks up the volcano, river rafting, horseback riding, and canopy walks.
It takes 16 minutes to get to Arenal Lake, and just 14 minutes to go to the La Fortuna Waterfall. Arenal Backpackers Resort is about a two-hour drive from Juan Santamara International Airport.
San José, the biggest city in Costa Rica, is home to TripOn Open House. The hostel provides its visitors with free breakfast and free access to the hostel’s WiFi network.
There are private bathrooms in each room, and guests may use the complimentary amenities provided. Some of the rooms overlook the garden. Additional amenities include a writing desk and fresh sheets.
There is a welcome desk available at all hours at TripOn Open House. There is also a common washing room and a common lounge for guests to use. The parking at the site is free of charge.
The National Theater of Costa Rica is 1.9 km, the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum is 1.9 mile, and the Metropolitan Cathedral is 2.1 km from the hostel. The distance to Juan Santamara International Airport is 17 km.
At Bolita Rainforest Hostel and Cabinas, you may stay in Dos Brazos de Rio Tigre, about 14 km from Puerto Jimenez. There are 14 km of paths on the property, and they connect to the nearby Corcovado National Park.
Guests may unwind in the lounge area provided in certain apartments. There are rooms available with mountain or garden views. Rooms have access to a common shower and toilet.
The hotel has a common area with a kitchen for its guests to use.
Capital Hostel de Ciudad is a small hostel that pays attention to details to make your stay enjoyable and comfortable, whether it’s short or long.
They are located at La Sabana, which is near to downtown but peaceful. La Sabana Park has a national stadium and an art museum. The park is perfect for sports and outdoor activities. There are also fairs, festivals, and special events.
Airport, downtown San Jose, Escazu, and more are easily accessible. Capital Hostel de Ciudad is on Google and Waze.
Good to know: There are even special discount codes that we only share in our newsletter!
How to book?
The two most popular booking platforms are Booking.com and Hostelworld.com. They list both numerous hostels and cheap accommodations. We wrote here a detailed guide on the best booking sites for hostels.
The coolest App for Hostels comes as well from Hostelworld. It comes with super cool features like you can contact your hostel mates beforehand and make plans together.
All that being said, we highly recommend checking out Hostelz.com before making your final reservation. It is a hostel price comparison. Add your destination and dates, and it will tell you the cheapest places to book your hostel.
Alright, you should have found your accommodation already. Below we list all the frequently asked questions. Have a look.
Is Costa Rica good for beginner surfers?
Costa Rica has the best waves that are perfect for beginners. It has beautiful beaches, mild water year-round, and few travel restrictions for surfers.
Are shark attacks common in Costa Rica?
Attacks by sharks in Costa Rica are exceedingly uncommon, particularly when they are unprovoked; nonetheless, a Tiger shark may attack if it feels threatened while you are swimming or diving in the country's waters.
What are the best hostels in San Jose?
All of the absolute best hostels in San Jose are listed in this guide! Here they are again:
Well, ladies and gentlemen, that just about wraps it up for today! We hope you found all the information you were looking for and wish you the best of luck on your travels and explorations of this gorgeous country. Make sure to take advantage of the warm water and fit in some sunrise and sunset surfs, check out the amazing food options, and make some local friends!
Before we part, we do want to make sure you’re aware that while most of Central America is quite cheap and maybe not so safe, in Costa Rica, you can be assured that the prices may seem quite similar to the US, and the worst that will happen is maybe getting your stuff stolen.
Keep in mind that rather than summer and winter, Costa Rica has dry and rainy seasons and while both have their pros and cons, make sure you do some research to decide what works best for you.
Pack your sunscreen and a rain jacket and prepare to be blown away by stunning nature and stellar waves!
Perhaps we missed an epic surf hostel that deserves to be on this list?
So, let us know!
Just drop us a line and we will get back to you asap.
Over to you
Do you have any questions left, maybe doubts? Then please leave it in the comment below. We are very keen to help you - and actually you would even do us a favor!
Your question will help us to improve this Costa Rica guide.
Last note: Our commitment
This is a genuine article to help you travel a bit smarter, and find the best place on a budget! We will never recommend you any place we haven’t evaluated or are not convinced by. We are constantly updating all our guides to keep them as fresh and accurate as possible.
Safe travels, The Hostelgeeks
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