Pavones (map) is a little sleepy town on the most southern edge of Costa Ricans’ Pacific coast. Why go all the way down there, you might think? Waves are the answer. The second-longest lefthander in the world to be exact. So when swell is coming in, this town is not so sleepy at all, but the place to be in Costa Rica for an endless ride.

Surf photography in Pavones Costa Rica

Bad roads bring you to awesome destinations

It’s a bumpy ride coming down to Pavones. The last 30km are dirt roads and it might just take you two hours for those 30km. A 4×4 is not a luxury here, but a must. The bumpy road and the off-the-grid location make it a place not often visited by loads of tourists. If there’s one thing that makes us surfers happy then it’s world-class waves with not too many people on them. Pavones gives you exactly that. Of course, when swell is predicted, the town fills up. Waves then need to be shared by about 50 people. But hey, have you ever surfed Bali? That’s a quiet day there!

Pavones Surf Specs

But what is all the fuss about, you might think. Well, Pavones is a lefthander seriously competing with Chicama in Peru. If you’re lucky you can ride these waves for about 900 meters and have spaghetti legs by the end of it. There are other spots around if Pavones isn’t working for you. No swell, no problem. Head to Punta Banco for some beautiful lefthanders and even one righthander, and make sure to enjoy the majestic view while in the water. Too much swell for you? Head to Rancho Mar or Saleas and surf those perfect glassy peelers a little smaller than the fast walls of water in Pavones.

Surfer in Pavones Costa Rica
Mokum Surf Club retreat lesson in Costa Rica


But don’t feel intimidated by these specs, even beginners can eat their heart out here. Even though not all spots are beginner-proof, and it is recommended to come in summer (December-January) if you wanna learn how to surf, there are definitely some options here as well.

Did you know we host our own surf retreats here? Come join us and learn to surf on one of the best waves in the world!


Cafe de la Suerte in Pavones Costa Rica

There's more than Pinto

As much fun as it is to spend as much time in the water as possible, you do need to eat, drink and sleep as well. But where? Make sure to sip on a Mango Lassi at Cafe de la Suerte. While you’re there, definitely ask for their chocolate balls and stuff up on their delicious quiche. Then stumble on to Tico Mex to try the margaritas and fish tacos. If you’re craving pizzas (slightly overpriced, but definitely tasty) then head straight to La Pina. Definitely don’t leave Pavones without a visit to Ron’s bbq place; his tuna steak and spare ribs are divine.

Where to stay in Pavones

There are two places we can highly recommend, depending on your preferences. If you don’t mind staying a little further away from Pavones main break, then Rancho Burica is definitely a great place to stay. This beautiful resort right on the beach of Punta Banco is surrounded by jungle (and its friendly inhabitants). Whether you are a bit on a budget or would like a bit more luxury, both needs can be satisfied at this place. The food is mouthwatering good, and the tables are always filled with plenty. You will be assured to recharge here after long surf sessions with both food and hammocks to relax.

Rancho Burica dorm backpackers
Sola Vista Eco Lodge hotel Costa Rica

Sola Vista Eco Lodge

The most beautiful place in town, however, is Sola Vista Eco Lodge. These bamboo houses, up in the trees of Punta Banco give you the most amazing views over, well, basically everything. The ocean, the jungle, the town, the sunset. Their bedroom views seriously can’t be beaten. Add the outdoor showers, animal visitors, incredibly friendly hosts Renato and Denise, and comfy beds, and we’re positive you’ll be just as sold as we are. It’s a short stroll down the hill before you can launch yourself into uncrowded waves. So, what’s not to love?

Pura Vida Pavones

The vibe in Pavones is total pura vida. It’s mostly surfers and nature lovers that make the trip all the way South in Costa Rica. This means there’s a good mix of people from all over the world. The locals are incredibly friendly and laid back (even in the water!), which adds to the fact that almost everyone visiting extends their stay (if not forever). What do you think, worth a visit?

Hasta Pronto,


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Surfer in Pavones Costa Rica

Photos by: Mokum Surf Club ©.

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