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Vacation planning made easy: Central America Surf Camps!

Grab a friend and learn to surf. Photo courtesy of Bliss Surf Adventures in Costa Rica.

Planning a surf trip can be exciting with the possibilities, but also consume endless hours of travel research—and that’s before you add the swell report and best seasonal conditions to the equation. Vacation is about relaxing in a hammock and leaving the thinking to the experts. That’s why we love surf camps as a super easy packaged escape from reality that’s also the friendliest introduction for catching your first wave. Experienced surfers can gain professional coaching at a camp to add new tricks to your repertoire, not to mention the gorgeous views facing the shore.

No matter where your desired beach is around the globe, there is likely a surf camp closeby, and hopefully even a friend of Seea over there. In Mexico, our pal and longboarding queen Julie Cox coaches with Las Olas surf retreat in Mexico. In Southern California Amy Lowry teaches daily private lessons in Newport Beach.

For those with an eye on Central America, we talked to our friends (and Seea supporters in which we are forever grateful) at Surf With Amigas in Nicaragua and Bliss Surf Adventures in Costa Rica to get the scoop on the waves and extracurricular activities to help you plan your next winter holiday.

Split the peak in Nicaragua with Surf with Amigas. Photo courtesy of Amigas.

Surf with Amigas 

Who: California-native, lifeguard, surf instructor and whitewater raft guide Jackie George was traveling in Central America and surprise! she wasn’t ready to leave beach life though her wallet said otherwise. She met up with pro surfer Holly Beck’s Surf with Amigas camp in Nicaragua and was able to extend her stay by teaching surf lessons. Its now been two years "Surfing with Amigas" and Jackie laughs, “I’m still not ready to go home and get a ‘real job!’”

Where: northern Nicaragua for beginners and all levels; El Salvador, The Philippines and Costa Rica for intermediate to advanced surfers.

When: 12 retreats per year

Accommodations: El Coco Loco, an ecolodge in Nicaragua and a short walking distance to fun, uncrowded waves.

Hanging out at the local bar between sessions. Photo courtesy of Amigas.

Your bunkmates are most likely: “We’ve had the full range of ages from 11-62, but our average age is mid-late 30s. Most of the Amigas are ladies who are adventurous but don’t have a big crew of girlfriends at home who are able to travel. Ninety percent come solo and leave the week with a new group of friends that they stay in touch with!”

Making your life easier: Amigas chooses each location based on the ideal seasonal weather, and each day is planned around the tide chart, with time still left to relax, do yoga or explore the area. “When you attend a surf camp, you have everything taken care of. We strive to make sure that our Amigas are worry-free from the second they arrive to the second they leave… We also provide high-level surf instruction that includes daily video coaching from Holly. That’s a big difference between our retreats and other surf camps out there.”

Beautiful views everywhere you look. Photo courtesy of Amigas. 
Tonights entertainment: another breathtaking sunset. Photo courtesy of Amigas.

Travel tips: “I am a big proponent of sun protection. Wear a hat and sunglasses and good sunscreen that actually stays on in the water. I use Shiseido and love it. Make sure you have plenty of bikinis and an extra rashguard. Sarongs and water bottles always come in handy, and have a first aid kit. Keep an open mind to the possibilities each place has to offer and embrace every moment as an adventure and every night as a fiesta. Most importantly, respect the locals. They know what’s up. Traveling helps you learn about yourself and the way this magical world works, so get involved!”

Giving back to the community: In collaboration with “Waves of Hope” in Nicaragua, Surf with Amigas guests spend the windy onshore hours pitching in to build a high school in the area where previously there was no educational options offered past 6th grade. Surf With Amigas adopted the sea turtle conservation project that supports the acquisition and protection of sea turtle eggs and then releasing them after they hatch. Baby turtle season runs from October to December.

Jumping for joy at Bliss Surf Adventures. Photo courtesy of Bliss.

Bliss Surf Adventures 

Who: Jessica Arnold got into surfing when she was attending Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego nearby Sunset Cliffs. She worked in public accounting for a hot second—enough to decide that a desk job wasn’t for her. After a short residency in Costa Rica, she knew the diverse waves and charming beach town of Nosara was the perfect place for a surf camp, thus Bliss was born. When Jessica is not in Costa Rica, watch her dance for a local ballet company in Orange County. “I really love the graceful and rhythmic movement of the ocean. Surfing and ballet appear to be really different activities but in reality the requirements to do both are similar: agility, timing, rhythm and physical fitness,” Jessica says.

Where: Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica

When: January through June

Accommodations: Swank house with a pool. “What I love most about our location is the break. There's something for everyone there from beginners to advanced surfers. I also love the rustic feel of the town and the laid back vibe.”

Your bunkmates are most likely: Women of all ages, shapes, backgrounds and experience levels, aged 18 to 60.

The Bliss house. Photo courtesy of Bliss.

The Real World minus the drama: “We all hangout at the Bliss surf house with each other and the group remains really tight knit throughout the week because we're not spread out amongst a hotel. Our staff members act as ‘one of the girls’ while hanging out. They don't clock in and out for surf lessons and then disappear… We all teach and share our experiences with each other and it really goes both ways. We (the staff) share what we love and know about Costa Rica, surfing, and our backgrounds but so many times we learn so much from our guests as well. We have amazing ladies attend our trips and we all learn from each other!”

Food: Typical Costa Rican cuisine of beans, rice and plantains are staples, plus fresh catch seafood pasta, barbecuing and takeout from a favorite local Italian restaurant.

Leisure time:  On the activities menu: take a dip in the pool, grab a hammock or a mat for yoga without leaving the house. Outside, there's zip lining through the jungle canopy, paddle boarding, riding quads, driving buggies, snorkeling, riding horses, sport fishing or spa treatments. “It's really the ultimate vacation with such a variety of things to do.”

Jessica surfs in Salt Gypsy leggings. Photo courtesy of Bliss.

Have you been to an awesome surf camp that you want to share? What surf destinations do you want to know more about? Please let us know in the comments! (Rhea) November 14, 2013 1 tags (show)

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