Man Up: Learn To Surf In Costa Rica

Head to one of the coolest surfing destinations in the world, Costa Rica

Admit it, you’ve always wanted to say “Surf’s up dude” or holler “Cowabunga!” from the top or your lungs while catching a killer wave a la Keanu Reeve in the movie Point Break. To help make your dreams come true, we want you to man up and head to one of the coolest surfing spots in the world, the Central American country of Costa Rica.

Considered to be one of the most environmentally diverse regions in the world, Costa Rica attracts visitors who love its tropical weather, laid back vibe and gnarly waves. The country has four different surfing zones; the Caribbean coast, northern, southern and central pacific coasts. However, we’re focusing on the Pacific coast which has the most surfing areas.

Getting there: most major airlines, such as Air Canada and Air Transat, have direct flights into the country landing at its international airports; Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (aka: Liberia Costa Rica International Airport), a hub for visitors bound to the Pacific north coast, or Juan Santamaría International Airport for those heading south.

Staying there: whether you’re a newbie or an advanced surfer consider booking with one of the country’s many surfing camps, these places offer all-inclusive packages which ease the burden of sourcing all of your vacation needs; after all you want to enjoy your time away from home and not sweat the small (or big) stuff. Depending on the camp and your budget you’ll have a range of accommodations at your finger tip; from staying in the lap of luxury or in a pared-down hillside cottage.

What to pack: swim shorts, sunblock, rash guard (to prevent chafing from sliding on/off your board), a hat, mosquito repellent and hiking shoes (you’ll want to go hiking in Costa Rica’s rainforests). The camps will provide you with all the equipment you’ll need for your surfing lessons.

Be prepare for: each camp draws up a loose itinerary for guests that include your lessons (typically twice per day) to catch the best waves; the first being early in the morning, so prepare yourself for early wake-up calls and then in the afternoon. However, lesson times may vary depending on wind and tide conditions. Most importantly (this should really go without saying) you better know how to swim and make sure you have travel insurance.

Surf camps to consider: check out some of the best surfing camps we found on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.

  • Kalon Surf (Dominical) – Kalon Surf offers a luxury, boutique-style atmosphere and personalized surfing instructions for guests of all skill levels. lists it as one of the “world’s best wellness resorts” and you’ll quickly understand why when you check-in to your luxury room (complete with king-sized bed) and feast on gourmet meals prepared by a private chef. However, don’t let this luxury fool you because the team at Kalon takes its surfing seriously and you’ll receive daily video and photo analyses of your surf sessions.
  • Costa Rica Surf Camp (Playa Dominical) – in operation for more than 10 years, Costa Rica Surf Camp is located in the quaint surf town of Playa Dominical. The camp offers a two-to-one student to instructor ratio guaranteeing personalized service, plus all surf instructors have life guard experience.
  • Vista Guapa Surf Camp (Jaco) – completely (and we mean completely) unplug from the outside world and opt for a rustic, B&B atmosphere by staying and surfing with Vista Guapa Surf Camp. The camp is located on five acres of hillside property (not far from the beach) and is run by Alvaro Solano, a seven-time national surfing champion of Costa Rica who offers guests surf instructions from beginner to advanced.
  • Safari Surf School (Nosara) – garnering more than 100 positive reviews on Trip Advisor and being the only surf school voted by National Geographic as “Best Outfitter on Earth” you’ve found a certified gem with Safari Surf School. This school has been providing all-inclusive surf vacations to guests since 1998; is an official Billabong Surf Camp and offers an array of packages and pricing to suit your needs and, most importantly, budget.

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