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“Second Visit, Not My Last” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Witch's Rock Surf Camp

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Witch's Rock Surf Camp
Enfrente de Economy Rental Car | Playa Tamarindo, Tamarindo, Costa Rica   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #7 of 23 hotels in Tamarindo
Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Second Visit, Not My Last”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2013

I first experienced Witch's Rock on a whim last November, after being recommended this place by a friend. I went solo at the last minute, and am so glad I did! I met amazing people before I even got off the shuttle, and spent a week learning to surf in a relaxed, professional, friendly environment that welcomes first-timers (like me!) and advanced surfers alike. I enjoyed it so much, I returned in May for my birthday with a couple friends... and had an equally amazing time. The staff there--from the Shawna and Elizabeth in reservations, to the wait staff, to pro shop staff, to the instructors--are GENUINELY dedicated to making sure you have a trip you'll never forget. I made friends for life at this place, and strongly recommend it to anybody looking for a safe, fun, exciting way to spend a vacation.

Room Tip: Tiki room for the solo traveler who wants privacy; shared accommodation for solo travelers on a budg...
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  • Stayed May 2013, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WRSC, Guest Relations Manager at Witch's Rock Surf Camp, responded to this review, October 2, 2013
and thank you for all the goodies you bring with you! Thank you for being part of the WRSC family :)

Julie Javelle
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 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 (69)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Florida
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

I echo a lot of the previous reviews. Accommodations are simple. Rooms are clean with A/C. This is not a resort. I thought the food was excellent. Breakfast is free every morning if you are staying on property...I got the Banana Pancakes every day...they were awesome!

My review centers around the surfing experience. I went with a group of 5 guys. We are all relatively experienced surfers from Florida. I think it helped to be in a decent sized group of experienced surfers, because they basically gave us a boat and a guide every day and let us choose where we wanted to surf. We surfed as long as we wanted to and then returned to the "Camp." It was an ideal set-up because there were no instructions needed. The guide typically pointed out where the best breaks were, warned us if there was a heavy local crowd, and joined us for some surfing.

Out of 7 days of surfing, we took 2 bus tours, 4 boat tours, and 1 bus/boat tour to Witch's Rock. We surfed Tamarindo Beach, Grande, Avellanas, Marbella, and Witch's Rock/Ollie's Point. Tamarindo pretty much sucked....absolutely packed with people. Grande was fair but crowded too. Avellanas was pretty good. Marbella was our favorite. Witch's Rock COULD be good, but conditions were horrible while we were there.

I strongly recommend taking a spring-suit (shorty) wetsuit for your surf tour to Witch's Rock/Ollie's Point. When we were there, the wind was about 50 mph "off-shore" and the water was freezing cold. Waves were small b/c of high wind and impossible to catch. Half of our group didn't even try to surf because conditions were so poor and water was so cold. It was literally a wasted day. 2-3 hours in a bus and 2-3 hours by boat round trip for poor surf was no good. That being said, it still didn't ruin our trip or anything. It was just sort of a let down.

I think this place lends itself well to beginner surfers as well as advanced surfers. Our guides were excellent.

I do think the WRSC claim to have 2 guided surf tours per day is pretty misleading. You are most likely going to get 1 good, long, high-quality guided surf tour each day. Then if you want to go surf out in front of the Camp later you can do that on your own. You are at the mercy of the tide.

The surfboard selection at WRSC was not great, but it was adequate for me...some of my friends went across the street and rented better boards at Kelly Surf Shop.

Tips for your trip to WRSC:
1. Take your own Sunscreen (and lots of it)...it was ridiculously priced every where we went in Costa Rica
2. Search the future tide forecast before choosing your surf trip. The tides are huge (9') and they make a big difference. All surfing revolves around high tide. We picked a week where the peak high tide was mid-morning, and this was ideal.
3. Bring plenty of American $1 bills and $5 bills...bring more than you think you need...this is your standard currency in Tamarindo, CR.
4. If you have trouble sleeping (like I do when I'm in hotels), then get your doctor to prescribe you some Ambien. You will wake up refreshed without ever noticing that there may have been noise above you or beside you or on the street outside.
5. If you have never traveled to foreign countries before...especially where there is more poverty than you are used to...just keep and open mind and enjoy the adventure. This is not America. Some things are great....some things might not be to your liking...but this is someone's home. Don't be disrespectful and have fun.
6. Have a good attitude. If you are looking for problems, then you will surely find them.

Room Tip: If you have a large group (4 or 5), get one of the big rooms with the roof balcony.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
WRSC, Guest Relations Manager at Witch's Rock Surf Camp, responded to this review, October 2, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed review to share your WRSC experience! We are glad you had such a good time! It sounds like you came during the off shore winds season! Yup water can get a little cold here when the cold currents come in, luckily it's only 3 month out of the year :) and nice warm weather all year round ! Also thank you for the tips for future customers ! See you back soon in the water!

Julie Javelle
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Corona del Mar, California
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2013 via mobile

Didn't stay at the camp but did go to Eat at Joe's. Food was excellent and there's a good surf spot right in front. It's definitely a great place to go off the map (so to speak) for a while. I recommend!

Stayed May 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

After coming out of a Boston winter, and a rough Q1, I was definitely in need of a long-ish, warm weather get-away! Being from San Diego originally, and having spent a lot of time in Mexico, I had an idea of what I was looking for, albeit somewhere new, and started looking at options in both the Caribbean, and Central America. A friend of mine had gone down to Witch's back in 2004, when it was still relatively new, and strongly suggested it as being a place which would fit all my criteria - warm weather, beach town, warm water, communal atmosphere ( important to me, as I was traveling solo ), great staff, simple, it's in Costa Rica ( Pura Vida is much more than a slogan or saying in CR - it's a pervasive attitude ), and of course surf.

In booking the trip, both Elizabeth and Shawna were very helpful, responded to emails and questions quickly, and made the experience of setting the trip up seemless and effortless. The standard trip seems to be a week or 6 days - weekend to weekend, but I wanted something longer, and was easily able to lock in 12 days without having to move rooms or experience any sort of inconvenience. Price-wise, booking the 12 days was a no-brainer as well. Having traveled all over the world, I've paid much more for much less, and was totally satisfied with my decision before having even stepped foot on the property.

Having read a lot of the reviews left by others before me, I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into, as far as lack of luxury, etc., so I really experienced little to no surprises upon arrival at Witch's. Jersey Joe brings up a lot of good and valid points, the sum of which are : if you want to surf, spend time on nice beaches, relax, and aren't expecting oppulance or pampering, then Witch's is an ideal spot for you.

As far as the surfing goes, I spent the 1st week with the advanced/ intermediate group, where each day you have either a boat or van ride to a break north of south of Witch's (depending on swell ), either first thing in the morning, or late in the afternoon. The Witch's Pros are very dialed in to the local breaks, are extremely helpful, offer useful tips, and genuinely care about your overall experience. The 3 I had the most contact with that 1st week were Flash, Paco, and his brother, Isaac. All 3 were awesome, and were more than willing to work with you individually to ensure you were improving. After the 1st week, it became obvious to me that I had some bad habits which needed addressing, so I decided to spend my last week getting one on one instruction. Again, the staff at Witch's was more than helpful in setting this up, and I spent my last few days working with Axel, who was totally patient, attentive, and helpful. A last note on the surfing - do yourself a favor and show up in relatively good shape. After a long winter in the northeast, and thinking I was in decent shape, I found myself getting gassed quickly the first few days. My stamina definitely improved as the days went on, but in hindsight I wish I had spent more time on cardio, back, and shoulders before getting down there.

To wrap it up, the staff at Witch's is awesome! From Joe, the owner, Pat, the COO, housekeeping, the folks in the restaurant/ bar, the surf shop/ front desk, Maxi, the Boardmaster, and all the Pros, they all helped make the trip everything I needed it/ wanted it to be.

Simple? Yes. Less than perfect? Yes. But if you know what you want, know what you're getting into, and want a place to chill with some great people, enjoy some awesome weather/ water conditions, and of course surf, then this is the place for you. Overall I can't recommend Witch's enough, and would most definitely do it again.

Thanks Guys! Pura Vida.

-Sean

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Midland, Texas
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2013

I had the best time at Withc's Rock! I went with two other friends and we stayed in one of the shared rooms. We assumed the place would be tiny and possibly lack air conditioning, but we were very wrong. From the time we showed up we were completely surprised. Everyone was super friendly and the room was great (and there was an air conditioner in our room). I met so many people from so many places who travelled alone, which is great everyone really mingled during my stay. The restaurant was amazing with great service, the Sushi was great and the Gato Malo beer compliments everything! We also got the opportunity to meet Robert August while visiting which was also an amazing surprise. We surfed for 6 days straight and our instructor, J. Luis was awesome! I came back to my hometown wish a great appreciation for this surf camp and tons of stories. This place is the best for any skill level surfer, I will be visiting again very soon!

Room Tip: There is 3 bed room on the second floor that has roof access with an ocean view. Highly recommended...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Camden, New Jersey
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

I had a really great time at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp (WRSC) and I am looking forward to going again next year, but the place is not for everyone. I am writing this review to help others understand more about WRSC so they can truly enjoy their stay or stay somewhere else.

OVERVIEW: WRSC is best suited for those looking to center their trip around surfing and the beach and are not “high maintenance”. WRSC is not suited for those looking for a luxury, papered vacation with 4-star food and service. If you are, I recommend the Ritz-Carlton in Jamaica.

LOCATION: The location of WRSC is excellent if surfing/beach is your priority. I counted about 15 steps from my room to the beach. However, the front of the property itself is located on a busy road with a rental car agency and a few surf shops right across the street. Again, this will leave anyone picturing a luxury or secluded getaway sorely lacking. Following the road leads you into town where there are several higher end hotels and great places to eat. There is a small pool which more than served its purpose of cooling off after surfing.

ROOMS: The rooms at WRSC are SPARSE! They make the local Holiday Inn look like the Ritz-Carlton; there was a bed, a lamp, a sink and a very low end shower. The linens on the bed were pretty minimal. There was no TV, radio or Internet access in the room; you had to go outside to the bar area to connect to their router. I have never been to a Hostel, but I imagine this is what it would look like. That being said, the rooms were very clean, the air-conditioning worked great and truthfully, we were only in our rooms to sleep and shower.

RESTAURANT: The restaurant served basic bar food – tacos, burritos, hamburgers, etc. The bartender, Olman, was great and always greeted us with a hearty “Hola Muchachos”. WRSC has their own brewery (not on location) and produces a very tasty Pale Ale. The food itself was average and, sadly, inconsistent from day to day. The huevos rancheros on one day were heavy with beans and tomatoes, the next day there were hardly any tomatoes and instead there were greens and celery. The good news is that there are many other, and better, places to eat – all within walking distance.

SURF CAMP: As a beginner, I had no complaints. I feel as though there were always a large selection of boards of all sizes. I’m not advanced enough to judge the quality of the different boards. Included in the camp are evening “surfing seminars”. These can be hit or miss and usually I skipped them because they seemed dull – i.e., “How a wave works”. The major exceptions to this are the ones hosted by Robert August. Meeting with him and hearing him talk about the history of surfing was a great thrill. One could usually see him walking around WRSC and he was easily approachable. This was a true highlight. I didn’t take any boat excursions nor did I ask the surf staff any advanced questions, so I can’t give my opinion about that.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas, United States
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013

I visited WRSC solo for 8 days to learn to surf (actually writing this review while still here). It is definitely a surf camp atmosphere. Which was perfect. If you want a TV in your room, room service or a spa then this is not for you. Stay down the street. If you want to learn how to surf...meet great people...and unplug from reality then this is your spot. Great mix of single travelers and groups. Mostly adults, but some families. But everyone is super laid back and friendly. The surf instructors are great. Very patient and encouraging. Everything is walking distance from WRSC. Very convenient. They have wifi so you can stay in touch with the real world...if you want.

I came by myself and have met some great people from all over the world.

Highly recommend this for anyone wanting to immerse themselves into the surf culture and spend a week learning or surfing. All skill levels are represented.

Room Tip: I had the tiki room to myself. Lots of folks do the shared rooms. I wanted more privacy so went with...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Witch's Rock Surf Camp

Also Known As:
Witch`s Rock Surf Camp Hotel Tamarindo
Witch`s Rock Surf Camp Hotel
Witchs Rock Surf Camp Tamarindo
Witchs Rock Surf Camp Hotel
Address: Enfrente de Economy Rental Car | Playa Tamarindo, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Tamarindo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Tamarindo
#6 Family Hotel in Tamarindo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Witch's Rock Surf Camp is a small beach front hotel in Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica. We have 18-rooms on the beach directly in front of the best surfing waves in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. We are located 45 minutes away from Liberia (LIR) Airport. We cater to surfers and anyone that wants to learn how to surf in Costa Rica. Come and join us for the surfing vacation of your life. Call Now! ... more   less 

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