When it comes to doing what we love most, there should be no limit to how much money we spend. And yet, money always seems to get in our way. How wonderful would it be if we could spend less and travel more!
With the fast development of tourism in so many places across the globe, it is becoming increasingly difficult to have a good time traveling without having to drop some serious cash. Luckily, there are still some unspoiled places that remain accessible to tourists who are not interested in luxury but rather in what lies beyond the busy streets and beaches.
Money should not hinder us from pursuing our dreams. Traveling on a budget may not always be easy, but it does have its perks. You can travel in a van to save on accommodation, talk to friends and visit forums for recommendations on cheap places to stay and eat, all of which will help you get close and personal with the culture and history of a place. Opt to stay at surf camps, as they are usually not expensive and are located in front of the best breaks.
Do you want to save money and get the most out of your trip? Some of the best surfing destinations in the world come with a reasonable price tag. Check them out and start planning your next escapade:
1. Northern Peru
The Peruvian coast is littered with epic left-hand point breaks, and the farther north you go, the warmer the water becomes. Just south of the Equator, Northern Peru is hit by north and south groundswells all year round, while the wind is constantly blowing offshore.
Water temperature fluctuates between 63 and 77ºF (17-25ºC), which means that you can even ditch your wetsuit during summer. Add to that the inexpensive cost of living, cheap lodging, and the fact that you can indulge in Peru’s cuisine without breaking the bank, and you have all the ingredients for your next frugal surfing trip.
Surfing in Peru is divided into two main areas:
- The point breaks to the south of Lima, which include Arequipa, Moquegua, and Tacna, renowned for their consistency and big waves.
- The reef and point breaks in Northern Peru, which include the areas around Lima and Chicama, home to what has been internationally acknowledged as the longest left-hander in the world. Further north, Lobitos and Mancora are home to perfect barreling waves.
Best time to go: Between April and October in South Peru, and all year round in Northern Peru.
Our recommended surf camp in Peru:
Get trained according to your level! Visit various surf spots around Punta Hermosa for beginners to advanced surfers, where 12 breaks within a 12-mile (19 km) radius await, offering every kind of wave you can imagine. Also included in the price are daily homemade lunch and dinner, daily full healthy breakfast, and free bicycles to use, all from € 154 per person.
If you are looking to ride a wide variety of waves and have an affordable trip, Portugal is of the sunniest countries in Europe and home to some of the best waves on the old continent. It picks up north, south and west swells, offering a great variety of waves for all levels of surfers.
If you are looking to surf in Portugal, then you should start with the more popular regions like North Porto, Costa da Prata, the Lisbon Region, Alentejo, and the Algarve. Beginners will find gentle and fun waves near Lagos, Cascais, Ericeira, and Peniche.
Water temperature is not too friendly in northern and central Portugal, and you will need a wetsuit all year round. On the bright side, the weather is very pleasant and sunny, and you can hang out on the beach in a swimsuit or board shorts. On the south coast, the water gets slightly warmer during summer.
Best time to go: All year round. Summer, between May and September, is the best time to go if you wish to learn to surf. The waves get double the size during winter months, between October and April, which is also the prime surfing season.
Our recommended surf camp in Portugal:
Have fun at some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe with five surf lessons adapted to all levels. You will stay in a house overlooking Guincho Beach from € 270 per person, daily breakfast included.
Photo credit: Chris Ford via Flickr
On Mexico’s Pacific coast, you will find point breaks and beach breaks as far as the eye can see. Surfing in Mexico will give you an idea of how California was like some 60 years ago and the amazing opportunity to get barreled for the first time.
The Baja California Peninsula is home to more breaks than we can possibly count, with numerous well-kept secret spots that we do not want to divulge. Most waves are remote and only accessible by unmarked dirt roads, so all you need to do is hop on an all-wheel-drive equipped with a cooler, camp on the beach, and stay for as long as you like without having to pay for accommodation or lavish meals, and only go to town for supplies.
On the southwest Pacific coast of Mexico, Puerto Escondido is home to world-class barreling waves for advanced surfers, as well as beach breaks for beginners. Furthermore, it is extremely affordable, catering to the needs of backpackers, solo travelers, and families, with a fascinating surf culture that will have you hooked. Check out the best surf spots in Mexico in this article.
Photo credit: Bryce Bradford via Flickr
Best time to go: Between April and September.
Our recommended surf camp in Puerto Escondido:
Ride the wave of your life with a surf camp adapted to all levels that offers five semi-private surf sessions and one group coach session. Four fitness classes and photo or video session are included, from € 360 per person.
Photo credit: Eelke via Flickr
Without a doubt, one of North Africa’s most fascinating countries, Morocco is a right-hand point break paradise. The region between Essaouira and Agadir is home to the best surf spots in the country, with Taghazout and Tamraght welcoming surfers of all levels on some of the best waves in the world.
The weather is warm all year round. However, water temperature rarely reaches 72 °F (22 °C) in summer, which is why a wetsuit is required for most of the year. Accommodation can be quite inexpensive and Moroccan food is cheap, abundant, and simply delicious.
Best time to go: Morocco is a year-round budget surfing destination, with the breaks putting on their best performance in autumn and winter. The waves are biggest between December and February.
Our recommended surf camp in Morocco:
Discover the beach breaks near Agadir with daily surf lessons and go on a one-day trip to Imsouane. Stay in a villa overlooking the famous spots at Devil’s Rock and Banana Beach, and have breakfast, lunch, and dinner included from € 280 per person.
Photo credit: Mike Acosta via Flickr
If you are looking for a cheap and uncrowded surfing destination with friendly locals and an exemplary surfing etiquette, look no further than the Philippines. Filipino food may not get the recognition it deserves, but it is to die for. And cheap too. Don’t even get me started on the drinks… Let me just tell you that rum is cheaper than juice.
The world-famous Cloud 9 on Siargao Island speaks for itself, a barreling right-hander that is considered the most consistent on the planet. Needless to say, it attracts an international crowd, but there are plenty of beginner-friendly and less crowded spots worth checking out in its immediate vicinity as well as on the other islands. Check out the best surf spots in the Philippines in this article.
Best time to go: Between December and April. The Philippines is blessed with warm water all year round, varying between 63 and 77°F (21-25°C).
Our recommended surf camp in the Philippines:
Surf at Puraran Beach and enjoy the surrounding unspoiled nature on a peaceful island retreat. You will get six days of surf sessions, a one-on-one session with the surf instructor, unlimited use of the camp’s longboards, and yoga sessions from € 252 per person.
6. Phuket, Thailand
Photo credit: [email protected] via Flickr
When it comes to planning a budget surf trip, most end up choosing between the Philippines and Thailand; but they both deserve international recognition thanks to the quality of their waves and friendly vibes on their beaches. Thailand’s Andaman coast is exposed to southwesterly Indian Ocean swells, and Phuket takes full advantage of those groundswells.
However, the waves don’t seem to get any higher than 10 ft (3 m), which makes the country an excellent destination for beginners. Advanced surfers will find plenty of challenging breaks too. The waves may not be tall, but they are nevertheless impressive, with fast, hollow, and barreling sections.
Best time to go: Between April and October.
Our recommended surf camp in Thailand:
Embark on a weekend getaway to learn to surf at Bangtao Beach in warm tropical water with fun and gentle waves. You will learn about the ocean and the waves, get daily surfing lessons for beginners and intermediate surfers, free surfing equipment rental outside of the lessons, as well as a pampering Thai massage to ease the muscles after all that hard work. All from € 161 per person.
Photo credit: V.T. Polywoda via Flickr
With quality breaks ranging almost the entire length of the country’s Pacific coast, Chile is on its way to becoming one of the most popular surfing destinations in South America. Still uncrowded thanks to its remoteness, it is blessed with above-average waves fueled by the South Pacific Ocean, which is why Chile is generally recommended for intermediate to advanced surfers.
Beginners will find some fun waves too. Punta de Lobos, Chile’s surf capital, is dotted with surf schools. Please take note that the water is chilly, with temperatures varying between 55 and 61ºF (13-16ºC). The further south you go, the colder the water becomes.
Photo credit: Diana Onell Romero via Flickr
Best time to go: All year round; Chile has a national average of 300 days of surf per year.
Our recommended surf camp in Chile:
Discover the best surf spots in Chile while staying in a hostel right next to the beach, offering a 360-degree view of the surrounding picturesque landscapes. You will get daily surf lessons for beginners, use of surfing equipment, and delicious breakfasts from € 190 per person.
8. Sri Lanka
Off the coast of India, Sri Lanka is slowly but surely progressing on the surfing scene. The surf culture is emerging in places like Arugam Bay, Galle, and Hikkaduwa, with plenty of surf schools for beginners and world-class breaks for experienced riders to get their adrenaline pumping.
The water is warm all year round, with an average 81ºF (27 ºC), and there are over 330 days of sunshine per year. Lodging and food are dirt cheap, the line-ups are uncrowded, and there’s much to do when you’re not surfing too, such as visits to tea and coffee plantations, go on a safari, visit Buddhist temples, taste the delicious food, and practice yoga on the beach. Check out the best surf spots in Sri Lanka in this article.
Best time to go: Between November and April on the west coast and between May and October on the east coast.
Our recommended surf camp in Sri Lanka:
The instructors at the BeReal surf camp promise you that you will catch your first wave after only three lessons! Breathe in Sri Lanka’s natural surroundings, where elephants still roam free and get five two-hour surf lessons adapted to your needs from € 343 per person.
When you think of Indonesia, the first thing that pops to your mind is probably Bali. Our list could not be complete without one of the world’s top surfing destinations, which gets hit by Southern Ocean swells and with a toasty water temperature that stays around 80 and 84 °F (27 - 29 °C) all year round.
Bali has over 20 world-class breaks, so you are bound to find something to your liking. It is also a budget-friendly destination, with incredibly cheap accommodation, food, and surf lessons always on offer.
Best time to go: Between May and September (dry season) on the west coast. Between November and March (rainy season) on the east coast.
Our recommended surf camp in Bali:
Learn to surf and build on your surfing foundation with daily surf lessons for all levels, with a focus on technique and safety. The surf camp also offers video analysis, meaning that the instructor will show you the footage of you surfing and will give you some useful tips on how to improve your technique. From € 128 per person, daily breakfast and drink included.
10. Costa Rica
Less crowded than other consecrated surfing destinations but no less visually appealing, Costa Rica is one of the best places on the planet to learn to surf. With an average water temperature of 86 °F (30 °C) and some of the world’s most perfect barreling waves, it truly is a paradise for any nature and adventure lover. And if you are set on visiting the country on a budget, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that you can survive with very little money.
Surfing in Costa Rica is divided into four main areas:
- The Carribean Coast, home to some of Costa Rica’s biggest waves.
- The North-Pacific Coast, which includes the Guanacaste-Nicoya region, is the country’s most popular surfing destination.
- The Central Pacific Coast, which includes Jaco, is the first stop in many surf itineraries and Costa Rica’s most easily accessible region.
- The South Pacific Coast, which includes the Puntarenas region.
Best time to go: Between May and October and from November through March.
Our recommended surf camp in Costa Rica:
Experience the real surf spirit at a camp adapted to your needs. You will embark on amazing surf trips with coaching, and get four two-hour surf lessons. Daily breakfast, four lunches, two dinners and free surfing equipment rental outside of the lessons are included. All from € 265 per person.
Don’t spend too much time saving money for your next surfing trip; go now! Pick a budget surf holiday and be on your way to some of the best waves in the world.