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8 Days Intensive Surf Camp in Malpais, Costa Rica

Exhilarating Surf Camp Costa Rica

Instruction in English
Airport transfer available

Escape from the busy life and surf your guts out on the beach with Hotel Moana in Malpais, Costa Rica! With long even beach breaks and sandy bottoms, the beaches are 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. The waves are also hollow, peaky, and more importantly, consistent throughout the year. So, if you think you are ready for this camp, Hotel Moana is more than pleased to welcome you to the stunning Costa Rica.

Meet the instructors

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  • 12 surf lessons
  • Qualified surf instructor
  • Consistent waves throughout the year
  • Secluded natural surroundings
  • Near-beach accommodation
  • 7 nights' accommodation


7 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
Airport transfer available:
Tambor Airport (US$55 per person)
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Check-in Time:
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During your vacation, 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, Hotel Moana serves the freshest of local seafood, tapas, and delicious cocktails.

Beautiful tropical gardens, surrounding lush jungle and being within 200 meters of the ocean makes 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, the Suite, two Junior Suites, four Deluxe, 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

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

Located also in the reception is a client PC and wireless internet which is free for guests to use. You can check your emails, burn CD's, upload photos or print off flight confirmations. Check-in time is at 2 p.m. and should you arrive late our 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 the self-service pool bar which is perfect for a refreshing drink or a friendly chat while you're hanging out by the pool.


You will get 12 surfing lessons during the surf camp. The main reason why Hotel Moana chooses the instructors was down to the fact that you'll learn a lot more about surfing when they bring you out. The instructor, Lolo, know all the top and safest breaks in the area. Once you've been taught the basics on the beach, you'll go off to the ocean and up on your 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.


This surf camp will take place at Hotel Moana in Malpais, Costa Rica. 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 up on tree covered hills 200 meters from the Pacific Ocean. In relation to the Malpais area, 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 Cobano which is roughly 12 kilometers away from Malpais. Thereafter, lies the town of Paquera (50-minute drive) where the ferry departs (one and a half hours) to the port town of Puntarenas. From Puntarenas, it takes about two hours to drive to the capital, San Jose.

In recent times the area of Malpais has gained notoriety for its secluded and untouched natural beauty added to its great surf breaks. Malpais is, in fact, a quaint little fishing village, with surrounding waters rich in snapper, tuna, and many other types of fish.

Perched at the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, this seaward bending coastline affords vistas all the way up Guanacaste on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Tourism has brought some changes with new restaurants and bars popping up, providing travelers with a global choice of cuisine, ranging from Argentinean barbeques to sushi, but essentially things have stayed the same. The landscape here offers rolling green hills rich in vegetation, sandy stretches of beach, and rocky outcroppings ideal for shoreline fishing. Without a doubt, it's a very attractive place to come to relax and to soak up the golden rays of the Pacific sunset or indulge one's self in a range of outdoor activities.

The direct translation of the name Malpais from Spanish into English is in fact bad land. But it is claimed that the name actually derives from the word "Mah Pah ", which was a smooth stone used for drawing by the first people here, the Chorotega Indians. The Cabo Blanco National Reserve is located three kilometers south, which is a paradise for tourists and students of biology and ecology.

Nearby places

  • Cabo Blanco National Reserve, 3 kilometers
  • Cobano, 12 kilometers
  • Pacquera - 50 minutes drive
  • Playa Carmen, 1.5 kilometers
  • The Pacific Ocean, 200 meters



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


  • Bar
  • Beach
  • In-room safe
  • Mini bar
  • Poolside bar
  • Restaurant


  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hair dryer
  • Laundry
  • Parking lot
  • Room cleaning
  • Toiletries
  • Wireless internet

Things to do (optional)

Standup paddleboarding

The newest activity to hit Malpais is stand up paddle boarding or SUP. The sport was born in Hawaii back in the early 60's and is now catching on across the globe. SUP is an easy sport to learn (you don't need to be a surfer). While it's incredibly enjoyable, it also provides a good workout. The instructor, Andy, who's 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 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, easy to do, and kids over the age of eight can also participate. The local zip line operator is Canopy Del Pacifico. They will pick you up from the hotel and bring you into the heart of Cabo Blanco National Park. 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 will 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.

Riding ATVs / quad bike

Quads are without a doubt the best and most fun way to get around the bumpy roads in Malpaís. Through the hotel, 250cc 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 Hotel Moana head across to the coastal town of Montezuma. During the tour, you will stop off at the magnificent vine tree in Cabuya and the famous waterfalls in Montezuma. Along the way, Hotel Moana will show you some local secrets and hopefully some wildlife including monkeys.

Or alternatively, Hotel Moana 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 two-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 Malpaís. 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 Malpaís, seeing many native birds and wildlife along the way, and you will 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.


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.Hotel Moana masseuses offer various massage types, such as deep tissue, surf, and Thai. Massages can be arranged either in the rancho or alternatively in the comfort of your room.Hour-long massage is 65 USD.

What's included

  • 12 surf lessons
  • 7 nights' accommodation

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Driving directions from Juan Santamaría International Airport (JSM), taking Motorway Route 27

  • From the international airport in San Jose, you'll need to turn right (east) in the direction of San Jose (Route 1) and drive for about 12 kilometers where you will then need to take a right exit for Route 39 for Escazu.
  • You drive along that road for about three kilometers and then take the second exit which will bring you onto the Autopista Prospero Fernandez. You will now be driving west in the direction of Escazu / Santa Ana where you will go through the first toll.
  • You continue to drive past Santa Ana and then follow the signs for Orotina and then the autopiste becomes Route 27.
  • You continue straight all the way to Caldera passing three further tolls and it takes about an hour to reach.
  • Drive through Caldera about 10 kilometers and then you will need to take a right turn for Puntarenas (please keep an eye out for this turn as it's badly marked).
  • From here you drive straight through Puntarenas and continue right to the end of the town where you will find the ferry port to your right, it will also be signposted.
  • From San Jose to the ferry takes about an hour and fifteen minutes. If you take the new motorway you need to be aware that you can only pay in cash, about 7 USD total in the tolls which can be paid in Colons or Dollars.

Driving directions from Juan Santamaría International Airport (JSM), taking Inter American Highway Route 1

  • From the international airport in San Jose, you'll need to turn left (west) which will bring you straight onto the Inter American (Route 1) in the direction of Puntarenas. The highway will bring you all the way to the turnoff for Puntarenas.
  • From the turn off you drive straight through the town of Puntarenas and at the end of the town you'll find the ferry port on your right, it will also be signposted. It takes about two and a half hours to reach the port town of Puntarenas.
  • The old route has no tolls but it's worth knowing that it's a twisty road and it can become quite congested with articulated trucks. It's also poorly lit so we don't suggest driving it after dark.

Driving directions from Paquera

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

Driving directions from Liberia

  • You need to take the Interamericana Highway and headed south and then take the turnoff to the port town of Puntarenas, this will be on your right / west. The journey time is about one and twenty minutes to about a half an hour shorter than doing the journey from San Jose.
  • In Puntarenas, take the ferry to Paquera which is located on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula.

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Juan Santamaría International Airport (JSM). After that, book your flight to Tambor Airport (TMU). Getting to Malpais / Tambor, from San José by air, you have two airlines that fly daily, Sansa or Nature Air. It costs about 90 USD per person going one way and takes about 30 minutes flying time.

Arrival by ferry

In Puntarenas, take the ferry to Paquera which is located on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. The ferries leave Puntarenas every two hours during the high season and the ride across the Gulf of Nicoya is a scenic one and a half-hour trip.

Arrival by bus

Hotel Moana can arrange you shuttle bus service, all that's required is your name and the hotel you’re staying in. From San Jose, it costs 50 USD and takes about five and a half hours. The bus will pick you up in your hotel in San José between 7.30 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. All the buses have A/C and they will stop allowing you to have something to eat.

A direct public bus also runs to Malpais twice daily. It departs from the Parada de San Carlos Station in downtown San Jose, Calle 12, ave 7-9 (but never let your bags out of your sight), it doesn't, however, stop to pick up passengers at the airport.

Unfortunately the bus schedule changes constantly so Hotel Moana cant offer you exact departure times. Usually, buses depart at 6.30 a.m. and later in the day at 2 p.m., the best thing to do is to call ahead when you arrive in San Jose.

To get to the hotel, you will need to get off at Franks Place when the bus arrives at the cross at Malpais / Santa Teresa. From there, you'll need to walk or take a cab to the hotel which is one and a half kilometers down on your left, headed south from the cross at Franks Place, it costs about 4 USD.

The bus is air-conditioned and costs about 14 USD per person and the journey takes about six and a half hours which includes the ferry crossing. Surfboards can also be taken, but bus tickets cannot be prebooked. The bus also makes the return journey to San Jose twice daily.

Airport: Tambor Airport Airport transfer available: Tambor Airport (US$55 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

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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