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Frequently Asked Questions

Costa Rica Surf Camp Questions

Am I too old/young to attend one of your surf camps?

No way! If you are reading this, you are definitely the right age to start surfing. Every year we have students from 6 to 80 years old and everywhere in between. If you have children 6 or older, we will teach them too! Check out our family surf camps.

Is CRSI only for beginnners?

Nope. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced surfer we will build an appropriate surf program for you that will allow you to enjoy your vacation and improve your surfing by pushing yourself. Intermediate and advanced surfers can take trips with us to Witches Rock, Ollies Point, Playa Grande, Avellanas, and anywhere else the huge waves are breaking. And...if you really rip, we might just offer you a job.

Can I arrive any day to the surf school?

Itís generally easiest for students to arrive on a Saturday or a Sunday as check-in for all students is 5pm each Sunday night. Surf lessons officially begin each Monday 1 to 2 hours before high tide. You can view example schedules for the Basic 4 Day Camp and Intensive 7 Day Camp here.

Do the surf camp prices include shared accommodation for an entire week?

Yes, the price for Basic and Deluxe Surf Camps include accommodation for 7 days and 7 nights.

What is the weekly surf trip in the Intensive and Basic Surf Camp packages?

The weekly surf trip is a day trip with other students to Playa Grande or Playa Avellanas, two neighboring beaches. Students who have shown they are capable of surfing more challenging waves will be eligible to participate in surf trips. Surf trips take place on Thursdays which is part of the reason we encourage to start their surf camps at the beginning of the week.

Can I add more surf lessons or Spanish lessons to a camp?

Yes, you can add a la carte surf lessons to your surf camp. You may also add a group Spanish program or one-on-one private Spanish lessons.

I am interested in staying in Playa Grande. Can you organize surf camps in Playa Grande?

Yes, we can organize custom surf programs in Playa Grande. Contact Chris at for more information on our Playa Grande surf camps.

Does CRSI offer longer term surf camp and accommodation programs?

Yes. For stays longer than four weeks, please contact Chris Hoyt at

Does CRSI offer employment or internships?

Yes, for our most current listings, check out our employment page, or Work Learn Go.

Family Surf Camp Questions

How old do children need to be to participate in the family surf camps?

Every child is different. We recommend that only students aged 5 and older participate in our kids and family camps, but the most important thing is that your child is a capable swimmer who is going to feel comfortable in the ocean. Younger children will be placed one-on-one with an instructor and will mostly surf in the smaller, gentler, white-water waves.

Is yoga offered for family surf camps?

Yes, your family is welcome to participate in our sunset yoga sessions at 5:15pm Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. We can also arrange private yoga practice for your family. Just ask when you make your reservation!

What accommodation is available for families?

On our website, we offer Tamarindo family accommodation upgrades with our silver bungalow package and our gold villa package. Both of these are great options chosen for their proximity to CRSI and the beach. We also arrange accommodation at our beachside cabinas, house rentals and luxury rooms and villas in Playa Tamarindo, Langosta, Playa Grande and at Capitan Suizo. Contact us at to inquire about family lodging rates.

General Costa Rica Questions

Is Costa Rica Safe?

Yes. Costa Rica is one of the safest Latin American countries. The country doesn't even have a military and have invested heavily in keeping their country beautiful and tourist friendly. That being said, you will be a tourist, and have more of a target on your back than most.

Crime, including pickpocketing and theft does exist here, just like it does in the rest of the world. Use common sense, especially when traveling in crowded towns and cities. Donít leave your valuables on the beach or in a car unattended. Keep your passport in a safe location at all times. Donít walk around alone in the early morning hours. And finally, donít buy illegal drugs or engage in otherwise illegal activities and youíll be fine.

Do I need vaccinations in order to travel to Costa Rica?

No. You do not need typhoid, malaria, or any other common vaccinations before visiting Costa Rica. Do bring sunscreen and bug spray though.

Is the water safe to drink in Costa Rica?

Yes. In all towns, beach areas and cities, the water is safe to drink in Costa Rica.

Do I need a tourist visa to travel to Costa Rica?

No, you will not need a visa. You will however, need a valid passport and proof of a departure ticket before entering Costa Rica. Before departing, you will be required to pay a departure tax of $29 USD cash. This can be paid at major banks or at the airport.

Which Costa Rican airport should I fly into?

By far the easiest airport to fly into is going to be Liberia (LIR). It is located in Guanacaste, the same province as Tamarindo and CRSI. It is only a 45 minute ride from Liberia to Tamarindo and we can arrange the transport for you for around 30USD per person through Tamarindo Shuttle or Interbus.

If you need to fly into San Jose (SJO), have no fear. We can still organize transport to Tamarindo for you. It is about a 4-5 hour shuttle ride to CRSI from San Jose and it usually costs around 60 USD. If you are flying into San Jose in the late afternoon or evening, you may have to spend one night in San Jose and catch the next dayís morning shuttle. More information on getting to CRSI can be found at on our contact us page.

Should I rent a car?

If you want to travel independently of shuttle schedules, are comfortable driving around a foreign country and reading road signs in Spanish, then renting a car can be a good option. Be warned, that the roads in Costa Rica are not maintained to North American standards. There are numerous potholes, many stretches of dirt (mud if it rains) and narrow, windy sections everywhere. A 4x4 with a GPS system is highly recommended! Vehicles can be rented at Liberia Airport and San Jose Airport.

A good rule of thumb when looking at maps. Whatever amount of time you think it would take you to drive that distance is in Europe or the US, double it for Costa Rica.

How much cash do I need to bring to Costa Rica? Do I need to exchange money beforehand?

We generally recommend students bring down about 100 USD in cash per person, for emergency purposes. Any more than that is probably excessive and just increases the risk that you misplace your money. There are ATMs at banks such as Banco San Jose all over the country, where you can withdraw cash in either USD or Costa Rican Colones at reasonable rates. Most businesses in Costa Rica will accept either USD or Costa Rican Colones.

Do I need to be fluent in Spanish to travel in Costa Rica?

No, it is definitely not a requirement to know Spanish to surf with us, or to enjoy your time in Costa Rica. On the other hand, why not learn a little? Start by buying a phrasebook and maybe checking out some free Spanish lessons online. Then, why not sign up for a Spanish program or some private lessons with our sister school?

What is the best way to get to Tamarindo from San Jose?

The best way to get to Tamarindo from San Jose is to spend one night in San Jose and then arrange for Interbus to pick you up at your hotel in the morning and drive you to Tamarindo (5 hours). You could also take a short flight from San Jose to the small airport in Tamarindo and we can pick you up there.

General Costa Tamarindo Questions

What is there to do in and around Tamarindo?

Almost everything! This will be a hard question to answer in a few sentences. In short, Tamarindo offers almost every beach related activity you can think of and can serves as a jumping off point for activities all over Costa Rica, and even Nicaragua. There is also a plethora of family friendly activities in and around Tamarindo. We can arrange all of the following activities for our students and families.

  • Fishing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Sunset Sailboat Cruises
  • Zipline / canopy tours
  • Horseback riding
  • Whitewater rafting
  • Trips to Nicaragua
  • Trips to Manuel Antonio
  • Arenal Volcano
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • And more!

If you are interested in adding some activities on to your trip, just mention it when you make your reservation!

What are the waves like in Tamarindo?

Tamarindo is a great place to learn to surf because there is a good variety of consistent waves within a very small area. Breaks like Capitan Suizo (the south end of Tamarindo) are generally gentler and smaller, suitable for beginners or longboarders. Towards the rivermouth (the north end of Tamarindo beach) the waves tend to be more powerful. There is a good right point break in front of the lifeguard tower near The Diria Hotel called Pico Pequeno that works at all tides and is generally reserved for expert surfers. Just north of the Tamarindo estuary (rivermouth) Casitas and Playa Grande pump out bigger waves for intermediate and advanced surfers. South of Tamarindo sit Langosta (intermediate), Playa Avellanas which consists of Little Hawaii (advanced), Lola's (intermediate to advanced surfers) Pala Seco, and Playa Negra (experts only!). Most of our Tamarindo surf lessons occur at the rivermouth, Casitas and Suizo. During our Thursday surf trips, we venture to Playa Grande and the breaks that make up Playa Avellanas.

Tamarindo Surf Accommodation Questions

What are the shared surf student residences like?

There are four student residence apartments on campus, two female apartments and two male apartments. All four air-conditioned units are set up like university dorm clusters and house up to six students. Each unit has two bedrooms with three bunks, a shared bathroom, shared kitchen, shared balcony, and living area with satellite television. The most accurate description of the residences is that they are similar to a nice hostel. Many students in the residences will be studying Spanish at our sister Spanish school or participating in a Spanish and surf program.

Are their lockers or safes in the surf student residences?

You will be assigned your own personal locker when you check into the shared student apartments. There are also lockers on campus for use during the classroom days. Feel free to bring your laptop, iPad and phone.

Is there internet or Wi-Fi in the surf student residences?

Yes, CRSI provides free, high speed Wi-Fi on campus and in the student residences. Can I stay in the student residences after I am no longer taking lessons at the surf school? Yes, space permitting, former CRSI students can continue to stay in the residences at a weekly rate of 200 USD or a nightly rate of 30 USD.

What are the host families / homestays like?

Host families are hand selected by the CRSI housing staff and are very friendly and welcoming people. Homestay families are located in the neighboring towns of Villareal and Santa Rosa, about 1-2 miles outside of Tamarindo. Each student will have their own key and entry to come and go as they please. Two meals, breakfast and dinner, will be provided each day. Transport to and from the school will be provided each day and students can take a taxi into town after hours for between 3-5 USD.