Best Surf Camps in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is famous for its amazing surfing destinations. 

Puerto Viejo, on the Caribbean Coast, is home to some of the country’s largest waves. 

Along the North Pacific Coast, you will find some world-class breaks at Witch’s Rock, home of Witch’s Rock surf camp, and consistent swells at Playa Grande.

Down south, in the South Pacific Coast, there’s Playa Dominical which is known for its lush greenery and beautiful landscapes. Just nearby is Pavones which boasts the longest left in the world.

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica boasts two top surf camps.
Photo credit: Kyle Pearce – Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) – https://www.flickr.com/photos/keepitsurreal/1833430122

You can opt to try a Costa Rica surf in the Central Pacific Coast. An easily accessible region, this shoreline combines some of the longest Costa Rican rides with a vibrant nightlife. It is the perfect place to be if you’re not looking for an entirely laid back surf town in Costa Rica.

Those are just but a few examples. The Central American country has over 25 world-class surf spots. While some are excellent for beginners, others are ideal for intermediate and advanced surfers. Regardless of your experience level, it’s always a good idea to check in a surf camp before you try the waters.

In addition to offering surf lessons, the best surf camps in Costa Rica provide visitors with handy information. You will get to know which surf spots have low tides and which ones have mid to high tides. You will be able to tell shorelines that have a rocky ground from those with sandy ground.

That (and more) is information that every surfer needs. So, without further ado, what are the best surf camps in Costa Rica? Here are the top picks:

  • Blue Surf Sanctuary in Santa Teresa
  • Safari Surf School in Nosara
  • Kalon Surf School in Dominical
  • Iguana Surf Camp in Tamarindo
  • Casa del Mar Surf Destiny  in Santa Teresa
  • Surf Simply in Nosara
  • Vista Guapa Surf Camp in Jaco

Blue Surf Sanctuary

Location: Santa Teresa

You will find this name on almost every list of the best surf camps in Costa Rica. Why? Because they have very attractive perks for their visitors. First off, the Blue Surf Sanctuary features beautiful bungalows that offer the ultimate tropical experience.

They have daily surf lessons (one lesson per day) in a package that includes other activities. When not learning how to ride the waves of Santa Teresa beaches, visitors are treated to full-body massages, yoga sessions, visits to zip lines and fun quad rides to Montezuma waterfalls.

The one-week program at Blue Surf Sanctuary comes with breakfast on the house. Airport transfers and surf equipment are also provided for free. They also throw in a goody bag, branded t-shirt and a rash guard. Your only expenses are airfare, lunches, and dinners.

Perhaps the best part about this surf school is its student to teacher ratio. On average, 3 surfers are trained by one coach. You will get all the attention you need to learn and perfect your surfing skills. There’s a girls’ only option for ladies who don’t like the idea of a unisex surf camp. Overall, the Blue Surf Sanctuary at Santa Teresa is ideal for beginners who want to learn how to surf and enjoy other activities are culture.

Safari Surf School

Location: Nosara

Learning to surf is cool, but it’s even better if you can do it while contributing to a noble cause. That’s exactly what Safari Surf School offers. Meant for beginners and experienced surfers, the surf school allows you to pick an already-made program or customize your own. And a percentage of what you pay goes to Nosara Refuge for Wildlife – a non-profit organization that protects wildlife in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica.

If you’re a beginner you may want to consider a curated package. On the other hand, experienced surfers would be better off customizing their own packages in order to enhance the surfing skills that they already possess. That versatility is what makes the Safari Surf School one of the best surf camps in Costa Rica.

A week-long program in this surf camp includes two surf lessons per day, morning snacks, breakfasts, and 3 dinners. Additionally, the package includes airport transfers, surf equipment, daily bike rides and a tour to the Refuge for Wildlife. Visitors can also choose two extra activities from massage, yoga, zip line, kayak tour, horseback riding, snorkeling, waterfall hike, and a standup paddleboard tour.

Kalon Surf Resort

Location: Dominical

Nestled in the lush shores of Altos de Miramar is the luxurious Kalon Surf Resort. It’s among the best surf camps in Costa Rica, especially for those who don’t mind paying top dollar. With the premium price comes affluent luxury.

Guests are allowed to choose between private surfing lessons and group lessons. The latter consists of three trainees with one coach. If you are completely green to surfing you’ll probably need to consider having your own personal trainer.

More importantly, teachers at Kalon Surf Resort are quite thorough at what they do. In addition to practical lessons, they use instructional videos to reinforce the information learned in the waters. It’s only when you’re comfortable to ride the waves by yourself that they will let you go into the waters alone. All the while you will be provided with all the equipment needed to learn surfing, from surfboards to rash guards, sun lotion and everything in-between.

The surf package at Kalon Surf Resort also includes a lavish mansion with in-house service. There’s a large infinity pool for those times when you don’t feel like going to the beach. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the hotel’s yoga and meditation facilities to enhance your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Iguana Surf Camp

Location: Tamarindo

Located about 300 feet north of Diria Hotel, in the famous surf town of Tamarindo, Iguana Surf Camp is ideal for families and people who are traveling in a group. The hotel offers three types of accommodation. The first is a private loft suite that houses up to 3 people. Secondly, there’s a private deluxe suite for families or groups of 7 surfers. If you are strapped for cash you can book a shared surfer dorm that holds up to 8 guests.

Whichever type of accommodation you choose, there will be several perks that come with staying at this incredible surf camp, especially with the 7-night package. It bundles a roundtrip airport transfer, daily breakfast, 5 surf lessons at the Tamarindo beach, a surf trip to a different surf break and branded rash guards.

If you don’t want to stay that long you can choose a three-day or five-day surf camp option. If you have more time you can opt for their ten-day camp that includes a luxury condo. It makes a lot of sense to choose the latter if you are a complete novice to surfing. The extended duration means more surf lessons and more time to relax in Costa Rica. You may get the chance to go zip lining at the New Monkey Jungle, check out the Monkey Park Wildlife Sanctuary or go boogie boarding on Playa Longosta.

Casa Del Mar Surf Destiny

Location: Santa Teresa

All the best surf camps in Costa Rica offer airport transfers, and the Casa Del Mar Surf Destiny is no different. Their best offering is a 9-night surf camp package that includes a private cabin or shared accommodation, 5 surf lessons of 2 hours each, surf equipment, a rash guard, 3 yoga sessions, massage, fishing tour, snorkeling tour to Tortuga Island and daily breakfast.

The best thing about the Casa Del Mar Surf Destiny is its location. It’s tucked close to the shoreline, between the famous surf beaches of Santa Teresa and Playa del Carmen. Both of these surf spots have fantastic breaks for beginners as well as experienced surfers. But it’s not all about water-based activities. In-between surfing sessions you can check out the Healing Cuisine, go on a jungle canopy tour or visit a chocolate-making workshop.

If you prefer to stay in you can take advantage of the hotel’s spa, yoga and massage services. Any one of those will help after two hours of a surf lesson. Or perhaps relaxing in a hammock within the communal area may be your preference. Either way, your stay at this surf school will be one to remember for a lifetime.

Surf Simply

Location: Nosara

The one thing that sets Surf Simply apart from other surf camps in Costa Rica is the thoroughness of their surf lessons. It’s an entire curriculum that runs for a week or two, depending on your level of experience. If you are a beginner then obviously the 2-week program seems more reasonable, but if you know the basics of surfing and are only looking to sharpen your skills then the one-week option sounds ideal.

Regardless, you will get a sufficient dose of practical surf lessons combined with theory, video analysis, and surf photos. Due to its popularity, Surf Simply is almost always fully booked, sometimes up to 10 months in advance. So if you’re considering it as your number one pick you may want to check the program’s availability before making any plans.

Upon arrival in Costa Rica, you will be treated to lots of free perks, including airport transfers, meals (except on Wednesdays), surf equipment,  bicycles, one massage, stretch classes, and an off-day. There are also other activities that you can indulge in during your free time. They include horseback riding, zip line adventures, paddle boarding and so much more. In case you’re wondering, accommodation is top-notch! It was upgraded in the fall of 2018.

Vista Guapa Surf Camp

Location: Jaco

Jaco is one of the most popular surf towns in Costa Rica. At the heart of this Central Pacific town is the Vista Guapa Surf Camp, located some 53 miles from the San Jose Airport. Now, if you are a sucker for everything nature then this is the place to spend your holiday. Be sure to choose the 7-night surf camp package.

Sign that greets visitors when they visit Jacó, Costa Rica, on the Pacific coast.
Jacó is the closest beach to Costa Rica’s Central Valley, only about a 90-minute drive (with little traffic) from Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO).

First off you will get airport transfer. Secondly, there will be a nice ocean view suit waiting for you at the Vista Guapa Surf Camp. It includes daily breakfast and dinner. More relevant to our context, you will get 5 surf lessons from a professional instructor, and that includes all the equipment required. The team of instructors is led by the highly talented Alvaro Solano – an 8-time Costa Rican national surf champion.

As mentioned, Jaco is the place to be if you love nature. It’s the gateway to Costa Rica’s national parks, including the world-renowned Manuel Antonio National Park. Luckily the good people at the Vista Guapa Surf Camp offer their guests at least one free excursion to the park.

For extra relaxation, you can chill in a hammock, relax by the swimming pool, take a few yoga sessions, do pilates or go for a stroll in the neatly-kept gardens around the Vista Guapa Surf Camp. It’s a wholesome experience that will be well worth your time and buck.

The Final Thought

Those are the 7 best surf camps in Costa Rica. While some like the Kalon Surf Resort caters to the affluent, others like the Iguana Surf Camp offer surf lessons for all sorts of budgets. That notwithstanding, the underlying point is learning to surf and each of these destinations can help with that.

ChifrijoJones

Chifrijo Jones is the nom de plume of author, adventurer, and businessman, J. Fisher.

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