Most aspiring surfers are under the false impression they need to head to the Pacific Coast or surf meccas like Hawaii, Tahiti and Australia to pick up surfing. Fortunately for those based on the US East Coast and surrounding areas, the Caribbean offers many top-notch surf havens perfect for learning. The best part is you don’t have to learn alone—we’ve picked out our favorite Caribbean surf schools that welcome surfers of any level.
If you’ve got a surf holiday coming up try one of these five Caribbean surf schools, but be careful— you may want to trade your car in for a surfboard after the first lesson.
Rincón Surf School, Rincón, Puerto Rico
When surf lover Garret Bartelt moved to Rincón, Puerto Rico with his wife in 1999 to open Rincón Surf School, he had no idea how successful he would become. With everything from private lessons to guided group surfing adventures, the instructors at Rincón have really honed in on a winning formula for teaching and coaching surfers of every skill set. As the oldest surf school in the area, Rincón has garnered a reputation for incomparable service and passionate dedication to the sport. The instructors live and breathe the waves and their customers never leave without wishing for more time in the water. Get your time in on the water and kick back with a delicious drink on the beach.
Boosy’s Surf School, Barbados
Christian Neville Boos, or “Boosy,” teaches every lesson himself and likes to focus on progression rather than perfection, making this mobile surf school is perfect for beginners. Boosy’s hands-on approach makes it hard to avoid catching the surf bug—passion like his in a setting like Barbados will attract any surfer like a moth to a flame. They offer surfing lessons every day— including weekends and holidays—so there’s no reason to leave that surfing itch unscratched!
Pauhana Surf School, Encuentro Beach, Dominican Republic
The setting, equipment and instructors make Pauhana Surf School shine among the array of other Caribbean surf schools. While surfers of every level are welcome, beginners naturally feel extremely comfortable in an environment where patience and dedication are key. The atmosphere is laid back, instruction is superb and the scenery is awe inspiring. If you’re a surfing enthusiast with kiddos, bring them along, too! The instructors have a proven track record with kids, and they’ll have your little ones standing up on their boards before the end of the first lesson. The Dominican is hard enough to leave as it is, but adding Pauhana might push you into trading that briefcase and sedan for a surfboard before your vacation is over.
Aruba Surf & Paddle School, Aruba
If you seek surf, relaxation and total escape, then Aruba Surf & Paddle School is sure to please. Instructors provide mobile lessons, moving classes along the beach according to surf conditions. They promise you’ll learn to surf in just 20 minutes, and guarantee you’ll be hooked after the first lesson! Aruba’s calm waters make Aruba Surf & Paddle the ideal school for surfers looking for an extra safe and relaxed experience.
Totem Surf School, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Luckily for Totem’s surfers, Puerto Viejo is famous for some of the best waves in the Caribbean. The instructors are easy-going, knowledgeable and dedicated to their sport. They really believe in learning to surf one step at a time, with dedication to safety, education and technique. Costa Rica’s warm waves will have you requesting more time off work as soon as you reach land!