Surfing is hard. And after being pummeled by waves in the hot sun all day, there’s nothing better than a nice strong cocktail or ice cold beer to celebrate (or soothe the pain). Even the pros concur. At these four surf camps around the world, students are rewarded for a hard day’s work with fun activities like barbecues, craft beer tours and salsa nights with plenty of Mojitos. If you want to learn to surf but also want to feel like you’re on vacation, check out one of these beautiful camps.
If the warm waters of the Pacific are calling your name (no need for a wetsuit here), then this surfing hot spot is the perfect place to learn the sport or brush up on your skills. Miramar accommodates all levels of surfers and has all-inclusive packages that range from the budget-friendly (dorm-style) to the more comfortable (oceanfront and air conditioned). The all-inclusive price doesn’t include alcohol, but it does come with three home-cooked meals per day, surf lessons, board rental, lodging and transportation to and from Managua or Leon. Even though booze doesn’t come with the package, activities like a salsa night in Leon—where you’ll find plenty of Mojitos—and a bi-weekly beach party in nearby Las Penitas will feed your need to unwind after a long day catching waves.
Roughing it isn’t in the itinerary of this cozy California guesthouse and surf school, so it’s the perfect place to learn if you’re not into camp-style accommodations. The gorgeous rooms are named after the local breaks, and they’re equipped with en-suite bathrooms and high-speed internet, and they include free parking and the use of beach cruisers. While you can choose a five-day intensive surf experience or semi-private lessons with pro surfer Damien Hobgood, Surfhouse also offers custom surf experiences that can include everything from yoga lessons and stand-up paddleboarding to tours of the local Encinitas food and craft beer scene.
Those who want their surf camp to be equal parts education and party should check out Star Surf Camps’ international program in France’s gorgeous Moliets-et-Maa—they promise that attendees will “surf all day, party all night and make new friends.” While you’ll have to rough it a little more in “stylish tipi tent” accommodations, the Surf & Relax package includes enough activities to keep you busy until you hit the hay. The cost covers 12 hours of surf lessons—including surf theory—a surf yoga lesson, access to surf equipment during the duration of your stay, and use of other gadgets like skateboards and beach games. The package includes three meals a day (with vegetarian and vegan options available upon request) along with a French wine and cheese night that sounds like a great reward after an exhausting day of surf, sand and sun.
If the emerald green water of the pristine Algarve beaches sounds like your cup of tea, then Tiny Whale Surf Lodge is the surf camp you have to visit ASAP. A location on Portugal’s south and southwest coastlines ensures you’ll find waves during every day of your holiday with Tiny Whale, whether you choose a surf or surf and yoga package. There’s a program for everyone, from beginners to advanced riders, and the lodge hosts special weeks throughout the year like the women-only Roxy Week. Accommodations range from shared dorm-style rooms, to glamping teepees, to private rooms with ensuite bathrooms. The peaceful countryside setting includes amenities like a pool, lounge area with fire pit, orange orchard, hammocks and a bar, which boasts cocktails, spirits and local wines and beers. Tiny Whale’s professional chef cooks three meals a day, and there are fun themed dinners like a bake your own pizza event and their famous barbecue night.