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Surf Spot Costa Rica – Puerto Caldera: Puerto Caldera is one of the most valuable port cities in Costa Rica. International cruises and industrial ships regularly dock and depart from this booming port. Centrally located on Costa Rica’s alluring Pacific coast, it’s a good halfway point between some of the central Pacific’s most sought-after attractions. It’s a fascinating place to spend an afternoon observing life as it unfolds for the coastal locals. Caldera is also host to a rather consistent and hackable jetty break.

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How to Get There

Caldera is a one hour and 18-minute drive from San José or 54 minutes north from Jacó. From Liberia, it takes two hours driving south along the Autopista José María Castro Madriz. Any trip from Guanacaste down to Jacó, Manuel Antonio, Uvita, or the Osa Peninsula runs parallel to the coast and past this famed surf spot.

Where to Surf

The wave in Caldera breaks off of the rock jetties, which you can’t miss as you drive south through Caldera. While this spot breaks right and left, the left is typically significantly better. The wave consistently breaks with south-southwest ground swells and likes an offshore easterly wind. It is best to surf here at a lower tide.

It’s a fascinating place to spend an
afternoon observing life as
it unfolds for the coastal locals.

During the week, there is likely to be few, if any, other surfers. But on the weekend, be prepared for crowds and a heavy population of bodyboarders when a good swell is present. The water here is also quite polluted and full of currents, so be careful when out in the surf.

Local Companies

Caldera is a long town that runs parallel to the ocean. There are multiple restaurants, bars, markets and roadside stands where you can stop and enjoy traditional Costa Rican cuisine. Nemaclys is a famous spot in Caldera. Not only is it a restaurant, but an awe-inspiring panoramic lookout point and site of the best paragliding operation in Costa Rica.

While Caldera is close to Carara National Park, Jacó, Los Sueños and Isla Tortuga, the town itself has far more of a local vibe than a touristy one. On weekends, Costa Rican families flock to the shores to bask in the sun and enjoy treats and drinks sold alongside the beach.

Caldera is famous for its Churchills, the official snack of Puntarenas. Along the beach walkway, you will see multiple small stands set up selling this sweet treat consisting of ice, powdered milk, condensed milk and cola-flavored syrup, plus sliced apples, strawberries, grapes and pineapple. Don’t knock it until you try it! Also along the causeway, you can enjoy a traditional vigorón — a plate of yucca, fried pork rinds, and cabbage salad. Both will surely recharge you for another surf session!

The weekend scene down here is intriguing and if the surf is good, Caldera is a fantastic place to spend the entire day!

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The Howler Magazine
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