Adventure holidays often can come at a price — a trip to the moon with
Virgin Galactic for $100 million, anyone? — but surfing doesn’t have to
be expensive. Here’s our pick of the best and cheapest places to hit
Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
Costa Rica in March and you’ll witness the blooming of 1,500 different
types of orchids in one of Latin America’s hippest surfing destinations.
A laid-back attitude and a surfboard is all you’ll need to feel at
home on the pearl-hued sands of Hermosa Beach in the province of
The year-round sun and warm temperatures will mean you won’t be
confined to wearing a wetsuit and you’ll come back with a golden glow.
But while the vibe is chilled out, the waves at Playa Hermosa are
not. In fact, the conditions are expert enough that the beach recently
hosted a stop on the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games, a week-long
smackdown that’s one of the world’s top pro events.
Crash at: Fuegos Del Sol Resort and Hotel, Playa Hermosa.
You’ll wake up to the sound of the waves and surf lessons are part of
the hotel’s services — did we mention this was paradise? From about
$100 per person, per night.
Souk and Surf
powerful and challenging waves coming in from the Atlantic Ocean are
what make the Moroccan coastline a favourite with wave crashers.
The windy beach of Essaouira is where you’ll find Ocean Vagabond, a
surf spot with a beachfront café where you can also rent surfing
For thrilling surfing, head to the internationally-renowned point
break of Sidi Bouzid in the region of Safi, where the waves are ranked
among the top 10 surf destinations in the world.
Had enough of the wind and the waves? Take a stroll in Essaouira’s
fishing port or a day trip to the trinket-filled markets of Marrakech.
Villa Maroc, Essaouira This small riad or palace right in the heart
of Essaouira is great if you want a break from the sea wind and need to
balance your holiday between the surf and the shops. From about $100
per person per night.
Laying low in Lagos:
is a beach town situated at the mouth of the Bensafrim River in
Portugal’s Algarve region. Like many surfing paradises, it welcomes
waves from the feisty Atlantic Ocean, although these are less
aggressive than in nearby Morocco.
This makes Lagos the perfect destination for beginners still
struggling to keep their balance on the board. Lagos’ high point is the
wave consistency —powerful waves hit the shores all year round.
Back on dry land, explore the cobblestone paths of the sleepy
village of Silves and bring local handicrafts and fresh produce back to
the shore. Silves Castle, instantly recognizable with its fiery red
sandstone walls, is believed to date back to Moorish occupation.
Crash at: Villa Esmeralda, Lagos. This villa in Lagos
overlooks the sea, perfect for surfers who just want to roll out of
their beds and hit the waves.
From about $85 per person per night.
Croissants by the sea:
surfing jet-set rubs shoulders with a more laid back crowd of
wave-chasers on Biarritz’ glitzy coastline. The highlight of the
surfing year here is the autumn, which is filled with pro surfing
competitions and their afterparties.
Held on Hossegor beach and attended by surfers from all shores, the
yearly Quiksilver Pro turns Biarritz surfers into sea gods for the week.
If you have a crush on one of the surfers, you’ll probably find
them hanging out at the Rock Food café, rockfoodhossegor.com. The
surf-themed menu means you can tuck into a Kelly (Slater) steak or
crunch on a Pipeline salad.
Crash at: h2o Surfers Chalet, Capbreton. A cozy and fun
home-away-from-home in the centre of Capbreton town, owned and managed
by a laid back British surfing couple, the atmosphere is as breezy as
the wind. From about $78, or $100 per person per night. Fully-catered,
including delicious homemade meals and wine.
Fish ‘n’ chips ‘n’ waves:
Cornwall’s raw beauty comes from its
impressive array of coves, white shores and craggy cliffs and its
seaside community is made up of surfers, artists and fishermen.
The quaint British vibe is a contrast to Mediterranean surf spots —
think wet suit versus board shorts, pint of beer versus iced Corona,
fish and chips versus greasy burger.
Head to Newquay with its challenging waves and hip music festivals and beach parties.
Not keen to drink and dive? Keep a low profile in the town of Rock,
the Knightsbridge of the Sea — referencing an upper-crust area of
London — which is also Prince Harry’s favourite surfing destination.
Take a ferry ride across the Camel Estuary over to the Padstow.
After your day spent at sea, there is nothing better than some local
crab or some grilled Mount’s Bay sardines at the one of the eateries
owned by celebrity chef Rick Stein, rickstein.com.
Crash at: The Pedn-Olva hotel in St. Ives, Cornwall, has spectacular views over the bay. From about $120 person per night.