Tips From Our Tamarindo Surf School: Private vs. Group Surf Lessons 

Tips From Our Tamarindo Surf School: Private vs. Group Surf Lessons 

Woohoo! So you decided to come and visit us at our Tamarindo surf school! We can’t wait to welcome you to the Pura Vida and teach you everything we know. You might have noticed that there are more options than one might think for surf lessons. You can’t just pick to do a surf lesson… you will get asked if you would like it to be a private, semi-private, or group surf lesson. What does that even mean? Surf lessons aren’t necessarily always one size fits all. We offer each different lesson type here at Iguana Surf for a reason. Each one has its pros, cons, and focuses! In this guide we will explain what this all means so that you can pick the best one for you and have the most fun possible!

Our Costa Rica surf school has lessons daily at 9 am, 12 pm, and 3 pm. All lessons are 2 hours long and the price includes everything you need: a board, a rashguard, and use of our lockers and shower! The lessons all start with about 20 minutes on the sand, where your instructor will teach you about safety, technique, theory, and all the other little details that are important to know about surfing. Then, you will head into the water and catch waves for the rest of the lesson! Many of our instructors have grown up surfing at Tamarindo Beach since they were just little kids, and if not native, they have lived in the area for a while and spent a great deal of time on their own surfing the Tamarindo waves. They all have a ton of knowledge of the area and are pros at reading the waves. We know they have a lot of valuable tips to share! There are three different options for surf lessons:

tamarindo surf school

  1. Group Surf Lessons ($45 per person). 

These lessons are great for solo travelers or those just looking for the best price. Anyone can hop into a group lesson – they are made for beginners, so you will start with the basics. Our groups are no more than four people per instructor, so you will never get lost in the crowd and always still get plenty of attention from the instructor. If traveling alone, these lessons are a great way to meet new people! Then after the lesson, you can all go out for a beer together to refresh.

  1. Semi-Private Lessons ($65 per person).

These lessons are designed for groups of two or three (couples, siblings, friends traveling together, etc.) that want to do a surf lesson without anyone else mixed into their group. We will send you with one instructor just for you so that you can get the most out of your time, ask lots of questions, and surf some amazing waves with the people you love! You will have a bit more flexibility in these lessons since it is just your party and the instructor, so if there is something, in particular, you really want to work on, feel free to just let your instructor know and he can make that a focus.

  1. Private Surf Lessons ($80 per person).

To really make the most of your time, a one-on-one surf lesson is an awesome option so that you can really hone in on your specific skills and areas of improvement, and come away a much stronger surfer. Since it is just you and the instructor, you can personalize it a lot more. Of course, if you are a beginner, your instructor will just cover the usual points which will be the perfect place for you to start. But if you are a more advanced surfer, we would definitely recommend taking a private lesson so that you do not have to sit through the basics of the group lessons at the beginning, and you can jump right into what you really want to learn.

costa rica surf school

Check out the table below for an easy way to compare and contrast the options!





PRICE $45 per person $65 per person $80 per person
WHAT IS INCLUDED? Surfboard, rashguard, two-hour instruction, use of showers, changing room, and lockers Surfboard, rashguard, two-hour instruction, use of showers, changing room, and lockers Surfboard, rashguard, two-hour instruction, use of showers, changing room, and lockers
BEST FOR WHAT SURF LEVEL?  Beginners. These start from the very beginning for those who have never surfed before, and that structure cannot be changed very much because they accommodate the whole group. Beginner or intermediate. If you are all beginners, then these lessons will also go through the same information as the regular beginner lessons. However, if you are a bit more advanced, they can be personalized a bit to fit your needs since you are not mixed with anyone else in your group. Beginner, intermediate, or advanced. If you are a beginner, these are fantastic because you will get maximum one-on-one time and personalized feedback. However, if you are advanced, these are perfect as well because you can skip whatever you already know and just get straight to catching waves!
LENGTH 2 hours 2 hours 2 hours
AMOUNT OF PERSONALIZED FEEDBACK A bit less than a private lesson, but our groups are no more than 4 people per instructor so you will still get the one-on-one time you deserve. Since you will still be with one or two other people you will get a bit less instructor time, but still plenty of feedback! This is the best option for maximum personalized feedback because the instructor’s attention is only on you.
CHANCE TO MEET OTHER TRAVELERS High. If you are flying solo, you will be mixed with up to three other people, which then you can make plans to get dinner or a drink with after! Low. These 2-3 person groups are usually couples or friends that already know each other. But that means quality time with those you love! Low. Since these lessons are just one person with the instructor, you will not meet other travelers in your lesson but you’ll get to know the sport very well!


Okay, so you took a surf lesson, it was awesome, and now you want to keep surfing! What is next? 

tamarindo surf

One option would be to sign up for more lessons. We often hear feedback from people that although one lesson is better than no lessons, it is really after two or three that they can start to see serious improvements and start to feel confident surfing on their own, with zero instruction. If you work on something consistently, you are bound to get better at it! So a few lessons in a row can be really beneficial. Maybe you started with a group lesson but now want to try a private to really hone in on your skills. Or maybe you finally convinced your friend or sibling to try it with you after they heard how much fun you had, so you want to sign up for a semi-private lesson together! Whatever the case may be, we will work with you to create the perfect surfing plan. We also love to offer discounts to our returning customers. Everyone who takes a surf lesson will receive 50% off of their board rentals for their entire vacation. Yes, you read that right! But if you are in and out of the shop a lot and booking multiple lessons, we will give you a bit of a break on those as well. After all, you are part of the Iguana Surf Family now!

Another option would be to just rent a board and take to the waves on your own! With your 50% discount after taking a lesson, the prices for hourly or daily board rentals are an absolute bargain. You almost can’t afford to not try it! It might be a bit of a challenge at first, but after some practice, we know you will get the hang of it! No matter what, it always feels incredible to just be out in the water enjoying the sun. Grab your friends and head out together for a sunset surf session to really take your surfing experience to the max!

Want even more? The next step would be to sign up for a surf trip with our Tamarindo surf school to another nearby break to continue to expand your skills. Hop in the van and head to Playa Grande, Playa Avellanas, or maybe even an extreme trip to Witch’s Rock. Grande and Avellanas are both great intermediate beaches, with waves for all kinds of surfers. These trips can either be guided or not. If you want to just bring your board and explore for yourself, go for it! But if you would like some more instruction at this new location for some insight from a local about how to best surf these waves, then that can be organized as well. We can accommodate individuals, small groups, or even large groups with multiple vans so the sky is the limit! Make a day of it and bring everyone you know to see a new part of the area and have a blast in the water.

When it comes down to it, you cannot go wrong when picking a surf lesson. All of them have automatic good times and lots of laughs included! But hopefully, after reading this guide, you know exactly what kind of lesson you want to sign up for that best suits your surfing goals. We can’t wait to surf with you at our Tamarindo surf school




    Ready for Paradise? Or Have a Question?
    Send our Surf Team a Message!

    Your Name (required)
    Your Email (required)
    What are you interested in? (required)
    Your Message (required)

    Need help?