Planning my first trip to a Costa Rica surf camp was slightly overwhelming. When searching I found hundreds of resorts, hotels, youth hostels and surf camps online. However, in the end there seemed to be only one place that stood out, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp in Playa Tamarindo.
Surfers come from all over the world to go to Tamarindo. It’s the closest surf town to Costa Rica’s best breaks and perfect for beginners, with flat grade, gentle surf, minimal rocks and mellow rip tides. There are really good swells too for the more experienced surfers. It really just depends on the time of day.
What you can expect at the camp
Witch’s Rock Surf Camp was named after the famous nearby rocky outcrop on the Guanacaste province coast. The camp seemed entirely surf focused and had everything you would expect from a top class surf camp.
- Beachfront property with surfing right outside the hotel
- Bar, restaurant and pool
- Small surf classes and seminars
- Free time to do whatever you like
- Surfboard rentals included
- Full breakfast included
- Owned and run by surfers
How to get to your Costa Rica surf camp
I flew into Liberia International Airport. If you book your trip from Saturday to Saturday, Witch’s Rock also offers free transfers. When our shuttle pulled up to the surf camp the sign ‘Burritos as big as your ass’, greeted us at the door. From the road you could see the beach and I have to say the place looked like heaven.
The staff that greeted us at the front desk made us feel instantly at home. It’s worth knowing that the room sizes vary and if you are looking for the Ritz, then this is probably not the place for you. But if you’re happy with clean, homely rooms that have beach views, then you’ll be more than satisfied. I know I was.
The nearby Eat At Joe’s Restaurant had plenty of options, however, my gluten-free diet did prove slightly prohibitive. For your free breakfast you can choose what you want from of the menu. I strongly recommend the fantastic Costa Rican strong coffee that flows freely all day.
What’s the surf instruction like?
All of the surf instructors there were great. I surfed with Andres, Erlyn, J. Luis and Flash, and I really liked them all. I had signed up for beginners’ classes and these took place on the beach in front of the hotel. More advanced surfers took van and boat trips to other breaks for something a little more serious. I was really jealous but also relieved to be learning on the smaller waves. The larger breaks are slightly terrifying for a beginner.
At night there was plenty to eat and plenty to do. You have to try the tuna at Noguis, and if you go to a restaurant called Fisch, get the sea bass. Trust me, you won’t regret it. For Asian food, try Wok and Roll, if only for the name though the food is great too. FT’s and the other Costa Rican food bodegas you might come across at Witch’s Rock are also worth trying, and they’re affordable. However, be prepared as food in Tamarindo is not cheap.
I loved this place. My only complaint is that I had to leave. The owners of Witch’s Rock, Joe and Kelly, are really friendly and welcoming. And veteran pro surfer Robert August teaches seminars and shapes custom surfboards on site. You can even watch the film that made surfing, and him, famous, The Endless Summer. All in all, it was a great experience with lovely people and I will always remember my time at this very special Costa Rica surf camp.