40km (25 miles) S of Golfito
Hailed as the world’s second-longest left break, Pavones is a legendary destination for surfing. It takes around 1.8m (6 ft.) of swell to get this wave cranking, but when the surf’s up, you’re in for a long, long ride—so long, in fact, that it’s much easier to walk back through town to where the wave is breaking than to paddle back. The swells are most consistent during the rainy season, but you’re likely to find surfers here year-round. Locals tend to be pretty possessive of their turf, so don’t be surprised if you receive a cool welcome in the water.
Other than surfing, nothing much goes on here; however, the surrounding rainforests are quite nice, and the beaches feature some rocky coves and points that give Pavones a bit more visual appeal than Zancudo. If you’re feeling energetic, you can go for a horseback ride or hike into the rainforests that back up the town, or stroll south on the beaches that stretch toward Punta Banco and beyond, all the way to the Panamanian border. This is an isolated destination catering almost exclusively to backpackers. Be prepared—Pavones is a tiny village with few amenities (and no ATMs, so bring cash), and most of the accommodations are quite basic.