Frequently Asked Questions
Witch’s Rock Surf Camp is in Tamarindo, in the province of Guanacaste, in Northwest Costa Rica, on the Pacific Ocean.
The famous Witch’s Rock surf break is an advanced wave in the heavily protected Santa Rosa National Park, North of Tamarindo, near the Nicaraguan border. It takes about 2 hours to get to the surf spot from our camp in Tamarindo.
There are no buildings or commercial development allowed in the National Park (a very good thing) so the best way to get to the break is by boat, which we’ve been doing year-round since 2001.
Tamarindo is the vibrant little hub of surfing in Northern Costa Rica, with great waves for surfers of all abilities, over 40 different restaurants, shops, activities, spas, yoga, and easy access to the Liberia Airport (LIR) 1 hour away.
Liberia (LIR) is the closest airport, and should always be the first choice. We offer free shuttle service on Saturdays, and it is only an hour’s drive away. If you arrive on a non-Saturday, we can pick up your whole reservation for $75.
Sometimes flights into the capital city of San Jose (SJO) can often be much cheaper, so it is worth checking, and weighing your options. If you decide to fly into San Jose, there are several ways to get to Tamarindo: Regional Airlines: There are regional flights from the San Jose International Airport direct to Tamarindo on the small planes of
Sansa is often the easiest, since they fly out of the San Jose International Airport. Rates average around $100 per person, each way. Shuttle Vans: We can arrange to pick you up and drop you off in San Jose with one of our vans or a partner company. Vans have the advantage of being able to pick you up day or night (the regional airlines have limited schedules) and are generally cheaper for any group over two people ($200 total cost for the shuttle each way).
We’re also happy to combine shuttles with other guests where possible. Buses, Rental Cars, Etc: Of course, we can help coordinate whatever travel you may need. Many guests are coming from somewhere else in Costa Rica, or Central America, or headed off to another location afterwards.
Call us at 1-888-318-7873! We’ll give you the straight advice and help you find the travel options that best fit your schedule and budget.
Tamarindo is definitely a safe and easy destination for travellers.
We wrote a whole blog on this topic here
We have a broad selection of boards ranging from Channel Islands thrusters and Hynson fishes to fun shapes and longboards. We also carry brands like Firewire, Catch Surf, Robert August, Walden, Torq, and many more. We currently have over 120 boards to choose from. Most surfers will find something sweet to ride, and can also try out different boards that you usually wouldn’t ride back home.
You can bring your own boards, but airline travel is always a risk with surfboards. They charge high fees but treat boards like crap.
If there’s a magic board you just don’t want to surf without (we completely understand) then just make sure to wrap it up like a unicorn’s egg. Extra bubble wrap, make pool noodle protection sleeves around nose, rails, and tail. Remember those old Samsonite ads with the Baggage Mangler Gorilla?
Yes. No sweat. Everyone takes US Dollars. ATMs usually offer either Colones (the local currency) or USD. You will probably get change back in Colones, however, which is more fun anyway, because then you feel like you really went somewhere foreign.
The exchange rate fluctuates, but generally stays in the neighborhood of 500 Colones per 1 USD. So if a beer costs 1000 Colones, that’s about $2. It’s easy to get the hang of it. Prices everywhere are usually listed in Colones, sometimes in Dollars.
Some places will even accept Canadian Loonies…but don’t count on that. Other currencies can be exchanged at the Airport or bank.
No worries if you don’t, but it adds to the experience if you do. Many Costa Ricans who work in tourism speak some level of English, many fluently. All of the employees at at Witch’s Rock are bilingual and are willing to help you out.
Try out some Spanish while you are here, folks are friendly and helpful about it, or let us know if you want to take spanish lessons at one of the excellent language schools right here in Tamarindo.
Not if you are from any of the countries listed below. All visitors are required to have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the dates of the trip.
Visitors from the following countries are allowed to stay for 90 days without a visa:
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, United States and all European countries except from Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czech Republics, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Visitors from these countries are allowed to stay for 30 days without a visa:
Australia, Belize, China, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, The Philippines and Venezuela.
No, not unless you are flying into Costa Rica from one of the countries that has been flagged as at risk for yellow fever:
AFRICA SUB SAHARAN:
Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Saw Lioness and Sudan.
Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador.
AFRICA SUB SAHARAN:
Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Saw Lioness and Sudan.
Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador.
Coming down to our area, you really don’t need to bring a lot, you could get by during the week with a swimsuit, flip flops, t-shirt & sunscreen but if you would prefer to be a bit more prepared, here is our suggested packing list:
- ATM card (traveler’s checks are not advised) VISA/MASTERCARD/AMEX
- US dollars in small bills ($5 – $10 – $20 are widely accepted; larger bills are difficult)
- Bug Spray
- Board Shorts or Bikini
- Beach towel
- Rashguard (can be purchased in our surf shop)
- An extra $29.00 each for departure tax (to be paid at the airport by cash or VISA only)
- Alarm clock or cell phone for those early morning surf sessions
- Tips for your service providers are appreciated and are optional
- Photos/Videos may be purchased separately
- Board Insurance may be purchased separately
- Pura Vida Attitude (pure life as the locals say)
Take a look at our blog post on this topic as well for more helpful information on what to expect in the area and things to bring.
Yes, the water is safe to drink, ice is fine, fruits and veggies are generally yummy and safe to eat as well. Costa Rica is not like Mexico where Montezuma’s Revenge has become legendary. However, if you know you are prone to an upset stomach, you may want to play it safe anyway and stick with bottled water. Sometimes, just eliminating the potential worry is worth the effort. You’re on vacation, and you don’t want anything to ruin it. We sell large bottles of water at our restaurant so you can get by.
If you have a trip booked with us and would like to add someone on, there is no problem at all. Try and contact us as early as possible so we can adjust your final payment (happens 1 month prior to arrival). Normally, the per person totals will drop with more people in the room.
We are a small hotel and must be strict with the cancellation policy. We do not give refunds, but credits for future trips instead.
Please see the full Cancellation Policy here. We highly recommend purchasing an economic plan that would cover you in case of last minute cancellation.
We all use Allianz Travel insurance for our own personal travel but are not affiliated with them in anyway
When you are ready to book your surf trip, contact us Toll Free at 1-888-318-7873. This number works from the USA and Canada. If you are calling from elsewhere in the world, you can call us locally at 011-506-2653-1262. Or, give us your number and we will call you.
To book, we require a 50% down payment paid via Credit Card or Paypal. The final payment will be made exactly 1 month prior to arrival. If you are booking a surf trip within 1 month to arrival, we will charge your card in full at the time of booking.
Any time is a great time to visit the land of Pura Vida!. But in all honesty, this really depends on what you’re looking for from your surf trip. Are you looking for big waves with small crowds? Are you looking for perfect small surf with lots of sunshine?
This question is so important that we’ve decided to write an entire blog answering it.
Tamarindo is known as the best beach to learn to surf in Costa Rica. Tamarindo is a protected bay with an offshore island which blocks a fair amount of the wave energy. Therefore, the waves are generally in the waist – stomach high range year round and very user friendly for beginners. However, when Costa Rica received a very large swell, Tamarindo is one of the best spots while most other beaches are maxed out. If you an Intermediate or Advanced surfer, you will find lots of other World Class Waves within a short boat ride or drive away.
The Tamarindo area has some of the best waves in all of Costa Rica. There are tons of nooks and crannies in the immediate coastline which receive different swell angles, periods, sizes, and even offers shelter for onshore winds. On the Intermediate surf tours, you will surf a handful of world-class beach breaks (sand bottom) that generally have a spread out crowd and open lines. In the Advanced guided tours, we will take you to world class beach breaks, point breaks, reef breaks, and even some secret spots.
This questions really depends on the time of year. During our regular season (May – November) you can expect about 40 – 50 guests who are all surfing in one of our programs. During the high season (December – April) you can expect between 50 – 70 guests.
In the beginner surf program, we do 1 instructor to 3 students max. If the student is especially young (under 7 years old) we will try to maintain a 1-on-1 ratio for extra safety. As for the Intermediate surf tours, this is generally 1 of our expert surf coaches with 6 or 7 guests. As for the Advanced surf tours, the group is generally 1 guide to 5 surfers.
Here at Witch’s Rock, we have a few menu items that can be made vegetarian.
Check out our full menu here.
There are several markets and health food stores in Tamarindo as well where you can find delicious vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
You can get your complimentary breakfast at any time during the day at our beachfront restaurant, Eat at Joe’s. If you have a 6 am tour and don’t get back until later, we can happily serve you a big breakfast burrito for lunch.
Yes you can. About 50% of our guests do the Sat – Sat program while the other 50% just come whenever they can.
This can be less or more than 7 days. We have some people that even stay a month with us!
We will pro-rate the price for you so you’re not paying anything extra.
We pride ourselves in offering the very best family surf vacations in the world. We have families who visit us from all over the world all times of the year.
We do surf lessons for children as young as 5 years old (4 years old if they are exceptionally good in the water).
We actually have a popular, “Kids Surf For Free” month every August where kids surf for free with the purchase of an adult surf package.
Witch’s Rock Surf Camp acquired the Pueblo Dorado Surf Hotel back in 2015.
The Pueblo Dorado is a 30 room hotel with 29 private Queen or double twin rooms and a, 2 Bedroom Apartment.
The Pueblo Dorado is located 3 minutes walking down the street (or beach) and is located 1 row back from the beach. Many people prefer the Pueblo Dorado who want a little more privacy and don’t want to be in the social atmosphere of the main surf camp.
Of course, if you stay at the Pueblo Dorado Surf Hotel, you have access to both locations.
Tamarindo is a small but vibrant town with over 50 restaurants and over 15 bars with great nightlife. If you’re up for it, you can find Karaoke nights, Salsa dancing nights, Ladies’ nights and much more.
We offer 3 distinct surf programs which appeal to surfers of all levels. We offer a Beginner Surf School where we teach you the fundamentals, Intermediate Coaching Tours where you explore the coastline with a coach and work on more technical aspects (gaining speed, carving, wave selection), and Advanced Guided Tours where you will score the very best waves that NW Costa Rica has to offer.
95% of the time, the answer is no. The water is generally about 80 degree Fahrenheit year round. There are a few days surfing the dry season where the water can dip down to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This happens when the wind blows hard offshore for a few consecutive days and up welling occurs. This generally doesn’t last long, just for a day or 2. For many of our guests, 70 degree water is very refreshing. When the water temperature drops, a good spring-suit is all the rubber you need.
Everyone comes to our camp for the same reason, to enjoy Costa Rica’s tropical surroundings and hopefully catch the best waves of their life. Coming as a single traveler is a safe bet and you will make tons of like-minded friends. About 30% of our weekly guests are single travelers. We have plenty single queen rooms and even shared rooms. Check out our blog on WRSC Demographics here
As a single traveler, you must be at least 18 years old. We do not accept unaccompanied minors. If you are coming with your family or a group, there is no age restriction. We even have families with newborns who visit us.
Yes, if you are staying elsewhere in town, you can join one of our surf programs. If you want to book ahead of time, there is a 3 day minimum. If you don’t want to commit to 3 days, you can wait until you’re in town and set up a walk in lesson.
We recommend a Sat – Sat stay, but it’s not mandatory. We generally set up our week in a Sat- Sat rhythm with our seminars, but it’s not a big deal if you’d like to do Wednesday – Wednesday for example. We also offer free Liberia transportation on Saturdays at any time. Pick up / drop off on a non-Saturday is $75 per reservation.
We teach children as young as 5 years old. We will put them in 1-on-1 lessons with our instructor and keep them close to the beach. If your child is an exceptionally good swimmer and brave, we can teach them as young as 4 years old.
We do not offer Yoga directly through the surf camp, but there are about 5 different studios walking distance from our surf camp. Talk to the girls at the front desk and we will point you in the right direction.
Check out the following blogs for all of the activities you can do here or arrange through our shop:
List of activities that you can book at our surf shop once you get here:
Volcano Trips & Adventure Days at Rincon de la Vieja
Sunset Snorkel Sail
Turtle Nesting Tours(available October 20th to February 15th)
Yoga and Pilates
Mountain Bike Tours
In Room Massage
Half Day Spas
Yes, we offer a Male and Female shared room which hosts 3 guests in each. These are the only rooms on site that are strictly Saturday – Saturday. The shared rooms are your most economical option.
We have a fleet of drivers that can come and pick you up at any time. Just send us your flight information before your arrival and we will have a driver waiting for you in the terminal of the airport with a sign with your name on it.
We do! If you have other accommodations in Tamarindo and are itching to surf Witch’s Rock and Ollie’s, contact our surf shop and we can set you up with a private boat. The price is $400 for the boat with and can fit 6 people max.
You can contact our reservations team via email at email@example.com or you can call us directly at 1-888-318-7873.
We are open 7 days a week and have surfer agents on duty.
We do not book the flights for you, but contact us and let us know where you’re flying out of and we will make our best recommendation with airlines.
We are located in the town of Tamarindo. We are not in the very center of town, but only about 5 minutes walking away from the main strip. We are, however, located right in front of the very best waves in Tamarindo . That’s what’s important, right?
Many of the surf spots we go to are wide open beach breaks with several peaks. Of course, there is a main peak that the locals surf, but we rarely
Yes! Since 2015 Witch’s Rock Surf Camp has sponsored a lifeguard program with the main tower right in front of our surf camp. They work everyday 6am – 6pm and are all trained in CPR and ocean rescue.
There is a 24 hour clinic less that 5 minutes down the road in car. There is also a day clinic literally 100 meters to the north of our camp for basic medicine or daily emergencies.
Surf times change each day based around the tide. Generally speaking the best window starts 3 hours before peak high tide and ends about 3 hours after peak high tide. The Advanced group will sometimes surf at the low tide depending on the swell.
Check in is at 2pm and check out is at 11am. If you arrive earlier, you can drop off your bags at the front desk and go explore, surf, or have a welcome drink. If you depart after 2pm, you can do the same. Leave your bags at the front desk until your transport is ready.
If you want to stay at the main Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, your reservation needs to have at least 50% surfing. For example, if you are a family of 4 staying for 7 days, that means that at least 2 members must surf the whole time or everyone surfs for 4 days. If you want to come visit us and not surf at all, we can set you up at our sister location, Pueblo Dorado Surf Hotel, 3 minutes walking down the street. You can stay there as a non surfer and still enjoy the surf camp vibe and your free breakfast.
The threshold between beginner and intermediate is the ability to catch your own waves consistently. You will not be pushed into waves on the Intermediate tours so you must be at the point where you are capable of catching your own waves. If you are right on the verge between the 2 programs, you can start in the beginner and bump up to intermediate when you’re ready.
The difference between the Intermediate and Advanced program is really the level of coaching you will receive. If you are eager to work on your turns, floaters, wave selection and would like a coach giving you tips along the way, then go for the Intermediate program. If you are a life-long surfer and don’t want tips, but only want to surf the best waves possible including reef breaks, hollow beach breaks, and rifling pointbreaks, then go for the Advanced surf program. There is no coaching in the Advanced program, just long surf sessions with the best quality waves.
Tamarindo is a small, dense town that takes about 15 minutes to walk from one end to the other. Unless you have plans to explore more parts of Costa Rica, you will not need a car staying in Tamarindo. A bike rental is more convenient and we do offer this service.
The most economical time to come is for our Free Room Fall (September and October) where you can get a week of accommodations + surfing for $805 including the beginner surf program.
Even if you have extensive experience with board sports, we recommend starting in the beginner if you’ve never surfed before. Properly learning the fundamentals of the pop-up and wave selection is key to progressing.
Tamarindo is actually located in the driest region of the country. September and October are typically the rainiest months of the year, but it’s really not too bad. On a normal rainy season day, you can expect lots of blue skies in the morning with offshore winds. Then by mid day, the wind will come light onshore and then a tropical downpour around 3pm. The 3pm downpour is generally followed by an afternoon glass off and spectacular sunset
This really depends on your fitness history. Kids will jump up on the board within the first 5 minutes whereas some of our more “seasoned” guests may not get up until day 2 or 3. After a week long stay, we can can pretty much guarantee that you’ve gotten a few great rides and photo evidence.
Yes, if you are coming with your family and want to bring your little ones, we can arrange a local babysitter for a fair price.
Pueblo Dorado is our sister location located 3 minutes walking down the street. We acquired the Pueblo Dorado in 2015 and have turned it into a great, laid-back surf hotel. When staying at the Pueblo Dorado, you will enjoy all the same amenities as if you were staying at the main surf camp. We have 29 private rooms + a 2 Bedroom Apt.
We do not offer SUP. The bigger boards cause some logistical problems when traveling by boat or van. If you are interested in SUP, there are plenty of surf shops in town where you can rent a board and even do tours.
This really depends on the time of year you’re looking to come. For peak season dates like Christmas or Spring Break, you need to book at least 1 year – 6 months ahead of time. For regular season dates, you should be booking about 4 months in advance. If you are looking for a last minute surf trip, we can most likely find you a room at our sister location, Pueblo Dorado up until a few days before your arrival.