10 Best Surf Camps Costa Rica and How to Prepare

Costa Rica’s shoreline boasts over 300 sandy beaches and waters that have consistent swells making it one of the best places in the world for surfers of all levels to visit. The warm weather year-round makes it an ideal location for travelers who are looking to enjoy some sunny surf even when visiting in the winter months. 

There are so many great surf camps to choose from, but we’ve narrowed down the 10 best surf camps in costa and the best ways to prepare for your time there so you can spend more time looking forward to your trip and less time researching the little things.

10 Best Surf Camps in Costa Rica

1. Selina Surf Camp, Nosara

Selina has many surf camps spread across the shorelines of Costa Rica, but one of the highly recommended ones is the one based in Nosara. The camp is a surfer’s paradise located just a 5-minute drive from the shore. You’ll get to enjoy daily surf lessons along with free surfing time all afternoon as well as transport to and from the best spots.

They offer private and shared rooms, all of which are modern, clean, and come with free WiFi. The surrounding beaches suit all surfing levels and the camp encourages its travelers to explore the local wildlife and unwind by their picturesque pool during their downtime. 

2. Surf Simply, Nosara

The team at Surf Simply is dedicated to giving their guests the most complete surfing experience possible, with in-depth theoretical and practical lessons, video analysis of your time in the water to help you progress your surfing abilities even after your stay at the camp.

All your meals across your stay (except Wednesday) are included in your costs and the team will also take you to some local restaurants to enjoy the stunning views. The camp is considered to be a more luxury resort but if you’re looking for maximum comfort, high-quality surfing and teaching, and altogether one of the best vacations ever, then hit them up.

3. Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, Tamarindo

If you’re traveling solo and looking to make a ton of new friends then Witch’s Rock Surf Camp in the surf town of Tamarindo will be the perfect location for you to socialize, surf, and escape from your 9-5. 

The surf camp has programs tailored to beginners and intermediate surfing levels along with advanced surf tours for those with lots of experience on a board. You’ll stay in their beachfront hotel that has a restaurant, coffee shop, bar, and surf shop for you to explore during your free time. 

4. Shaka Costa Rica, Playa Hermosa

Shaka in Playa Hermosa offers a more simplistic approach to relaxing and surfing in comparison to some of the more luxe surf resorts you’ll find along the shorelines of Costa Rica. 

They offer their surf package in 5 or 7 night stays which include accommodation, daily surf lessons, snacks, brunch, and dinner (served throughout weeknights) as well as unlimited use of the surfboards and daily yoga sessions. 

5. Casa del Mar Surf Destiny, Santa Teresa

Casa del Mar Surf Destiny is located near Santa Teresa encompassed by beautiful surroundings and just steps away from world-class surf breaks. The camp consists of 4 shared dorms, 4 private rooms, and a big common area equipped with hammocks to laze around when recovering from your sessions.

You can stay for as little as 3 nights or maximize your learning potential at the surf camp by extending your stay to 9 nights. All surfing lessons are taught by local ISA-certified instructors and can cater to all surfing levels. 

6. Vista Guapa Surf Camp, Jaco

Vista Guapa Surf Camp is located on five acres of beautiful hillside overlooking the ocean and has 3 bungalows as well as a main common house equipped with hammocks, a swimming pool, and WiFi so you can catch up with life back at home.

Their great team of surfing instructors, many of which hold national titles will be able to help guests who’ve never ridden a wave before or even those looking to improve on their previously accomplished skills in the water. 

7. Lucero Surf Retreat, Santa Teresa

Lucero Surf Retreat was created by a couple who crossed paths one day 15 years ago whilst backpacking in Central America and take pride in making guest’s experiences feel as personable as possible whether they’re first-time surfers or even competitive surfers. 

Lucero offers a family package for those wanting a total immersive surfing experience that everyone can enjoy, with snorkeling gear and beach toys for kids weary of the water and 1 on 1 surf lessons for kids looking to hit the waters for the first time.

8. La Point Surf Camp, Santa Teresa

La Point is situated in the heart of one of Costa Rica’s most famous surf destinations, Santa Teresa, within walking distance of the beach and a short walk from the town center, you’ll have everything you need to enjoy whatever kind of vacation you’re looking for. 

The camp offers 3 levels of surfing courses, ranging from beginner to interdependent which include accommodation, food, equipment, and transportation to your lessons. You’ll even have full access to the relaxing pool and chill in the shade in a hammock with a cocktail in your hand. 

9. Peaks N Swells, Montezuma

Whether you’re a female solo traveler, looking for a surfing getaway with friends, or even looking for a big family surfing vacation, Peaks N Swells located in the small town of Montezuma has it all.

The accommodation is situated in front of the jungle and behind the beachfront, so you’ll get to enjoy the best of both worlds throughout your stay. You’ll get treated to daily yoga, massages, activities, and photography all included within your surf package as well as full access to the surf equipment. 

10. Iguana Surf Camp, Tamarindo

Iguana surf camp is located in the famous surfing town of Tamarindo and has been awarded the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence, so if you’re looking for a camp to take your surfing to the next level then this should be a top contender on your list. 

They offer 3-day surf trips up to 10-day luxury accommodation stays in their packages all of which come with daily breakfast, unlimited equipment rental, and transport to and from the airport. 

Budget Planning For Costa Rica

Meal Price Range

Eating out is relatively expensive in the surfing towns of Costa Rica, with breakfast starting from as little as $3 and lunch or dinner costing you between $5 to $10 depending on what you get. Dining in higher-end restaurants will have prices similar to those back in the US, ranging anywhere from $10 to $40 for foods like steaks, fresh seafood, and pizzas. 

Local bars will offer alcoholic drinks for as little as $2 but if you pay a visit to a fancy hotel bar you could see yourself paying 4 times that price. 

Water is around $1 for a 60oz bottle, however, many surf camps are keen on minimizing their plastic waste and encourage guests to bring their own reusable water bottle or to buy one on-site. 

Equipment Rental

Many surf camps in Costa Rica will have surfing equipment rental included in their package price to make things as seamless as possible for guests. Hiring a surfboard can cost as little as $15 for 24 hours, but then you’ve got the inconvenience of returning it each day to the surf shop. 

You’ve also then got to factor in a budget for a rash guard, wax, and other surfing gear every day, which can then put your daily rental total to $30 a day.

Just for the convenience of having everything supplied for you in one place and not having to keep your wallet with you all the time, we’d recommend finding an all-inclusive surf camp that covers the costs of your rental equipment. 

Prepaid Sim Cards

If you don’t want to purchase an international plan from your current cell phone service provider before your trip then we recommend purchasing a prepaid sim card once you arrive at the airport in Costa Rica. 

Sim cards come in variations of $5 to $20 and the tourist choice of a service provider is normally Kolbi, once you’ve used up your credit on your Sim, you can call a free number and top it up using your credit card during your trip.

Try to avoid any outgoing international calls as they cost around $2.25 a minute or text people back home for them to ring you as incoming international calls are free. 

Try to use any free Wi-Fi at your surf camp or at local restaurants or bars to keep in contact with people back at home during your vacation. 

Public Transport

Taxis are very affordable in Costa Rica and probably the best way to get around, especially if your accommodation doesn’t offer transfers to and from the airport. They cost around $1.50 per kilometer. 

Public buses are the least expensive transportation in Costa Rica and they’ll go to most major and minor areas in the country for as little as $0.80 ranging up to $20 for longer distances. 

Gas Prices

If you’re looking to make your trip your own, then renting a car offers the most flexibility and you could pay as little as $20 for a 4×4 and fill up the hire car for just over $4 a gallon.

Types of Risks in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has very friendly people but that doesn’t mean there aren’t areas that are deceptively more unsafe. The smaller surfing towns are often the safest, filled with locals or business owners who love to enjoy and entertain tourists. Major cities like San Jose offer the most risks, which are higher cases of theft and drug dealing.

You should remain vigilant whilst on your travels in Costa Rica, even when situated at your surf camp or resort. Make sure to use mosquito repellent every day and try to plan your trip as much in advance as possible. 

Always wear High UV protection SPF, even during cloudier days as the sun is strong in Costa Rica. 

Below are some recommended tips to reduce risk whilst traveling in Costa Rica:

  • Don’t leave anything under your towel when you’re out surfing
  • Travel in groups in the nighttime
  • Leave valuables locked in a safe when not in your accommodation
  • Don’t trek or hike alone in Costa Rica
  • The water is safe to drink apart from in Limon and Puntarenas
  • Be careful when buying cheap spirit-based drinks in bars
  • Don’t camp on the beaches
  • Female solo travelers should be more vigilant

How to Prepare for Your Trip to Costa Rica

Visas

Citizens of the US, Canada, and the EU do not require a visa to enter Costa Rica and will be given a tourist visa upon immigration at the airport. Tourists must have a valid passport and leave the country within 90 days of their arrival. 

Vaccines

The recommended and required vaccinations for entering Costa Rica are Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, and Rabies. 

Language & Currency

The main currency in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican colon, however, US dollars are widely accepted in the tourist areas, so check ahead with your accommodation to see what is used in the area you’re staying in. To be on the safe side, bring both currencies just in case an emergency occurs. The colon is accepted everywhere and will make it easier throughout your stay if you just use the main currency of the country.

Checking Surf Forecast

Costa Rica offers its best surfing conditions from May through to November, which will allow visitors to experience the biggest waves. However, due to the Pacific and Caribbean coastline, the country receives a year-round swell which will guarantee some great waves.

Some surf camps may require you to book your trip far in advance which will leave you no certainty as to what the surf conditions are like until you arrive. However, the instructors at your surf camp will make sure that you make the most of whatever is available to you during your stay. 

Travel & Surf Insurance

Before traveling to Costa Rica, make sure to get travel and surf insurance that covers medical expenses if you get injured, baggage that could get lost or stolen, and personal liability if you happen to injure anyone else on your trip. Hopefully, you won’t need to use your insurance whilst on your travels but it does save a lot of stress having it if something did occur.