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“Great vibe at this unique resort”

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Witch's Rock Surf Camp
Certificate of Excellence
New York City
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great vibe at this unique resort”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 15, 2009

Where do I begin?
In my 41 years, I've traveled far and wide for business and pleasure to places ranging from Iceland to Cuba and all over Europe and North America. Looking back on it all, it is this unique little spot on the edge of a surf town in Costa Rica that takes the cake in so many ways.
Millions of resorts offer service with a smile, clean, comfortable rooms, beautiful views and the opportunity to make a lifetime of memories. WRSC delivers on all of that and does it in a way that is substantially more genuine.
From the moment I was picked up at the airport (transportation included in the price of the stay) I was met with a sense of comfort and friendliness that only increased as the week went on. Because of the size of the place, the proximity of the rooms, pool, bar/restaurant, beachfront path, etc..., and the nature of the like-minded clientele, by the end of the 2nd day, I felt like I was on vacation with a group of good friends. In fact, the more I saw of the few large, luxury resorts in Tamarindo, the more I appreciated my little home away from home that was Witch's Rock Surf Camp. Over the course of the 7 days that I was there, I never felt the need to stray far from my beachfront bar stool :)
Having said that, if you do get the urge to explore a bit more of the country, the happy and knowledgeable staff is at the ready with excursions covering big time fishing trips and zip lines over the rain forest to boat rides up the estuaries in search of crocs and monkeys. Prices range to suit just about any budget.
Now, I'm sure that crocs and monkeys are great, but main reason I attended the camp was to fulfill a long time dream of learning to surf. Again, WRSC came through. The proximity to the "perfect learning wave" is second to none. The boards are right there as well, and will be waxed and ready to go whenever you are. Most importantly, and most of all are the surf instructors. I can't overstate how great these guys are. Friendly, knowledgeable, safe, patient and encouraging are a few good descriptors. With some technique tips specific to your skill level, a little hard work, and a good sense of humor, these guys had all of us standing up in no time (I even have the diploma to prove it :-). One endearing quality that was consistent among all of the instructors was that they seemed as excited as the students when we did well. At the same time, they were even more determined to identify an area of weakness or a flaw in technique and correct the problem when things were less than perfect. For my money, that is a rare and most admirable quality for a teacher in any area of learning.
For you more advanced surfers that are interested in bigger and faster waves, I'm pretty sure they've got ya covered. At least that was the general consensus of the clients that returned each afternoon from being shuttled to the best swells in the surrounding area. All with big smiles and what was repeatedly referred to as "the good kind of tired".
At the end of the day (cue the amazing Tamarindo sunset) I made some good friends, had some super fresh and tasty food (I could write a ton of good stuff about the restaurant alone) and left there wondering how soon it will be before I can get back to do it all again. Oh...and I LEARNED TO SURF!!!
Thanks Joe, Flash, Edgar, Rigo, Max, Valerie, Larry, Luis, Charlie and the rest of the Witch's Rock Surf Camp gang for creating and cultivating a wonderful vibe. In an era of bigger is better, you've got it just right.
Pura Vida!

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank lgfeo
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, July 24, 2010
What an amazing review! Thanks for spreading the WRSC love and please do come back again in the future!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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611 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (140)
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English first
Alberta
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 13, 2009

I travelled to Witch's Rock with a couple of friends in November- I had never been on a surf board before and came away totally hooked. The surf instructors were excellent- if you want to learn how to surf and are willing to listen to their advice and suggestions they will teach you. Also- ask questions. I couldn't believe how quickly I progressed and how much fun I had. The Surf Camp staff are all very friendly and helpful- they always have a smile and we shared many laughs.

Our room was bright, simple and comfortable (although my sheets did come off the bed every night.) Breakfasts were good but I preferred the dinners across the street at FT's. Wireless internet was a big bonus and the hammock downstairs is a great place to read after a few hours out on the water. If you want to surf (or learn how to surf) this is the spot.
I'm already planning a return visit- I can't wait to hit the waves in Tamarindo again.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jepalm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WRSC, Public Relations Manager at Witch's Rock Surf Camp, responded to this review, May 6, 2010
Surfing is the most addictive sport out there - your first green wave - there is no feeling like it!
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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 4, 2009

so i'm not a surfer but i've always wanted to try. My wife and I went down to costa rica for our honeymoon and decided to go into tamarindo one afternoon to check it out. I had read about WRSC before and was curious what it was about. We stopped there and had dinner one night for a total of $20....2 drinks each, 4 tacos and an app. We went back two days later and signed up for a private lesson in the am. We had a great time and we both aggreed that surfing was something we would want to do more of.....we had lunch then i decided to go back out with the same instructor. This time just me and him.....the 2nd time i was more tired and he was more focused on landing some new tourist trim. I was a little dissapointed with the lack of attention but still enjoyed myself. I would recomend going down for 2-3 days for a long weekend of beers, beach, hanging out in the hammock at the bar and surfing. Just don't expect 5 stars....i would say along the lines of 2.5 stars.....but we think that's half the charm

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DrJack72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WRSC, Public Relations Manager at Witch's Rock Surf Camp, responded to this review, December 9, 2009
Hey Sneids33-

Pura Vida and thanks for writing something up for us. I am glad you guys had a great time and I am so sorry for the instructor with the wandering eye.

Shawna Mullen
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hoboken, NJ
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 15, 2009

I had a great experience at Witches Rock, and wanted to commend them on running a great operation. From the time I booked my trip, which I was a bit hesitant about being a beginner surfer and solo traveler, the staff was extremely helpful. Larry in reservations assisted in finding flights (and even called me over Labor Day wkend when he found a great deal), and Shawna and I emailed and spoke on the phone, where she answered all of my questions and re-assured me it was safe and conducive to a female solo traveler.

My first night at the bar after arriving in the afternoon, Jose the bartender made me feel right at home. The claim of "nachos as big as your a**" is absolutely true! Happy hour can't be beat with the 2 for 1 drinks as well. The included breakfast was delicious, and other meals I had there were definitely above average.

My description of WRSC is a "Club Med for surfers". The accommodations are far from luxurious, but if luxury is what you are looking for, there are other hotels to stay at. My room was clean, quiet and minimal (no TV), but after all, you aren't there to hang out in your room. The objective is to be outside surfing, mingling and having fun, and I believe this is exactly what was represented when I made the reservation.

I won't go into a lot of detail, but I have to commend the surf instructors on a job well done, and really knowing what is needed to teach a beginner or even intermediate surfer the important basics of surfing. Edgar is PHENOMENAL at what he does. He is patient, kind and doesn't mind repeating (over and over) what you need to know to feel comfortable. He has something special (and I deal with people every day, it's easy to lose you patience!) and he is the perfect person to be working at Witches. I also think Carlos has the same attributes, while Flash and Rigo are also patient, but may push you a little harder if they feel you are capable.

Great location, as a walk into town is only what I would equate to a few "blocks" in a city atmosphere. The restaurant across the street, El Coconut, has delicious food (and dessert!) but is a little pricey. Probably the most expensive in town. FT's - great tacos and reasonably priced, as well as Nogui's up by the circle. All in all, I have no complaints about my stay...except maybe the lumpy pillows and my sore muscles from surfing! Would definitely recommend and will be returning for sure! Thanks Joe and staff for a great time!

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank bokenbeachbabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WRSC, Public Relations Manager at Witch's Rock Surf Camp, responded to this review, December 9, 2009
Hi Bokenbeachbabe-

Gracias for the awesome review. Thanks for getting into so much detail about everything we do. Your kind of review really helps other potential clients get a lot of information from an unbiased source.

Hope to see you again in the future-

Shawna Mullen
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarasota, Florida
Level Contributor
40 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 1, 2009

I called the camp to book a one day excursion to Witches Rock and Ollie's for both my husband and my 19 year old step son. We were on a surfing vacation which started in Nosara, Guinones Beach. We wanted to experience the "once in a lifetime" opportunity to surf a remote and cool location in Costa Rica so we decided to go with WRSC for both safety and efficiency. I called from the states before our departure and I spent about a half hour on the phone during numerous phone calls with Larry booking, and confirming with a credit card, our 6am departure to Witches Rock.
We left our beautiful eco lodge in southern Costa Rica and drove 3 hours to crowded and noisy Tamarindo to position ourselves at the hotel for our morning departure by boat . We arrived at the camp to find that NO ONE had any record of our booking eventhough it had been confirmed and a credit card had been accepted!! When I asked where Larry was , I was told that he was out going for a swim and the desk clerk pointed him out to me as he walked toward the ocean for his swim. I quickly ran after him and called him by name. He seemed uncomfortable when I introduced myself and I asked him what had happened to our booking. His response was UNBELIEVABLE! He said , "listen, you are interrupting my swim and I can't talk to you about this now." He was rude and ill prepared to defend himself against this huge error.
Upon his return from the sea, he seemed a bit more helpful and tried to offer us some alternatives to the Witches Rock trip. Apparantly,according to other employees working the booking desk, we were just disregarded because there were just two of us and they didn't want to send the boat out!!!!! If this were the case, why didn't he just call our cell phones and tell us before we checked out of our beautiful, tranquil and perfect eco lodge 3 hours away??? We would have understood and we would have been just as happy to stay there instead of making the trip to Tamarindo....So we were booked on atrip with other surfers for the following morning to a beach called Marabella.....a beach that we passed during our 3 hour trip to Tamarindo and could have certainly surfed on our own!!!!
Bottom line....this guy is in charge of bookings...BEWARE and get everything in writing.....he LIED to us and told us that we never confirmed a booking!!!! This man took my phone number, my credit card number, confirmed departure times and seemed very capable..when he screwed up..he basically shrugged his shoulders and went for a swim!!!!!!!!!! In the end my husband and son had fun.........i was the one who suffered the stress in making everything right and taking care of logistics..... WRSC never even offered us an alterate plan to return and surf Witches Rock at another time...very poorly run organization in my view.....

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank highbar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WRSC, Public Relations Manager at Witch's Rock Surf Camp, responded to this review, November 19, 2009
Sorry to hear that it was such a horrible time! I can apologize for the boat to Witch's Rock not being scheduled like it was supposed to. At times things don't go as planned and everyone makes mistakes. It is as simple as human error and yes it was disappointing for your family. Staying here at the surf camp is not a bad place. Perhaps you have not read about what others say but we usually do a great job- and we do make mistakes at times. Sorry for this! As always, we would like to show you that we can do better. We promise the next time we will make it up to you :-)

-Larry
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Michigan
Level Contributor
45 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 11, 2009

The place to stay in Tamarindo. No attitude, just a relaxing place to surf.
The rates were great, boards were included, and the attached restraunt with free
internet etc was great. The pool was the perfect temperature and the people we met
here were awesome.

There is a place right across the street that has 20 minute massages for $10, it is highly recommended and was really good.
As a bonus, it was definately longer than 20 minutes both times I got one!.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank superdrew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WRSC, Public Relations Manager at Witch's Rock Surf Camp, responded to this review, November 18, 2009
WRSC likes this review!

Gracias,

Shawna Mullen
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 19, 2009

Quick summary:
If you are looking for basic accommodations with a friendly and generous staff, then this is the place for you.
If you are looking for a fancy hotel with all the amenities, then look elsewhere.
If you are looking to learn how to surf for the first time, then this is a great place to start.
If you are looking for good eats in Tamarindo, then "Eat at Joe's" is an excellent choice.

Pluses

Impeccable Service: Whatever this hotel lacks, they make up for it with great people and great attitude. The spirit of generosity is simply fantastic.
Fancy Air Conditioning: The remote control is tricky to learn, but the A/C is excellent.
Super Hot Water: Hottest darn water I've ever almost burned my feet on (terrific water pressure too).
Surf Rack: Each room sports a place to stow your own personal surf board.
Excellent Restaurant: Surfer food is hearty food. "Nachos as Big as Your @ss" indeed.

Minuses

Spartan accommodations: but you're here to *SURF*, not watch TV in your room, right?

Problems with our trip (these problems may not apply to all rooms / guests)...
Small Linens: According to the staff, the beds were upgraded, but the new sheets didn't arrive in time, so the sheets were too small for the bed (but they assured us that they were working on it).
Towel Sizes: varied from day you day, sometimes the bath towels were just too small.
Unsafe Safes: According to the staff, there has never been a theft reported... but the room safe in our Tiki Room was not mounted securely (it was easy to carry and, therefore, easy to steal).
Flush This: The toilet was pesky, noisy, and generally refused to flush properly.

Out trip included the surf school package which provided:

Free Saturday Airport Shuttle: Convenient round trip door-to-door service (the local bus company charges $36 for the same service).
Unlimited Surf Board Rental: Pick up a board on the way out, drop it off on the way back.
Daily Breakfast: Designed for surfers... large portions with equally big flavor.
Daily Lessons: 90 minutes of in-the-water instruction.
Daily Seminars: Extra out-of-the-water instruction (topics like etiquette, safety, stretching, and wave dynamics).
Video Review: Watch yourself surf, compare your style with other surfers, and get advice about how to improve.
Guided Surf Tour: At the end of the week, adventure to a remote beach and hone your newly-learned surfing skills in the unfamiliar surf.

Tips for beginner surfers (or, What I wish I knew before I started):

A soft surf board can chafe your fingers badly... wrap waterproof athletic tape around your thumbs and pinkies *before* using one.
Use waterproof athletic tape to protect chafed skin before it gets worse.
Buy and wear a rash guard (to prevent your board from chafing your arms / chest / abdomen)
Buy insect repellant with at least 20% DEET.. it's the only thing that keeps the bugs away... unless you prefer getting Dengue Fever.
Plan to stay Saturday to Saturday (thus taking advantage of the free shuttle bus).

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Pretz2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WRSC, Public Relations Manager at Witch's Rock Surf Camp, responded to this review, November 18, 2009
Hola Pretz2,

Thanks for such a thorough review. When we receive these reviews, good and bad, it always helps to just keep making WRSC better and better.

Hope to see you again in the future, there is always a spot at WRSC when you want.

Pura Vida

Shawna Mullen
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Witch's Rock Surf Camp

Property: Witch's Rock Surf Camp
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:
Ranked #2 of 78 Specialty Lodging in Tamarindo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 18
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 
Also Known As:
Witch`s Rock Surf Camp Hotel Tamarindo
Witchs Rock Surf Camp Tamarindo
Witchs Rock Surf Camp Hotel

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