Whether you’ve never touched a surfboard or are a pro, if you’re looking to surf in Costa Rica, Playa Avellanas is a place you wanna check out. To get there from Rivas we caught a cheap bus to the border, crossed over (an easy process as long as you have proof of onward travel from Costa Rica- bring it or fake it but have it!), caught a bus in Costa Rica right over the border (they leave every 30 minutes) and headed south to Liberia. We arrived just in time to catch a 4$ bus to Tamarindo. By the time we got to Tamarindo the sun was setting, and we decided to stay the night there- but ALL the cheap hostels were sold out, and even the cheap ones in Tamarindo are relatively expensive. Luckily we remembered a literally ‘hole in the wall’ hostel that some locals brought us to last time, so Scott used his Jedi sense of direction and led us to the familiar nondescript fence that the hostel is located behind. We asked around, and finally got a room at this “hostel” which only accepts certain people and doesn’t advertise, but was dirt cheap and right on the beach! We were stoked! This whole adventure from Ometepe to Tamarindo with prices and time span can be seen in a video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOj_DdknlHU
First thing the next morning we took a walk on the beach and hit up a store to stock up on groceries (last chance for cheap goods and you will want to have some ingredients to throw down on the group dinners the guests frequently create together- one of my favorite parts of Draco’s- community dinner!). It’s a huge pain if possible at all to find the bus that goes to Avellanas, so we talked a taxi driver down to 20$ and threw our luggage in. It’s a half hour drive on a road with man eating pot holes. Right before the turn-off to Playa Avellanas there’s a busted old surfboard with “Draco’s Surf Camp” written on it, that’s your turn! Just a few minutes down the road is the “compound”… a beautiful house surrounded by big walls and a terrifyingly pointy cousin of the aloe plant, and protected by the camp’s namesake- Draco- the friendly giant. Draco is a Great Dane. He is large. He is very friendly to guests… but I also always feel very safe in his presence 🙂 He definitely protects us giant grasshoppers and monkeys, but mostly just eats our leftovers, drinks out of the pool, and lays around all day.
Draco’s is heaven. The rooms are plush, the beds comfortable, the pool cool, and the companionship incomparable. This is not a 5 star resort, but if you are looking for a CHILL good time and a sense of community, this is your place. There are boards there you can use, and if you are a novice and lucky, you may be able to find someone willing to give you a lesson. When the camp is full of surfers, someone will probably take a car down to the beach twice daily: once early in the morning and once right before sunset. It’s also an easy stroll, even with a surfboard it’s only a 15 minute walk. Walking is nice too, there are plenty of monkeys, iguanas, and beach dogs along the way. If you have time while at the beach check out Lola’s restaurant. The owner is super nice and went out of his way to give us a ride when we were trying to hitchike from Avellanas to the highway to catch a bus ***side note- Many Tico’s are not big on picking up hitchhikers- especially in the areas we traveled. But sometimes you may need to, we waited for hours for a bus that never came…pretty typical for Costa Rica! Anyways eat at Lola’s and tell the owner some american hitchhikers sent you!*** The owners of Draco’s surf camp are AMAZING. They treat you like family- but like the cool cousin who takes shots with you kind of family. Really you just need to wing it, figure out how to get there, and check it out yourself to understand how special this place is… and if you are not that adventurous- it’s probably not your type of place anyways. Check out this fun short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECj2O4LoD5c and their website https://dracossurfcamp.wordpress.com/ for more info. We love you Draco’s!!!!