Boca Barranca is the second longest left in Costa Rica, after Pavones, and one of the longest lefts in the world. It is a point break at the rivermouth of the Barranca River that picks up big southwest swells that come into the Gulf of Nicoya. The paddle through the San Jose runoff has always been a negative aspect of surfing Barranca but it has improved over the years and it is well worth it when the swell is big. Because it is a relatively easy trip from San Jose, and Jaco, it is often quite crowded with surfers there for the day, along with the locals.
The drift is serious but tends to spread people out in the lineup. Waves can break to the pier and after a long ride, sometimes when it is really working that can be as much as a kilometer, it is best to just walk back to the take off area.
It is an excellent longboard wave but fun for everyone. It works best with a big south/southwest swell. It is best to get on it early to catch glass and avoid crowds. The early afternoon usually brings onshore winds.
There is a parking area and showers.
The easiest route to Barranca is the new highway from San Jose to Caldera. From the airport area Hwy 1, or the Carretara Interamericana north to Puntaranous will get you there quickly and easily.
From Jaco it is 2 kms past Caldera.
The water at Boca Barranca can be VERY dirty, especially during the rainy season when who knows what gets washed down the river from San Jose and the Central Valley. Be sure to shower THOROUGHLY after your session.
Surf Report can be found at:
Just down the road from Boca Barranca is Caldera and is worth a mention. While it isn't the kind of wave that brings surfers to Costa Rica from all over the world, it does produce wedging barrels and pounding closeouts. The water is dirty and full of sand that the swell dredges up. It is best at head high to two feet overhead. You will find a bunch of bodyboarders and locals there.
Wave Type - Left Rivermouth
Bottom - Uneven Reef/Sand
Swell Window - South/Southwest
Tide - Low to Mid
Wind - East