Surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica – Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons

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Puerto Viejo surfing lessons: my son wanted to try surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica. I’m glad he did, because he had a great time, thanks to Hershel, his teacher at Caribbean Surf School. Read on for a Caribbean Surf School review and tips on how to get the most out of surfing in Puerto Viejo.

hershel at Playa Cocles. Surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica - Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons

Surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica with Caribbean Surf School

In this Caribbean Surf School review, I’ll tell you about our experience with Puerto Viejo surfing lessons for kids. There are some beaches with serious waves for experienced surfers. But fear not, parents and newbies! There are beaches for you to try surfing in Puerto Viejo as well! We had a great experience.

As I researched where to surf in Costa Rica, I came across loads of glowing Caribbean Surf School reviews. After reading some, I approached the Caribbean Surf School about working together. Fortunately, they agreed. This Carribbean Surf School review is the result. Our instructor Hershel was experienced, charismatic and easy-going. If you’re planning to go surfing in Puerto Viejo, then we recommend contacting him.

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Summary: Caribbean Surf School Review

tony boy & hershel. Surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica - Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons

Take a moment to read through this entire Caribbean Surf School review, but if you need the main points fast, here they are:

  • Puerto Viejo is on the eastern/Caribbean side of Costa Rica, near the Panama border.
  • The wet & dry seasons on the east and west sides of Costa Rica are basically opposite. When it’s wet in the west, it’s dry (well, drier) in the east, and vice-versa.
  • One of the most famous surfing spots in Costa Rica is called Salsa Brava. It’s in Puerto Viejo, but it’s too dangerous for beginners.
  • For novice surfers, there is Playa Cocles and Playa Negra. Surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica is for everyone!
  • It’s easy to find Puerto Viejo surfing lessons. But some of the best and most popular instructors are at Caribbean Surf School. They teach kids and surfers of all levels.
  • Our lesson was from 10:00-noon, but surfing lessons depend on schedule, season and weather.
  • They can arrange a pickup at your hotel.
  • Prepare for the sun. Even if it’s raining or overcast in the morning, wear a rash guard — they have some, but confirm you want one. And bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
  • The Caribbean Surf Shop website
  • Caribbean Surf School Facebook Page
  • Read more Caribbean Surf Shop reviews

tony and hershel. Surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica - Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons

Hang Ten in Costa Rica: Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons

teaching surfing. Surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica - Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons

My kids love surfing, and we’ve been lucky enough to surf in some pretty cool places. From the rocky Pacific coast of Puerto Escondido to the volcanic sands of Lanzarote in the Atlantic, both kids have suited up, waxed a board and braved the waves. They both want to surf on a regular basis. I wish they could, too but unfortunately, we haven’t lived in surf-centric locales. Penang had no waves. Spain has them in the north and west, but not in Valencia, where we lived for two years. How about San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where I writing this from? No way. In fact, here in high-desert country, we’re about as far from the coast as you can get in Mexico.

That’s one of the reasons I chose to visit Puerto Viejo. When I’m looking for new destinations, surfing locations get bonus points. At first, I was looking at Costa Rica’s east coast more for the wildlife opportunities. Then I realized that the Caribbean side’s wet and dry seasons are different on each coast. For example, when the Pacific side is getting drenched with rain, the Caribbean side is having some of the best weather of the year. We would visit Costa Rica during the east coast’s driest season (September & October), so once I saw that there was good surfing in Puerto Viejo, our destination was decided.

Why Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons?

surfer father and daughter Surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica - Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons

Much of the best surfing in Costa Rica is on the Pacific Coast. Yet the east coast has one of the country’s most famous breaks. For passionate surfers, surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica means Salsa Brava. Often called the “Costa Rican Pipeline,” Salsa Brava is some of the best surfing in Costa Rica. But beware. There is a reef under the break, so it’s dangerous for newbies like my son and me. To ride Salsa Brava, you really need to know what you’re doing.

Fortunately, there are other places to surf in Puerto Viejo. For example, beaches like Playa Cocles and Playa Negra have mellower waves and shallower waters. This makes them ideal for surfing lessons for kids. We surfed at Playa Cocles, which is where the Caribbean Surf School holds some of its surfing lessons. Playa Cocles is a great beach to spend an afternoon. Imagine one long stretch of sand and clear azure water. A small jungle-covered island accents the horizon. This is an excellent beach for both novice and experienced surfers. The water remains shallow for a long way out, and there are often two levels of waves in one spot. Complete newbies can get used to their boards in smaller swells on the left. At the same time, surf students with a few classes under their belt can approach larger breaks.

Prepping for Surfing Lessons: Caribbean Surf School Review

The shack. Surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica - Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons

surf wax. Surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica - Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons

Hershel’s cousin Tony has set up a small surf shack on Playa Cocles. He’s not alone: you’ll see other outfits teaching Puerto Viejo surfing lessons here. Caribbean Surf School can arrange transport to the beach, but we decided to meet Hershel and the other students there since it was a short bicycle ride from our eco hotel. Our lesson began at 10 am. Once we were all together, Hershel assigned everyone a surfboard while Tony set up his surf shack. After a few minutes, the small wooden hut looked like a proper (if rustic) surf shop.

Everyone waxed up their board and applied whatever sunscreen they deemed appropriate. For some, it was just a rash guard, and Caribbean Surf School has extras if you need one. For others, sun protection went a step further with a thick white cream applied to the nose and cheeks. My boy chose to use both, and I recommend that most of you do the same. The sun is brutal when surfing in Costa Rica or just about anywhere. Protect yourself.

In the Water: Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons

Playa cocles Surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica - Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons

Surfboard rental. Surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica - Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons

After everyone suited up and had their boards prepped, Hershel and Tony went through the beginner steps of surfing. He demonstrated the how to handle and navigate the board out into the waves. Then he modeled the steps you take from lying flat on your stomach to standing on the board. This group all had previous lessons, so once Hershel had checked everyone’s form, it was time to hit the beach. The Puerto Viejo surfing lesson had begun.

For the next two hours, I sat on the beach, watching the surf lesson take place. Their spot on Playa Cocles beach is shaded and comfortable. That said, there aren’t any chairs, so you sit in the sand or on some large rocks near the water. If you need something more than that, throw a beach towel or sarong in your bag.

Hershel would wait for the right wave and surf it himself while demonstrating different techniques. Then he would return to the group and send them out on the waves, one by one. We visited in September, which is dry season in Puerto Viejo but not a favorite for many serious surfers. Why? Because the waves are too “flat” for them. Yet this was the perfect time for newcomers to try surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica. The waves are the right size for kids and new surfers to get used to the board and the balancing act that surfing is all about.

Longboard or Shortboard? Caribbean Surf School Review

If you’re new to surfing, then choose a longboard. In general, the longer the board, the easier it is to balance. Tony had a variety of board sizes to choose from. My son wanted to start with a shortboard so he could go faster and try some more advanced turns. It was a nice idea, but he quickly realized that he wasn’t ready for it. He put away the shortboard and came back to something longer to finish his Puerto Viejo surfing lesson on. Tony rents boards at the beach most days, as do other surf shacks on Playa Cocles. At the time of writing, Tony’s surfboard rental pricees were USD $6 an hour or $20 for the day.

Conclusion: Caribbean Surf School Review

zinc sunscreen portrait Surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica - Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons

girl in pirate hat. Surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica - Puerto Viejo Surfing Lessons

My son loved his Puerto Viejo surfing lessons, and that was certainly due in part of Hershel and his cousin. Hershel is a talented surfer and showed his passion for it on the water with his students. If you’re interested in surfing lessons in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica, then look him up!

Have you had surf lessons in Costa Rica? Have you been surfing in Puerto Viejo? Where? Who did you go with? How did it go? If you have tips on how to get the most out of surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica or anywhere else in the country, let us know.

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Disclosure: Caribbean Surf School sponsored my son’s surfing lesson in Puerto Viejo. However, my views are my own and this Caribbean Surf School review is a reflection of my own opinion. I only recommend Puerto Viejo surfing lessons that we would take on our own. If you’re interested in surfing in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica then we recommend Hershel and Caribbean Surf School.

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