Ask the Experts: Where can I learn to surf?

I’m so excited! Why? Not only is it Friday, but it’s Ask the Experts Friday! A cause for double celebration, if ever I heard one.

New to Ask the Experts? You’re in for quite the treat. Every week, we round up a few of our finest Travel Experts and throw your travel questions over to them. They’ll work their travel magic and come up with solution to even the trickiest travel quandries. Fancy asking them a question of your own? Drop us an email, and watch in awe as the Experts unleash their knowledge.

This week, Jess from our store in Leeds Vicar Lane and Claire from STA Travel down in sunny Brighton are here, and they’re hungry for travel questions! We’d better give them one, then. This week’s question comes from Rich up in Scotland. Take it away, Rich:

I want to learn to surf on my next holiday! Australia is an obvious option, but is there anywhere a bit closer to home where I could take some lessons and then have an adventure afterwards? Rich in Glasgow

Excellent question, Rich. Australia has been synonymous with surfing for too long – Experts, can you suggest some destinations to steal its crown? Read on, and find out how to combine learning to surf with meeting Jesus Christ Lizards (seriously), and which surf camp has a happy hour worth boarding a plane for…

Jessica Ambrose from STA Travel Leeds Vicar Lane says…

If you’re looking for sun, surf and adventure, Rich, look no further than Costa Rica! It takes around 14 hours to fly there and flight prices start from £796 for a return flight in and out of San Jose.

Once you arrive we have the perfect trip for you: the 9-day Costa Rica Volcanoes and Surf. Starting and finishing in San Jose, you’ll travel up to La Forutuna to the base of the Arenal volcano. Here you have a huge choice of exciting activities take a night hike around the volcano, go horse riding, try out waterfall rappelling or white water rafting.

Learn to surf and explore Costa Rica on our awesome adventure tour

For a more relaxing option, take a soak in the hot springs or check out the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, home to white-faced monkeys, three-toed sloth, caimans, turtles, and even Jesus Christ Lizards. Keep watch on the river as you explore in your boat, too, as you have the chance of spotting the fin of a freshwater shark.

The trip then takes you by van and boat down to Monteverde where you take a tour of the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. Check out the unique wildlife and flora and fauna of this diverse ecosystem. If you’re still looking for some more adventure you can take a canopy Sky Walk or jump on the canopy zip line!

On from here you stop on the Northern Pacific Coast at Playa Hermosa de Cobano where you’ll have your surf lessons on a beach surrounded by lush tropical jungle – perfect! Two lessons are included in the price of the tour, and there are waves perfect for beginners or pros.

If you’re looking to focus solely on surfing, you can do the 8-day Learn to Surf trip, which includes five surf lessons and two ‘surf safari’ excursions, which will take you slightly further south to Jaco, the most popular backpacker party beach in Costa Rica.

Surfing somewhere like this can't be bad!

After you’ve learned to surf like a pro you head back up to San Jose and continue your adventures from there – explore Costa Rica and the rest of Central America with a hop-on hop-off bus pass.

Claire Whittington from STA Travel Brighton says…

Costa Rica is a great suggestion, Jess! But I’m a South Africa lover, so if I were you, Rich, I’d be hopping on a plane and heading straight to Jefferys Bay along the Garden Route in South Africa for our 7-day Island Vibe Surf Camp. Where else in the world can you learn to surf and see lions? Something Newquay definately doesn’t offer!

With only 1 hour time difference you can touch down and be wobbling around on a surf board in the sea the following morning! This course is designed for surf virgins and all the boards are specially designed for learners, giving you the best chance possible to be standing and riding those waves before the week is done.

Point @ Jefferys Bay

Learn to surf at beautiful Jefferys Bay | Image by Dave Lonsdale

Not only will you get lessons with qualified surf instructors morning and afternoon, but also dorm room accommodation at one of the coolest hostels in Africa. So when you and your new found surfing dude/dudette friends are done for the day, you can head to Island Vibe’s vibrant bar for happy hour or one of their regular theme nights to share your surf stories.

The lodge is right on the beach too, so if you do take advantage of the happy hour a bit too much, you’re only steps away from your board and the sea – what better way to clear your head?

After a last night celebratory Braii (and probably some aching limbs!), you can choose to chill out on the beach for a few more days or get a quick flight from Port Elizabeth just up the coast to Kruger and head on our 4-day Kruger Express safari, where you’ll take game drives and game walks around one of the best National Parks in Africa. Personally, I don’t think you can get a better combination!

Amazing advice as always, Experts! I don’t know about you lot, but I’m feeling quite inspired to hit the waves (or at least make a holiday out of it while I try!). If you’re interested in any of the ideas above, or are looking for some inspiration of your own, come and see us, or give us a call on 0800 988 4248. Got a question of your own for the Experts? Email us, and we’ll throw it over to them right here on the STA Travel Blog.