Morrillo surf throughout the year.
Panama has surf spots like Colorado has ski slopes and the tribe of surfers are as secretive about their favorite waves as backcountry skiers are guarded about their hidden stashes. It's been very interesting and needless to say, hard, really hard, learning this new sport of surfing.
But, like with skiing, once you get comfortable with your abilities, you start to push yourself past the white water (bunny hill), getting brave enough to paddle out past the break (load a lift and ski an entire groomed run), you take endless beatdowns (falling in the snow all day long), you find that one day, you're standing up and catching green waves (powder skiing)! Tried and true smooth green waves (overhead, snorkeling deep powder). You're hooked.
This is when you start to try new waves, new hills and eventually you get invited to a special secret spot. You're in - you've been accepted into the tribe. It's intimidating, exhilarating, likely painful & dangerous but intensely satisfying. So, you need some information.
Here's the beta on surfing Morrillo:
In this image above, you can see the entirety of Morrillo Beach. The first area, closest to our resort (below that beautiful golden Guayacan tree on the left), we call beginner beach. The furthest breaks we call Main Morrillo or Morrillo Proper. To reach beginner Beach you have only to grab your board, walk down the stairs, paddle out, to enjoy surf for never-ever beginners to expert level surfers. It is a sandy beach/point break, high tide surf spot that works for an hour before and after high tide. It is surf-able just about every day of the year. Even at huge swells, the whitewater is always good for learning. In general, it is a long board surf spot but at bigger swells (+4ft), you can have a great time on a short board here.
Walk another 20 min down the beach to Main Morrillo and you're rewarded with intermediate to expert level surfing all year round. This is almost always a short-board style wave. It is surf-able at any time of the tide, but size does matter here. Let's talk timing first: during low tide or outgoing tide, the waves will stand up more making them steeper and more likely to barrel. During the mid-tide and incoming tide, the waves are less steep but still fast and can barrel as well. We prefer the incoming mid-tide at Morrillo.
Now, let's talk size: 1-2ft is pretty rare here but it's a fun time for practicing and learning to short board. It's also a good time to get a long board out. 2-3ft is a really fun, short boarding fast wave with some steepness but good for intermediates getting comfortable with a fast and steep wave.
3-5ft @ 12 sec. is our average here. This is going to be pushing the comfort level for intermediates but easy, fun, and stress free for experts. A great time for aerials, riding the lip, getting barrels, and impressing your friends. 4-6ft is grande but for expert level surfers it's incredible. It's a fast, steep, heavy wave and depending on the time of year/day (preferably Dec-April), it's doable because of the steepness.
Finally, let's talk time of year because your travel time needs to be planned ahead: Mid-December to Mid-April, which is our Summer here, is what most people will call the "season" at Morrillo. This is the time of year when the off shore trade winds kick in standing up the waves making them steep, fast, longer rides, and great shape.
May and June are our favorite months because the winds die down making the waves smooth and surf-able all day long, they are less steep and easier to catch especially for intermediate level surfers. All year, you will be rewarded if you rise early by smooth waves in the morning due to lack of winds but if you're not an early riser, May and June are for you.
July to Mid-December (green season), this is when the storm systems are brewing out at sea causing bigger swells with on shore winds that make the waves less steep and easier to catch and ride. Our average period tends to be around 11-15 seconds. This means the waves at Main Morrillo are always big and heavy, the rip tides are strong and the undertows are legit.
The benefit is a long, sandy beach bottom, with several different right and left breaks to ride, with barrels, walls, and a couple little point breaks that show up at certain unicorn tides. We'll give you that info if you happen to be here when it's happening and as a reward for choosing to stay with us!
Morrillo is always warm, has a friendly vibe, it's rarely crowded, and definitely remote. We are proud of our board rental quiver and our surf instructors so whether you are a beginner to expert level surfer we got you. During the Summer UV is always extreme so remember to protect yourself. If you have any more questions, you know how to find me and we all look forward to surfing with you!
Your Friends in Morrillo,
Cari and Ryan Mackey
Owners and Hosts
Morrillo Beach Eco Resort