For many surfers, the Caribbean is easier to get to than the Pacific, so it’s a much better option for your budget and time.
You may be very surprised to find there are many exceptional beaches for surfing in the Caribbean!
Some islands are more known for offering surfing lessons for beginners, while others are more known for larger waves for the more advanced surfers.
Here are the top surfing destinations in the Caribbean: Puerto Rico, Barbados, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, and Costa Rica.
Puerto Rico is #1 on the list as it’s known as the Surfing Capital of the Caribbean. The best surfing in Puerto Rico is on the north and northwest coasts during the winter months.
Vieques Island, Rincón, and Aguadilla are the three main destinations with Rincón having one of the best surf schools in the Caribbean.
Rincón Surf School is known for their excellent instructors who will teach beginners or those who just need a refresher course with private or group lessons.
Another surfing school is Puntas Surf School. Sandy Beach is one of the best beaches for surfing for all levels of expertise.
Another very popular island for surfing in Barbados. Surfers come to the island from all over the world to surf the popular Soup Bowl, also known as the crown jewel.
The Soup Bowl is near the town of Bathsheba on the east coast. It’s famous for its big surf and heavy barrels. Waves will break in 7 ft. of water on a rock shelf. Here is a short video of The Soup Bowl.
There are several other very well-loved surfing spots on the south part of the island: Freights Bay, Brandens, and South Point.
Freights Bay is one of the safest places to surf on the south portion of the island, especially for beginners.
On the west side, you’ll find Batts Rock, Duppy’s, Maycocks, and Tropicana. Any of these are great surfing spots, with Duppy’s being a big favorite!
Is this a surprise to find Jamaica making the list? Jamaica is an excellent place to visit if you’re just learning to surf.
With plenty of surf shops and camps along the coast, the trade winds provide year-round surfing.
The waves are usually not too intense, making it a friendlier place for beginners. One of Jamaica’s more famous places to surf is Makka Beach. Located near Kingston, it’s the only beach to have hosted a pro surfing contest.
This beach is more suited for intermediate or expert surfers. Jamaica has a secret spot for surfing, known as DNA, and is only for well-advanced surfers.
Copa or Bull Bay is where the locals go surfing. However, Boston Bay is the beach that is on everyone’s list because the surfing is good for every level.
The Dominican Republic offers more coastline than any other island and being on both the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean is a big bonus!
Puerta Plata, located on the island’s north side, is where most surfers tend to go in the fall and winter months.
Cabarete is a small village, not far from Puerta Plata and is where you’ll find the Cabarete Surf Camp.
One of the best places to surf is La Boya, especially for beginners. Encuentro Main break is the most consistent place to surf on the island’s northern coast.
Preciosa and el Barco are known for their quality waves and considered top spots for experienced surfers.
The Bahamas is a great place to surf year-round but can be exceptionally good during hurricane season, which is late summer and fall.
The Out Islands of Abaco, Eleuthera, and Cat are extraordinary due to their beaches facing in a northern direction.
Water temperatures usually range in the 80s, making it very pleasant for surfing.
Eleuthera Beach is the Bahama’s most consistent spot for surfing and is popular for shortboards, funboards, longboards, and fish.
The skill level is more for Intermediate or advanced surfers, but watch out for sharks and reef patches.
The British Virgin Islands
The best time to visit the British Virgin Islands for surfing is from November to March when the waves can run from six to eight feet or higher.
Tortola, one of the more popular islands, has world-class surfing with white sandy beaches in a beautiful tropical setting.
On the west end is Apple Bay, the best-known area for surfing. All levels will find the surfing consistently good.
Josiah’s Bay is on the far northeast corner of the island and has the best waves from fall to early spring.
Funboards are best to use in this very clean and clear water with its sandy bottom.
Costa Rica is one of the safer destinations in Central America with the best time to surf between October and April, also their hot and dry season.
There are several very good surfing spots on Costa Rica’s Caribbean side. Playa Bonita is where the Limon locals go for larger wave action.
Cahuita – Black Beach offers smaller waves, so it’s better for beginner levels. There are also surf shops if you find you need boards or other equipment, such as Salsa Brava Surf Shop and Cutback Surf Shop, both in Puerto Viejo.
Although the islands in the Caribbean are not as popular for surfers as the West Coast of the United States or the Hawaiian islands, several islands in the Caribbean offer excellent surfing possibilities.
Puerto Rica has some of the best surfing, schools, and instructors, but the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and Costa Rica all offer prime surfing spots.
Which island do you want to visit? Chances are very good one of these islands has a beach waiting for you and your surfboard!