Costa Rica is an absolutely incredible destination for a surf trip. There is warm water, swells year round, and such a wide range of surf that there is something for everyone. If you’re in the process of planning a Costa Rican surf trip, you might be wondering- “Should I bring my surfboard to Costa Rica?” Before I spent 4 months backpacking Costa Rica earlier this year, I asked myself this exact same question. I went back and forth on whether or not surfboard travel was worth it. After ultimately deciding to bring my own board, my answer to this question is a resounding YES. And here is why:
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Rentals in Costa Rica are expensive, and sub par
Surfboard rentals in Costa Rica can cost anywhere from $10 -$30 per day. Some airlines only charge $30 to fly your surfboard each way. So, if you surf at least 6 times on your surf trip (you will!) than that price is well worth it. Especially if you are traveling for months on end- it just doesn’t make sense financially to rent.
Lots of the rental surfboards available in Costa Rica are pretty beat up. If you are used to surfing on a high quality board back home, then you likely will be disappointed with many of the rental boards available in Costa Rica. Especially if you’re surfing a world class wave.
Traveling with your surfboard doesn’t leave you dependent on rental shop hours
Taking your surfboard traveling with you gives you the freedom to surf at any hour you want. If you want to beat the crowds and surf dawn patrol, then its really convenient to have your own surfboard with you. Of course you can always do a long term rental, but if you are traveling between breaks, chances are there will be a time where you wish you had brought a board along with you. Trust me, any mild inconvenience of surfboard travel will be worth it when the conditions are surprisingly good, and your board is ready to go.
There aren’t a lot of quality performance boards for sale in most towns.
Renting aside- a lot of people set out on their Costa Rica surf trip with the intentions of buying a new board to sell at the end. While this is probably a better idea than renting, keep in mind that surfboards can get quite expensive in Costa Rica. Further, many of the nice, quality, performance boards sell out really fast, so even at more expensive prices you may not be able to find anything.
Trying to find a good quality used surfboard in Costa Rica is almost impossible
Even finding a used surfboard in Costa Rica is difficult. Everyone has the same idea about saving money, so any decent, used surfboards on the market get bought up fast. Coming from California, where you can score a brand new Firewire for 200 bucks off Craigslist (true story), I was shocked at the dismal state of used surfboards for sale in Costa Rica.
Surfboard travel in Costa Rica is easier than you’d think
Before my surf trip to Costa Rica, I was hesitant about bringing my surfboard on public transportation. However, it went pretty seamlessly during my 4 months there. I took plenty of busses, and my surfboard was either stashed underneath the bus for a small fee, or I had to purchase a ticket for my surfboard to take it in the seat next to me.(This never more than $10 USD).
Overall, surfboard travel is well worth it
If you’re on the fence about bringing your board with you to Costa Rica, I hope you decide to bring it! I personally watched some friends pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars on board rentals, and it’s just not worth it. Trust me, you’ll be glad you forked over the extra baggage fees to fly it with you!