Avellanas, Costa Rica
Avellanas is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Tamarindo area. There is nothing but pristine beach wilderness, shaded by crooked old trees and backed by scrub, mangroves and dry forest. The long ribbon of beach unfolds until Tamarindo's Playa Langosta in the north, and Playa Negra in the south. Some stretches are rocky and feature tide pools, other parts have powdery white coral sand and turquoise water. As the sea bottom drops gently and there aren't many underwater rocks Avellanas is a nice beach for bathing.
For most visitors however the biggest draw of Playa Avellanas lies off shore as it boasts some of Costa Rica's best surf spots drawing surfers from all over the world.
Surf conditions in Avellanas are perfect throughout the year with swells coming in both from the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. Dry season is from December - April with blue skies and steady offshore winds. Avellanas offers a variety of different surf spots spread out along the beach.
In front of Lola's parking lot is La Purruja, a left hand reef break, though not very consistent. In general conditions are best during rainy season.
A few steps north of Lola's is El Parqueo, a beach break with long, smooth waves which make them suitable for less experienced surfers. Dry season months and mid-tide is the best time to surf this spot.
El Palo means "dead tree" referring to a dead mangrove tree that sticks out of the sand. The beach breaks are both lefts and rights, forming little barrels.
In front of the river mouth, El Estero de Avellanas is supposedly one of the best surf spots in Costa Rica. El Estero offers rights and lefts which surf over reef and sandy bottom, forming perfect A-frames. Best surfed in dry season and on a low incoming tide.
The most northern surf spot of Avellanas is across the river mouth, a 20 min walk from Lola's: Little Hawaii is a favorite of local surfers and should only be surfed by experts. The right hander surfs over rocks and can sometimes reach heights of 18 feet. Best surfed on low to medium tide.
Avellanas is just a beach, not a village, and there are no shops around. A scattering of small, laid-back hotels and cabinas cater for visiting surfers, most of them regular visitors of Avellanas. Those who need more luxury find the sprawling resort of a Marriots hotel on Hacienda Pinilla, halfway between Playa Langosta and Avellanas.
The focal point of Avellanas is Lola's beach restaurant which offers stylish and comfortable lounging with a front row view to the surf. On weekends Lola's can be packed with people, on Mondays they have closed.
How to get to Avellanas:
From Tamarindo it's a 16 km drive via Vila Real to Playa Avellanas. Follow the signs to Hacienda Pinilla, from where you continue for another 3 km until Playa Avellanas. If coming from Santa Cruz, take the turnoff in the village of "27 de Abril" and continue to Paraiso where you turn right.
A private bus service from Tamarindo serves the route Avellanas and on to Playa Negra. For schedules and bookings call Avellanas Express: 2653 1400.