Known locally as La Islas de las Damas (Island of the Women) or “Damas Island” for short, this pristine location on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is one of the world’s best surfing spots and a protected natural area teeming with colorful wildlife.
Located just a few miles from the regional capital of Quepos, Damas Island is a small, undeveloped island with an astonishing diversity of flora and fauna. Visitors can see sloths at play in the trees or explore the rich abundance of juvenile fish and other marine species that thrive in the dense network of mangrove roots that circumnavigate the island.
Mangrove forests can be navigated by boat or kayak, a great opportunity to see white-faced monkeys, boa constrictors, and hundreds of bird species that call the island home. Fed by the nutrient-rich waters of the Pacific Ocean, the mangrove forests of Damas Island serve as a protected nursery for hundreds of fish species. The tropical environment is also a haven for gorgeous flowering plants and a wide variety of tree species.
Beyond the many natural attractions of the area, Damas Island is perhaps best known as an uncrowded place to surf. After crossing the tidal estuary in small boats, surfers arrive at a secluded beach that is the perfect staging point for some of the best left and right breaks found anywhere on the planet. Seasonal tidal patterns ensure a steady supply of big swells that offer perfect surfing opportunities for beginners and experienced pros alike. Other nearby surf spots include the river mouth of the Quepos River and the world-famous beaches in and around the Manuel Antonio National Park.
After a thrilling day out on the waves, visitors can relax and enjoy boat or canoe tours of the island and its beautiful mangroves, catching glimpses at a colorful assortment of sponges, oysters, fish, stingrays, and even juvenile black-tipped sharks. Perfect for visitors of all ages, Damas Islands is a true natural paradise and one of the most beautiful wild areas in Costa Rica. It is authentic Costa Rica at its finest.
Quepos can be reached in approximately two and a half hours overland from San Jose or a short domestic flight from the capital. The staging point for Damas Island is approximately 7 kilometers (4.5 miles) northwest of Quepos.
Manuel Antonio Surf School and Camp (MASS) offers comprehensive surfing tours of Damas Island that include personalized surf lessons from a team of experienced local professionals well versed in water safety.