In Pavones, also known as "Turkey Town," there is but one surf shop- in fact, it's the only one for miles in this remarkably undeveloped region of Golfito in Southern Costa Rica; thankfully, Sea Kings Surf Shop has pretty much everything a surfer might need, including boards available for sale or rent. Started by an avid surfer (and karate instructor) and his wife (a yoga instructor), SeaKings carries a good selection of new and used boards, accessories, clothing, and surf stickers. You can also rent a surf or body board at SeaKings, as well as inquire about yoga classes and local accommodations.
Recommended for Surf Shops because: As the only surf shop in town, it's also the best.
Sophia's expert tip: Ask the owners how to access the best surf spots in town.
The biggest surf shop in Jaco Beach, Chuck WOW's may also be the best; the folks here refuse to carry sub-standard products and take pride in American sourced inventory that keeps locals and tourists in the highest quality surf gear. If you need a board while in Jaco, go to WOW's. In addition to a retail surf shop with all the fixings, WOW's offers board rentals and surf lessons from a team of experienced surfers; 3 hours lessons at $65 per person which includes transport, guide/driver, instructor (Lifeguard Certified) and all equipment needed. What started as a small ding repair shop in 1988 has blossomed into the widest distributor of surf boards throughout Costa Rica and a surf shop that carries hundreds of boards and top-quality brands.
Recommended for Surf Shops because: After more than 20 years in business Chuck WOW's knows Jaco surf better than most.
Sophia's expert tip: Check out WOW's daily surf report for up-to-the-minute conditions in Jaco.
This one-stop surf shop in Nosara actually has two stops, one for board rentals and lessons, the other a retail outlet for purchasing supplies and surf clothes- both are worthy of the high praise they receive from those who've been there and done that. One is on the main road, the other is near Nosara's main break. A big selection of name brand boards are available for rent for accomplished surfers and amateur wave riders alike, or you can choose to have Coconut Harry's customize a whole surf trip for you before you arrive, including conveniently located accommodations and airport transportation. Individual lessons are perfect for when you arrive in town and aren't sure yet how much time you'll want to spend in the water.
Recommended for Surf Shops because: Shoppers can sip on ice cold craft beer while shopping at the retail shop.
Sophia's expert tip: The retail shop carries both new and used boards, plus a comprehensive selection of clothing and souvenirs.
As Tamarindo's oldest surf shop, Iguana holds bragging rights to teaching more than 80,000 surf lessons (but who's counting?!), and offering more than 150 boards to rent, but Iguana's most recent foray into tours are perhaps its most exciting feature. From kayaking and boat snorkeling to ATV and canopy tours, this place has you and Tamarindo covered when it comes to carving out an adventurous day. But if it's surfing you're into, Iguana offers 4 lessons a day and caters to individuals, small groups, and even hosts a surf camp that guarantees to improve your skills. Operating since 1989, this place has built a great reputation and earns high praise from former students who learned to surf here.
Recommended for Surf Shops because: Iguana Surf Shop is Tamarindo's oldest and most respected surf shop.
Sophia's expert tip: Not just for surfers, Iguana offers all kinds of tours of Tamarindo.
Since 2006, 360° Surf Shop has been catering to Santa Teresa at the most popular beach access spot at Plaza Brunela. The retail shop has all the bells and whistles you can think of for a well-rounded surf experience, from astro-decks to fin keys, leashes and even beer cozies. There is also a selection of second hand boards available for purchase. The proprietor, Julia, has several years experience surfing in Costa Rica as well as in California, Indonesia and Hawaii, and as a Certified Surf Instructor and Lifeguard, she makes safety a priority. From beginner lessons to overnight surf camps, 360° Surf Shop has a package for you.
Recommended for Surf Shops because: You'll be in trusted hands while learning to surf with 360° Surf Shop.
Sophia's expert tip: Consider a guided surf tour to get your feet wet in Santa Teresa.
"Al Chile" is Costa Rican slang that means something like "for real," and that pretty much sums up the philosophy of this laid-back surf shop that also offers a surf school and a surf camp, all helmed by an experienced surfer who loves the sport and enjoys sharing his expertise with others, really and truly. Al Chile offers a good selection of boards to rent from short to long and for beginners and pros, plus new boards for sale from brands like Carton, Honeycutt, and Aloha as well as new and second-hand boards for sale, and all kinds of surf accessories.
Recommended for Surf Shops because: If your board's got a ding, don't despair; Al Chile specializes in ding repair.
Sophia's expert tip: Get your own board personalized with artwork by Costa Rican artist William Borges.
Neptuno's is a fine place to rent boards, take surf lessons, or sign up for a surf package, which includes accommodation, while in Tamarindo. Whatever kind of board you're looking for, they're sure to have it here: long boards, short boards, even SUP (Stand up and Paddle) boards and body boards are available, along with all the gear you might need for a day on the waves. Neptuno's carries many brands, inlcuding Al Merrik, Rusty, Mc Tavish, and Walden, and if they don't have something you're looking for, they will try to get it for you within a week's time. New and used boards are available for purchase, and you can try out a board before you commit to buying it.
Recommended for Surf Shops because: For a great selection of new and used boards, including SUP and body boards, go to Neptuno's.
Sophia's expert tip: Neptuno's has a buy back program for surf boards bought from their shop.
The Witch's Rock Surf Shop, located within the Witch's Rock Surf Camp near the entrance to Tamarindo, has everything you might need while surfing in town, or anywhere else in Costa Rica for that matter. From the shop you can also book surf lessons, rent surfboards, and pick up boardshorts, bikinis, sunglasses, hats, t shirts and flip flops. The friendly staff will be happy to help you sign up for more than surf, too- ask about zip line tours, exploring the Tamarindo estuary, and horse back riding. This is the closest surf shop to the waves, so it's hard to miss.
Recommended for Surf Shops because: This shop has its own private label handmade in Tamarindo; pick up a custom Witch's Rock t-shirt.
Sophia's expert tip: Why not consider custom ordering a hand shaped surfboard built on-site by shaper Robert August?
Kelly's Surf Shop brings the newest boards and a new level of surf style to the surf shop scene in the bustling surf town of Tamarindo. Started by a couple of Canadian sisters who fell in love with the sport and the country, these two have made it their mission to share the best surf experience with those who visit, and they are clearly succeeding- just ask anyone who has learned to surf with them. They've recruited a team of seasoned surfers who offer lessons for all levels, with a focus on safety; they use only 'National Surf School & Instructor Association' certified equipment.
Recommended for Surf Shops because: A great new surf shop for all levels of wave riders, including kids and beginners.
Sophia's expert tip: Check out their board selection online and reserve the one you want before you arrive.
In the surf village of Santa Teresa, Kina Surf Shop has carved out a place for itself with excellent service, a great selection of boards, bikinis, and gear, and "satisfaction guaranteed" surf lessons for all levels. The owners hail from New Zealand, and take their love of the sport seriously- the staff is made up of experienced surfers who do their best to make sure you have a great time on the waves of Santa Teresa. As official Rusty brand dealers this shop has more than 50 boards available to rent, as well as pretty much everything else you can think of related to surfing.
Recommended for Surf Shops because: The kind Kiwis behind this shop do their best to get you ready to surf Santa Teresa.
Sophia's expert tip: Forgot your two piece? Find a locally made bikini here.