Whether you want to try it for the first time or improve your skills, Costa Rica is the perfect place to come to surf. It has year-round perfect weather, warm ocean waters, and 1,290 km (800 miles) of coastline.
The only problem can be finding the perfect place to suit your needs. If you search online for the best Costa Rica surf camp you’ll come up with over 31,000 results! You cant read through it all, so what considerations are best to keep in mind when searching for the best surf camps and best surf resorts in Costa Rica? Let’s break it down:
Check Out Reviews
Tripadvisor is an amazing resource for anything and everything, from where to stay to where to eat, on your next trip. It doesn’t matter how fancy the advertisements or website, if a business is lacking in any way, it will show up in their reviews.
Take a look at some of Iguana Surf’s Tripadvisor reviews from the past year…
“We weren’t sure of our plans but my husband and daughter wanted to surf in Tamarindo while we were in the area. We were recommended to Iguana Surf and we are SO glad! We walked in off the street and their board rental rates are extremely reasonable. They were very helpful in picking a board that both my husband and daughter could use. It was so convenient to just walk across the street to the ocean! When we returned the board we bought some merchandise that included stickers. Unfortunately, when we returned to the US our dog ate the sticker my daughter wanted to put on her car. I contacted Iguana and they sent new stickers! We will definitely be returning to them for all surf needs next time we are in Tamarindo!” – Laura F, September 2021
“I had a great time in Tamarindo, especially due to my stay at Iguana. The accommodations were really nice and the room had a lot of space. It was the perfect place to relax and come back to after surfing and exploring the town. The restaurant above the surf shop had an excellent breakfast and the location of the hotel and surf shop was perfect. I just had to cross the street to reach the beach to hang out or have my surf lesson! Andrea was a wonderful host and introduced us to different events and nightlife activities. Fifo was my surf instructor and was very patient as I am a beginner surfer. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking to improve and have a good time in the water. He was very knowledgeable and I always felt very safe in the water. Everyone that worked at the surf shop was very nice and welcoming. I can’t wait to come back to the surf and see the Iguana team.” – Rachel Dyl, August 2021
“Spent 9 days in the surf camp and my overall experience was outstanding.
Rooms – very spacious, comfortable, everything looks new and fine, high-quality AC, TV, high water pressure. Even better than back home. Thanks so much to Andrea for her constant attention and help. Also Miriam for having everything crystal clean!
Surf shop – they have dozens of different boards so no matter what you like, they got it. You can even take the board to your room so u can start early the next day. Amazing staff led by Paris, Christian, and Tablón.
Surf lessons – these guys offer 2-hour classes which are above the benchmark with the average being 1 hour. This gives you a lot of time to practice, learn and improve. My instructor was Manuel. I would highly recommend him to everyone. Super experienced, great at teaching practical and theoretical knowledge. I learned and improved a lot and to a large extent, it was because of him. Great guy! Other instructors are also super nice such as Fifo or Andres. All the staff is just awesome including great pictures, video, video analysis! These guys are a real deal when it comes to surfing.
Had an amazing time here and Iguana killed it! Amazing experience and moment! Will miss u guys dearly!” – Borja U, August 2021
Are you just looking for a place to flop between surf sessions or do you want a little luxury? No answer is wrong! The choice is yours and no one can tell you what the perfect surf trip looks like to you but YOU. So if you want to share bunk beds in a sandy room or spread out on a big, comfy bed in a private room, be sure to look into the facilities offered at the surf camp of your choice.
Our Costa Rica surf camp is more on the luxury side of the scale, with ocean views, air conditioning, tv, and king-size beds available, although you can still stay in a bunk bed if you want! We have the best of both worlds.
Location, Location, Location
Ask where the surf camp you are planning to stay at is located. Is it within walking distance of restaurants, bars, and shops, or will you need to rent a car or bike to get around? Even Google Maps can help you determine what is nearby and how far you will be staying from the beach. Ideally, you can get your board and lock up your things at the surf camp and walk to the beach barefoot and ready to ride some waves! This way you won’t have to worry about losing your cute vacation flip-flops.
Iguana Surf Camp is located across the street from the beach, directly in front of the main break so you won’t have far to run across the hot sand when you stay with us!
The best surf resorts in Costa Rica offer some additional surf trips to their clients, beyond the beach where they are located. This will give you the opportunity to take a trip to another beach to try your new skills on a different break. There are several nearby beaches around Tamarindo with different breaks to test your skills. So, if you really want to take your surfing to another level, you will want to try out what you can base on your experience level, with a qualified instructor in the water with you to help, should you need it.
Just because a person is highly skilled at something, it does not mean they can teach it. It takes a lot of patience and a great attitude to teaching a new skill to strangers day-in and day-out while keeping a smile on your face! Searching for reviews beforehand can help you know what kind of instructors you can expect.
Instructors are not just there to make sure you have a good time, they are there to keep you safe. At Iguana Surf, our instructors are International Surfing Association (ISA) certified and focus on teaching you the core skills and safety of surfing while having a blast in the ocean. All guides speak English and Spanish as well so you won’t have to worry about the language barrier.
Quality of Boards
You want the surf camp you choose to have a wide variety of surfboards and knowledgeable staff to help you chose which board is right for you. If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to stick with a soft-top board. At Iguana Surf, we have over 125 boards in total from 5’6″ fishes to 10-foot longboards (a few designed by famous surfer, Robert August).
Some surf camps may just offer the basics, but the best Costa Rica surf camps will do everything they can to make sure you get the most out of your visit. Our surf camp packages not only include trips to nearby surfing beaches so you can get a taste of different types of waves and conditions, but we also offer free video analysis of your progress so you can really see what you’re doing right and what needs improvement. You’ll also get a photo package from your lessons, so you’ll have some photos to share from your trip. After all, you can’t take a selfie from your board (not yet, anyway)!
Remember to inquire not just how many surf lessons are included in your stay, but also how long the lessons last. An hour may sound like a long time but if you want to get as much out of your lessons as possible, it’s best to opt for places that offer two-hour lessons.
Add-ons can make your stay at a surf camp an experience to last a lifetime. Think about what you really want to do on your trip. Do you want to relax and take a beach yoga class or learn about a new culture or language? Maybe you want to get out into nature with an exciting zipline through the canopy or explore the mountains and beaches on an ATV. The best surf resorts in Costa Rica will help you find whatever you’re hoping to do, beyond surfing.
Planning your very first surf trip may feel a little daunting. But whether you’re searching for a convenient all-inclusive surf experience, flexible pricing options for your budget, or the best surf experience Costa Rica has to offer, we think you’ll find it all here in Tamarindo at Iguana Surf Camp.
By Jennifer LaCharite