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.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.