Surf camp highlights: 4 to 12 day all-inclusive experience with WiFi, surf lessons (2 hours each), transportation, meals.
Best for: Beginner, intermediate, and advanced surfers. Beginners can learn the basics while more advanced surfers can perfect their technique.
Selina is a well-known surf camp company with many surf school locations around Costa Rica. Their camp in Jaco is one of the liveliest of the bunch and a great choice for surfers looking to make new friends and socialize. Surfers can choose the 6 day, 5 night all-inclusive package with fresh and healthy meals, transportation to the best surf spots, a bed in their hostel dorm room, and surf lessons. The surf is just steps away from Selina, where you’re free to surf as long as you want, whenever you want.
The property in Jaco features a common lounge area with TV, pool, bar area, and beautiful garden. The hostel frequently hosts all types of activities like yoga, salsa lessons, and dance parties. They can also help arrange scuba diving trips, kayaking excursions, and hiking tours.
Surf camp highlights: 4, 6, or 8 day surf camps include surf lessons (2 hours each), lunch, a USB stick with surf shots of you, a snorkeling trip, free gear rental, and a La Botella de Leche T-shirt.
Best for: Beginner and intermediate surfers.
All surf camp can choose between staying in a private, air-conditioned room or the hostel dorm. The atmosphere is very easygoing and casual, where guests are free to do whatever they please throughout the day. La Botella de Leche is close to many of the local beaches like Avellanas, Langosta, Playa Grande, Playa Negra, and Tamarindo (just a five minute walk from the camp).
This Costa Rican surf school in the heart of Tamarindo is managed by very experienced surf instructors and has an onsite pool, communal dining area, hammocks, and more.
Surf camp highlights: Choose between 6-11 day camps with meals, wifi, surf lessons (2 hours each), transportation, and accommodation included.
Best for: All surfer abilities and digital nomads.
Selina Puerto Viejo features private and hostel accommodation options with bright decor. It’s truly a retreat that’s just steps away from the beach. When you’re not surfing, you can swim in the pool, play board games, watch TV, read in the library, and relax in the shaded lounge area.
Selina Puerto Viejo also has hot water showers, air conditioning, a luggage area, shared kitchen, and bonfire pit where you can socialize and toast marshmallows. Guests love the delicious, fresh meals made from locally-sourced ingredients and this camp is a great mix if you prefer an even ratio of relaxation and partying.
Surf camp highlights: Learn Spanish while you surf! This surf camp in Playa Hermosa, Santa Teresa includes eight hours of surf lessons per week, an ATV excursion to Montezuma Waterfalls, accommodation, airport transfer, kitchen access, free gear rental, wifi, and laundry.
Best for: Beginner, intermediate, budget, and cultural travelers.
Perfect Sunset School surf camp offers private rooms or a six-bed dorm room. All rooms come with a fan, bedding, and wifi. The camp is just a three minute walk from the beach. The camp only hosts a maximum of eight guests per camp. Perfect Sunset School is one of the most immersive surf camps in Costa Rica.
Selina in Tamarindo has many room choices ranging from a shared dorm room to private deluxe rooms. Rooms come with hot water, air conditioning, luggage storage, and wifi access. The camp is directly on the beach and just steps away the waves.
Spend time lounging at the pool in the private cabanas, playing volleyball, board game, library, and pool table. Children and pets are also welcome to join the surf scene. Camps run all year long.
Surf camp highlights: Social nights and activities, wifi, daily surf lessons, meals, accommodation.
Best for: All surf abilities, solo travelers, central location.
One of the most popular surf camps in Costa Rica, Selina Santa Teresa is a bohemian hostel and hotel right in front of Santa Teresa’s best surf spot for beginners where you can mingle with other travelers. This surf camp has a thriving party scene and frequent yoga classes.
Around Selina Santa Teresa, you can cycle, dive, hike, horseback ride, and go on a whale watching tour. The local shops, restaurants, and cafes are just a short walk away.
Surf camp highlights: Your stay includes daily surf lessons, surfboard hire, accommodation, cleaning services, and wifi.
Best for: All surf abilities, groups, families, and those wanting a mellow surf camp experience.
Las Avellanas Villas offers standalone villas surrounded by hammocks with an inner garden area. This surfing camp in Costa Rica will truly make you feel as though you’re staying in the heart of a tropical jungle (as you are). Each villa has wifi access, bed linen, hot water shower, barbecue, and a parking area. Inside the villa, you’ll find a kitchenette, fridge, and cooking supplies.
The villas are closed to six different surf spots — the closest is a fifteen minute walk away and Tamarindo is a 20 minute drive.
Surf camp highlights: Daily surf lessons (2.6 hours each), breakfast, pictures, water and snacks, sightseeing trip, surf photo coaching and analysis, surfboard rental, waterfall excursion, accommodation, airport transfer, canopy zipining adventure, and more!
Best for: All surfing abilities, groups, adventure-loving travelers.
Domenical Waverider has a variety of different surf camps targeted for different demographics. Their backpacker themed camp is great for those on a budget and they also host camps for yogis, women, and groups. Domenical Waverider partners with a local hotel or hostel to suit your budget and interests.
This surf camp focus heavily on surf instruction and technique. Every student will be able to go through a video or photo analysis of what could be improved.
What to look for when booking a surfing camp in Costa Rica
If you’re a beginner surfer, there’s no point in choosing a Costa Rica surf camp that’s famous for being near the heaviest waves. You’ll want a camp known for its friendly instructors and friendly waves.
Likewise, some surfing camps in Costa Rica offer more of a guiding service rather than complete lessons. These camps typically cater for intermediate or experienced surfers who know what they’re doing, taking surfers to the best waves around.
Party surf camp or one where surfers chug kombucha before tucking in at 8 p.m.? There’s no right answer. Each surf camp in Costa Rica tends to attract a type of surfer–and this might not jive with the travel vibe you’re going for. No matter, at most surf camps, you’ll find it easy to make friends and settle into the scene, whatever it may be.
Before booking a Costa Rica surf camp, take a close look at the cost and everything that could be included. A surf camp that looks cheap on the onset might actually be more expensive once you factor for transportation costs, lessons, gear rental, food, and other activities. Meanwhile, an all-inclusive will give you the same experience for a fraction of the cost.
If you want a surf camp that doubles as a place to stay with likeminded travelers–and won’t be needing any of the meal plans, gear, lessons, or guiding–a bare-bones surf camp might be cheaper for you.
When choosing a surf camp in Costa Rica, list everything you’d like to have included. Then, calculate the cost of the camp based on these ‘must have’ items.
Instructor to surfer ratio
If you’re a beginner surfer, the ratio between instructor to surfer is important. As a rule, the smaller the better. Surf instructors with just a handful of students will be able to fine-tune their teaching to your skills and interests. This also helps prevent friction when half of the group wants to go to one spot and the other half of the group has their eye on a surf break down the road. Think quality over quantity when it comes to surf training.
FAQs about booking Costa Rica Surf camps
Can I join a surf camp in Costa Rica if I’ve never surfed before?
Yes! In fact, you’ll probably progress much quicker if you join a surf camp rather than if you try to teach yourself. Surf camps are typically geared for beginner and intermediate surfers. You’ll go out into the water with an experienced local who can show you how to read the waves, where to sit, how to paddle, and how to catch your first wave. As a bonus, you’ll probably be with other surfers who are available to help answer any questions you might have.
Are all surf camps in Costa Rica basically the same?
Not really. Some surf camps are more social with lots of partying while others are health-conscious and surfers tend to tuck in early for the night. Because surfing in Costa Rica is all about having fun, there’s not really a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to choosing the best surf camp for you.
I already know how to surf. Is it still worth going to a surf camp in Costa Rica–or should I go on my own?
It’s up to you. Most surf camps host a range of surfers from complete beginners to barrel hunters. Most surf camps will split up groups by experience level before surfing–beginners with beginners and the more experienced surfers go elsewhere.
Surf camps are a great place to meet other surfers who are keen to go on similar adventures. Even if you won’t be using the surf camp’s rental gear or lessons, it’s worth staying at one just for the community aspect.
Why Costa Rica vs. other surf destinations?
This question deserves a separate post. Costa Rica is ideal for surfers thanks to its warm water, variety of waves, friendly locals, and price if you’re coming from somewhere more expensive–like the U.S. or Australia. As a whole, Costa Rica is one of the safest destinations for travelers in Central America and you’re bound to have a great time.
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