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.
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, lots of good restaurants, shops, activities, easy access to the Liberia Airport, plus a full range of surf beaches to the north and south.
Liberia 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.
However, flights into the capital city of San Jose 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:
Both airlines are well-run, and have excellent safety records. Sansa is often easier, since they fly out of the San Jose International Airport. Nature Air operates out of a regional airport a short cab ride away. Rates average around $100 per person, each way.
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! We’ll give you the straight advice and help you find the travel options that best fit your schedule and budget.
We have a broad selection of boards ranging from Channel Islands thrusters and Hynson fishes to fun shapes and longboards, so most surfers will find something sweet to ride, and can also try out different boards than you usually 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 cardboard protection sleeves around nose 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.
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.