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The Best Surf Schools in Costa Rica

Updated October 13, 2018 4.4k views5 items
After hours of tiresome research I give you the best surf schools in Costa Rica. The list criteria is based on actual surf schools - not these mainstream yoga/surf camps that you waste the majority of your time mastering the downward dog. I've evaluated each surf school based on their surf knowledge and ability to teach the essentials to learning how to surf. It's evident that Corky Carroll's Surf School has the best program and instructors for teaching beginners how to surf. For more info on their surf school click here.
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    Corky Carroll's Surf School

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    Rick Walker founder and owner of Corky Carroll’s Surf School, has created a unique atmosphere which focuses on using real surfing fundamentals and real surfing equipment (all authentic hand shaped surfboards).  A week stay at Corky Carroll’s Surf School in Nosara, Costa Rica allows you to escape your reality and do what you came to Costa Rica to do - learn how to surf or improve your surfing. 

    Reasons why I think it's the best surf school in Costa Rica: 
    1) Real surfing fundamentals being taught for the last 18 years
    2) Unlimited surfing lessons during your stay
    3) Private 1-on-1 ration instructor to student
    4) 4 min walk to beach along a protected wildlife park
    5) Video critique with instructors and complimentary USB "surf-drive" to take home your video footage
    6) Authentic hand-shaped surf boards
    7) Wholesome well prepared meals, and the kitchen is always open for snacks
    8) Breakfast is an open menu made to order (order what you want) with a natural fruit juice
    9) Unlimited beer and gatorade
    10) Transportation to and from airport
    11) Complimentary laundry

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    Witch's Rock Surf Camp

    Reasons why I did NOT choose Witch's Rock surf camp:
    1) The surf camp is in Tamarindo, which is a run down over populated beach town with lots of crime, hookers, and an overall bad vibe.
    2) The surf area is pretty small and limited to tide changes. Basically there's no surfing at low tide. 
    3) The camp itself is focused on boat surf tours, which results in a lack of 1-on-1 surf instruction. 
    4) When there's no swell and no waves in Tamarindo they boat their campers to Nosara because there's always waves.
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    Safari Surf School

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    Reasons why I did NOT choose Safari Surf School:
    1) No 1-on-1 lessons. The ratio of instructor to students is usually 1 instructor to 3 students, which is not a good situtation for the break at Playa Guiones, where there's always swell and a lot of water moving around out there. 
    2) No real surfboards to learn on. They just use manufactured boards punched out a machine. 
    3) Their options for trip selections is mind baffling - too many places to choose. There's no real focus on the surfing. 
    4) Not all the meals are provided. They let you go off on your own for dinners, which is a long wait in any of the restaurants near by. 
    5) The overall camp's focus is not surf driven. They leave you with the feeling - where is the surfing? 
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    Surf Simply Surf Camp

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    Reasons why I did NOT choose Surf Simply:
    1) The facility is a 5 minute drive to the beach so they transport all the guests at the same time in the back of a truck and pull the boards with an ATV trailer.
    2) The lessons are one instructor per three students and they limit you on the lesson sessions - 10 90 minute lessons, which makes no sense for learning how to surf. 
    3) They use manufactured plastic boards. 
    4) One day of your week you're on your own with no lessons.
    5) They don't provide all the meals. They just take you to local restaurants where it takes about two hours to get a meal. 
    6) They practice paddling in their pool because the beach is at least a 10 minute walk. 
    7) The facility is a 15 minute walk to any restaurants and shops.