PLAYA NE­GRA

Howler Magazine - - & Adventure Travel - By Howler Staff Pho­tos: Emil­iano Ras

Playa Ne­gra is a world-renowned surf spot and Gua­nacaste's most fa­mous reef break. Fea­tured in mag­a­zines, surf videos and even the movie “End­less Sum­mer,” it has been a fo­cal point of Costa Ri­can surf­ing for decades. Orig­i­nally dis­cov­ered and surfed in the 1970s and then rid­den mainly with long­boards, Playa Ne­gra is now surfed by all. Young and old, new-school and old­school, surfers from all over the world hit the waves with all kinds of dif­fer­ent boards. From world-fa­mous long­boarder pros get­ting toes on the nose bar­rels to groms throw­ing air 360s, you can find it all at Playa Ne­gra. Just be care­ful on big swells and at low tide — it's a se­ri­ous wave that has claimed many bro­ken boards, bloody wipe­outs and even the life of an ex­pe­ri­enced surfer.

How to get there

Playa Ne­gra is a 30-minute drive south of Ta­marindo. Just past Avel­lanas is the small town of Los Par­gos. The turnoff from there is to the right af­ter the soc­cer field, which leads to the beach at Ho­tel Playa Ne­gra. Here but low tide is a more dan­ger­ous time to surf due to the greater num­ber of ex­posed rocks and much faster waves. At higher tide, the waves slow down and tend to mel­low out. How­ever, when it's re­ally mack­ing, high tide is the best time to surf. The wave mainly breaks to the right, pro­vid­ing bar­rel sec­tions and long walls for carv­ing. The odd left wave will form on dif­fer­ent swell direc­tions, which can also be fun, but watch out for the rocks on the in­side.

Lo­cal com­pa­nies

Ho­tel Playa Ne­gra, at the main reef break site, has a restau­rant, surf shop, bar and swim­ming pool. In the town of Los Par­gos, you'll find many more res­tau­rants, an­other surf shop and a few smaller ho­tels. For fine din­ing, one of the best res­tau­rants in the area is Villa Deveena, fea­tur­ing fresh seafood, French cui­sine and amaz­ing desserts.

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