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10 Tips for a Costa Rican Surfing Trip

This guy probably isn't the surfing companion you had in mind.
This guy probably isn't the surfing companion you had in mind.

We'd be remiss if we didn't send you on your Costa Rica-surfing way without some serious warnings. While Costa Rica has a low crime rate and is generally an extremely tourist-friendly country, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be aware of what you as a guest -- and a surfer -- are doing.

One thing to watch for as a surfer? Well, we haven't yet mentioned the crocs. Yes, crocodiles do live (and eat) near river-mouth estuaries, so ask locals about the area and dangers before you jump in. In fact, it's a good reminder to ask locals about conditions virtually anytime, especially if you're new: talking to shops and those in the know is absolutely essential for due diligence about a surfing spot. If you're looking at a popular break that looks terrific (and is empty), don't dive in. Ask about conditions; you can't always visually identify riptides, and they account for a huge proportion of Costa Rica's drowning deaths each year [source: Adventure Inn].

Don't forget your sunblock, and remember that petroleum jelly might be a life-saver when it comes to chafing. (A rash guard is also a good idea for both sunburn and abrasive board wax.) You might also want to talk to your doctor before you leave about ear drops, as infections are a pretty common surfing occurrence that can make an otherwise fantastic trip miserable.