Costa Rica is an adventurer’s paradise with both land and sea-based activities that will keep any outdoor enthusiast happy. With Costa Rica’s amazing wildlife and jungles, as well as its warm waters, its almost impossible not to have great time anywhere there. I’ll assume you have a general idea of what you want to do beyond hitting the water on a SUP, like zip-lining or volcano watching, so here I’m concentrating on just the best SUP areas in Costa Rica.
One of the problems of choosing a destination in Costa Rica is that there are so many places you can go. With two separate coasts offering unique waves, sea life and tours, along with inland river tours, there are a lot of options. I’ve narrowed down 4 of the best places to SUP, not just based on a tour company, but based on level of ‘coolness’ and uniqueness, along with safety so everyone can check them out.
1. Santa Teresa
When it comes to beautiful beaches, waves and jungles, almost nothing beats the Santa Teresa area. This paradise is becoming well known for its beauty, and the fact that there aren’t high-rises encroaching on the beach life. This popular area was once just a small town, but once surfers found it, it boomed into a water-lover’s place to be. Surfing camps, yoga retreats, SUP tours and the entire surfing lifestyle can be found here. Even if you’re not looking for constant adventure, the beaches here are great for simply relaxing and soaking in the sun.
Along with great surf to SUP in, Santa Teresa also gives you some of the best, calm rivers to paddle through. Surrounded by jungle trees and wildlife, you can take a tour up a river which is an experience you’ll never forget.
2. Playa Grande
On the edge of a national park, Playa Grande is a beach area known for its beauty, amazing waves and sea turtles. The beach is located just down the shore from the mecca of surfer towns, Tamarindo. If you surf, this is the area you must hit when in Costa Rica. The waves are constant, and follow a pattern based on the tides, making it the perfect place to surf. When you want to stand up paddle board, this long stretch of beach provides a great view of the jungle coast, and at the north side, ends with a beautiful outcropping of land. The beach is frequented by monkeys and is well known as a nesting area for leatherback turtles.
The beach itself is beautiful and with a little walk you can get away from any crowds and enjoy your own stretch of sand.
3. Playa Negra
Known for its beautiful dark volcanic sands, Playa Negra is a secluded beach accented with rocky outcroppings and tide pools for your to explore. The southern end has a protected area that is great for swimming. The beach was made famous for surfing by a movie called Endless Summer II, but was known well before that by surfers.
4. Lake Arenal
If you’re not really a beach person, or you just can’t make it to the coast of Costa Rica, or perhaps a view of a massive active volcano while you’re on a Stand Up Paddle Board is more of your thing, then you’re in luck. In the middle of Costa Rica lies Lake Arenal, an inland lake made out of an old volcano crater. With views of the amazing (and still mildly active) Arenal volcano, you can paddle the lake’s coast or even trek across it. This area is know for its hiking and kiteboarding, but also lends itself to Supping. Be sure to make time in your schedule after your SUP adventure here to stop by the tiny micro-brewery that is located on a cliff overlooking the lake. The beer is great!