Pavones, Costa Rica: How to Visit this Surfing Paradise

Pavones Costa Rica is a remote beach destination that is also a world-famous surfing destination.

pavones costa rica

The Pavones Costa Rica Vibes

Pavones is about as remote as you can get as far as Costa Rica goes. 

The vibe here is relaxed experienced surfers and raw natural beauty. 

This beach is home to one of the longest left hooks in the world. When there is a double overhead swell it is possible to have up to two minute long rides. 

Basically, it is a nice little beach town, but unless you are coming here to surf, you probably will enjoy other parts of Costa Rica more. 

Background Info About Pavones Costa Rica

Nearest International Airport

Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose

Popular Things to Do

surf, walk the miles of beaches, relax

Best Way to Get Around

Rental car, walking in the downtown area

Best Time of Year to Visit

Dry season is from late December until mid-April

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Thomas (the German) and Sarah (the US-er).

We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and have called sunny Costa Rica home since 2016.

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pavones costa rica beach
pavones costa rica beach
Pavones, Costa Rica: How to Visit this Surfing Paradise
Pavones, Costa Rica: How to Visit this Surfing Paradise

Map Of Pavones

Pavones is located on the south Pacific coast. It is about as far south as you can get in Costa Rica before hitting the Panama border. 

Flights to Costa Rica

Your best option for getting to Pavones, Costa Rica is to fly into San Jose International Airport. The full name is Juan Sanatamaria International Airport. And the airport code is SJO.

If you haven’t booked your flight yet, we suggest using Skyscanner. We consistently find the best rates through their website.

Driving to Pavones Costa Rica

Getting to Pavones is a bit of an adventure. If you opt to drive from San Jose with a rental car it will take about seven hours.

We suggest a 4×4 for this drive because some of the roads in the second half of the drive are not paved. 

If you do this and need a half way point stop, we suggest Dominical as your lunch break. The town of Dominical is very easy to pull off into from the highway and there are plenty of food options. 

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Pavones, Costa Rica: How to Visit this Surfing Paradise

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Otherwise, we like to make a two day trip of this from San Jose and usually spend a few nights in Uvita or Ojochal

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Public Bus to Pavones Costa Rica

The Tracopa bus leaves from downtown San Jose to Golfito every day at 7:00am and 3:30pm. The ride lasts about eight hours.

From Golfito there is a bus to Pavones at 10:30am and 3:30pm.

In other words, you need to take the bus at 7:00am or you will not be able to make the connection in Golfito and will need to spend the night there.

We suggest booking your ticket a day or two in advance to assure you can get on the bus. It often fills up and they won’t take passengers if all seats are full.

The tickets from San Jose are about $15 and you will need to buy a ticket for your surf board. I don’t think it’s more than $5. 

Domestic Flights to Pavones

This is one of the few places in the country where we suggest taking a domestic flight to. From San Jose Airport you can fly domestic to Golfito. 

Sansa airline flies here multiple times a day and the flight will take about one hour.

From Golfito you can arrange transportation from your hotel, or hop on the public bus.

The bus departs at at 10:30am and 3:30pm.

Just note: SANSA does not transport surfboards that are longer than 6’10”


pavones costa rica beach
pavones costa rica beach
pavones costa rica beach

Transportation In Pavones

The town is so small and there really isn’t much to do outside of the town area, so you do not need a rental car here. We suggest just walking around to explore. 

Pavones, Costa Rica: How to Visit this Surfing Paradise

Pavones Costa Rica Weather

Like most of the country, the dry season here runs from mid-December until April or May.

From May until August you can expect afternoon rainstorms which usually last for an hour or two. 

From mid-August until December a lot of things close down because the weather can be really rainy and there aren’t any tourists.

Things to Do in Pavones Costa Rica

Take a Yoga Class

If you need a break from surfing, head to Shooting Star Studio for a yoga class. 

Go Birdwatching

Bring your binoculars here. It is such a remote destination that you can often see tons of unique birds.

Get a Massage

At Shooting Star Studios it is also possible to arrange to get a massage. This is so nice after several days of catching waves. 

Surfing in Pavones Costa Rica

Ok, you most likely want all the surfing details, so I’ll fill you in. 

There are two good surfing spots here.

1. Pavones – The beach in front of the town of Pavones is one of the best surfing spots in the world with what is often considered the longest left in the world ( yea Chicama in Peru likes to try to take that title…but we will let you decide).

When the swell is good you can expect 400 – 900 meter breaks.

Insane right? 

Just note that when the swell hits right this area fills up. You can expect 100+ people in the water.

2. Punto Banco – About 4km south of Pavones. This beach gets wayyy less crowded. The waves aren’t as intense but you can still get some decent lefts and rights. 

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Pavones Restaurants

La BruschettaA simple but delicious place for casual pizza vibes. 

Tico MexThey serve delicious burritos and tacos. Plus the employees are the sweetest and make the atmosphere so welcoming. 

Cafe de la SuerteOur go-to place for salads and fresh juices. 

Pavones Costa Rica Hotels

Pavones PointA collection of really nice houses with a shared pool. This would be a great place to stay with a family or a few couples. 

La PonderosaA really nice property with pool and ocean views. It’s a great place to relax and know that the staff will take good care of you. 

Studio Pilon de PavonesThe rooms are simple, but clean and have everything you will need. There is a pool on the property as well. 

Caza OlasA good budget-friendly option that is located directly on the beach. Our choice for surfers looking to not spend a lot of money. 

Cafe de la Suerta – Located directly on the beach, this is a clean and nice hotel option. 

Vacation Rentals in Pavones

We always love renting a home or villa for our vacation in Costa Rica. This gives you more privacy and allows you the flexibility to cook your own meals.

Note: We try to only ever suggest places with good cancellation policies, but always double-check before booking.

The Bird Perch – A small one bedroom home that can sleep up to 3 guests. We love the deck for morning coffees or enjoying the sunset. 

Private Luxury Villa – I love the modern minimalistic style of this 4 bedroom home that can sleep up to 10 guests. There is a large pool and nice outdoor deck areas. 

Pavones Travel Tips

– There are no ATM’s here and most places only accept cash (colones). So, it is best to get money out before coming here. Also, check with your hotel ahead of time. You may also need to pay for that in cash. 

– There is a small grocery store and a surf shop in town to get all the things you might need. Oh, and you can rent boards if you need. 

Packing for Pavones Costa Rica

Pavones is a really chilled out place. There is no reason to dress nice. 

We suggest packing your stuff in an oversized backpack instead of a suitcase. You may be taking multiple modes of transportation to get here and this will just be easier.

Don’t forget all your surfing gear and keep in mind that this is the southern most point in Costa Rica so the sun is strong strong!

Check out our Pavones Packing List on Amazon for all the essentials. 

Pavones Costa Rica FAQ

How are the mosquitos in Pavones Costa Rica?

During the daytime, the mosquitos won’t typically bother you. After sunset the mosquitos can be bad.

Is Pavones Costa Rica safe?

Yes, generally this village is safe. However, always use caution.

Is Pavones Costa Rica crowded?

Typically, no. Pavones Costa Rica is in such a remote location that it is usually only visited by extreme surf enthusiasts.

Is Pavones Costa Rica hard to surf?

Yes, this destination is best for more advanced surfers. This small village is home to the longest left hook in the world.

Articles About Pavones Costa Rica

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