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“Fantastic Time. Can't wait to go back” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Playa Grande Surf Camp

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Playa Grande Surf Camp
Playa Grande, Playa Grande 011, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
New York City, New York
1 review
“Fantastic Time. Can't wait to go back”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2012

My first trip to Costa Rica was so amazing thanks to the Playa Grande Surf Camp. I was travelling with a friend and we had planned to go to a few towns south of Playa Grande, but decided to cancel all of our other hotels once we got to the surf camp. This place was everything I was looking for out of a vacation and more. I learned how to surf by great teachers who were so helpful and amazing. The vibe here is totally relaxed and the beach is literally steps away. There are also little shops and restaurants in walking distance. All of the rooms were very clean and you can opt for a private cabina. This place give such an amazing value for the price and I will definitely be booking another trip there.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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54 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brooklyn, New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2012

I headed to Costa Rica with the goal of learning to surf. Playa Grande Surf Camp was the perfect place to take a few lessons then go out on my own. The staff was super helpful and were awesome teachers. The camp has board rentals too if you dont need any lessons. The accomidations were clean and very reasonably priced, with options for both private and shared lodging.

Perfect place for young travelers, both alone or with a group. Cant wait to go back!

Room Tip: The shared pilotes are an amazing value
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2011

This was my first time in Central America and this, to me, was exactly what I imagined Costa Rica to be! I loved the camp and would stay again there in a heart beat. I loved the little huts and it made me feel like I was in the "real Costa Rica" not to mention amazing value for the price. I travelled alone (female) and so wanted a vacation where I would meet great people, not be lonely, learn to surf and stay somewhere different yet felt safe and that's exactly what I got and how Gerry (owner) and Lindsay (who looks after the guests) made me feel. Ive only ever stayed in big hotels before - never hostels or a camp and to me, this didn't feel like a camp it felt like cool, little Costa Rican huts by the beach from a movie!

The other people staying there were awesome. And we'd gather around the center swimming pool in the evening for a few drinks and then all go out for dinner. But like everything in life, it's what you make it.

Playa Grande is quiet (in a good way) - a couple of restaurants and then, obviously, surf - but if you're up for something more lively - bars on beach with DJs, clubs etc then only a 10 minute walk up the beach isTamarindo where you can have a fun night out. Note to travellers because they close the beach for the Turtles after dark, then to get back from Tamarindo after dark, you'd have to get a taxi but it's only $25 - $30 and between a few of you, you can stay later and have a lively night out yet come back to sleep in the calm!

My only thing I was sad was that on one or two days the waves in Playa Grande were just a little too big for me and too bad I only realised on my last day that only a 10 minute walk down the beach in Tamarindo I could have found baby waves that would have been perfect for my beginner status on those 2 days that I lost my nerve!

All in all an awesome vacation, an awesome place to stay and would recommend anyone to stay here in a heart beat!

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
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Tamarindo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2011

I stayed at the Playa Grande Surf Camp, and had a great time! It's literally one minute on foot to the beach, and there's a selection of surfboards for rental. You can also take a lesson, and Lindsay and Gerry are great teachers! My surfing improved vastly after a session with them :). Everything is clean and everyone was really helpful in helping me find my way around. There's a grocery store down the street, and there is a little kitchen area where you can cook your own food, but if you feel like going out to eat or grab a few drinks, there are some good places in the area as well that the everyone will gladly help you get to. There's also a little outdoor hangout area where all the guests would hang out at night, and everyone who was staying here was really nice. I would definitely reccomend this place to friends!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Austin, Texas, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2011

looking for a budget place to stay... if you are not into frills- but like value, convenience, surfing and exploring... for $45 a night- you get it all... that was what we paid and we shared that for the most part. The shower has cold water but I expected that- I have traveled central america up and down and for the money and location- this was perfect. Besides- Gerry and the staff (lindsay at this time) are great coaches on surfing and it is literally 100 yards from the surf. you can also bring food in to cook at the grill... if you like that - which we do. ALso- if you catch it right- there are other people to meet and hang out with- great place to pick up tips.

Room Tip: just email Gerry- he is very responsive and a great host
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Charlotte, North Carolina
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2011

Gerry is a great host and also keeps it fun. We went here with a bunch guys to surf, which the camp is perfect for. We had unbelieveable ways, and it's only a minute walk to the beach. Great waves and great company! Gerry, thanks for making us feel at home with the Avett Bros.

Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
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Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2011

Just back from a one week surf trip at PGSC with a group of six and had a blast! The surf out front is about a two minute walk (about 300 yards) and is consistently waist to head high, sometimes bigger, particularly around high tide. PGSC offers a good selection of fun-shapes and longboards, or you can rent from one of a number of surf shops in Playa Grande and Tamarindo. We used Blue Trailz Surf Shop in Tamarindo just becuase they offered a little more variety.

In addition to fun, consistent surf, there are three restaurants within a 5-7 minute walk from PGSC. I would highly recommend Malinches, a small grass-roof restaurant and market. It offers excellent food at reasonable prices and the small store includes all your basic necessities. If that's not enough, PGSC's location also offers easy access to Tamarindo, which is about a 15 minute walk to the south, plus a $1 boat taxi ride across an estuary. Tamarindo, although "touristy" offers even more restaurants, bars, shops and surfboard rentals, although you don't want to stay there; Playa Grande is much nicer an less crowded.

Perhaps the best part of PGSC is the owner/operator Gerry Gilhool. Gerry is super nice and very willing to help with anything you may need. From providing towels to suggesting restaurants to assisting in coordinating boat trips to Witch's Rock and Ollies Point, Gerry is very resourceful. He even helped us coordinate shuttle service to and from the Liberia airport and allowed us to secure passports and extra cash in his personal safe.

As for the accomodations, I would definitely recommend one of the three two-person cabinas with AC. Nights can be pretty humid and warm, so the AC really comes in handy. The two bathrooms are very basic, including a tile shower, sink, mirror and toilet. There is no AC in the banos so it gets a little warm and wet when doing your business! But that's to be expected. The outdoor shower and hose near the front gate is great for rinsing after surfing or before entering the pool. The pool is nice and very refreshing after surfing all day. There is also a basic outdoor kitchen area which includes propane stive burners, a coffee pot, and a sink. It's not much, but its usable. There are small refrigerators inside the cabinas and beneath one of the pilotis.

Overall, if you're looking for a simple, inexpensive, fun place to stay with a very cool and helpful owner/operator, which also offers good quality surf within a stones throw and great food within a 5-7 minute walk, you can't go wrong with PGSC.

PS - A few final suggestions for any trip to NW Costa Rica. Bring a flashlight and a rain pancho. Sunscreen and bug spray are essential. Take a boat trip to Witch's/Ollies with Christian Boos; it's well worth it and Gerry can help set you up.

Pure vida.

Room Tip: Request a two-person cabina with AC. The four person pilotis (w/o AC) are cool looking, but the nig...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Playa Grande Surf Camp

Address: Playa Grande, Playa Grande 011, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Grande
Amenities:
Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Specialty lodging in Playa Grande
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Playa Grande Surf Camp is located only 75 meters from one of the best beach breaks in all of Costa Rica. This beautiful beach is perfect for surfers of all levels and all types of boards. We offer both private cabinas with AC and dormitory-style pilotis without AC at budget prices. Both surf packages and surf camps are available. With a pool, kitchen, and BBQ, PGSC offers the perfect mix of relaxation and fun. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Playa Grande Surf Camp Hotel Playa Grande

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