Costa Rica is a surfer’s dream. It boasts over 300 beaches that have consistent swells of varying intensities, making it an ideal place for beginners and advanced surfers alike! When you’re not surfing, Costa Rica’s warm weather, beautiful scenery, and vibrant culture provide a vast range of other activities to enjoy.
Although, with it being such a surfer’s paradise, there is a huge number of places offering surfing lessons to choose from. To help with your search for the perfect place to hone your skills, we’ve listed the 10 best surfing lessons and surfing schools in Costa Rica below.
They have been hand-selected according to the quality of their surf instruction and the availability of other amenities, such as accommodation and food. Following, we’ve made a handy buyer’s guide, to ensure that you can make the most informed choice possible, and thus, get the most out of your Costa Rican surf experience.
1. Surf Simply, Nosara
Learning to surf can be scary, especially if the lessons you opt for have a ‘throw you in the deep end’ policy. However, Surf Simply takes a much different approach to surfing.
Their team of ISA and ILSF qualified surf instructors break down all the skills needed to surf and teach them step by step. By doing so, you become able to teach yourself how to learn to surf, meaning that you’re able to carry on learning even after you’ve left Costa Rica.
Based in Nosara, they also offer an all-inclusive experience. Prior to your arrival, they will discuss all of your preferences, from massages you would like to dietary requirements.
In addition to surf lessons, they also offer extra activities like standup paddleboarding and zip lining. As you depart, you will be given photos and a bespoke film consisting of footage from your week with them.
- ISA & ILSF qualified instructors – provide great technical lessons and advice.
- All-inclusive – everything (apart from your flights) is included.
- Extra activities available – stand-up paddleboarding, zip-lining, horseback riding.
- Booking – this program fills up very quickly.
2. Selina Surf Camp Nosara
Also situated in Nosara, Selina Surf Camp is nestled amongst the trees and sits right on the beach. Their surf package holiday includes 6 daily surf lessons, each two hours long, time to surf in the afternoon, and transport to the best surf spots. Daily wellness classes are also provided for all guests.
Selina Surf Camp doesn’t just focus on surfing but is the perfect place to stay if you’re a yoga enthusiast, nature-lover, or even just a keen socialite. It’s situated in a picturesque spot, ideal for relaxation or even co-working. However, by the evening, it transformed into a social hub for both locals and international travelers.
- Daily surf lessons – instructors provide quality instruction, advice, and tips.
- Extra activities available – hiking, wellness, yoga.
- Accommodation – social, with a swimming pool.
- Social hub – probably not ideal for families.
3. Safari Surf School, Nosara
Safari Surf School is an ideal place for both first-time and intermediate-level surfers. Their surf lessons are conducted by local Costa Rican ISA Level 1 or 2 surf coaches, who are all also certified lifeguards.
Their program breaks down your surf performance and includes the use of a video coach analysis app, to make sure you’re getting exactly what you require from the experience.
There are customizable packages available, including all-inclusive. They provide evening dinners hosted by their local staff at different restaurants in town, giving you an opportunity to soak up the local Tico culture.
They also provide volunteering opportunities if you want to get really involved within the local community, and other experiences, such as wildlife tours, horseback riding, kayaking, snorkeling, and waterfall hiking.
- Local ISA qualified instructors – provide safe technical lessons and advice.
- Customizable packages – there is something for all budgets and requirements.
- Culture – encourage immersion within local Tico community.
- Sustainable – environmentally friendly place to visit.
- Dinners – not all of them are included in the package.
4. Lucero Surf Retreat, Santa Teresa
Lucero Surf Retreat was born from a passion for surfing and the local area. They offer three different packages: Surf Package, Yoga & Surf Package, and a Family Package. They also offer stand-alone surf lessons if you want to stay elsewhere, you just have to contact them via WhatsApp to set up a place and time!
The surf packages include four surf lessons, however, you are able to add more if you would like. You can also add other activities and yoga to your schedule when you book. Lucero Surf Retreat is situated in a boutique hotel, and is particularly great for families, including those which include non-surfers! A daily breakfast is also included within the package.
- 2 to 1 surf lessons – ensure you are getting the exact advice you need.
- Family-friendly – ideal for families, even those with non-surfers.
- Extra activities – yoga.
- Boutique hotel – makes it a luxury break.
- 4 surf lessons – may not be enough for some.
- Food – only breakfast included.
5. Shaka Costa Rica, Playa Hermosa
If you’re looking for a modern, clean and simple beach retreat, look no further than Shaka. They provide 3-to-1 surf lessons personally tailored to your needs, and aim to teach you how to choose the best waves, and understand the equipment and ocean.
Their surf classes are useful for all abilities, from total beginner to advanced surfer. They are a particularly small surf school preferring quality over quantity.
If you plan on traveling with a non-surfer, Shaka also has a Chill Package. This package allows you to enjoy all the other wonderful aspects of Shaka, including daily yoga classes in their private jungle studio. Meals are also included, apart from dinner on Sunday.
- Surf Coach Awards – expert surf instructors.
- Small surf groups – provide a tailored, personalized experience.
- Chill package – perfect for non-surfers.
- Food – meals included.
- Simple accommodation – rooms might be too basic for some.
6. Surf Synergy Surf Camp, Jaco Beach
Surf Synergy Surf Camp provides excellent surf coaching led by Alvaro Solano, an 8 time Costa Rican national surf champion. They focus on helping entry-level and intermediate surfers learn how to surf better, and quickly! However, if you’re a more experienced surfer, they will take you to some of the best breaks to test your skills.
They have a holistic approach to surfing and hope to teach general surf knowledge, safety & etiquette, physical conditioning, stretching and mobility, breathing exercises, surf-forecasting, and good nutrition.
Their inclusive surf package includes a 4 or 7-night stay, airport transfers, three 5* meals a day, two-hour surf lessons each day, massages, daily yoga, breathing training sessions, bike rental, two other activities, and professional photos and videos!
- Professionally led coaching – provides top-quality, tailored surfing lessons.
- Holistic approach – gives an understanding of surfing as a whole.
- All-inclusive – everything included in package apart from flights.
- Extra activities – yoga, and others available when booking.
- Surf-focused – not ideal if traveling with non-surfers.
7. Casa del Mar Surf Destiny, Nicoya Peninsula
Casa del Mar Surf Destiny is located just steps away from some world-class surf spots, located on the Nicoya Peninsula in the middle of Santa Teresa Beach and Playa Carmen.
Their surf packages include accommodation, surf lessons, equipment, and 2 meals a day. There are multiple different options for accommodation, ranging from hostel rooms to private rooms. They can offer surf lessons given by ISA certified instructions to all surfing abilities, from beginner to advanced.
Depending on the package you opt for, you can also get free massage sessions. Though not included, they are situated in the perfect place to rent an ATV Quad and drive to different beauty spots, such as the Montezuma waterfalls. Likewise, information on snorkeling, fishing, and standup paddleboarding excursions is available from their reception area.
- ISA qualified instructors – provide informative surf coaching for all abilities.
- Choice of accommodation – something for every type of traveler and budget.
- Beauty spots – surrounded by a lot of places to visit.
- Food – not all meals are included.
- Extra activities – not included in the package.
8. Peaks N Swells, Nicoya Peninsula
Peaks N Swells is an all-inclusive surf camp located in the famous Nicoya Peninsula. Their beachfront villas are nestled within the jungle, close to the town of Montezuma. Their surf program was developed by professional surf coaches and works to give guests a custom plan for their week’s stay.
Guests are paired with an appropriate coach and are given daily surf lessons at different breaks around the Nicoya. These surf sessions are coupled with lessons on technique and theory, to give you a fuller, technical understanding of the sport.
They provide an array of different camps, from family camps to surfer girl camps, and these can be customed to suit your own needs.
Accommodation, 2-to-1 surf lessons, daily yoga sessions, 3 meals a day, happy hour, beach snacks, the use of a high-performance surf kit, massages, and transport can all be included within the packages. You can even opt to include watercolor art sessions!
- Professional surf coaches – provide tailored, 2:1 lessons
- Theory lessons – give you a full understanding of the sport.
- All-inclusive – everything can be included, apart from flights.
- Family packages available – it is a family-friendly resort.
- Extra activities – not included in the packages.
9. La Sirena Surf Adventures, Tamarindo
Based in Tamarindo, La Sirena Surf Adventures provides a highly energetic surf experience. They offer single surf lessons to week(s)-long surf adventures. Their surf lessons are always either private, or private group, meaning you will never be placed with a group of strangers.
They last up to two hours and include full instruction on the water and the use of a surf kit. There is a maximum of four people per instructor, in order to give the most personalized lessons possible.
For intermediate and advanced surfers, they offer surf tours to the best waves in the area. These will include a surf guide who provides all the local knowledge you will need throughout the trip.
For the expert surfers, they offer a full-day boat trip to Witch’s Rock & Ollie’s Point, which are likely on every surfer’s bucket list! There is also an immense range of extra activities that they offer, from horseback riding to scuba diving.
- Expert surfing instruction – provide lessons to small groups of surfers of all abilities and ages.
- Excursions – provide fun opportunities for advanced surfers.
- Extra activities – standup paddleboarding, sunset sailing cruise, zip-lining, kayaking, ATV tours, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, yoga, massage.
- Not a surf camp – only provides surf lessons/excursions (though they have provided an all-inclusive surf and yoga retreat in the past).
10. Surf With Amigas
Surf with Amigas is an all-inclusive surf and yoga retreat just for women, with the goal of supporting and inspiring each other. Their surf coaching is available to all skill levels, ages, and body types, and consists of one-to-one in-water assistance, classroom sessions, and video coaching.
They also provide daily yoga sessions in their open-air studio and focus on flow-paced, restorative, meditative styles of yoga to promote relaxation, circulation, and release.
In addition to surfing and yoga, they offer horseback riding, hiking, and zip-lining. They also encourage you to shop at the local markets, explore the local area, and sample the traditional cuisine.
They provide a range of different retreats in southern Costa Rica including family-friendly options. Airport transfers, accommodation in a shared room, 4 meals a day, daily surf coaching and yoga classes, and extra activities are all included within the packages. They have camps in multiple different spots in Costa Rica.
- One-to-one coaching – provide personalized lessons.
- Extra activities – yoga, horseback riding, jungle exploring, boat trips, hiking, chocolate making, monkey viewing, ladies’ night out, etc.
- All-inclusive – packages include everything but flights and alcohol.
- Family-friendly – ideal for a family adventure.
- Women only – ideal for women who feel safer around other women.
- Women only – mixed-gender friendship groups cant attend.
Costa Rica is a surfers paradise, and so it can be a bit overwhelming when trying to choose which surf lessons or camp to go for, simply due to the sheer number of them! Below, we’ve constructed a list of important things to consider to ensure that you pick the right one for you.
Traveling To Costa Rica
If you’re traveling to Costa Rica by flight, it is necessary to factor in the travel costs. Also, if the surf camp you’re looking at provides airport transfers on specific days or at certain times only, make sure your flights will agree with these. There is nothing worse than spending hours in an airport after a long flight, waiting for your lift!
It is necessary, especially if you’re traveling with a group of people, to ensure that the surf camp or lessons you opt for can cater to the whole of your group’s needs. If the level of skill ranges from total beginner to expert, make sure that your chosen surf camp can provide adequate lessons for all of you. If you’re not sure, it is always a good idea to reach out to different camps to ask.
If you’re traveling with your family, especially if you have young children, it’s important to check that the surf camp or surf lessons you choose can provide for everyone. Some surf camps have lively nightlife, which may not be appropriate for young children.
If you’re traveling far, and have little knowledge of Costa Rica, you might be better suited to an all-inclusive surf camp. That way, you don’t have to worry about transport, accommodation, food, etc.
Although, if you would prefer to explore the region yourself, opt instead for surf lessons. You can still go on excursions and meet like-minded people, but you will have more freedom and variety.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Costa Rica Safe?
Yes! In fact, in Central America and The Caribbean, Costa Rica is ranked the most peaceful country.
Although, like anywhere, it is still important for travelers to be aware. Tourists should travel in groups late at night, and keep an eye on luggage.
Do I Need To Take My Own Equipment?
Generally, no. All the surf schools listed above provide surfboards and anything else you may need. You just need swimwear!
However, this isn’t to say that you cannot take your own equipment. If you would prefer to use your own board, for instance, you can do so. It might be a good idea to discuss this with your preferred surf school, to ensure that you have everything you need.