By: Mikael and Thrillism
7 minute read
Last updated June 5th, 2020
If you’re a lover of all things surf, Puerto Rico is the place for you. This unincorporated US territory is not only one of the most popular destinations for honeymooners, but also surfing fanatics. Even if you have absolutely no experience riding waves, PR is a great place to learn some new skills in the water.
One of the biggest reasons for such high tourism rates in Puerto Rico is its convenience, especially for citizens of the US. Since this is an American territory, US citizens don’t even need a passport to travel to the island, plus there are tons of direct flights from major cities like New York, Boston, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale.
But you don’t have to be American to enjoy all that Puerto Rico has to offer. Visitors from all over the world come to this culturally-rich island to get a taste of the food, landscape, history, and surf. The ultimate way to do that? Book a stay at a Puerto Rico surf camp, focusing on surf hotspots like Rincón, Aguadilla, Isabela, and San Juan.
Since the beginning of time (or at least since the first wave was surfed in Puerto Rico), Rincón has been called the surf capital of the island. This is classic Caribbean surfing at its finest, and it’s also a great place to let your hair down with the island nightlife scene.
Whether you’re here for the surf, the nightlife, or a bit of both, Rincón is great for all skill levels – you just have to know where to go. This is the main perk of booking a weeklong stay with a Rincón Puerto Rico surf camp since the local surfing guides know all about the conditions of all the best surfing spots in the area.
There are plenty of places for advanced-level surfers to satisfy their craving for adrenaline-pumping waves. To give you an idea of the level of surf available, there have been tons of pro-level events held in Rincón starting with the Surfing Championships of 1968. The best breaks for expert surfers are Indicator, Tres Palmas, and Pool’s Beach.
You’re probably wondering at this point, but what if I have no surfing experience whatsoever? That’s fine, there are plenty of gentler, beginner-friendly waves in the Rincón area to choose from. Puerto Rico surf camps with beginner students spend most of their time at Little Malibu, a beach break located near the marina with waves that are perfect for learning.
No matter your level of expertise, investing in a Rincón surf camp is well worth the money. The best camps offer lessons for beginners, surf guiding for advanced surfers, and even all-inclusive trips for a completely carefree getaway.
Rincón Surf School has always been at the top of the list of best surf camps in Puerto Rico. Not only is it one of the go-to choices for surfing travelers, but it’s also the longest-running surf school on this part of the island. This school won the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence four years in a row (from 2015 to 2018), so that gives you an idea of its level of commitment.
“We teach, coach and challenge everyone from the novice to advanced surfers. Our staff is made up of true watermen that will help you take your ability and knowledge to the next level.”
– Rincón Surf School
The surf school has a few available options. You can either book surf lessons only if you already have accommodations figured out, or you can book your entire vacay through RSS, including your stay at the surf lodge. If you choose to take the second route, you’ll be staying at the Rincón Surf Resort with the option to choose from a variety of unique surfing packages.
Surf787 is another beloved Rincón surf camp, but this one’s located a bit further south of the main Rincón city center. The place was designed to give guests a secluded and peaceful getaway free from city sounds and filled with natural scenery. The school hosts a variety of retreats throughout the year, both for kids and adults – you can even request a women’s only retreat.
“Our philosophy is simple! Allow guests to connect with and enjoy nature, whether it is surfing atop Rincon’s perfect wave, hiking through magnificent tropical terrain, or lounging on one of the many scenic beaches.”
– Surf 787
One of the main beliefs held by Surf787 is that the ocean is fragile, and we should do whatever we can to respect it, cherish it, and take care of it. As surfers, this is one of our greatest duties, and this is the perfect chance to find that connection with the ocean and become “one with the wave”. The retreats here are not only designed for surfing, but also extreme relaxation.
The town of Aguadilla is just a short drive northeast of Rincón (about 30 minutes). Visitors here get to enjoy all the same stellar surf conditions, but with fewer crowds and shorter lineups. This isn’t just a surfer’s paradise, though. It’s also home to thick wilderness – the perfect setting for a surfing/hiking adventure combo.
In terms of the surf, there are a lot of beginner-friendly breaks in Aguadilla. The most popular surfing beach for new students is Surfer’s Beach, but for fewer crowds, you might want to check out Bridges or Crashboat. Crashboat is a great spot for those who are starting to build their confidence and are ready to test out some new skills.
There are also a few spots that are labeled as “expert only” beaches, like Gas Chambers. This is a fast, hollow, shallow point break that even the pros struggle with from time to time. When conditions are milder, this is suitable for intermediate level surfers, but beginners should stay away no matter what – and the same goes for the heavy break called Wilderness.
If you’re looking for a surf camp Puerto Rico and focusing your sights on Aguadilla, you’re in luck. There are plenty to choose from, but our favorite is Aquatica Dive & Surf, and tons of Google reviewers agree with us.
Although you can’t technically book a room with Aquatica Dive & Surf, it’s still the best place to take a few lessons or sign up for guided surfing adventures. ADS has been dubbed the best SCUBA, snorkel, surf, and SUP shop on the entire island – if there’s an in-water activity you’re interested in, this place has got it.
“Whether you are brand new to surfing or have come to brush up on your technique, all of our students leave with a sense of accomplishment and pride in their day on the water!”
– Aquatica Dive & Surf
Each surfing lesson with ADS is 1.5 hours long, and they offer lessons every day of the week from 10 am to 3 pm. They’ve got lessons for surf, SUP, and bodyboarding, all of which are taught from the best ISA/NSSIA-certified surf instructors on the island. The instructors are patient and respectful of safety protocols, but you can still count on having the time of your life.
Driving to Isabela from Aguadilla is just like driving to Aguadilla from Rincón; it’s about 30 minutes to the northeast. The surf conditions are very similar, but it’s still a nice change of scenery, especially for those of you who have a few weeks to spend on the island. Isabela is a bit more chilled out than Rincón and Aguadilla, so you won’t find much of a nightlife scene here.
You will, however, find some epic surf spots. For professional-level breaks, you’ll want to check out Middles Beach. Even if you’re not ready to take on the waves here, it’s still pretty cool to take it all in. The beach here is laid-back, but for something more lively (and more beginner-friendly waves), head to Jobos.
Jobos Beach has consistent swell, but unlike Middles, you won’t find anything too extreme here. The majority of surf lessons in Isabela take place at Jobos, and not just because of the gentle waves. The beach is lined with laid-back beach bars and fresh seafood restaurants, and we can all agree that a sunset beer is a perfect end to a perfect day of surfing.
The Jobos Surf Venture House specializes in surf lessons and adventure trips in Isabela and the surrounding area. JSVH doesn’t offer a place to stay, but feel free to ask them for recommendations – they’ve got tons of them. You can either sign up for private lessons, group lessons, guided surfing adventures, or a more intensive weeklong surfing school.
“Set in a location that provides consistent waves and easy access for travelers, our goal is to teach you to surf in a safe, supervised environment. We will instruct you with the best techniques for your level of surfing.”
– Jobos Surf Venture House
For anyone who’s brand new to surfing and truly wants to learn, the best option is signing up for a full week of lessons. You’ll get 1-on-1 attention in and out of the water and progress fast with video technique analysis after every session. JSVH doesn’t just teach you how to surf, but they also focus on teaching students how to coach themselves for years to come.
It’s not often that travelers focus their efforts on San Juan when looking for a Puerto Rico surf camp. So many people simply fly in and then take a shuttle or taxi to the northwest of the island (to places like Rincón, Aguadilla, and Isabela). Even though the area isn’t quite as well-known for surfing as spots like Rincón, it’s still got a lot to offer.
One of the perks of surfing in San Juan is its convenience; you could potentially de-board your flight and be in the water within an hour of arriving at the island. The main surfing spot to visit for the biggest waves is La Ocho, located just outside Old San Juan. All surfing levels are welcome here, but beginners tend to shy away since the waves break over a shallow reef.
Manatí is another popular spot, and even though it’s not directly in San Juan, it’s just a quick trip from the city. Mid-level and expert surfers staying in San Juan typically head to Manatí specifically to ride the waves of Playa Los Tubos. No matter where you choose to surf in San Juan, no surf camp compares to Pine Grove Surf Club.
Pine Grove Surf Club was started by three brothers – Hector, Gustavo, and Ebaldo – who all share the same passion for surfing. With over 30 years of experience in the water for each of them, you can count on the fact that you’ll be well taken care of during your surf lessons with PGSC.
In Pine Grove Surf Club you are always treated like family… Surfing, snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking you name it.”
– Pine Grove Surf Club
Pine Grove offers a huge variety of tours and activities, so you can do more than just surf the San Juan waves. You’ve also got options for snorkeling adventures, paddleboarding excursions, and an island tour of the Natural Reserve Isla Verde. You won’t be able to book accommodations with them, but at least you’ll be all set for your adventure activities.