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7 Days Intensive Surf Camp in Malpais, Costa Rica

Refreshing Surf Camp Costa Rica

Beginner difficulty
Instruction in English

Hotel Moana invites you to join this surf camp in Malpais, Costa Rica. Coming to Malpais and not to try surfing would be like visiting the Sistine Chapel and not to look up. The surf breaks here are long, even beach breaks with sandy bottoms making the beaches a great and safe place to learn to surf. For beginners, it is also reassuring to know that the rip tides in this part of Costa Rica are less powerful than in other surf spots in the country. As for the wave type, they are hollow and peaky and more importantly, consistent throughout the year. So, don't hesitate to join Hotel Moana for the refreshing surfing experience in Malpais.

Meet the instructors

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  • 12 surf lessons
  • Long, even beach breaks
  • Great and safe beaches to learn to surf
  • Consistent wave throughout the year
  • Qualified surf instructor
  • 6 nights' lodging

Skill level

  • Beginner


6 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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Hotel Moana is a small private luxury ocean view hotel, located in the magnificent tranquil region of Malpais beach on the Pacific Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. During your vacation here, you'll encounter high-quality modern hotel suites and rooms that blend comfort with style leaving you with an unforgettable personal experience.

Wake up each day and indulge in one of the best ocean views in Costa Rica as you cast your eye out over Malpais, Santa Teresa, and Playa Carmen's beaches from the hotel's restaurant, The Papaya Lounge. The restaurant offers a selection of tropical fruit and traditional breakfasts and later for sunset, they serve the freshest of local seafood, tapas, and delicious cocktails.

Beautiful tropical gardens, surrounding lush jungle, and being within 200 meters of the ocean make Moana's exclusive resort an idyllic peaceful hideaway for your next destination or even for a dream wedding or honeymoon.


The hotel's rooms are placed on multi-levels throughout the hotel grounds, dispersed within the lush tropical gardens in five separate buildings. The hotel has a total of ten rooms, one suite, two junior suites, four deluxe rooms, and three standard rooms.

All of the rooms are of a high standard, the three suites being the larger and more luxurious of the room types. All rooms come with air-conditioning, hot water, private bathroom, private deck, Wi-Fi, room safe, and mini bar.

Standard rooms

For the standard rooms, Hotel Moana decided to blend the African theme with tropical inspirations thus continuing the African trend but giving a distinctive individuality which is evident in each room. These rooms have been furnished with beautiful wooden floors, white-washed colonial-style wooden walls, and also wonderful African wall hangings and masks.

The standard rooms are a little simpler than the deluxe rooms in terms of extras but they are still fitted to providing a high standard of comfort. Two of the three standard rooms are double rooms containing a queen bed and one of the standard rooms comes with a queen bed and a single bed.

The Papaya Lounge (Ocean view restaurant and bar)

Hotel Moana is delighted that they are now able to serve the guests breakfast and dinner in their new ocean view restaurant and bar. Since Hotel Moana took over the hotel in 2006, their dream was to open this part of the hotel's property to all of the guests to witness the truly spectacular view on offer.

While you sit and watch the waves break along the Malpais coastline, you'll be served an ever-changing breakfast containing local fresh fruit and rich native coffee, leaving you with an experience to cherish long after you've returned home. Then in the evenings, the restaurant truly transforms, with a wide and diverse menu, ambient lighting, and Latin music filling the air.

Sample one of their deliciously prepared meals from the menu, just lay back at the lounge and choose from their full bar list, or alternatively, sip on a freshly prepared cocktail as the sun sets and the waves crash in the background.

Their experienced kitchen staffs have a vast knowledge of both international and Costa Rican flavors. Bringing their creations to life by combining the freshest and finest of local produce with exotic fruit and vegetables give diners the chance to experience fine Costa Rican dining with a tropical twist.

The Papaya Lounge and restaurant and bar are open for breakfast and dinner, and the restaurant closes on Tuesdays.

Pool area

At the pool, you'll find comfortable lounge-chairs and suspended day beds stretch out while seabirds circle overhead. At night, the pool area is dramatically lit, with African masks casting intriguing shadows, creating an exotic ambiance.

Concierge and office services

Hotel Moana's front desk will gladly assist you on any queries or reservations you may need, whether it is on tours, maps, flights, surf breaks, or simply directing you to your next destination. With many years of experience and extensive local knowledge of the wildlife, restaurants, and beaches, they will provide you with professional advice and assistance.

Located also in the reception is a client PC and wireless internet which are free for guests to use. You can check your emails, burn CDs, upload photos, or print off flight confirmations. The check-in time is at 14:00 and should you arrive late, Hotel Moana's front desk is accessible 24 hours a day.

Rancho and pool bar

The rancho is an open-style lounge that sits next to the pool and allows you to seek shelter when the sun gets too hot. It's also the perfect place to practice yoga in the mornings, read a book in the afternoons, or indulge in a soothing massage in the evenings.

Sit back and chill out at Hotel Moana's self-service pool bar which is perfect for a refreshing drink or a friendly chat while you're hanging out by the pool.


The main reason Hotel Moana chose the instructors they did was down to the fact that you'll learn a lot more about just surfing when they bring you out. You'll learn how to read the waves, how to spot the breaks, what lies beneath, and how not to get into trouble. The surf instructors know all the top and safest breaks in the area. Once you've been taught the basics on the beach, it's then off out to the ocean and up on that board.


Lolo originates from the Mediterranean island of Corsica where he grew up surfing. Lolo is a qualified surf instructor and previously studied marine biology in Guadeloupe, French before moving to Malpais 12 years back. He has been running his school, Adrenalina Surf School in Malpais for many years, teaching thousands of people of all ages how to surf as Lolo knows all the top and safest breaks in the area.


Hotel Moana is located in Malpais on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula on the western seaboard of Costa Rica. The lodge itself is situated upon tree-covered hills 200 meters from the Pacific Ocean.

In relation to the Malpais area, Hotel Moana is halfway between the fishing port and one and a half kilometers from the intersection at Playa Carmen (also known as Frank's corner).

The next major town you'll see on a map is Cóbano which is roughly 12 kilometers away from Malpais. Thereafter lies the town of Paquera (50-minute drive) where the ferry departs (1.5 hours) to the port town of Puntarenas. From Puntarenas, it takes about two hours to drive to the capital, San José.

Malpais is truly unique as it allows you an opportunity to experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, with its pristine jungle, bustling wildlife, world-class fishing, white-sand beaches, and the famous surfing breaks of Playa Carmen and Santa Teresa.

Nearby places

  • The Pacific Ocean, 200 meters
  • The intersection of Playa Carmen, 1.5 kilometers
  • Cóbano, 12 kilometers
  • Paquera - 50 minutes of drive
  • San José - 2 hours of drive



  • Fishing
  • Horse riding
  • Hot tub / Jacuzzi
  • Massage
  • Stand up paddle boarding
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Swimming pool (outdoor)
  • Zip lining


  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Concierge desk
  • In-room safe
  • Lounge
  • Mini bar
  • Poolside bar
  • Restaurant


  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hair dryer
  • Laundry
  • Parking lot
  • Wedding


The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Gluten Free
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Standup paddleboarding

The newest activity to hit Malpais is standup paddleboarding or SUP. The sport was born in Hawaii back in the early 60s and is now catching on across the globe. SUP is an easy sport to learn that you don't need to be a surfer. While it's incredibly enjoyable, it also provides a good workout.

Hotel Moana's instructor, Andy, who is originally from San Diego, is one of the first surfers in Malpais to convert to SUP. Andy has been running his tour for a few years now and his tours can be tailored to clients at any skill level, kids included. Andy will brief you with a 20-minute class on equipment, fundamentals, and the techniques involved with SUP.

Tours go out from Malpais and include a visit to the famous Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve where clients will get an amazing view of the reserve from the sea and if you're lucky, you'll spot some marine life along the way. The tour takes about two hours depending on the client's skill level and speed preferences.

Zip-line canopy

Zip-lining is an adventure that is renowned with Costa Rica. It's extremely safe and easy to do, and kids over the age of eight can also participate.

Hotel Moana's local zip-line operator is Canopy Del Pacifico. They'll pick you up from the hotel and bring you into the heart of Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve. Then, you'll be zip-lining through and above thick rainforest on lines extending as long as 500 meters. Shooting across their nine platforms, you'll get to take in wonderful Pacific Ocean views.

This is a safe, fun, and informative experience with the addition that it's an incredible adrenalin rush that's not to be missed.

Fishing trips

Most people come here to surf but long before Malpais was famous for its surfing, it was famous for its abundance of fish. The Pacific Ocean that surrounds the peninsula is bustling with an amazing range of game fish, yellowfin tuna, marlin, red snapper, mahi-mahi, wahoo, grouper, rooster, and Spanish mackerel. Some of these fish can reach sizes of 50 pounds and two meters in length. Everything you catch is yours, so take it back and cook it up in the kitchen or stick it on the barbeque.

Garrobo, your tour guide, has two boats that he charters. One is a large sports fishing boat, 100 horsepowers with fight chair, which carries nine people, and the other one is a smaller boat that carries up to four. All equipment is supplied. Garrobo speaks flawless English and has been fishing here in Malpais for all his life. If you've never fished before, he'll help you with techniques and any questions you may have, so you're in safe hands.

All-terrain vehicles or quad bikes

Quads are without a doubt the best and most fun way to get around the bumpy roads here in Malpais. Through the hotel, 250 cc engine Honda quads which are renewed each year are hired out. The Honda quads are fitted with hand shift gear control and automatic clutch, making them incredibly easy and safe to drive.

Guided quad tours

For the guided tours, head across to the coastal town of Montezuma. During the tour, stop off at the magnificent vine tree in Cabuya and the famous waterfalls in Montezuma. Along the way, you will be shown some local secrets and hopefully some wildlife including monkeys or alternatively, they can take you up the coastline toward Playa Coyote while taking in the natural beauty of the surrounding beaches and the peninsulas' interior.

  • The tour prices are for the hire of a guide for a 2-person tour.
  • This does not include the cost of hiring your quad.
  • Additional persons are charged at 10 USD.

Horse tour

Another great way to take in this wonderful countryside is on horseback. The tour is probably the most natural way to experience the jungle and beaches of Malpais. The horse tours go out from a ranch which is located deep in the jungle between Malpais and Cabo Blanco.

You can either choose to hike through the untouched jungle of Malpais seeing many native birds and wildlife along the way and you'll also witness some of the most breathtaking views of the ocean which words simply can't describe or you can ride down to the beach and meander along the shoreline during sunset and then if you'd like, you can cut loose for a gallop on the beach.

The main factor Hotel Moana chooses to work with this ranch and not another was because the horses in this ranch are much loved and well maintained, providing both rider and horse peace of mind.

Pool and Jacuzzi

Unwind to soft Latin beats at the hotel's beautiful freeform swimming pool. Here, you'll be sheltered from the rays of the mid-day sun by an enormous and spiritual-like almond tree. Then, later for sunset, gaze out from the Jacuzzi at the magnificent Pacific Ocean.


Regenerate in spirit and body and indulge yourself with a professional massage to the music of tropical birds singing and the sound of waves crashing in the distance. The masseuses offer various massage types such as deep tissue, surf, and Thai. The massages can be arranged either in the rancho or alternatively in the comfort of your room. An hour-long massage costs 65 USD.

What's included

  • 12 surf lessons
  • Qualified surf instructor
  • 6 nights' accommodation

How to get there

Driving directions from Paquera

  • When you arrive in Paquera, take the road to Tambor.
  • Continue straight on to Cóbano.
  • From Cobano, drive to Malpais or Santa Teresa.
  • Finally, take a left turn at the Playa Carmen crossroad.
  • Moana is located 1.5 kilometers down on the left-hand side.
  • Driving from Paquera to Malpais takes about 1.5 hours and it is about 50 kilometers in distance.

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Tambor Airport (TMU).

From the airport, Hotel Moana can arrange to have you picked up by taxi. It is about a 50-minute cab ride to Malpais and it costs about 55 USD.

Arrival by bus

This service can be arranged by Hotel Moana for you. All that required is your name and the hotel you're staying in.

From San José, it costs 50 USD and takes about 5.5 hours. The bus will pick you up at your hotel in San José between 07:30 and 08:30. All the buses have air-conditioner and they will stop allowing you to have something to eat.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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