Best Surf in Central America: The Insider List

October 20, 2021

Where is the best surf in Central America? 

If you’re a seasoned surfer, popular surf spots like Tamarindo, Costa Rica or Puerto Escondido, Mexico probably come to mind. 

As it turns out, some of the best places to surf in Central America are a bit of a well-kept secret. We all know what happens when a surf spot gets too popular– prices go up and the line-up gets crowded.

If you’re the kind of surfer who appreciates getting off the beaten path, here are some of the best surf spots in Central America that you may not know about.

Ready to experience some of the best surf in Central America? Check out our all-inclusive surf resort in Panama!

Playa Venao, Panama

Playa Venao offers some of the best surf in Central America, which is only made better by Venao’s peaceful ambience, diverse community, and laid-back beach vibes.

Not yet discovered by the masses, Playa Venao has been quietly growing in popularity with the international surfing community. Surfers who have traveled far and wide agree– there is no place quite like Playa Venao.

Venao offers a fast and hollow beach break which runs both left and right. Waves can get up to 10 feet high– even higher on occasion– and offer a fairly reliable 4-6 ft range for most of the year. There are also smaller waves that are better suited for beginners. The variety as well as reliability of its waves makes Venao one of the best places to surf in Central America.

There are also plenty of things to do in Playa Venao besides surfing, such as deep sea fishing, whale watching, zip-lining, or taking class at Beach Break Academy– our modern beachfront fitness center. As part of our all-inclusive surf resort, we offer a full schedule of classes each week, ranging from yoga and group fitness classes to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.

If you appreciate great surf, an uncrowded line-up, and a laid-back beach atmosphere, you’ll find Playa Venao to be one of the best surf spots in Central America.

See why people call Beach Break one of the best surf camps in Central America. Explore our all-inclusive surf resort!

Las Penitas, Nicaragua

Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor

Another lesser-known location offering some of the best surf in Central America is Las Penitas, located in Leon, Nicaragua. Known to be beginner- and intermediate-friendly, this charming spot offers a gentle range of waves and relatively less crowds.

The waves are consistent all year long, so whenever you feel the call, Las Penitas is waiting for you. Local businesses offer surf lessons as well as other fun family activities such as horseback riding. Additionally, the restaurants in the area are well-reviewed and provide the perfect place to enjoy a meal and a cold drink after a day full of surfing.

Sipacate, Guatemala

Photo courtesy of Flickr CC

El Paradon might be Guatemala’s most popular surf destination, but Sipcate is also one of the best places to surf in Central America. It’s known for its quality beach break and waves suitable for all skill levels, just about year-round.

Groundswells are responsible for most of the surf in Sipacate, with the best swell direction coming from the southwest. The best time of year for surfing in Sipacate tends to be in the Fall, particularly in November. This is when the waves are at their most surfable and consistent.

While Sipacate may be less popular than El Paradon, the town is actually much larger and offers more infrastructure and services. You can find hotels and hostels of all price ranges in Sipacate, as well as dining options and other tourist attractions.

El Cuco, El Salvador

Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor

Moving on to El Salvador, we find the tiny town of El Cuco, which is home to a beach known as Playa Las Flores. If you are looking for consistency in your waves, Playa Las Flores offers some of the best surf in Central America. It offers a sandy bottom point break and long, peeling waves at an average of 5-8 feet.

Waves in El Cuco are said to break like clockwork, often in the same spot at the same height. If you’re looking to hone more advanced and technical surf skills, El Cuco is one of the best surf spots in Central America. 

For those seeking smaller waves, aim to visit El Cuco during its low season, from May to October. During this time, the waves are less crowded, though just as consistent, and a bit more beginner-friendly.

Pavones, Costa Rica

Photo courtesy of GoVisitCostaRica

Costa Rica has long been known as one of the best places to surf in Central America. The downside of this is that it can get quite crowded, especially at the more popular surf spots. 

While it’s hard to say with sincerity that any surf spots in Costa Rica are not that busy, Pavones is about as close as it gets. The area is relatively difficult to access and isn’t very beginner-friendly, both of which help to cut down on the crowds a bit.

Seasoned surfers who are willing to met the trek are met with waves that are often called “legendary” and can reach up to 16 feet. April to October offers the biggest and most consistent swells, though you can surf pretty much year-round.

Best Surf in Central America: The Insider List

While the best surfing in Central America will always be somewhat subjective, we hope we helped introduce you to some of the lesser-known spots on the list.

If you’re planning your next surf vacation, you really can’t go wrong with any of these spots. They are, after all, some of the best places to surf in Central America.

Of course, we’re happy to help you plan your ideal surf trip at Beach Break Surf Camp, one of the best surf camps in Central America. Explore our all-inclusive surf resort, and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

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