Bringing friends or family?
If you're a diehard surfer but you're traveling with your politely disinterested partner or friends, don't put away your board just yet. Costa Rica is a terrific spot for a group with a diversity of interests, and several great surfing beaches are surrounded by culture, shopping or other outdoor activities.
For instance, Playa Jaco is a great beach for surfing (especially May to December, when swells are best), but it's also a tourist-friendly spot for those more interested in other outdoor activities. Eco-tourism is popular there, and horseback rides into the jungle or tours led by University of Costa Rica ecologists are options for those not interested in the surf.
Witches Rock -- a spot on Playa Naranjo -- is an excellent surfing destination, but it'll be appealing for those in your crew who are more interested in exploring on dry land. The beach is actually located within Santa Rosa National Park, where you can hike through jungles to waterfalls, spotting exotic birds and animals along the way. Playa Nancite -- a hike away from Naranjo -- is also home to the Olive Ridley sea turtles. Between September and October, 75,000 turtles will nest, with up to 10,000 at any given time. Solitary turtles can also be spotted during the year, so your non-surfing friends can stay entertained while you venture out [source: Baker].