BOCA BARRANCA

Croc­o­diles can be a prob­lem and care should be used when surf­ing The Boca.

Howler Magazine - - Surfing Costa Rica - by Howler Staff

Boca Barranca is Costa Rica's sec­ond-long­est wave, some­times up to a kilo­me­ter in length. It is also con­sid­ered one of the best long­board­ing waves in the world. But, when the sand­bars align cor­rectly, it is a great wave for all types of surf­ing, in­clud­ing high-per­for­mance. It of­fers fun carv­ing sec­tions, ver­ti­cal lips and oc­ca­sional short bar­rels.

You will be surf­ing with some of the 55- to 75-year-old pioneers and leg­ends of Costa Ri­can surf­ing. The av­er­age crowd is 25 to 30, very com­pet­i­tive hard­core surfers, so pay at­ten­tion and don't come with an at­ti­tude.

Lo­cated very close to Puntare­nas, which is known for its unique ocean wa­ter scent, Boca Barranca is most cer­tainly one of the smelli­est places to surf in the coun­try. Like most river mouths in Costa Rica, croc­o­diles can be a prob­lem and care should be used when surf­ing here.

How to get there

The Boca is lo­cated at the Barranca river mouth off the main high­way to and from San José, be­tween Caldera and Puntare­nas. Just north of the bridge there are a few beach ac­cess roads where you can stop and check the surf. You can check the surf from the bridge, but be aware of the traf­fic. Guarded park­ing is highly rec­om­mended and avail­able di­rectly in front of the break. Also, there are a cou­ple ho­tels nearby where guarded park­ing is avail­able.

Where to surf

The wave is very long, and sim­i­lar to Pavones in that you can take off on a wave any­where down the line. Of course the most de­sired take­off zone is in front of the river mouth, where the wave be­gins, but cur­rents will of­ten push you north and away from this area. Dur­ing big south swells, a one-kilo­me­ter ride is pos­si­ble. At this point it's best to walk back up the beach to­wards the river mouth and pad­dle out from there.

It's now sur­fa­ble at all tides, due to sand­bar con­di­tions. Get on it early to avoid crowds and on­shore winds that nor­mally ar­rive as early as 9 a.m. Oc­ca­sion­ally off-shores will blow all day, and the rainy sea­son can bring after­noon glass-off and smaller crowds.

Lo­cal com­pa­nies and events

Many ho­tels are to be found in the gen­eral area, and Caldera is known to have some great seafood restau­rants. Bring your surf­ing needs with you or Jacó Beach is 45 minutes away.

The fa­mous Rab­bit Kekai Long­board con­test is of­ten held here. Hun­dreds of surfers come from around the world for this long­board con­test on one of the long­est and best long­board waves in the world.

Uniden­ti­fied surfer sets up for re-en­try. Photo: Ser­gio Que­sada

The Boca pro­vides an un­usual view of the pueblo be­hind the wave as it pushes on and on. Photo: Ser­gio Que­sada

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