The tide is rising, winds are offshore, the surf is peeling, and you’re about to jump off the boat into 80°F crystalline waters. Surely you envision a moment like this when daydreaming of your next surf trip to Witch’s Rock Surf Camp (WRSC). But before getting to this highly anticipated moment of swan diving off the boat into some tasty waves, there’s some legwork that must take place. Yes, the not-so-glamorous, and sometimes confusing, process of purchasing airfare.
Back in the old days, like in the early 2000’s, most guests coming to WRSC landed in San José International (SJO) and reaching Tamarindo meant standing on the side of the highway in the city, and climbing on a public bus for a bouncy seven-hour ride. For the more daring travelers, a small puddle-jumper flight could bring you directly into the rustic Tamarindo airport which was (and still is) a 500-meter runway situated within a large pasture of grazing livestock.
Today, things are much different. There are 15 cities worldwide that offer non-stop flights to Guanacaste’s Liberia International Airport (LIR), only an hour away from Tamarindo and Witch’s Rock Surf Camp. Below is the list of all direct flights to Liberia, updated for 2022.
What about tips, tricks and hints for getting the best deal?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but even just 2 or 3 days of wiggle room on each end of your trip can amount to great savings. Better yet, some websites have a calendar that shows the daily 1-way ticket prices for several months in advance so you can find the absolute cheapest arrival / departure dates. We’ve found that Google Flights has the absolute best way to find flights with flexible dates and airports. Google Flights also sends price alerts to your email for your favorite destinations or pre-selected dates. You can set up the flight alerts up to 11 months before your travel dates.
Book early, but not TOO early
Airline fares keep rising the closer you get to departure, but there is a sweet spot when the airlines begin to either lower or increase fares based on demand. Don’t wait until the last second but don’t book too far in advance either. The best time to book your flight is around 2-3 months before your departure, or around five months before if you are going to your destination during peak season.
Fly to San Jose
San Jose International (SJO) is located 4 hours to our south and we’ve heard it’s cheaper from certain destinations. If you’re traveling with the whole family and trying to spend the least amount possible, consider flying into SJO. Remember that WRSC will pick you up in one of our shuttle vans for $200 each way (up to 12 people).
Come for mid week trips
We always recommend Saturday to Saturday trips for first timers; participating in the weeklong experience that ends with the Friday night graduation ceremony is a wonderful way to crystalize your unforgettable time at WRSC. However, if you’re looking to save a few bucks and you’re a WRSC veteran, mid-week airfare could prove to have better rates.
Avoid peak season
There’s a few reasons why airfare skyrockets throughout the holidays.
#1 it’s starting to get cold in the US and Canada.
#2 The dry season is starting in Costa Rica with perfect weather and waves day-after-day which increases flight demand.
#3 The holidays are the only time when many families can break from school / work and coordinate a vacation.
If Peak Season is your only option, no worries, you are practically guaranteed to catch fun waves and a sun tan. Just make sure you contact WRSC as far in advance as possible. If you’re flexible with your schedule, don’t overlook months like May, September, October when it’s green season in Costa Rica. You may not get blue skies and offshore winds everyday, but you will see bigger swells, tropical downpours, and the seasonal migrations of Costa Rica’s fauna. Plus, a cup of Costa Rican coffee during a mid-day thunderstorm in the jungle can be a trip highlight in itself.
Take advantage of savings at the hotel
Remember, we offer some killer deals which can offset your pricey airfare.
August Kids Surf for Free – Every adult on your reservation will cancel out a kid’s surf package for the entire month of August. So if you’re a family of 2 adults and 2 kids, you will only have to pay for the 2 adults and you’ll save close to $1000 per child. Kids are considered under 18 y/o.
Free Room Fall (September + October) – This promotion accounts for the greatest savings all year. For single travelers, we apply a heavy, 30% discount to your trip. *For 2 or more travelers, you can pick any room at our resort for FREE and only have to pay for the surf programs.
*Penthouse requires 3 occupants and Joes Apartment requires 4*
Take a last minute strike mission
Sometimes it’s worth a few extra dollars to take a last minute strike mission when you know the waves will be all-time. Costa Rica gets fun waves most weeks, but some weeks can be downright epic when the conditions come together. Usually surf forecasts for Costa Rica are accurate within about 7 – 10 days. Keep an eye on the surf maps and give us a call if you want our expert analysis of upcoming conditions.
Don’t bring a board – we have tons
Whether you like to surf a high-performance popsicle stick or an 11 foot log, we have the equipment waiting for you on-site. WRSC has teamed up with Firewire and some local Costa Rican board builders to significantly improve surfboard selection. Airlines can sometimes charge $200 each way to bring your board which is highway robbery if you ask me.
However you decide to get down to Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, we’ll be waiting for you with smiles and shakas—eager to offer you an unparalleled surf experience. If you have any tricks or tips for beating the airlines, send us an email or let us know on social media. We’ll be continually updating this blog post.