Skip the Kids: The Best Adult Surfs Camps Across the World

20 February 2020

No matter how much you love your kids, it’s not always ideal to bring them along on vacay. Sure, family bonding time can be fun and rewarding while snorkeling in the Bahamas or horseback riding along the Grand Canyon. But there are other times when you just have to leave them out of the planning process. 

This is especially the case if your bucket list includes an epic adult surf camp vacation. Booking a trip at one of the best adult surf camps around the world means that you can have a no-kids-allowed experience while learning new skills, getting in touch with nature, and unwinding in a carefree environment. 

There's no shortage of adults-only surf camps to choose from in each of the world's best surfing hotspots. Here we'll not only touch on the best surfing spots like Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, and more but also give recommendations on the best adult surf camps in each of these destinations.

Sri Lanka

Located near the southwest corner of India, Sri Lanka is as stunning as it gets. This is a prime spot for an affordable vacation that’s filled with friendly people, breathtaking scenery, and plenty of waves for every surfing level. If you’re the type of person who prefers tuk tuks over SUVs, curries over pizzas, and impressive scenery over all else, you’ll love everything about Sri Lanka.

And we haven’t even gotten to the good part! Sri Lanka is home to a variety of surf camps, many of which only cater to adults. No matter the camp you end up going with, you’ll get to experience a variety of breaks and points, especially along the Southwest Coast. 

Sri Lanka is one of the best destinations for learning how to surf, but it’s also home to more challenging barrels for intermediate/advanced wave riders. The majority of adult surf camps are located in the Southwest (Ahangama, Weligama, and Kiddaduwa) and the Eastern province (Arugam Bay).

Lapoint in Ahangama

Lapoint is a well-respected name among the global surf community with locations all over the world, including Nica, Costa Rica, Portugal, and Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka Lapoint location is in the island’s prime surfing town of Ahangama, situated among palm trees and the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean. 

“Near the camp, there are calm waves which are perfect for beginners, while only a short tuk-tuk ride up or down the coast will present you with an assortment of options, ranging from playful peelers to barreling reef breaks.”

- Lapoint Sri Lanka

This adult surf camp is all about sun, surf, and yoga, and there will be plenty of chances to hang out with the crew and enjoy a few sunset beers. Lapoint follows an interesting teaching model by offering 3 levels, 1 being for complete beginners and 3 being for those ready to complete their first cutback. No matter your level, you’ll have the time of your life at this beachside camp. 

  • Surf Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Language: English
  • Program Length: 7, 14, or 21 Days 
  • Cost: From $576 USD
  • Website: www.lapointcamps.com/surfcamp/sri-lanka 

Nicaragua

One of the beauties of surfing in Nica is that you'll never need a wetsuit, this Central American destination is as tropical as it gets. While the Carribean side of Nicaragua is geared towards scuba diving and chilled-out paddleboarding, the Pacific is all about surf, surf, and more surf. 

In terms of adventure travel, Nicaragua is par with Costa Rica, but it’s a way better option if you’re trying to stick to a budget. The terrain is dramatic (think peaking volcanoes combined with clear waters), the culture is rich, and the Pacific swells are consistent throughout the year.

For surfing, you’ll want to stick to the Pacific Coast of Nica, but it’s highly recommended that venture inland or take a short flight to the Carribean side of the country. The best surf spots here include San Juan del Sur, Popoyo, Miramar, Maderas, and Amarillo. No matter where you end up, be sure to check out this adults-only Nica surf camp.

Rapture Surf Camp in Playa Maderas

Similar to the Lapoint surfing brand, Rapture Surf Camps is well-established around the world, but Rapture regulars all agree that the Nica surf camp is the best one of them all. The Rapture resort is a quick walk from the main Maderas beach, which has some of the most consistent surfing conditions in all of Nica. 

“Whether you are a beginner or have surfed your whole life, the area around the camp offers great surfing conditions and year-round swells.”

- Rapture Surf Camp Nicaragua

The camp doesn’t just offer surf lessons and outings to nearby beaches, but also adventure activities to get a true feel for everything that Nicaragua has to offer. This includes local trips to the town of Granada, the Ometepe volcanoes, and the beautiful Laguna de Apoyo. The best part of all is that you won’t break the bank if you choose to surf with Rapture. 

  • Surf Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Program Length: 7 Days
  • Cost: From $273 USD
  • Website: www.rapturecamps.com/nicaragua 

Bali

Out of the 17,000+ islands of Indonesia, Bali is by far the most visited, especially for surfing travelers. It has rightfully received the nickname Island of the Gods, which will make complete sense as soon as you lay eyes on the deep colors and warm vibes of this tropical paradise. A lot of islands are called paradisical, but Bali truly is. 

Bali is a relatively small island, but it’s still filled to the brim with prime surfing spots for all levels. The Bukit Peninsula to the South is great for more advanced surfers while places like Kuta and Canggu cater to beginners and intermediates. For hip vibes and lively bars, you’ll want to check out Canggu, but for a more natural setting, Uluwatu or Padang Padang is a better choice.

As far as surf camps go, there are plenty of them to choose from, but you can easily narrow down the search by focusing on a specific area. Whether you’re looking for party vibes or peaceful surroundings, you can’t go wrong booking a surf camp with Kima Surf, which has several locations around the island.

Kima Surf in Seminyak, Canggu, or Padang

There are actually 5 Kima locations on the island, including 2 in Seminyak (one for more budget travelers and one for luxury seekers), 2 on Bukit Peninsula, and 1 in Canggu. Our favorite is the Canggu-based Kima, but you really can’t go wrong with any of them. If you’ve got the money to spend, the luxury villa in Seminyak is pretty sweet as well. 

“We offer lessons for beginners, surf guides for real experts and a wide variety of activities around our five beautiful locations in Bali. Let us help you turn your holiday on the Island of the Gods into an unforgettable experience!”

- Kima Surf 

At the Canggu Kima camp, a weeklong stay includes everything from twice-daily surf lessons, unlimited coffee and tea, 6 yoga sessions, airport transfers, surf video analysis, surf theory class, and more. It's very rare to find a camp that has surf guiding sessions 2x per day, but Kima places a huge emphasis on the teaching aspect for those who truly want to learn. 

  • Surf Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Language: English
  • Program Length: 7 Days
  • Cost: From $20 (per night)
  • Website: www.kimasurf.com 

Portugal

Let’s take things over to Europe for a second and hone in on the surf capital of the continent: Portugal. This long, skinny country offers over 1,100 miles of coastline that are all yours for the taking. It’s even home to some of the biggest waves in the world in Nazare, the spot where Garrett McNamara set a world record for surfing the largest wave ever recorded back in 2011. 

But don't worry, if you're not on the same level as McNamara or Slater, you'll still find a wave that you can ride along the Atlantic coast of Portugal. More gentle, forgiving waves can be found in Ericeira, Cascais, and Peniche, and further down south in the Algarve there are plenty of spots for intermediate/advanced surfers.

If you’re not a fan of cold water, you might want to look towards Nica or Bali for your adult surf camp adventure. But if you’re OK with the idea of strapping on a wetsuit and experiencing the best waves of Western Europe, you’ll love it here. 

There are lots of family-friendly surf camps in Portugal, but for an adults-only experience, you’ll want to check out Tiny Whale Surf Lodge in the Algarve.

Tiny Whale Surf Lodge in Algarve

This boutique-style surf camp has been recommended by The Guardian and Surfing Magazine, mainly because of its beautiful backdrop of wild beaches, massive rock formations, and lush greenery. The Algarve has won countless awards for the pristine conditions of its water and meticulously protected national parks, and Tiny Whale offers up the chance to take it all in.

“Our team has been living and working on these coastlines since 2009 and takes pride in showing you the very best the Algarve has to offer. Needless to say, we are really excited to share this beautiful area with you.”

- Tiny Whale Surf Lodge

Tiny Whale will cater to your every need, whether that means you’re looking for a 50/50 surf and yoga retreat or you prefer a women’s only intensive surf camp. If you have any special requests, just contact the team to see what they can do to give you an epic adventure that works for you. 

  • Surf Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Language: English, Spanish, Portuguese
  • Program Length: 7 Days
  • Cost: From $740 USD
  • Website: www.tinywhalesurflodge.com

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is Nicaragua’s neighbor to the South, and even though it’s more developed than Nica, it’s still the perfect setting for a rugged rainforest adventure. Similar to Nica, all the best surfing in CR can be found up and down the country’s Pacific coast, while the Caribbean side is a better option for SCUBA, snorkeling, and SUP. 

Even if you don't know much about Costa, there's a good chance you've heard of Tamarindo. Tamarindo is the most popular surfing destination in the country, but to be honest, the waves are crowded and the lineups are long here. For fewer crowds and more fun, the better options are Santa Teresa, Jaco, Nosara, Montezuma, and Pavones.

Even if you're tempted to stay glued to your surfboard for the duration of your surf getaway, at least try to experience some of the other adventure activities that Costa Rica has to offer. It's the perfect place for zip-lining over rainforest canopies, snorkeling with colorful marine life, canyoning down waterfalls, and hiking volcano summits. 

We can’t tell you exactly how to spend your time in Costa Rica, but we can tell you that there’s one adult surf camp that rules above all others, especially if you’re looking for a taste of the Pura Vida lifestyle.

Anamaya Resort & Retreat Center in Montezuma

Anamaya is all about appreciating the simple things in life, and some guests have even claimed that booking a retreat here is a "transformative" experience. Whether your life is changed or you simply learn to surf in a peaceful environment, Anamaya is a place of personal growth and rejuvenation. 

“As our guest, you will connect with nature, connect with other like-minded people from around the world, and most importantly – connect with yourself.”

- Anamaya Resort & Retreat Center

Guests can customize their entire Anamaya experience, but the more popular choice is the complete Yoga & Surfing Retreat. This includes all meals and accommodations as well as yoga classes, surf lessons, a sunset beach excursion, and even a circus performance. If you're not interested in the yoga aspect, there are plenty more all-inclusive packages to choose from. 

  • Surf Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Program Length: 7 Days
  • Cost: From $376 USD
  • Website: www.ana