Playa Tamarindo and this section of Costa Rica are blessed with great waves for surfers of every level. Playa Tamarindo offers great beginner and intermediate waves, and there are plenty of other breaks nearby for advanced surfers. Depending on your level, our surf instructors will take you to the perfect spot for you.
The water in Costa Rica is warm year-round (about 80 degrees), so travelers don't need a wetsuit. Very occasionally, the water temperature will fall to the 70s due to offshore wind in the dry season (December to March).
For boards, we have over 120 boards available with a range of shapes and brands, from Channel Island thrusters and Hynson fishes to fun shapes and longboards. Board rental costs are included in our surf camp fees.
A perfect day
A perfect day at our surf camp would be a sunny, dry season day with a solid SW long period swell and offshore winds all day. This combination of weather, winds, and waves is actually quite common in our region of North West Costa Rica. Intermediate and advanced surfers will travel by boat or van to a selection of world-class waves around the Tamarindo area, ranging from pitching beach breaks to high-performance point breaks. There are lots of little nooks and crannies along our coastline so we can always find fun surf, no matter how big or small the swell is. For beginner surfers, Tamarindo is also a learner's mecca because it is sheltered by a small island directly offshore so the waves are always about half the size of other nearby beaches.
Witch's Rock Surf Camp was built to be the ultimate Costa Rican surf camp, a place with beginners to the sport could learn on our gentle waves and advanced surfers could test their skill in world-class conditions.
Our beachfront hotel has 18 individual rooms with air conditioning and private bathrooms. Rooms range from affordable shared rooms for solo travelers with a budget to our two penthouse suites with private lofts, kitchenettes, and the best sunset views in Tamarindo.
A perfect day
The perfect day would be waking up at dawn, grabbing a Costa Rican black coffee and snack for the surf trip, and then getting on one of our boat tours where we’ll zip around the coast and find the best waves. Tour surfers spend between 2-5 hours in the water depending on the waves. When you get back around 11 am or so, grab a big (complimentary) plate of Gallo Pinto con Huevos, the typical Costa Rican breakfast. Maybe a quick siesta in the air-conditioned beachfront room or explore Tamarindo on a rental beach cruiser. When the ocean is calling you again, you can hop in the water for an evening surf session right in front of our camp in Tamarindo for a chill, sunset longboard session. Then grab a hearty dinner at our beachfront restaurant (like the full red snapper, seafood soup, a burger, etc) while listening to live music and wash it down with a hoppy IPA from our own, Volcano Brewing Company, in Tamarindo.
We pride ourselves on the breadth of our surf programming. Our beginner surf school has taught thousands of new surfers how to first get up on the water. Our intermediate program helps surfers refine their craft thanks to our coaching and video analysis. Our advanced surf tour lets experienced surfers discover the best of Costa Rican surf on our fleet of boats and vans. And our family program is suited for kids and adults alike.
All surf programs include the necessary gear. We have over 120 boards of different shapes and sizes available to our guests.
Witch's Rock has an array of dining options. Eat At Joe's is our surf diner, serving breakfast all day, fresh sushi, and local Costa Rican and Mexican food for lunch and dinner. El Vaquero is our beachfront brewpub, with live music on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Volcano Brewing is our onsite microbrewery, which we started in 2011. Our Dawn Patrol coffee shop opens at 5:30 am to make sure the first ones out are properly fueled up. And guests enjoy a complimentary daily breakfast.
In addition to surfing, Tamarindo offers many other activities. Nearby, you can find zip line tours, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Many travelers explore Costa Rica's natural beauty, such as the Volcano tour at Rincon de la Vieja. In the winter, travelers can observe turtle nesting.
My name is Joe Walsh, I’m the founder and owner of Witch’s Rock Surf Camp in Tamarindo, and I’m here to tell you that if I can do this, you can do anything.
Ever since I was a kid, all I wanted to do was live on the beach and go surfing. This is a great dream in high school, but when you’re out of college and job hunting, there aren’t any job offers for “Surf Bum”. Perplexed but not deterred, I decided to build the world’s greatest surf camp, exactly the kind of place I would want if I was going on a surf vacation. This way I could surf forever and call it a job! The dream of Witch’s Rock Surf Camp came to life.
By January 2001, I had convinced 9 of my friends (including my dad and my girlfriend, now my wife) to join me and we drove a school bus from San Diego, California surfing all the way through Mexico and Central America, finally arriving in Tamarindo, Costa Rica a month later. We rented a shack on the beach that we could barely afford. We rented tents sitting on dirt with rocks and fire ants. We had good food and cheap beer. We had great vibes. But best of all, at a time when Tamarindo was tiny and we were considered to be “out of town”, we were sitting on Tamarindo’s multiple surf breaks located right out in front, having the times of our lives getting barrels and surfing our brains out. With lots of hard work, we became the first surf camp in the area. We transformed our little piece of paradise into an epic surfing destination.
Ryan Waldro joined our team in 2013. He worked for the WRV surf camp in Virginia Beach and wanted to learn more about surf camps in other parts of the world. He started out as an intern doing everything (surf tours, creating marketing material, designing surf seminars, etc). Ryan is now the manager of marketing and sales within the company. "I truly love the fact that I get to talk about surfing and Costa Rica all day. When the waves are good, no one cares if you’re a little late to work or leave a little early. We’re all surfers and understand the (healthy) addiction," says Ryan.
Favorite story from recent guest
There was a family that came a few years ago that had a little girl (6 years old) who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. This is a disease where the lungs don't function properly and cannot eliminate the waste (mucus) from the lungs. It has been proven that the best lifestyle habit for patients with CF is to surf because saltwater does miracles to clear out the lungs. This family came to our camp and wanted to introduce surfing to their daughter and it was extremely emotional to watch the girl catch her first few waves and her father with tears of joy on his face. We are so grateful to be able to contribute to people’s physical and emotional healing through the sport of surfing.
It’s no secret that our region of Guanacaste, Costa Rica is one of the most impoverished in the country. The people have a beautiful culture and are some of the happiest people on the planet, but financially, it’s a very humble situation. Witch’s Rock Surf Camp is part of a program called Pack for a Purpose where our guests are encouraged to bring down much-needed items for local families. In every confirmation email, we include a blurb about the program and what items are most needed. This has been extremely successful and it’s a great feeling to give back to this community that has welcomed our business with open arms for over 20 years.