Costa Rica: Surf and Service

Costa Rica: Surf and Service

Questions? Call (440) 975-9691 for an admissions counselor

2024 Departure Dates

June 25 – July 2, 2024 Full Waitlist
July 2 – July 9, 2024 Full Waitlist
July 9 – July 16, 2024 Full Waitlist
July 16 – July 23, 2024 Very Limited Enroll Now
July 23 – July 30, 2024 Limited Enroll Now
July 30 – Aug. 6, 2024 Available Enroll Now

Experience breathtaking sunsets and blue waters during this week of surf, service, and adventure in Costa Rica. Settle in at the Surf Bungalow and take in the beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean. Participate in service designed to support the local community and improve its quality of life. Grab your surfboard and head to the beach for surf lessons from expert instructors. Relax at the bungalow or play soccer or volleyball on the beach after service. No previous experience is necessary and experienced surfers will not be disappointed.

Service projects support UN Sustainable Development Goals
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Program Profile
Program Profile
Surf Bungalow

Location Highlights

San Jose

San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica and its largest city by far. It’s located in the center of the country. This program arrives and departs from San Jose, but the program adventures take place in much-less densely populated parts of the country.

Playa Avellanas

Our Surf Bungalow is near this beach that is a well-renowned place for surfing. It’s also known as Little Hawaii. The area has rocky tide pools, turquoise waters and stretches of white sand. The waves tend to be in the two to four-foot range, making it a perfect spot for people at different surfing ability levels.


About Teen Surfing in Costa

Should I choose Costa Rica Surfing?

Costa Rica has the some of the best surfing in the world. We think you will be happy here.

How long are teen surf camps in Costa Rica?

Rustic Pathways surf camps are one week long, but many students stack programs together.

Does Costa Rica have good surfing?

Costa Rica offers excellent surfing opportunities. Both its Pacific coastline and Atlantic coastline, attract surfers of all skill levels.

What is the best time of year to surf in Costa Rica?

The best time to surf in Costa Rica is during the dry season, from December to April.

That said, all year round is excellent for surfing in Costa Rica. The weather is sunny and the waves are consistent.

Where do you fly into for surfing in Costa Rica?

Surfers can fly into Liberia International Airport or San Jose International Airport. The choice depends on on their chosen surf destination.

Is Costa Rica or Nicaragua better for surfing?

Both Costa Rica and Nicaragua offer fantastic surfing spots. Costa Rica’s consistent waves and well-developed surf infrastructure make it a top choice among surfers.

Can beginners surf Costa Rican waters?

Yes, Costa Rica welcomes beginners with its gentle waves and sandy bottomed beaches, making it an ideal spot to learn how to surf.

Do you need a wetsuit in Costa Rica?

In most regions of Costa Rica, especially along the Pacific coast, a wetsuit is not necessary. The water temperatures are warm year-round. Water temperatures are usually a consistent 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows surfers to surf longer without cramping, like in cold water. While a wetsuit is not needed for surfing in Costa Rica’s warm waters, it can be useful for protection against sunburn and minor scrapes while surfing.

Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Follow these tips to pack like a pro:

Travel light. Pack only the essentials. You’ll need less than you think!
Consider no checked bag. We strongly recommend that you consider packing only a carry-on size bag. This prevents your luggage getting lost or separated from you, keeps your bag manageable, and helps you be more mobile on your travel day.
Bring the right clothes. Pack clothes that are culturally appropriate for your destination and acceptable for service projects. This means bringing long shorts (think Bermuda and basketball shorts), t-shirts with sleeves to cover shoulders, and appropriate footwear.
Leave your valuables behind. While traveling, it’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged. Keep any prized possessions safe at home.
Check with TSA. Make sure your luggage complies with TSA regulations, especially your carry-on. Useful tip: Pack an empty water bottle and fill it up after security.
Extra paperwork? If you need additional forms filled out to get credit for your service hours, no problem! Bring these forms with you so they can be completed in-country.


A school backpack is ideal as it will be used for daily activities and outings.

  • Passport
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Wallet/money
  • Book and/or journal
  • Pen
  • Phone
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Ear buds
  • Change of clothes
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Medication
  • Additional community service forms
  • Visa documentation (if applicable)
  • Consent to Travel Letter (for students under 19, recommended by the US State Dept but not required)
  • Rustic Pathways emergency contacts
Main Luggage

A 40-50 liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal.


  • Socks (3-5)
  • Underwear (7)
  • Long, loose-fitting shorts for service project work. Something that provides coverage and protection while keeping you cool. (2-3)
  • T-shirts (5-7)
  • Tank tops (2-3)
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit (2-3)
  • Swim pants or swim leggings/water pants
  • Rain jacket
  • Rubber boots (suggested for service)
  • Strappy sandals (like Tevas or Chacos)
  • Sneakers (2 pairs. One for daily use and another for community service – this pair will get dirty)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Quick dry towel
  • A towel to use in the house
  • A beach towel/sarong
  • Rash guard – a shirt and knee-length shorts for surfing to protect you from the sandy, waxy surfboard surface


(travel sized in ziplock bags)

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Face wash
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Oxybenzone-free sunscreen (reef-safe)
  • Biodegradable/natural bug spray
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Contacts
  • Contact solution
  • Foam earplugs
  • Personal med kit
  • Deodorant
  • Wet Wipes
  • Razor/shaving cream
Important Reminders
  • *Community Service Appropriate Attire includes T-shirts and tank tops with no visible undergarments and shorts with a 3” or more inseam.
  • Don’t forget the Big Five: Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Bug spray, Rain jacket, Closed-toe shoes.

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