Crocodiles can be a problem and care should be used when surfing The Boca.
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.
The Boca provides an unusual view of the pueblo behind the wave as it pushes on and on. Photo: Sergio Quesada