The Best Surf Schools in Costa Rica

The perfect wave
The perfect wave | ©Steve Corey/Flickr
Jenn Parker

Surfing and Costa Rica go hand in hand. While the country appeals to experienced surfers because of its heavy beach breaks and powerful point breaks, it is also an ideal place for learners. There are a great variety of beginner-friendly areas, especially on the Pacific Coast. Some popular towns that have surf schools include Tamarindo, Nosara, Santa Teresa, Montezuma and Dominical, many of them offering packages for multiple lessons. Here’s our pick of the best.

La Sirena Surf Adventures

La Serena Surf Adventures is based in Tamarindo and an excellent option if you are interested in lessons, tours, or a week-long surf adventure. The owner and instructor Monica exudes pure surf professionalism – her positive attitude, enthusiasm and vast knowledge will only further enhance your experience learning how to surf while you are in Costa Rica.

Family surf lesson

S.A.L.T. Surf School

S.A.L.T (Surf as Life Therapy) Surf School offers lessons and tours for all levels, including first-timers. The school is based in Tamarindo at Tamarindo Backpackers and is run by an incredible surf instructor named Elias. Private and group lessons are available, boards and rash guards are provided, so all you have to do is show up with a positive attitude and lots of enthusiasm. Tamarindo is a great place to learn how to surf or take your surfing to the next level.

Safari Surf School

Safari Surf School offers the ultimate experience for first-timers and seasoned surfers. Located in Nosara, the school offers three different packages that include backpacker-friendly, the Tortuga package and a women’s retreat. There is even the option to customize your own package. A typical day includes two surf sessions, gourmet meals, yoga or down-time by the pool and opportunities to explore the amazing surrounding area. Playa Guiones in Nosara has waves that are perfect for every level.

Bodhi Surf School

Bodhi Surf School is located in Playa Uvita (a whale’s tail-shaped beach) and an ideal location for first time and beginner surfers. One of the top beaches to learn how to surf, Playa Uvita’s waves are gentle, it’s relatively uncrowded, the water is warm and the vibes are welcoming. The instructors at Bodhi Surf School are experts in their craft and will provide you with exceptional and personalized surfing instruction. They offer surf clinics and single lessons.

Surf Diva Surf School

Surf Diva Surf School is located in Nosara and is a school exclusively for females. During your week long retreat, you will receive personalized and professional surf instruction, daily yoga classes, locally sourced and inspired meals, local outings and spa treatments. You will surf twice a day and the daily yoga class will be geared toward stretching, strengthening and relaxing the muscles that you use for surfing. Surf Diva Surf School has been ranked as one of the top surf schools for women.

Dominical Surf School

Dominical Surf School is run by an impressive young woman named Debbie Zec. Up until 2009, she was competing on a national and international level and is a very accomplished surfer. She has been teaching since she was 14 years old and has since taught over 5000 people. Her surf school offers individual and group lessons, vacation packages and a women’s retreat. The lessons, packages and retreats are all affordably-priced and include everything from accommodation and meals to surf lessons and photo/video analysis. Dominical is an amazing surf beach!

Surf Simply

Surf Simply takes a different approach to teaching surfing: “At Surf Simply we identify the many specific skills behind the sport and then break down the mechanisms, making surfing accessible to everyone. Our team of seven ISA and ILSF-qualified coaches are surf geeks who work with just 12 guests each week, replacing ambiguous surf lingo with clear, concise, systemized coaching. We don’t teach you how to surf. We teach you how to teach yourself how to surf, or surf better through a combination of video feedback, theory lessons and in-water coaching.” This unique school is located in Nosara and is perfect for both first-timers to experienced surfers who want to take their game to the next level.

School of the World

School of the World is a surf school plus a yoga, Spanish and photography school offering lessons, camps and surf retreats for all levels. Operating since 1997, it has built a reputation as one of the top surf schools in Costa Rica. The school is located in the heart of Jaco and includes 12 guest rooms, a common kitchen and dining area, a photo and video editing studio, two Spanish classrooms and a small swimming pool. It is also walking distance to the center of town where there are great restaurants, shops, bars, and of course the beach.

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