Article: Winter in Central America: The Best Offseason Surf Travel Destinations
Winter in Central America: The Best Offseason Surf Travel Destinations
The Best Offseason Surf Travel Destinations:
Central America has long been a summer surf travel haven for Americans on both coasts. In recent years, Covid crowds have made some of our favorite south of the border wave hubs feel a bit too much like home. While summer swell season all but guarantees you score, winter, on the other hand, is an often overlooked yet worthwhile time of year in Central America. During the winter, the Papagayo Winds, which blow over Costa Rica, switch directions creating all-day offshore winds at some of our favorite spots. Additionally, the few world-class reef setups on the Caribbean light up with winter North Swells. On the Pacific side, the more exposed beach breaks receive more than enough swell to make the trip worth it, especially considering the favorable wind conditions during the region’s dry season. To find out where to score this winter in Central America, continue reading below.
Southern Nicaragua has been in the limelight for decades thanks to the all-day offshore winds caused by the “Lake Effect.” During the dry season, those all-day offshores can turn to gale-force winds thanks to the Papagayo Winds. In the dry season, the often overlooked north takes the cake as the jewel of Nicaragua. Offseason south swells may be smaller than their rainy season counterparts, but Northern Nicaragua’s premier beach break turns small swells into gold. When larger swells hit, the north has plenty of river mouths and points that can handle size when the beach breaks are maxed out. World class waves and the cheapest prices for food in beer in the region make Northern Nicaragua our go to dry season destination.
Faro Pro Tip: Pack your Faro Poncho to stay warm when the wind picks up. You'll thank yourself, especially when you're trying to dry off after a long session and your shoulders are gassed.
Costa Rica may not be what it used to be. The country’s popularity as a surf travel destination has exploded in the last decade, leading to crowded lineups, touristy surf towns, and mega-resorts lining its shores. Beyond the party hubs of Jaco and Tamarindo and the health and wellness granola town of Nosara, there are still plenty of world-class waves worth visiting, if you know where to look. The offseason offers a much-needed reprieve from the crowds. During the dry season, traveling surfers will find consistent surf at the more exposed north and west-facing breaks in the northern part of the country. Planning a trip to the country’s legendary points will require a bit of strike mission planning.
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Panama is well worth a visit any time of year. The country’s dualling coastlines are littered with fun waves that work year-round. On the Caribbean coast, Bocas del Torro wears the crown as the country’s best dry season surf travel destination. Panama Bocas del Toro is an archipelago off Panama’s Caribbean coast teeming with quality reef breaks. To get around in Bocas, you hire a water taxi to ferry you from island to island and wave to wave through the electric blue Caribbean Sea. Bocas attracts a motley crew of travelers that make for fun nights out after long days in the water.
Guatemala may not be the first country that comes to mind when you think of Central American surf travel, but its beaches are swell magnets that are completely south-facing and out of the shadow of the Galapagos. Guatemala’s main surf town is home to a powerful beach break with quality, hollow waves and only a handful of traveling and local surfers in the water at any given time. The country’s downfall as a surf travel destination is how exposed its south-facing beaches are to powerful swells that often overload the sand bars. During the dry season, however, smaller south swells are spun into beach break barrel perfection with light winds and barely anyone out. Guatemala is a backpacker’s hub through and through, and the coast is no exception. Days in the surf seamlessly transition to bonfire nights, beach parties, and an all-around good time. A surf trip to Guatemala is only the tip of the iceberg in a country teeming with adventure, trips to Antigua, the volcanoes in the interior, and Lake Atitlan are worth sacrificing a few days of waves.
Faro Pro Tip: Organize your surf gear with Faro Fin Wallets & the Faro Canvas Tote! Fins, fin keys, surf wax, sunblock, etc...keep all your essentials close by for your next adventure south of the border.
Wrapping Things Up:
Whether you’re traveling halfway around the world to some far-flung tropical corner of the globe or just driving up the coast, We have surfboard bags that will keep your boards protected for the journey. Sustainably made, crafted by hand, and featuring a timeless style with durable materials. Faro is the ultimate travel partner.