San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Big waves

Powerful waves to hit Costa Rica’s Caribbean and Pacific beaches over the weekend

Experts from the University of Costa Rica’s Ocean Science and Limnology Research Center (CIMAR) are warning residents and beachgoers that powerful waves will hit Costa Rican shores on both coasts beginning Friday.

CIMAR’s Ocean Information Director Omar Lizano said strong currents will reach South Pacific beaches on Thursday prompted by a storm that has intensified in Antarctica.

The system will affect most of Costa Rica’s Pacific beaches starting in the early hours on Friday with strong beach breaks and waves every 23 seconds on average.

Beaches most likely to be affected include Hermosa, Esterillos, Palo Seco and Dominical with waves ranging from 3-4 meters (10-13 feet), although Lizano said waves at Pavones beach could reach 5 meters (16 feet).

The large waves will cause strong rip currents, and experts warn beachgoers to take precautionary measures. The warning also applies to small boats in estuaries and river mouths.

Beachfront property owners are also alerted that some flooding might occur along coastal communities due to the rough ocean conditions.

Caribbean beaches will also experience strong waves. Residents and visitors in the province of Limón will likely experience waves up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) on average over the weekend prompted by a low-pressure system that will cause choppy sea conditions. CIMAR forecasts indicate that waves could reach maximum heights of up to 2.7 meters (almost 10 feet).

Wind conditions will not be very strong, but Lizano advises people in Limón to be aware of possible rip currents along most of the coastline.

Sailing in the Caribbean also could be affected. Although the forecasts predict moderate winds up to 11 knots, CIMAR experts warn small boat owners to take precautionary measures, mainly Friday and Sunday, when the tallest waves are expected to hit Limón beaches.

Normal conditions in Limón are expected to return on Monday.

Contact L. Arias at

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