Traveling and surfing have always gone hand in hand. Surfers have been traveling to the far reaches of the globe in search of perfectly peeling, uncrowded waves for decades. But you don’t have to be an expert level surfer to travel to some of the world’s most iconic surf destinations.
Many great surf travel destinations are also equipped with surf camps that will help you catch your first waves, or if you’re more advanced, help you take your surfing to new heights. Our travel experts (many of which happen to be surf junkies) have searched from California to Bali and the tip of South Africa for the surf camps that stand above the rest in terms of affordability, high-end amenities, experienced coaches, stunning scenery and out-of-water activities.
This list of the best surf camps in the world strives to encourage Canadians, and travelers from around the world, to learn the lifelong sport of surfing in must-visit summer vacation destination. There’s no better time than now to plan your trip to one of these 16 affordable surf camps for the summer of 2017.
Starting price per week: $173
Portugal’s Alentejo region is line with stunning beaches and fewer people than you’d expect with such postcard-worthy views. That makes it an excellent area to learn to surf or begin to master your skills. Storms out of the Atlantic produce the largest swells in the fall and winter months, but visitors will find warmer water and more beginner-friendly conditions during summertime.
At Dreamsea, the owners and staff pride themselves on being more than just a surf camp. Sure, they surf, but it is what they do when they don’t surf that makes them even more special. Guests arrive as strangers and leave as family, with many of them telling the crew it was the best experience of their lives. At Dreamsea, you can visit and simply be you, get in touch with nature and stunning scenery without having to sacrifice quality and comfort. It is one of those places that you have to experience to understand.
Starting price per week: $810
The variety of surf spots and swells on the North Coast of Bahia, Brazil, make this surf destination a must-visit on any Brazilian surf trip. Visitors will find three separate surf spots directly in front of the Bahia Surf Camp, including beach and reef breaks for all levels of surfers. Dozens of additional breaks dot the coastline just minutes from the surf school and hotel. The months between March and October offer the most consistent waves, so intermediate and advanced surfers will have plenty of fun advancing their skills too.
The Bahia Surf Camp and Lodging is ideal for surfers who want all of their worries taken care of in one place. This camp includes all meals, six days of surf classes, two surf trips to other spots per week, airport transportation, a yoga class and comfortable accommodations in Salvador for unwinding after a long day in the water.
Starting price per week: $317
The Kamafari Surf Camp is located on the Bukit Peninsula of the picturesque tropical island of Bali, Indonesia. You’ll find a large variety of surf breaks in a short distance. Spots for all levels are available, which provide year-round perfect conditions for surfing. Beginners can find easy channels to paddle out and surf small waves safely for the first time. For the pros, world-famous surf spots, like Uluwatu and Padang Padang, are just minutes away. In Bali, everyone finds the perfect wave for every surfing level.
Kamafari Surf Camp Bali is located in Padang Padang, and is the only Camp with 180-degree views of the sea. They offer twin bedrooms, double bedrooms and deluxe bedrooms, all with sea views. All prices include breakfast and dinner. The atmosphere is unbeatable — surfing together, eating together and partying together make Kamafari an exciting place where lasting friendships are always made.
Starting price per week: $423 CAD
Costa da Morte, part of Spain’s Galician coast, offers access to hundreds of beaches facing all different directions. Given the right conditions, this region can produce excellent waves for everyone from beginner-level wave riders to professionals. Unlike nearby neighbors, this area can pick up swells from the Southwest and West, making the swell window extremely wide. The massive amount of open space means crowds are few, even in the summer months, when the water is at its warmest (which can still be chilly).
Silfo is a surf camp and surf school introducing all types of travelings to surfing and snowboarding through personalized lessons. The camp is focused on providing professional and personal attention to each participant, so they can advance their skills more efficiently. Every instructor on the surf coaching staff is certified by the Galician Federation of Surf Instructors.
Starting price per week: $255 CAD
Linda Mar Beach is one of the best places to surf in Northern California, offering peaks ranging in size and difficulty as you make your way down the beach. The south end offers shallow sandbars and the north end has deeper channels and heavier surf.
Surf Camp Pacifica is the largest and longest running surf camp in Northern California with over 400 students a year. They have a local staff, mostly alumni, including several professional surfers, so they can coach at any level. Surf Camp Pacifica offers summer camps for ages 6-18 from June to September, and private and group lessons year-round. This year, they will be adding a Supsquatch (6-person SUP) to their quiver of boards.
Starting price per week: $582
No other European city matches the word “surfing” as well as Lisbon does. It was around these beaches that surfing in Portugal was born, with different waves for all ages and levels, along with a climate that allows people to enjoy the beach year-round. The area picks up north, west and south swells from the Atlantic Ocean, which makes for ideal surf conditions in many seasons. While winter offers larger swells, summer is when visitors will enjoy the warmest water and mellow waves that are perfect for beginners.
Aside from operating a surf school with certified instructors, the best surfboards and wetsuits, and transportation to the beach, Surf Lisbon House and School also manages comfortable surfer-friendly accommodations in Lisbon. The historic beachfront house offers private and shared rooms, fresh breakfast and a high standard of quality services to make your vacation unique and unforgettable.
Starting price per week: $756
Mancora, Peru is an ideal surf destination for beginners, but when the swell arrives, experienced surfers have fun on the picture-perfect waves. In Mancora, waves can be ridden year-round. Summer is known for offering north swells, and during the remainder of the year, the south and southwest swells bring some of the country’s best waves.
Laguna Surf Camp is located right near the famed surf point of Mancora, one of the best points for everyone beginners to expert-level surfers. This surf camp is known for offering some of the best accommodations, waves, food and surf lessons in the area.
Starting price per week: $1,026
In one of the most authentic parts of Bali, Medewi is a must-visit place is epic much of the year. The area’s famously long left-hand wave has been praised by numerous former surf champions. However, the waves doesn’t offer too many tube sections, so it can be ideal for all levels of surfers. It works in the wet and dry seasons, but beginners will want to take lessons early to avoid the crowds.
Puri Dajuma is a hidden gem of an accommodation and surf destination in West Bali. The camp’s full-time beach manager (Jupry), the son of a local fisherman and excellent surfer, will take care of you throughout your stay. The camp offers tons of equipment at your disposal, including surf boards, SUPs, body boards, catamarans, sea kayaks, motor boats and more.
Starting price per week: $620
Moliets Plage in Acquitaine is an amazing beach break that has very consistent surf and can work at any time of the year. Offshore winds are from the east. Most of the surf here comes from groundswells and the best swell direction is from the west. The beach break offers both left and right hand waves. It is perfect for beginner to advanced surfers.
Vegan Surf Camp offers healthy, organic vegan meals and some of the best beach breaks of the French Atlantic coast They pride themselves on providing quality and comfortable accommodations, daily surf and yoga lessons at the beach and some of the area’s most delicious food.
Starting price per week: $271 per person
Newgale, United Kingdom is a stunning 2-mile long beach based in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Exposed to the Atlantic, Newgale offers consistent, uncrowded waves for all levels of surfers. The summer months of June, July and August are best for beginners with generally smaller and safer waves, while the months of September and October ideal for the more advanced surfers with warm waters, quieter breaks and hurricane swells from the Atlantic.
About the camp:
The Big Blue Experience is a kite, surf and stand-up paddle boarding school located in Newgale. They offer week-long surfing experiences for affordable prices and even better deals for groups of four or more.
Starting price: 5-day package for $210
Bang Tao Beach offers easy, forgiving waves for learning to surf, making it an ideal learn-to-surf destination for all ages. The surfing season in Phuket is from May to October, which is also the best time to learn.
When you learn to surf with Saltwater Dreaming Surf School, you’re provided with all the necessary surfing equipment, including soft surfboards, rash guards and surf hats. All you need to bring are board shorts or a swimsuit and plenty of sun screen. Surfing Lessons take approximately 2 hours and are given by the most experienced and certified surf coaches in the area.
Starting price per week: $1,214
Playa Chaman is known is known for its beginner to intermediate waves. It’s most known to be an excellent place to learn, due to the consistently soft waves, warm water, long beach, and gradually sloping sandy bottom. It’s excellent for people of all ages who have either no previous experience, or those who have experience but want to improve.
Bodhi Surf and Yoga Camp, located on the beautiful, verdant Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica is unique for several reasons. It is the first surf and yoga camp in the world to be B Corp certified, and the first tourism company in all of Costa Rica. It is also located at the footsteps of the Marino Ballena National Park, the first marine national park in all of Central America, and thus guests get to learn to surf in one of the most pristine regions of the country. Finally, Bodhi’s prime package, Bodhi Sessions, gives equal weight to both the surf and yoga curricula — instructors for both are both proficient practitioners and teachers, and their aim is to share their knowledge and skill through structured lessons that build as the week goes on and give guests opportunity to greatly improve their skills.
Starting price: $20/day and weekly prices are negotiable
The waves in Costeno Beach, Colombia are driven by Caribbean wind swells, so while they’re not excellent for advanced surfers, they’re perfect for learning to ride waves. There are also numerous quality point breaks close by, as well as various fun sections to play with along the beach. The water is warm and beautiful, and the locals are friendly in and out of the water. Waves vary from small to very big, with the largest swells hitting in December and January.
The Costeno Beach Hostel offers comfortable and affordable accommodations just steps from the surf. The hostel includes a kitchen with great food, bar, and the ability to book excursions, like waterfall trips, tubing down rivers, visiting other hostels and cultural experiences with local groups. Nightly activities and beachfront hammocks make the Costeno Beach Hostel a must-try.
Starting price: $47 per day
Gary’s Surf School is located on the best beach in Cape Town to learn to surf, known as Surfer’s Corner. Gentle waves spread out on low tide with students only needing to be waist deep in water.
Gary’s Surf Camp offers changing rooms and locker facilities as well as a wide range of rental wetsuits and surfboards. The staff is attentive to your surf needs, no matter your skill level. Decades of surf knowledge is available to assist you where necessary. While surf lessons are available at a daily rate, Gary’s Surf Camp offers a wide selection of surf packages for those who want to master their surfing skills while staying in a comfortable backpackers hotel or guesthouse nearby.
Starting price per week: $999
Southern California offers hundreds of surf spots with very consistent weather and swell conditions year round. Fun waves for every level are found each month of the year. The high season is from May to September, but lessons can be taken during any time of year.
The CaliCamp is a full service surf camp with ocean front accommodations in Dana Point, Ca. Each morning, their surf guides take 4-5 guests at similar levels (beginners to professionals) to the best surf spots for their abilities.
After surfing, they’re cruising the coast between Orange County, San Diego and Los Angeles — enjoying the sights, having fun, eating great food and getting a truly authentic experience with the local guides. Every day at TheCaliCamp should feel like hanging out with friends from all over the world. The camp offers two surf sessions daily and a weekly camp beach bbq. Small surf groups give them the best chance to put groups in the best place at the best time in and out of the water.
Starting price per week: $1,005
Beginners to advance surfers will all have a blast surfing on the beaches north of Coffs Harbour. The Australian East Coast has all levels of waves all year round. The beaches around the surf camp offer a variety of waves to suit all levels of surfers.
Somewhere north of Sydney and Coffs Harbour and south of Byron Bay is the absolute beachfront Mojosurf Camp – Spot X. A place totally devoted to the surf lifestyle. Located in a National Marine Park, Spot X provides a unique opportunity to spend time in one of Australia’s most beautiful coastal areas. It only takes about one minute to get from your room to beach. Long days in the sun and waves lead to memorable nights around the camp fire.