Surf’s Up

By Natasha Dragun

Surf’s Up
From a luxurious resort in Mexico to a rustic retreat in India, these surf schools will have you riding the waves in no time.

Costa Rica: Pura Vida Adventures

Steps from Playa Carmen – regularly voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – at the tip of Costa Rica’s west coast Nicoya Peninsula, this eco-chic retreat offers weeklong women-only and mixed-gender surf camps. Jungle envelops rooms designed with teak floors and bamboo beds, and semi-open pavilions make the ideal perch for meals and yoga. Surfing programs are customized to each guest, which means that everyone from beginners to experienced surfers are catered for, and with a three-to-one student to teacher ratio, you’re guaranteed personalized attention. The water is warm, the consistently good breaks are uncrowded, and there are plenty of diversions in the neighborhood, including rainforest walks to waterfalls and slap-up seafood meals in the old fishing village of Mal Pais.

India: Soul & Surf

Despite having one of the longest coastlines in the world, India’s surfing scene is relatively uncharted. So the country’s newest retreat is a welcome addition to Kerala’s wellness community, uniting twice-daily guided surfing expeditions with sunset yoga sessions and comfortable rooms in a heritage building. Those looking for extra surfing instruction can book in for intensive daily or weekly courses held on Varkala Beach, which the retreat overlooks. Otherwise, enjoy beach barbeques and bonfires, stone-baked pizza at the alfresco cinema, and parties held in lush gardens offering views of the Arabian Sea. If you find yourself addicted to the concept, you’ll be happy to hear that the retreat also hosts “pop-up” surf camps in Sri Lanka (February 2014) and the Andaman Islands (April 2014).

Mexico: Three Jewels

With a temperate, tropical climate, white sand and azure water, Mexico’s beachside Punta Mita community is the ideal location for a surf retreat. At the northern end of Bay of Banderas, Three Jewels bases itself from a luxurious private villa estate, where rooms come with balconies overlooking a floodlit pool and the bay – whales are a common sight. Surf lessons take place on the barreling Dos Palmitos break, steps from the resort, or at La Lancha, just a short stroll down the beach, with opportunities for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding in between. When you’re not in the water, there are twice-daily yoga sessions, massages, and healthy meals – ocean-fresh prawn tacos, anyone?

Portugal: Karma Surf Retreat

With two locations in Portugal, one in Malveira da Serra on the outskirts of Lisbon and one in the Algarve, Karma is as much about showcasing Portuguese culture as it is about showcasing its surf breaks. The flagship retreat utilizes a mountainside villa, cottage and boutique hotel overlooking the Atlantic and within easy reach of Praia do Guincho beach; the latter offers just five rooms in a villa set on a golf resort. Wherever you check in you’ll be guaranteed days filled with yoga, morning surf lessons led by experienced instructors, organic breakfasts and picnic lunches, plus options to explore the countryside on mountain bikes and hikes. Additional extras range from horse riding and scuba diving to pilates, spa treatments and quad tours.


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