9 tips to help you plan the perfect surf trip to Costa Rica
Last Updated: 15 July 2019
If you’re a fan of playful peaks, fresh food and exotic tropical destinations that won’t break the bank, then it’s high tide… ahem… high time you booked a surf camp in Costa Rica. Before you pull the trigger though, check out Rapture’s 9 tips for planning the perfect surf trip.
An overseas surf trip is a rite of passage for many saltwater addicts. It allows us to improve our surf skills and sample a variety of new and exciting waves. Perhaps most of all though, a surf trip fills your soul with inspiration and your heart with fond memories. Oh… and it’s also a ripper of a good time.
Planning your very first surf trip may feel a little daunting. To make the whole process easier, we suggest checking out our surf camp in Costa Rica. Not only does it offer a convenient all-inclusive surf experience, we also provide a range of flexible pricing options for all budgets.
That being said, there are still a few other things you should consider when planning a surf trip. Most of which the team at Rapture Surfcamps have covered below. Thereby ensuring that your next visit to our surf camp in Costa Rica is everything you hoped for, plus a whole lot more.
1. Figure out which season you’d like to visit in
Thankfully the weather on the North Pacific Coast where our surf camp is located doesn’t vary too much. In fact, the saying “Beautiful one day, perfect the next” is often used when referencing the conditions here.
If you want to plan the perfect surf trip to Costa Rica though, it’s worth knowing a thing or two about its climate. The first of these is that, like all equatorial countries, Costa Rica has two distinct seasons: a green (wet) and a dry.
The green season runs from May to November. During this time the swell is bigger which means there’s more chance of scoring epic surf if you’ve got a taste for solid waves. It’s also a great time to explore the many rainforests that Costa Rica is known for, given that the green season sees sun in the morning with tropical rainstorms in the evenings.
The dry season, on the other hand, runs from December to April in the region our surf camp in Costa Rica is situated in. The weather is exactly as you expect it to be in a Central American nation, with blue skies, sunny days and stifling heat that’s somewhat tempered by a cool Pacific Ocean breeze.
The tradeoff to having such dreamy conditions is that the surf is historically smaller, which is fine if you’re content with gentle waves and fun sessions on thicker boards.
2. Invite a few friends to join you on your trip
There’s a whole bunch of upsides to traveling solo. It’ll have you out of your comfort zone in many situations and force you to turn inwards when things don’t go to plan.
We think it’s awesome if you want to travel to our surf camp in Costa Rica by yourself. You’ll make plenty of new friends after all. But have you also though about inviting a few friends to join you?
With a crew of close-knit friends who also love to surf, your surf trip to this lush Central American country will feel like the ultimate holiday. For the main reason that waking up early, hunting the coastline for waves and then tripping over each other to get the first set of the day is all the more fun when you have close friends to share the experience with.
Not to mention the fact that pulling into the perfect barrel or riding across the face of a wave feels all the better when it’s done in front of your friends.
3. Make sure you pack the surf trip essentials
You might be surprised to learn that a surf trip to a tropical destination such as Costa Rica requires a little bit of planning. This involves taking care of all the primary things, such as ensuring your passport is valid, buying travel insurance, booking flights and arranging transport to and from the airport.
It also involves making sure you pack the surf trip essentials though, which we’ve already talked about in another article. To sum it up here for you, things like a deck of cards, ding repair kit, spare fins/fin key/legrope all deserve a place in your boardbag.
This way you won’t have to go far to find what you need if things go sideways. Oh… and if you can squeeze in a basic first aid kit, you’ll be all the better for it. Band-Aids make everything feel better after all.
4. Conduct some research on the different surf spots on offer
The surf guides that work at our surf camp in Costa Rica are like Rainman-level savants when it comes to finding surfable waves. But conducting a little research on the different breaks around our location is also a great idea.
For one, checking out a few online mud-maps and gliding over various waves on Google earth will get you acquainted with the coastline. Such is the benefit of having a bird’s eye view. You’ll soon know roughly where the best breaks are and what winds they work on. A bit of knowledge in this department never hurts.
Another advantage of researching surf breaks near our camp is that it’ll get you super psyched to surf them. Like, to the point that your friends will be sick of hearing about how good they are by the time you land. Who knows? Your incessant chatter about the waves you’re going to surf, what conditions they work in and what you plan to do on said waves may just repel them to another peak… which means more rides for you.
5. Consider hiring a board if you want to travel light
The beauty of booking a surf camp in Costa Rica with Rapture is that you can rock up with nothing and let us kit you out with everything you need. From rashvests to legropes, surfboards and more. The fact we rent out equipment means you can travel light.
This gives you flexibility on your surf trip and eliminates the hassle of traveling with a surfboard. Which we all know is pretty much the only downside of surfing. So if you want to avoid hectic airline fees and save yourself from having to carry a board, consider hiring one from Rapture.
We have a variety of surfboards to suit all skill levels and preferences. From longboards and retro shapes to playful twin fins and performance shortboards. Simply hit up any one of our helpful team members upon arrival and we’ll sort you out lickity split.
6. Or bring a surfboard that can handle a variety of waves
Alternatively, if you’ve got a board that you love more than your own mother, we totally understand your need to bring it along. Our advice though is to make sure it’s a decent all-rounder. Given that the waves here can vary quite a bit, a ‘quiver killer’ as they’re affectionately known, won’t let you down.
In addition to ensuring you shred in all conditions; an all-rounder will help you sidestep some of those pesky airline fees we mentioned previously. Since you won’t need to bring multiple boards to our surf camp in Costa Rica just to surf different breaks and wave types.
A board such as JS Industries’ “Black Baron”, Lost Mayhem’s “Puddle Jumper” or the Channel Islands “Neck Beard 2” straddle the line between performance and fun and as such they’ll go like a dream in a range of conditions.
7. Pre-book lessons to maximize your learn to surf opportunities
Surf lessons are the perfect introduction to surfing and surf culture. Not only will you learn the proper technique and how to choose your equipment, our surf instructors will also teach you how to read the conditions and the waves.
The reason why we educate you on all facets of surfing is that we believe in taking a holistic approach. Which ensures you develop into a smarter, safer and more skilled surfer in a shorter amount of time.
If you’d like to learn to stand up on a surfboard or refine your current skillset at our surf camp in Costa Rica, we suggest pre-booking a few sessions before your arrival. This way you can lock down a place in our surf school and plan the rest of your trip more efficiently. Considering you’ll already know when you’ll be in the water.
Of course, we can also slot you into a learn to surf session upon your arrival. This is especially convenient if you’re backpacking through Central America and aren’t planning more than 24 hours ahead. Which in our humble opinion is the only way to backpack.
8. List down all the things you’d like to see and do
Costa Rica has a well-deserved reputation as a destination for adventurous souls looking for action and excitement. And with activities such as ziplining, treetop walks, horse rides and even guided waterfall expeditions on offer, it’s easy to see why.
Costa Rica also has a lot more on offer besides high-octane happenings though. Including but not limited to a number of cultural experiences to undertake, historic landmarks to see and stunning acts of natural beauty found nowhere else on our green planet.
So if you’re planning a stay at our surf camp in Costa Rica, take a moment to check out some of the other great things you can do in this stunning Central American country. Then, write them all down and add them to your surf trip itinerary. This way you’ll always have something to fall back on those rare occasions when the surf is too small.
9. Learn a little bit about the nation of Costa Rica
Did you know that Costa Rica has 200 volcanoes? Or that it boasts 615 species of animal per 25,000 square kilometers? And that it hasn’t had a national army since 1948? Well, if you read up on Costa Rica you’ll soon discover all of this for yourself plus much, much more.
That’s because Costa Rica is incredibly diverse in terms of geography and biology for its size. Full of interesting wildlife, rich traditions and a vibrant blend of both indigenous and colonial influences. All of which combine to give its cuisine, architecture and the very nature of its people a totally unique feel.
Costa Rica is also one of the happiest countries in the world, with a long history of providing democracy, education and equal rights for all its inhabitants. Not to mention it’s home to a little something called “Pura Vida”. An indefinable concept but roughly translated to living with no stress, no worries and appreciating what you have.