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“Surfing in Paradise...for real”

Surfer Paradise Private Island
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Attraction details
Owner description: Since 1998, Surfer's Paradise has run boat trips out to the world-class waves located off of Panama's breathtaking and largely undeveloped region of Chiriqui on the Pacific Coast. Located on a private island overlooking the Sandbar Break (one of the best and most consistent breaks in the region), we are just a short boat trip away from a variety of left and right surf breaks. Whether you're an experienced surfer hunting for empty tubes, or a novice looking to learn to surf in a beautiful setting far away from the hassles of your local crowded lineup, we can find waves for you. There are over 12 surfbreaks to choose from with breaks going from beginner to advanced. Other activities include snorkeling, fishing and hiking to the island waterfalls.
Reviewed March 14, 2014

This was my best surfcation ever..and I have been to Bali, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, and Hawaii etc before..The surf camp is lovely and they have done a great job renovating everything. I stayed in a beautiful and clean cabana covered with bamboo wood directly on the beach. The waves are uncrowded, in fact it was only our small group surfing and my surfing improved a lot this week. If you are a beginner you go better during dry season and catch smaller waves and enjoy that there is no rain and of course less mosquitos. If you are a good surfer i think April is better when the waves get bigger. I was there in march and so I got a bit of both, the weather was still amazing with almost no rain, little to no mosquitos and the waves starting picking up towards the second half of the week. Personally i feel like my surfing improved a lot. The captain would drop us with the fisher boat around the islands wherever the best waves where, which i find a great luxury for that price!The food was really good, waking up to fresh pineapple, papaya and watermelon that i could pick myself from the garden if i wanted to. After surfing i was served coconut fresh from the trees and a big breakfast made as ordered including eggs, toast, meat, pancakes etc...The surf-guides Jorge and Angel where lovely and really helpful with everything and we had tons of fun. Everyone was releaxed and very easy going and at the same time so caring about all the guests. I was taught how to free dive and had a chance to go spearfishing which was an incredible experience for me! Including eating the huge red snappers made over the bonfire afterwards! All in all i have to say this is my personal paradise and one week was really not enough..Thank you for this unforgettable time!!! I will be back

7  Thank leylashirin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 4, 2014

This write-up is way overdue. I stayed in October 2013 for almost 2 weeks. The surf and your attitude determines the trip. Surf was very good at the beginning then ok towards the end for me. Very basic accommodations, come prepared! Im a Sponger and had great waves with only me and the guide, good natural food after each session and the best adventure of my life. Im 40 years old and do well at work with room service hotels and A/C hotels. None of that here and and it was so good to get back to simple searching. Not for everyone but I definitely recommend it. I got picked up at airport on time, brought to the bus, was told where to go, picked up near camp then boat ride to camp - seamless. Way back was the same. Loved every minute of it. Dan

3  Thank DPS1973
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2014

I spent 8 amazing days at the surf camp. I wanted to go to this place for a few years and finally found the time and money to head down there. I booked my trip 3 days before departure but everything worked out great! Steve, the surf camp owner gave me specific instructions via email on how to get there and my arrival at the camp was like clockwork. I didn't speak any Spanish but because the taxi driver that I was referred to told the bus attendants to look out for me, I got on the correct bus and got off at the correct stop. Jorge, the surf guide was there on-time at the Guabala bus stop to pick me up so I wasn't left waiting around in the dark.
I flew from Toronto to Panama City on a Sunwing vacations charter flight, everyone else was going to a resort. It was super cheap to book the flight last minute, only $583 round trip tax included for 14 days in Panama. It was a great deal to get out of this brutal winter. And trust me, I think I had a way better time than anyone I talked to on the return flight.
If you are an adventurer like me and not a resort lawn chair, you will love this surf camp. During the trip there you get to see the city and people. The island is remote, with electricity for a few hours at night, but no internet but I think they are working on that. But if you really want to get away from civilization, the city and dumb people this is it. I like the outdoors and I travel to remote areas so it was perfect. If you like living in nature you will like it here. There are no city lights at night, you can see more stars than you could ever imagine. The accommodations are clean and the temperature at night is good for sleeping, the water is drinkable (i never got sick in Panama cuz the water), the showers are fine too. Every morning I woke up to fresh bananas, coconuts, papayas, and pineapples from the local trees and areas. If we didn't surf we would go snorkelling and spearfishing in the afternoon, I ate fresh fish, lobster, oysters, and conch that we caught, for free! every dinner for like 3 days! When it was hot during the midday we could go surfing or i would chill on a hammock or do yoga or read books, and I learned a ton of Spanish. I even learned survival skills just by hanging out with the local workers at the camp, like pick, drink and eat a coconut, find and shuck oysters (these people live off the land), make rope, I love that kind of stuff.
While I was there I also got a chance to go up the mountains to see the panoramic views, and into the towns and see the rural people. Really cool and beautiful part of the country. And beer is like $0.50 USD per can there. You cannot beat that.

I am a novice surfer and I picked this camp for several reasons which worked out perfectly. I have surfed and taken lessons in San Diego before, but they about getting you on the wave and getting you hooked on surfing which is fine but doesn't teach you all the real skills of surfing like how to spot and catch a wave. Jorge was a great surf instructor that gave me a real comprehensive understanding of surfing and all the skills that go with it, including reading the surf report, finding the waves, hazards like current and riptide, getting out of the impact zone and how to carry and take care of your equipment so you don't look like a newbie. The only people at these waves are from the surf camp, which is great for beginners and advanced surfers. When you consider the cost of the surf lessons and board rental I thought it was pretty cheap compared to most surfing schools. There is also a wide selection of boards you can choose from. As a beginner, you are developing the muscles required to paddle and surfing everyday is challenging and you will have sore muscles, so it's a good pace to learn cuz when you are sore you can enjoy other activities like snorkelling, spearfishing, boat rides to explore other islands nearby.
I would definitely go back there and even bring my friends who I know would enjoy that experience. It is a paradise, cuz all you think about is when you are going surfing, what you are gonna catch / eat, what other fun things you can do, how much beer you have left and you can sleep when you are tired. :)

6  Thank kimbokong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2014

This is the newer camp in front of the break called sandbar. Stayed during October 2013. There is no internet, hot water or room service. This is for the true adventurer so if you require modern amenities then you might not like this place.

I've stayed at Steve's camps many times (Morro Negrito, Puerto Llure). The thing that keeps me coming back is the uncrowded waves. I'm an outdoor type so the lack of amenities does not bother me. The only people surfing the waves are the people staying at the camp. My most recent trip was October 2013. There is a boat to take you to neighboring breaks/islands. If the surf is flat then they still offer to take you on a boat ride. I always bring my own fishing/snorkel gear so i'm very entertained even if the surf is flat. You get 3 meals a day and free unlimited bottled water.

From Panama City its a 5-6 hour bus ride to a stop called Guabala. From Guabala its a 10-15 minute ride to Puerto Llure (the road to the port is now paved, much faster!). If you miss the high tide then you will have to stay the night on Steve's property in the port which is not such a bad thing. Several casitas to choose from, all are equipped with AC and there's an internet hotspot. The hotspot can get disrupted by heavy rains and it does not exist once you arrive at the surf camp. A boat will shuttle you from the port to the surf camp. Say goodbye to the modern world and surf your brains out. Enjoy!

3  Thank Remote-Surf-Explorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 1, 2013

I have to say the overall experience was great, however, the website can be somewhat misleading. The pictures of the accommodations were of the port mostly so you really don't know what you are getting when you get to the camp. It also states that there is Wifi for internet usage, which is true, but ONLY at the port. For your time at the camp, if you are expecting work emails, you won't be able to get them unless you go into port. I would also suggest in getting to the site, you should have someone with you who knows some Spanish, because our transition was not quite seamless as the person who was supposed to meet us at the airport was not there and we were not told that we would be met by someone else as well as being somewhat unsure as to the name of the person who was picking us up off of the bus.

Despite this, however, our overall trip was amazing. The staff at the camp was accommodating and a delight to be around. Our surf guides were entertaining and fun and were great teachers for us beginners learning to surf. It was a great way to spend the week with friends without the constant interruption of phones, internet and electronics. I am now hooked to surfing!!!

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

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