In early March before the Coronavirus took over, Shep and I took a mother son adventure trip to Costa Rica. Shep’s top priority while we were there was learning to surf, but this would be our first time learning so I did a lot of research about a good/safe place for beginners. I came across Vista Guapa Surf Camp in Jaco, which is on the Pacific side of the country.
What to Expect
The camp is comprised of 3 bungalow duplexes nestled into the side of a mountain with sweeping views of the Pacific coastline, a yoga platform/house, a pool area with workout platform, and a main house at the base of the mountain with lobby and areas where breakfast is served. Each bungalow is lined with windows and has high wood paneled ceilings. The interior has a breezy understated beach feel kept clean and tidy. The hammock and chair on the front porch give some extra chill space and the perfect opportunity to watch the sunset.
Each morning a delicious breakfast of eggs, beans & rice, fresh fruit juices, sausage, fresh fruit, and oatmeal is served on the outdoor porches of the main house. Yoga on the outdoor roofed platform is typically offered once per day depending on the tide schedule. Everything revolves around the tides here-the best surf times are the priority. High tide times are posted in the main house and the schedules are hashed out the evening before during dinner or on the ride home. For the most part all meals, surf lessons, and yoga sessions are enjoyed as a group. Don’t be afraid to take an excursion outside the group, but part of the charm of this particular accommodation is to do things as a camp. Shep and I loved it! Kandace and crew were exceptionally attentive and sensitive to the needs of the group. We liked not having to come up with plans on our own, but really liked that we had a vote within the group. We felt at ease, safe, and cared for in every situation.
Learning to Surf
Shep had his sights set on learning how to surf so we took lessons 3 days in a row. The lessons began as the tides came in and lasted about 2 hours as the waves grew and then died down again. Jaco Beach is an awesome place for beginners to learn. The water is warm, the waves are consistent and not overwhelming, and the beach isn’t huge so it’s not overcrowded. We each had an instructor to ourselves and we started out on the beach with body positioning and some basic surf vocabulary. Before too long we were in the water and being shown how to control our boards safely and given some wisdom and watching and battling the waves as we paddled out. The first day was about safety and having success getting up on the board. Both Shep and I were able to get up on the first day and it was hugely encouraging. On the second day my body was fighting it, but Shep was rocking it. To be honest I am a little afraid of the water, but Shep is not. His fearlessness overcame the obstacles while I let me fear keep me tense. My instructor had to keep reminding me not to hold my breath and breathe steadily which really helped. On the third day Shep was exhausted and didn’t progress much, but he was still so happy and having fun. I was able to drop in to some waves and really get the full experience on the third day and it was exhilarating. My body paid for it for the next week, but it was totally worth it!
Who Wants to Go on a Surf Camp Adventure?!?!
We cannot recommend Vista Guapa Surf Camp enough! We had the time of our lives learning to surf and enjoying this beautiful part of Costa Rica. If your family loves adventure and learning new skills, this is the way to do it. I cannot stress enough how perfect this trip is for tweens and teens and something the whole family can enjoy together. Lots of family time, but also each person is learning at their own level and speed in the surf lessons. The camp also has options for bike rentals to take down to the beach, sunset SUP sessions and fun options for activities at night. We did a s’mores and pool night that was perfect for our last night there. The only question at this point is when we get to take the rest of our family back!