Windsurfing Costa Rica

Windsurfing Resources

The Lake Arenal windsurfing area of Costa Rica is a windsurfer’s paradise, both for beginners considering taking windsurfing lessons and more experienced high-wind surfers.  Spread amongst the two northern Costa Rican provinces of Alajuela and Guanacaste, Lago Arenal is considered one of the top windsurfing spots in the world for high-wind boardsailing. Lake Arenal Windsurfing closeup

Lake Arenal is the ideal place for sending windsurfers sailing across the water with phenomenal speed. The other area for experienced surfers is Bahia Salinas and Puerto Soley, near the border with Nicaragua.  There are also some spots along the Pacific coast that have good wind conditions for practicing the sport, though these are not well established spots. With calmer waters and less intense wind, The Golfo de Papagayo is another good choice for less experienced surfers.

Windsurfing Costa RicaThe best time for windsurfing in Costa Rica is between December and March. The same winds that shake it up in Lake Arenal make their way to Bahía Salinas (known as Bolaños Bay), near La Cruz, Guanacaste. Though better known for stronger winds, Bahia Salinas conditions are not quite as good for windsurfing as Lake Arenal. Or, it could be that it takes a bit more effor tto get further north to Salinas. Either way, this is still another good spot for windsurfing.

Windsurfing Lake Arenal

Nowhere in Central America is the sport of windsurfing better enjoyed than at Lake Arenal, Costa Rica. Lake Arenal is a man-made lake of 85 square kms (33 sq mi) and borders the northern area of the actual Arenal Volcano.  Depth varies between thirty and sixty meters.  Windsurfing in Lake Arenal is safely setup in the northern end of the lake, far away from the hydroelectric water dam setup in the southern part of the lake, near the volcano. The western end of Lake Arenal is one of the world’s premier windsurfing spots, having been compared to Italy’s Lake Garda and the Columbia River Gorge. During the dry season, the wind speed averages 33 miles an hour, a velocity than only experienced windsurfers can handle.

Why is Lake Arenal so popular for windsurfing and kitesurfing on the lake? The warm water, moderate temperatures, predictably strong winds and a simply stunning landscape all add up to possibly the greatest windsurfing conditions anywhere in the world. The trade winds and passionate energy from windmills and local sports enthusiasts combine at Lake Arenal to make the northern part of lake Arenal the top windsurfing spots. You’ll easily enjoy some active sailing, wind-wave jumping, and the raw sense of wind and water amidst rolling green hills, an active volcano, and scenic windmills.
Lake Arenal Resources

The shallow, warm waters provide ideal conditions for windsurfers.  The stronger winds are unusually stable which is part of the area’s appeal.  It’s not unusual to windsurf with one sail size all day.

arenal windsurfersFor those beginners considering taking windsurfing lessons, Lake Arenal is the ideal place for sending surfers sailing across the water with phenomenal speed. There are also some spots along the Pacific coast that have good conditions for practicing the sport. The best area for experienced surfers is Puerto Soley, near the border with Nicaragua, whereas the Golfo de Papagayo is a better area for less experienced surfers, since is features calm waters and less intense wind.

Basic windsurfing equipment can be rented in Lake Arenal at Tico Wind and Tilawa, in Bahia Salinas at the EcoPlaya resort, and at some of the beach resorts in the Papagayo area and along the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.

Windsurf Costa Rica Videos

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Windsurfing in Bahia Salinas

Bahia Salinas Resources

The best and only spot in Bahia Salinas to start your windsurfing adventure is at EcoPlaya. Ecoplaya Hotel & Villas have been host to the Eco-Wind center since 2002 and offer the best option for windsurfing on the Costa Rican Pacific Coast. If you’re considering kitesurfing in Bahía Salinas, you’ll have more options. Consider one of the kitesurf lessons from instructors who teach at Playa Copal or browse any of the hotels in the area that can hook you up.

The spot offers natural conditions for windsurfing with wind and small waves headed directly into the spot. Mild waves, strong winds, and beautiful scenery make this windsurf launch area a great place. There’s also equipment for rent and instruction available, just be sure to call ahead to make arrangements. The gear pad is just 30 meters from the launch beach and well protected.

Top windsurf links

TicoWind (Lake Arenal)
Lake Arenal windsports
EcoPlaya (Bahia Salinas)
Bahia Salinas windsports
Tilawa (Lake Arenal)

Video & Photo

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