Why We Love Pavones
Why would anyone drive 8 hours from San Jose when there are so many closer surf destinations in Costa Rica? I was reluctant to write this post because I want to keep this epic destination a secret, but the fact is, whether I tell you about it or not, this sleepy little town is starting to make some noise, and more people than me will be talking about it.
On our recent visit to Pavones we were shocked at how much more of the road was paved and how much faster it was to get here even compared to a year ago. The new legit concrete bridge was up (which was insane considering it used to be just another two plank wooden bridge) and finished after recent heavy rains had the washed the old wooden one away. The Super (AKA grocery store) had expanded, and much to many people’s dismay, there are condos in the process of being built directly across from the Pavones Point. Whether people like it or not, change is happening fast in this tiny surf town.
So what is it about this town that would cause so much money to be poured into building roads and buildings?
Let’s start with the obvious, surf.
Sometimes we think surf trips are only for expert surfers in search of fast waves and getting barreled. But surf trips can be for anyone looking for adventure, exercise, creating new experiences, and living A Playful Life. The important thing is to match the wave with your skill and that’s one of the many reasons I love Pavones.
This wave really is an incredible wave, but changes often and you should know your abilities and where you should paddle out.
If you are a beginner, don’t paddle out at the point. Stick to the area north of the river mouth where the wave comes in smaller. The size of the swell makes a huge difference. On a smaller swell, under 5 foot), this area will often be manageable, but on a big swell you’d be better off driving north 15 minutes to Salas. If you are unsure, ask first. Many locals speak English and there are plenty of American part-time-locals to ask if not.
If you are an intermediate surfer like us, you are probably hoping for the 5-7 foot swell. On a SSW swell and low winds, the angle of wave at pavones makes for a smooth take off and a long ride. It can get competitive and fast, but both times when we were there the surf was in the 3-6 foot range and very tolerable.
What about when the surfs not firing or your shoulders need a break?
That’s the second reason we love coming here– the nature and solitude.
Lying in the hammock listing to the scarlet macaws flying overhead. Pavones is not nearly as Americanized as cities like Tamarindo, Jaco, or Dominical, which we really don’t enjoy, so it’s nice to be able to feel like you are in pure, rugged, nature and jungle. Buttttt … If you’re like me, there’s only so much lying around you can do. When you get bored there’s hiking and yoga for you to do all along the Pavones/Punta Banco coast.
Now hiking is quite adventurous here and you might want to consider taking a guide with you. You must beware of scorpions, bullet ants, and snakes at all times. But don’t worry, the rewards surpass the slight danger. You’ll surely see monkeys, macaws, butterflies, capybaras, and even coatis.
There are many of yoga retreats down here. The one at the hostel we stay at, Casa Marea Alta, seems to have a fun one (not to mention their awesome outdoor yoga deck). There are a bunch of other ones though, including The Yoga Farm, a sustainable farm that you can voluntarily work at and receive for room, board, and yoga for a reduced rate, and Shooting Star Studio which is closer to Pavones town.