Do you long to look serene on a surfboard? Does your pasty skin ache to be tanned and sandy? Do you long for the salt water and calm of a tropical beaches? Ditto! It seems that everyone deems surfing to be the coolest sport in the world. And, once you know the basics, it’s a hobby you can do solo! Just you, your board and the ocean. If surfing is the coolest activity, mastering the skill somewhere like Costa Rica has got to be the finest experience known to man! So, allow us to bring you the seven best Costa Rican surf resorts you can find.
Join us as we talk locations for beginners, and where you can find the most gnarly surf! We answer those burning questions, like are surf camps expensive? And we also take a look at the kind of activities you can expect away from the beach. Costa Rica is a country of diverse wildlife and stellar natural beauty, there is a little more to it than those tropical beaches. But, whether you like to spend the day simply, fill it with Yoga, the surf and adventure, or try a little of everything, we got you!
Imagine sitting astride your board, the calm waters lapping at your knees. Paddling to catch a break that brings you into the shore. All the while looking boss! All of this could be yours if you want it. You just gotta pick one of these fine establishments to teach your the ropes.
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Selina Nosara Surf Camp
Nestled in Nosara on the Nicoya peninsula sits the Selina surf camp. With a sandy floor, barrelling waves and high peaks, Nosara beach is an epic spot for beginners. This might just be one of the best surf resorts in Costa Rica!
One of many in a chain of Selina hotels around Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Panama, their emphasis is on wellbeing, and authentic experiences. Not only do they cater to tourists wanting to get some surf, but they also offer long-term accommodation and workspace to digital nomads. The ethos is to work hard, play hard, and live in tropical luxury.
Boho chic is the word, with gorgeous bedrooms, eco furniture and muted tones. Choose from a dormitory bedroom setup, or a private room with ensuite if you aren’t into sharing. The communal areas are as lush as the bedrooms, with a great atmosphere both day and night. It’s pet friendly, located on the beachfront, and has a swimming pool and bar for that delicious downtime. Aside from surf lessons, instructors at Selina also offer yoga classes, workshops, and even tribal drumming therapy on the Yoga deck. What more could you want!
Guests can choose to book a package which includes daily surf lessons and use of their equipment. Alternatively, pay as you go. Fair warning, though. With waves like this you may never want to get out of the water! Just watch out for sharks!
From £76 per night (£15 per night for dormitory bed)
Vista Guapa Eco Surf Camp
Located in Jacó, on the pacific coast 100km from San Jose, Vista Guapa offers more of a jungle vibe. Guests will be mesmerised by the garden views, and wealth of space the retreat offers. Surf lessons are a priority, yes. But this is not the only focus of the health retreat. It is a holistic approach for all-round health and fitness, encompassing yoga sessions, stand up paddle-boarding (SUP) and healthy eating.
Jacó beach is around 2km from the hotel, and guests are able to make use of the shuttle to get there. Tutors of both surf and yoga are dedicated to students getting the most out of their time with the school. The emphasis is in offering an education and skills that can be built upon through time. And guests who have stayed here have reported very good things!
The whole place has a super homely feel, with 3 bungalows arranged in the grounds, each with a deck featuring hammocks and a beautiful view of the gardens and sea. The communal lounge, garden and shared bbq facilities creates a family atmosphere, so be prepared to make some new friends while you stay! All rooms are private, sleeping up to 2 people, and with an ensuite bathroom and coffee/tea making facilities for all guests.
And when you are not surfing or joining yoga sessions, there are so many activities to take advantage of! Including Kayaking, horseback riding, fishing, zip-lining, and a tour of the waterfalls.
From £90 per night
Selina Puerto Viejo
The second Selina Property in our review of best surf resorts in Costa Rica is in Puerto Viejo. This is a real cultural gem, delivering delicious Caribbean fare, reggae and a creative spirit. The vibe here is full-blown hippy bliss! Eco-friendly tourism is everywhere, and guests at the Selina can even stay in a wooden tepee. They are pet friendly, welcome long stays, and there is a delightful pool and bar. Alongside the on-site restaurant, there is also a shared kitchen on site for guests to cook their own food.
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Whilst the surf up and down the coast of Puerto Viejo is wonderful, many come to this region purely to surf the Salsa Brava break. Said to be the most difficult and rewarding break in Costa Rica, this is one to be left to the professionals. Still, there are plenty of breaks worth having elsewhere, and you might get the chance to witness some real talent take on those intense waves!
Guests can choose from a variety of private rooms types, including a family room with bunkbeds, or a two bedroom apartment, sleeping up to four people. Aside from the tepee, single or double occupancy rooms come in a range of styles and prices too. This truly is a beachfront property you can make your home. And with surf lessons taught by inspiring tutors, daily yoga and lots of healthy food options, you may never want to leave!
From £37 per night
Kiban’s Surf Hostel
If you are looking to master surfing on a shoestring, this is one of the best surf camps in Costa Rica on a budget. Located in in Sámara, 2km from beachfront, this would be a great option for larger groups travelling together. A ‘qaudruple room’ features four double beds for up to 8 guests, whereas the family room sleeps up to 6 people with single beds. All options are ensuite. Be warned, the term ‘family’ is loosely used as children are actually not permitted at the property. The minimum age at check-in is 18.
Whilst there is no pool, there is a lovely bar with a billiard room, and shared kitchen facilities for guest use. You can also take advantage of bike hire throughout your stay, too. The hostel also has an emphasis on fun, with a variety of nightly entertainment, including games, beach bonfires, music and pub-crawls put on for guests. You can also take part in beach soccer, local tours, and movie night!
Daily surf lessons are available to guests, with enthusiastic and dedicated tutors. Beware, however, the waves in Sámara are very low and slow. Known as ‘closeouts’ for their lack of barrel or break formation, these waves are perfect for those looking to learn to stand up on a board for the first time. We humbly recommend you stay here for a few days to learn the basics, before heading to an area of bigger surf in the Guanacaste Province. Or head to Selina in Nosara, just up the coast.
From £37 per night
Playa Grande Surf Camp
This relaxed, easy going hostel is the perfect setting for your first surf retreat. Daily surf lessons are centred around the best times to surf based on tidal activity. This focus means you will always get the best surf imaginable for you. This is one of the best surf spots in Costa. With great year-round swells and consistent breaks, it has something for everyone, from beginners to advanced surfers.
The set-up of the resort is wonderful as you can choose from budget dormitory accomodation (great for backpackers!), or a twin room with shared bathroom. Alternatively, go for the private options with ensuite bathroom. Choices are an A-frame bungalow, double bedroom in the main house, or a two bedroom apartment. And each one has air conditioning!
The fact that the Playa Grande Surf Camp also has a pool and is located on the beachfront just sweetens the deal! And be sure to make use of the BBQ and kitchen facilities during your stay. Perhaps cook up a storm then relax in a hammock as you watch the sun set? A whole host of activities can be arranged through the hotel, such as horseback riding and fishing. This is one of the best surf resorts in Costa Rica if you are on a budget.
From £41 per night (£23 per night for dormitory bed)
Room2Board Hostel & Surf School
The name might not be filled with tropical charm, but this is a very decent option for best surf resorts in Costa Rica! Choose from a variety of accommodation options, including a mixed or female-only dormitory and double, triple or quadruple rooms with or without an ensuite bathroom. All with air conditioning! The hostel is situated in Jacó on the pacific coast, and has some fantastic surf spots surrounding.
This is one of the best areas to learn to surf. Whilst it can get busy over weekends, it is generally quiet in the week. Strong but consistent short breaks to the left and right are great for newbies, and yet there is enough out there to draw the intermediate crowd. Perfect if you are travelling in a mixed ability group. The tutors are friendly, knowledgeable and encouraging, giving you valuable insight on catching your first wave, and improving from there.
Whilst staying at the Hostel, the lagoon pool, restaurant & bar will keep you entertained during your downtime. There is even a poolside cinema! Facilities for disabled guests also make life much easier, and is not always common in this region. This is a young, fresh and modern surf camp that will suit a range of budgets. All inclusive surf packages can be booked for daily surf lessons, though alternatively you can pay when your play!
From $42 per night (£17 for a dormitory bed)
Blue Surf Sanctuary
Our final offering in our review of the best surf resorts in Costa Rica is the Blue Surf Sanctuary. Nestled on the Nicoya Peninsula between the remote fishing villages of Playa Manzanillo and Santa Teresa, this is another great location on the pacific coast for beginners to learn. The clue is in the title, for the Blue Surf Sanctuary is a peaceful jungle escape in the midst of a bustling surf spot. And yet, it is only 100 yards from Santa Teresa beach! Suck Rock surf point is apt to be the big draw for many people, but, if we are honest, you are spoilt for choice in this region.
Blue Surf elegantly mixes modern and rustic vibes, with clean lines and lots of wooden touches. Travellers can rent a family bungalow, complete with its own terrace and private pool, small kitchen, dining table and living space. Sleeping two or three people, this is likely to be your own decadent holiday haven! And the fact that this is family run really cements its value. And we have it on good authority that the beds are super comfortable.
Travellers can enjoy the open air kitchen by cooking for themselves or hiring a chef. Alternatively, sample the delights of the nearby restaurants! You can also take advantage of a range or activities away from the beach. You are also within reach of Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. And when you feel like a little downtime, their daily Yoga and a bit of spa therapy will see you right!
From £92 per night
When is the Best Time to Surf in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica’s lush tropical paradise is a joy to behold any month of the year. And it is well placed, with both a Pacific and Atlantic coastline, to bring a wealth of perfect conditions for surf. The best times to learn, however, is between the months of May and November. This is when waves are apt to be calmer, more consistent and with decent breaks up and down the coast.
The best window in terms of weather is generally between December and April. So if you’re looking for tropical sunshine and clement weather, this is a compromise you will have to make! However, as we have said, Costa Rica is a haven for year-round surf. So no matter which time of year you make the pilgrimage, the surf will most definitely be up! The water is generally always hovering around the lower eighties too, so no stumbling in and out of wetsuits thankfully.
Most notable spots to surf in the country are known to be Witch’s Rock, Ollie’s Point, Little Hawaii and Salsa Brava. Head here to witness some advanced or even pro moves to keep you awed and inspired!
It’s time to sample all the best Surf Resorts in Costa Rica!
With so many wonderful surf resorts in Costa Rica, you might be wondering why you haven’t made it over there before. But the good news is, it is still there and still waiting for your arrival! This is a nation that is full of rich natural heritage. Whether that be by land or sea.
Surfing is a singular sport, unlike any other, and it is about time you learned the art. And what finer way than to learn it in (arguably) the most naturally beautiful spot on the planet. The Costa Rica surf is fine, throughout all seasons. And with a bevvy of the best surf camps in Central America, you can bet you’ll be looking like a pro in no time.
Share this with your fellow adventure buddy, and let the planning commence! This is an experience like no other.