Lonely Planet Writer

World Surfing Games to be held on Costa Rica's Playa Jacó this weekend

Starting on Friday this week, an estimated 100,000 people will descend upon Playa Jacó, Costa Rica to watch the world’s top surfers conquer some of the Pacific’s best waves at the 2016 INA ISA World Surfing games.

Playa Jacó, Costa Rica.
Playa Jacó, Costa Rica. Image by Kyle Kress / CC BY-SA 2.0

The competition’s opening ceremony will be held at 10 am on Saturday and will be followed by the Parade of Nations and Sands of the World Ceremony, in which representatives from each team bring sand from their home country to combine with that of the other participants.

Surfers in the dawn at Playa Jaco, Costa Rica
Surfers in the dawn at Playa Jaco, Costa Rica Image by Shutterstock

Athletes will take to the waves for the next week until the games conclude on 14 August.  The competition events will take place from 7 am to 5 pm each day, and spectators can watch from their beach chairs free of charge. 

The games will also host two live reggae performances: the Costa Rican band Ojo de Buey will perform at 6 pm on 6 August, and the Puerto Rican band Cultura Profética at 8 pm on 13 August.

Organisers are encouraging spectators to arrive at Jacó early to avoid major traffic congestion. More than 1000 parking spots will be available close to the competition site, and attendees can use the Waze app (using the search term “Mundial de Surf”) to find the locations of parking lots, competition areas, and campgrounds.

At the 2015 games, surfer Noe Mar McGonagle took home the gold medal in the men’s division for Costa Rica; his sister, Leilani McGonagle, won the silver medal in the women’s competition.