Frequently Asked Questions… Planning Your Vacation When is Surf Simply open each year? Surf Simply’s coaching resort in Costa Rica is open throughout the year except for a few weeks from mid-September to mid-October, during which time we run satellite coaching courses in France. You can see on our availability page the exact dates of each week we are open throughout the year. What methods of payment do you accept? We do not have the facility to accept credit card payments but you can pay via check or bank transfer (ETF, ACH or wire transfer). You can click here for (printable) details of how to make a payment. How does the booking process work? When you confirm that you would like to come, we will email you confirming that we are holding a temporary reservation for you, for the next 3 days. To confirm the reservation you will then need to pay a 50% deposit. You can click here to see all the ways that you can make a payment to Surf Simply. The other 50% is payable one month before your travel dates and at that time we will also write to you with a questionnaire asking you about your preferences regarding every aspect of your stay with us: e.g. massages, yoga, extra tours/activities and dietary requirements. We will also ask you about your surfing experience and goals and of course your flight details, so that we can arrange your transfers for you too. What’s the cancellation policy? Once a reservation is confirmed, there cannot be any changes made to the dates unless you wish to cancel your existing reservation and make a new reservation for alternative dates. Surfers: If you cancel your reservation for any reason more than 10 days prior to your arrival date then we will reimburse any payments made to us, as long as we are able to resell the place(s) that we’ve been holding for you. The reimbursement can be either in the form of a refund or held in credit for a future booking. Either way, we will retain a $200 admin fee per person. If we are unable to resell the place(s) we’ve been holding for you then we will not be able to reimburse any amount that you have paid to us. If you cancel your reservation for any reason within 10 days of your arrival date then we will not be able to reimburse any amount that you have paid to us. If your stay at Surf Simply has to be cancelled by us but due to reasons beyond our control (e.g. a natural disaster), Surf Simply is not liable for any refunds or travel costs. **We cannot allow guests to surf if they are pregnant. If you become pregnant between the time that you book and 10 days prior to your arrival date, then we will not be able to reimburse you unless we can resell your place as per our usual cancellation policy. If you become pregnant within 10 days of your arrival date then we will not be able to reimburse any amount that you have paid to us. Non Surfers: If you are a non surfing companion and you need to cancel your reservation as a non surfer, we will reimburse the cost of the non surfing package immediately, minus a $200 admin fee. For the reasons outlined above, we strongly encourage everyone to obtain adequate travel insurance to cover any amounts that you have paid us. We also encourage everyone to obtain travel insurance coverage which covers for personal injury or a death in the family, as these are the most common reasons for last minute cancellations. Also, it’s important that you are covered for “operator cancellations,” in the event of a natural disaster. Does my stay at Surf Simply have to be from Saturday to Saturday? Because Surf Simply has a small team of full time coaches, instead of a larger team of part time coaches, we are less able to be flexible about when the courses we offer start and finish. This is a compromise that we have had to make in order to maintain the level of coaching that we provide. We’re really sorry if this proves problematic for you but don’t forget that you can arrive and leave Nosara on whatever days work for you and we will be happy to still arrange your transfers to and from Nosara on whatever day you like. We will also then pick you up from your hotel in Nosara on the Saturday that your stay with us begins and of course do the same n the day of your departure. As far as hotels in Nosara go, we recommend The Harmony Hotel as it’s my favorite place, after Surf Simply, but there are other options too, there’s Casa Romantica, The Nosara Beach House, The Harbor Reef, Kaya Sol, Living Hotel, The Sunset Shack and The Gilded Iguana which are all hotels and are more or less in descending order of price. There are also three hostels (i.e. they are cheaper and offer a communal kitchen): Casa Rebecca, The Nosara Beach Hostel and 4You Hostel (the last one is a little further from the beach but still walking distance). You could also go for the vacation rental option instead of a hotel. I would recommend contacting Marine (email@example.com) at who has two bedroom casitas next door to the Surf Simply resort. There are also agents like: Reef Realty; Mariju at Surfing Nosara; Agnes at Villa Mango Property Management; Kim at La Costa Rentals or Marq at Surf Nosara. Villa Tortuga have some nice places too. Between them they manage most of the properties near Playa Guiones. Mention that the guys from Surf Simply sent you and they may go the extra mile for you too. Can I stay for less than a week? I’m afraid that we can’t offer stays for less than one week. It is very difficult fitting everything in our surf coaching program into a week and stays of only a few days don’t really give us enough time. It’s really important to give all the skills you’ll learn here a broader context in the progression of your own surfing, without that the experience, it isn’t as useful, interesting or as fun. Actually this year, many of our guests, especially returning guests, have been choosing to stay for two weeks. We are also a very small resort, which is a decision we have made in order to keep the quality of the surf coaching as high as it is, but that does mean that we are full every week. When we offered part weeks stays, we ended up turning away people who wished to stay for a full week or more. We hope this makes sense and we are really sorry that we are not able to be more flexible. Can non-surfers come too? Do they get a discount? Non-surfers are very welcome but we only have space for 3 non-surfer spaces each week, open to partners of our 12 surfing guests. Where can I find out about prices? The easiest place to see all our prices laid out clearly is on the Prices page. What's included in the Surf Simply package? The easiest place to see exactly what is and isn’t included in your stay at Surf Simply, is to look at the What’s Included? page. Can I just do surf lessons if I am already staying elsewhere? I’m afraid that we only offer one or two week long surf coaching packages which include accommodation. The day is full of lessons both at the beach and back at our resort, regarding all aspects of surfing, board design, swell forecasting and video feedback. So it is not just the traditional water’s edge learning to stand up, style of surf lesson. Often video from a session is analyzed over lunch and pool sessions working on paddled technique, duck diving or board positioning, are fitted in during the time back at the resort. The coaching sessions which we do at the beach are based on the theory lessons which we have done at the resort and so it just isn’t practical to have students who are not also resort guests. The reason that we don’t simply expand to meet demand is that working in a team of 6 coaches, who are communicating with each other throughout the day, optimizes the level of coaching we offer. As the size of the coaching team starts to increase, maintaining the level coaching which Surf Simply has become synonymous with, becomes logistically difficult. Also because the number of guests we can accommodate each week is usually limited by the number of coaches we have, freeing up a coach to do outside lessons would mean we would have to turn away people who would like to stay as resort guests. We hope that makes sense and we are sorry that we can’t be more flexible. Can I book out the entire resort for me and my friends? Yes. We love having groups book out the entire Surf Simply resort however in order to find a week where there is not already at least one person booked in, you will probably need to reserve the resort over 18 months in advance. We can accommodate up to 16 guests, 12 surfers and 4 non-surfers, in the resorts 10 king bedrooms. You can see the price here. Is there a minimum age for kids? Surf Simply guests need to be over 16 years of age. The Surf Simply Resort is a fairly small and intimate place and many of our guests are parents themselves enjoying a week away from family life. We have found, in the past, that the presence of young kids changes the atmosphere and sometimes has meant that all the adults ended up adopting a parental role, which can prevent them from being able to fully make the most of their own vacation time. We have made this decision based on the consensus of our previous guests and we hope that you can appreciate that we don’t have this policy in place to be mean, but rather to give everyone the best experience that we can. What's the best time of year to visit Surf Simply? The reason we choose to set up Surf Simply here at Playa Guiones in Nosara is because, with over 350 surfable days each year, it offers ideal conditions for surf coaching, for all levels, throughout the year. It very rarely gets prohibitively big or small. Costa Rica offers more consistently surfable conditions, even at the worst times of year, than most places do at their best. Below is a description of the average surf conditions throughout the year however it is important to remember that these are based on statistical averages made up on many days which are exceptions. So while you can predict the average for a time of year, it is impossible to predict the conditions for any given week. In Nosara, the dry season months of December to March can be a more crowded as North American tourists escape the winter. The most popular months at Surf Simply however are June, July and August. These months offer the most consistent swell window of the year also the pleasant afternoon showers keep the heat down and mean that the jungle is at it’s most beautiful. A typical season sees knee to head high surf from November to March, then shoulder to overhead surf between April to September. This is a mean average however, so it is perfectly possible for any given week in August to be smaller than any given week in December. The wind, which blows mechanically off shore every morning from November until May, usually turns on shore mid morning and then offers an evening glass off about 50% of the time. In the greener months of June to October the wind is less predictable but the surf is glassy in the morning an incredible 75% of the time and a lunch time shower will often cause the wind to die off in the afternoon, giving us smooth conditions once again. This is another advantage these months have over the more arid months of Dec – Apr. In the greener months, when it doesn’t ‘glass off’ in the afternoon, then we still have fun beach break surf, offering plenty of manoeuvre opportunities. A good source of information on the seasonal surfing conditions here at Playa Guiones, is to look back through our weekly photo albums which we post on Facebook. That way you can see what the waves looked like on any given week, throughout the year. Another good resource is looking at Playa Guiones historic swell/wind data on MagicSeaweed.com. Can I extend my stay in Nosara? Where should I stay? Many of our guests like to stay on in Nosara after their week at Surf Simply has come to an end. In this case we are happy to arrange your transfers for you on whatever day works for you, as well as take you and your bags to your new hotel in Nosara at the end of your stay with us. This is all included and does not cost extra. For our recommendations of places to stay here, check out Surf Simply Travel Tips. Should I stay for one week or two? In 2014, 34.7% of Surf’s Simply guests were returning for a second or third time and over half of those opted to stay for two weeks. Typically your first week is fairly information intensive, while your second week is more about the drill repetition which helps you automate your new skills. The only reason that you may not wish to stay for two weeks is that a week of coaching at Surf Simply is physically quite demanding. If you are unused to regular exercise, you may find that during week two, although the mind is willing, the body may need to rest up. If you would like to stay for two weeks then check out our page on what you can do to prepare physically for your stay at Surf Simply. Do you get a lot of solo travellers like me? Last year 54% of our guests were solo travellers with slightly more than half of those being women. The remaining 46% percent were made up of a fairly even spread of couples, groups of friends and families with grown up kids. The demographic of our guests varies from week to week, but everyone who stays with us is fairly like minded and has decide to make surfing the focus of their vacation. So if you are travelling on your own you will be in good company. Travelling to/from Nosara How do my transfers work? Your transfers to and from Nosara are included in your package and are all arranged by us. We are completely flexible about when and where you would like to be picked up from, and taken to at the end of your vacation. Most of our guests opt to be picked up from the airport. (Liberia, LIR, is 2.5 hours away and San Jose, SJO, is about 6 hours away) however if you wish to come to Nosara on an earlier or later date then we are still happy to arrange your transport for you on whatever day you like. We would then also pick you up from your hotel in Nosara on the days that your stay at Surf Simply begins. Alternatively we are also happy to collect you from any hotel in Costa Rica instead of the airport if you prefer. The same is true for your return trip. Some people prefer to fly into San Jose or Liberia on Friday night and then stay there that night, before traveling to Nosara the next day. If you would like to do this and you are flying into Liberia then we would suggest staying at The Hilton Garden Inn. If you are flying into San Jose then we recommend staying at either The Sheraton, which is about 20 minutes from San Jose airport on the road to Nosara, or Out Of Bounds which is a small, family run B&B quite near it. If you go for this option, we would then pick you up from there on the Saturday morning, instead of meeting you at the airport. When and where should I book my flights for? Most of our guests fly into Liberia airpot (LIR) which is 2.5 hours from Surf Simply, however we can also pick you up from San Jose airport (SJO) if you prefer however SJO is 6 hours drive from us. When you’re thinking about booking your flights, you’ll want to bear in mind that our packages run from Saturday to Saturday. So the first surf coaching session will begin on Sunday, in the morning. Most people arrive at the Surf Simply resort on Saturday afternoon and then we all have dinner together on Saturday evening at about 6:30pm. If you arrive late on Saturday night, that’s fine with us but most of our guests prefer to arrive earlier, check the place out in the light and wander down to the beach for sunset before meeting everyone else at dinner. If your flight arrives late on Saturday evening then many of our guests prefer to fly into Costa Rica the day before (Friday) and then spend the Friday night at Liberia Airport (we recommend The Hilton Garden Inn) or in San Jose (we recommend either The Sheraton or Out Of Bounds B&B). We would then pick you up from your hotel on the Saturday morning and bring you to Nosara. The last coaching session is on Friday night. We try to finish the week off with a sunset session if conditions are optimal. We then have a few drinks together on Friday night at the resort while we look through all the surf photos from the week, up on the big TV by the pool. Most people then leave the resort early Saturday morning in order to catch a flight out of Costa Rica later that day. Can I fly into Nosara? Although we do not recommend flying into Nosara, there is also an airport about 20 minutes from Surf Simply. You can fly into it with Nature Air from San Jose or Liberia. The reason we do not suggest doing this however is that although the respective flights times are under an hour, by the time you have waited for your connecting flight it is almost always quicker to have had us meet you directly off your international flight and bring you straight to Nosara. There is also the possibility of your Nature Air flight being cancelled and you would therefore miss at least one day of your stay at Surf Simply. If you would like to risk it and fly into Nosara airport with Nature Air, then we would be happy to deduct the cost of your flight from your Surf Simply package and pick you up from Nosara airport, instead of San Jose or Liberia. However we ask you to make your own arrangements with Nature Air and bear in mind that we cannot be responsible if they cancel your flight. Surfing Questions What is the coach to student ratio? The coach ratio is usually 2:1 or 3:1, however sometimes it is more productive to 1:1, depending on what specific skill you are working on. We never mix ability levels within groups but the advantage of sometimes working in a group of 3, rather than 1, is that you learn from other people’s mistakes rather than just your own. That’s why pro surfers, like most athletes, train in groups rather than one to one however sometimes one to one attention is more appropriate. The limiting factor in your sessions will be the amount of information that you can take on board and your personal level of fitness, not the size of the group. What if the waves are too small or too big? Optimal surf coaching conditions means that the waves are big enough to surf but not so big that the ocean become dangerous. The north pacific coast of Costa Rica receives better surf coaching conditions throughout the year, than anywhere else on earth. That’s why we are here. A good surf coach takes the conditions each day into account when planning what specific skill will be focused on for that session. For example a level 3 surfer may focus on cutbacks during a session of off shore peeling waves and then switch to floaters when the wind turns onshore. Meanwhile, an entry level surfer on a big day maybe be focusing on carving and accelerating on the inside’s forgiving, rolling white water waves while on a smaller day, your coach might want you to focus on paddling out to catch waves before they break rather then after they break. Whatever the conditions during your stay, Nosara is one of the only places in the world that you can guarantee being able to surf, and your coach will ensure that you have a fun and productive week. Can we surf at other spots? There are several other breaks near by: Ostional, which is a fast, barreling beach break; Garza right, which is a walled up off shore reef and La Izquierda which is a short but fun, left hand reef break and Camaronal which is a south facing powerful beach break. Each day we surf wherever the conditions will be best for developing whatever skill you are working on that day. The majority of the time Playa Guiones is the best option with it’s mellow high tide waves and fast low tide waves. So it is usually the case that we surf Guiones the entire week, however it depends on both the conditions and what the limiting factors are with your own surfing. Can I surf outside the lessons? You are very welcome to surf as much as you want during your stay with us. Having said that we strongly advise you to limit yourself to our two, ninety minute coaching sessions each day, at least for the first half of your stay. This is just to prevent yourself burning out. Can I surf on the Wednesday? Wednesday is your mid week “day off” from being coached. You will find that after 3 days of intensive coaching, both your mind and body will need some down time. We lay on other activities for you to enjoy but if you are still frothing to get in the ocean on the Wednesday there will be plenty of time to do so. Do you coach intermediate and advanced surfers? Most traditional surf schools only work with level 1, and sometimes level 2 surfers, however last year at Surf Simply 43% of our guests were level 3 or 4 surfers. (Click here for more about levels). Level 3 and 4 coaching is all video coaching done from the beach, with analytic feedback given afterwards back at the resort. The aim of level 3 and 4 coaching is to establish the limiting factors in your surfing and show you how to develop specific drills to overcome them. We will move you away from “just going for a surf” and instead teach you to break your surfs down into working on specific drills. The ultimate aim being: that you have a higher wave count; that you are surfing with more speed, closer to the critical part of the wave; performing manoeuvres with more power; and connecting those manoeuvres together with better flow. As a more experienced surfer you will of course only be working in a group with other surfers who are working on the same skills that you are. What is a level 1, 2, 3 or 4 surfer? What level am I? It’s really important that you can communicate to us your surfing experience and goals so that we can plan your week of coaching for you before you arrive. We will send you a questionnaire to fill out to this end but we ask you not to use the word “intermediate” as this can mean anyone from someone with only a week’s experience, to a twenty year veteran who nearly turned pro. Instead we use a level system, from 1 to 4. You can see what level surfer you are by clicking here. Can I and should I bring my own board? You do not need to bring your surfboard however you are very welcome to do so if you like. Level 4 surfers sometimes prefer to use their own custom made shortboards, however for level 1, 2 and 3 surfers the range of boards that we have here will more than suffice. Our quiver consists of: 5’10”- 6’4″ Channel Islands Surftech New Flyer 6’0″ -6’8″ Firewire Dominator 6’6″ -7’6″ Firewire Addvance 7’2″- 7’10” Firewire Seaxe 7’2″- 7’10” NSP Funboard 8’0″- 10’2″ NSP Longboard 9’0″ Firewire TJ Pro 9’4″ Firewire Wingnut Noserider 9’4″ Firewire TJ Everyday 9’6″ Firewire Special T If you don’t understand the significance of that information then don’t worry because that’s one of the many things that you are coming here to learn. During your week with us we will of course also make sure that you are on the best board for progressing with whatever specific drill your coach has you focusing on that day. What boards do you have at Surf Simply for me to use? Our quiver consists of: 5’10”- 6’4″ Channel Islands Surftech New Flyer 6’0″ -6’8″ Firewire Dominator 6’6″ -7’6″ Firewire Advvance 7’2″- 7’10” Firewire Seaxe 7’2″- 7’10” NSP Funboard 8’0″- 10’2″ NSP Longboard 9’0″ Firewire TJ Pro 9’4″ Firewire Wingnut Noserider 9’4″ Firewire TJ Everyday 9’6″ Firewire Special T Do you also coach traditional long boarding (i.e. nose riding)? We regularly work with guests are are experienced long boarders, who want to work on noseriding. Having said that, noseriding is built upon the same foundational understanding of waves and manoeuvres, as all other types of surfing. So to effectively coach the type of surfing which prioritise elegance over function, the functional manoeuvres still have to come first. That way the style can be sprinkled on top afterwards. For example: the limiting factor in the majority of surfers’ ability to noseride is not their ability to walk to the nose, but rather their ability to put the board in the critical part of the wave. The critical part of the wave is the only part of the wave in which noseriding can take place without the board nosediving. So this often has to be the first thing we work on, just as we would with other level 3 and 4 surfers. Can I wear glasses or contact lenses in the surf? Many people surf with contact lens in and do not find it a problem although every now and again they do lose one. Another option is to get in touch with Silverfish who specialize in glasses and accessories for people who wear glasses when surfing (enter the coupon code “SurfSimply” and you’ll get a 15% discount). What should I wear when I am surfing in Costa Rica? The ocean here is 80 degrees (that’s 27 celcius) year round. So no need for a wetsuit. The only thing that you’ll need to bring to wear in the sea is either boardshorts (Hurley make some particularly good, super stretch boardshorts) or a bikini (but make sure that it won’t come off). We’ll also give you rashguards to use during your stay with us but you are welcome to use your own if you prefer. Last time I surfed I got bruised hips/ribs/knees. Can I do anything to prevent this? Often women get sore hips, while men often get sore ribs and everyone gets sore knees to a greater or lesser extent from laying on the board. The knees can especially be a problem, if you are getting to your feet in two stages (i.e. using your knees). You can prevent this soreness in two ways: 1) Applying rubbing alcohol to your knees and hips (girls) or knees and ribs (guys), twice a day for about a week before arriving at Surf Simply. This temporarily toughens the skin up which helps prevent rub. 2) Once here we also have neoprene pants and/or vests that you can borrow to help give you some protection if the soreness becomes a problem. Alternatively you may like to invest in your own gear. For men we suggest something similar to this Billabong 2mm Neoprene Vest for rib protection, and for women something similar too these surf pants which protect both the knees and hips. What If I can't swim? You can have a huge amount of fun and also make surfing a sport that you can enjoy for the rest of your life, without being able to swim. However you will be limited to surfing in the rolling white water waves, meaning that you are never out of your depth. For many people this is where their ambitions end and there is a lot of fun to be had there. If you wish to progress on to surf the bigger, unbroken waves however, then you will need to be able to comfortably swim 50m. Does it matter if I am out of shape? The whole point of surfing is that it is a really fun way to get in shape or to stay in shape. You do not have to be in shape in order to start. Having said that, like any sport the fitter you are, then the more fun you can have before your own personal level of fitness becomes the limiting factor in terms of how quickly you progress. So you may like to check out our page on what you can do to prepare for your stay with us. Do you teach complete beginners? Yes. Each week we have at least one group of beginners. The aim of the week of entry level surf coaching is to go away knowing how to surf 90% of beach breaks in the world so that you can make surfing something that you enjoy on future vacations or at home. You’ll learn what equipment to use and why; how to get in and out of the water safely; and you’ll understand the roadmap of skills in front of you in order to progress. That means that you will know how to continue coaching yourself after you leave us. What happens if we can’t go surfing for some reason? There are a few reasons why we may have to skip a surf session, or cut it short. It may be that the waves are prohibitively small or big (this is extremely rare); it may also be that the wind is so strong that we are concerned that surfboards may get blown about creating a safety issue or it may be that a chance lightning storm is moving over head. Whatever the reason, we will do our best to make sure that you can make up the time in the water the following day. Which are the internationally recognised surf coach and beach lifeguard awards? There are many different governing bodies for both surf coaching and lifeguarding throughout the world. For an award to be interenationally recognised, the national governing body that awards it must be part of the International Surf Lifesaving Federation or the International Surfing Association, respectively. The Surf Simply coaches all have to hold these two awards before beginning their 6-12 month training in Surf Simply coaching methodology. Getting ready for my stay at Surf Simply What can I do to get in shape for my upcoming surf trip? Check out our page on what you can do to prepare for a surf trip. What should I pack? The great thing about surfing in the warm tropical waters of Playa Guiones is that all you need is your surfboard and either your boardshorts or a bikini. You may find that you get a little sore from the friction caused by various body parts making contact with the board when you are lying down and paddling, namely your ribs, hips and knees. For this reason a lot of surfers like to buy shorts that cover up your knees (make sure they are not too tight though, you will need good range of movement in your hips). Don’t forget that we’ll provide you with sunblock and a lycra rashguard to protect you from the sun while you’re in the surf so you can stay young and beautiful. We recommend that you pop along to your local pharmacy and buy a bottle of rubbing alcohol. If you rub it on your knees, ribs and hips for a couple of days before you come, it stops you getting too sore (walkers do this to stop them getting blisters on their feet). It’s also great to bring along with you on your vacation. Nosara is a very laid back jungle beach village. It’s hot so you won’t need any warm clothes, however it is worth bringing some long clothes to wear in the evenings to keep off the mosquitoes. During the day, the uniform in Nosara is usually boardshorts, a T-Shirt and flip fops for guys and a bikini and beach dress/cover up for girls. We would not recommend bringing any whites or delicate clothing, the roads are unpaved so you will find that in the dry season you’ll get quite dusty and in the green and wet seasons you will get a little muddy. Do I need to bring any type of electrical adapter for the plug outlets in Costa Rica? Costa Rican electrical sockets are the same as those in the U.S. Do I need to bring much cash? You won’t need to bring much cash with you for your week at Surf Simply. You will need some money for lunch and dinner on the Wednesday, which is you mid week ‘day off’ from surfing. If you do decide to bring some cash with you, then American dollars are accepted everywhere in Costa Rica (although often not $100 bills). If you don’t bring any, that’s fine. There is an ATM at the airport as well as here in Nosara where you can get Colones, the local currency, if you need it. Is it ok to bring my laptop? Yes. There are safes in the bungalows where you can leave your laptop locked up when you are not using it. Should I bring travellers checks or a credit card? You do not need to bring travellers checks. You can use U.S. dollars everywhere (except for $100 bills). You can also get the local currency colones out of the ATMs both at the airport and here in Nosara. Do I need to bring towels? No. We will provide you with pool towels and bath towels. You wouldn’t need a beach towel as you will air dry as soon as you leave the water. Staying at Surf Simply Do you get cell phone reception at Surf Simply? There is a strong 3G signal with Kolbi I.C.E which is the local service provider. So as long as your personal network provider can work through I.C.E cell towers then you should have a good signal. You will need to check with your service provider to ask if this is the case. Do you have Wi-Fi at Surf Simply? Yes. There is Wi-fi in the rooms as well as in the resorts communal area. The Wi-Fi speed is around 2Mps. It is common for the internet, as well as the power and water to get shut off for a few hours at a time in Costa Rica. This is part of jungle life but rarely happens for more than an hour or two at any one time. What currency do people use in Costa Rica? Colones is the local currency but American dollars are accepted everywhere in Costa Rica (although often not $100 bills). Click here for the current exchange rate. Is there an ATM locally? There is an ATM 10 minutes walk from Surf Simply which accepts Visa cards and a second ATM, about 10 minutes drive away which accepts Mastercard. We will be happy to give you a ride to either of these if required. Should I tip my coach or the other staff at Surf Simply? Like a growing number of businesses, we do not accept tips at Surf Simply due to the inherent pressures and unfairnesses of the tipping system on both employees and customers. If you feel, as we hope you will, that we have gone above and beyond then rather than tipping, we would really appreciate it if you left us reviews online instead (TripAdvisor and Facebook). We are reliant on these reviews to grow our business, which in turn benefits the entire team in a more long lasting way. This may seem unusual but I hope it makes sense. Please rest assured that the Surf Simply team are all very well paid professionals and are not reliant on, or expecting to be tipped. If you still feel that you would like to leave a monetary gratuity at the end of your stay, then we will pass on contributions to Nosara Wildlife Rescue on your behalf. What is a typical day at Surf Simply like? We surf twice a day and the timing of the sessions is dependent on conditions however a typical day might look like this: 7 breakfast, 8 surf, 10:30 theory, 11 yoga, 12 lunch, chill time, 4 surf, 6:30 dinner. You can also click here to watch a short film giving you an idea of what a typical day at Surf Simply is all about. What's the schedule for the week? Saturday – Guests arrive at Surf Simply throughout the afternoon then we all meet at 6:30pm to talk through the up coming week of coaching and to enjoy dinner together at the resort. Sunday, Monday & Tuesday -Each day consists of two surf sessions and also a theory session. These are timed for whenever conditions will be optimal. Yoga or massages are scheduled around your coaching timetable. Wednesday -This is a much needed day off from being coached or thought some guests like to go free surfing. We will also set up an activity for you (chosen by you beforehand): zip lining; horseback riding; ATV tour; stand up paddle boarding or massage. You will then do your own thing for lunch and dinner. There are several restaurants a short walk from the resort for you to explore. Thursday & Friday – The same format as your first three days of coaching. Friday evening finishes with a slideshow of some of the best images of you from the week captured by our in house photographer. Saturday – Departing guests leave over the course of the morning, while guests staying for two weeks enjoy a day off from coaching (although you are welcome to go free surfing.) What is the night life like in Nosara? Nosara is an early to bed early to rise kind of town with visitors coming for the stunning surf, rather than the night life. There are a couple of bars which usually wind down around 10pm however after a full day’s surfing, Surf Simply guests usually opt for relaxing back at the resort after dinner so that they are fresh for the next morning’s session. Where do we eat all our meals? Breakfast and lunch are prepared by our chef at the Surf Simply resort as are your first night, last night and Tuesday night dinner. On the other three evenings we will take you out to visit our pick of the local restaurants, which we have chosen either because of their menu, atmosphere or stunning views. You will do your own thing for lunch and dinner on the Wednesday (your day off from being coached). There are several restaurants a short walk from the resort for you to visit and our guests tell us this is a nice opportunity to explore the town on their own. Do you have safes in the room? Yes. Each bungalow has a safe. What about pets & smokers? The Surf Simply resort is non smoking and we regret to say that pets are not allowed. Non surfing tours and activities Should I schedule tours and activities ahead of time or wait? We will email you a month before you come to stay asking you for your preferences regarding every aspect of your stay with us including: dietary requirements; flight info; your surfing experience and goals; your preference between yoga or massage and at that time you can also tell us which tour or activity you would prefer to do on your day off. The choices are: zip lining, horse back riding; an ATV tour; stand up paddle boarding; mountain biking or a visit to the monkey rescue sanctuary. The reason that we ask you to specify before you arrive is that places for all these activities are limited. Will we have the chance to do stand up paddle boarding too? Our coaching program is focused on surfing, not stand up paddle boarding, however you can opt to go SUPing with Experience Nosara as your activity on the Wednesday (which is your “day off” from surf coaching). No previous experience is necessary. Which tours and activities are included when I’m staying at the resort? On the Wednesday during your stay with us, you have a mid week “day off” from being coached. You are of course welcome to go free surfing however. Included in your stay with us is also the choice of: stand up paddle boarding; horseback riding; an ATV tour; zip lining or a visit to the monkey sanctuary. Click here for more info… Can we go sports fishing? If you would like to go sports fishing on the Wednesday, which is your “day off” from being coached, then we would be very happy to arrange that however the minimum group size has to be between 4-6 people. If you opt for sports fishing then we will ask you for a 2nd choice unless you would prefer to pay the $240 supplementary fee for chartering the boat alone. Health and safety Do I need medical insurance? Yes you do. You should always have medical insurance whenever you travel abroad. Your medical insurance must cover you while you are surfing. It must also cover you in the event that you require emergency evacuation or repatriation. Do I also need travel insurance? We strongly advise that you always have travel insurance as it covers your costs in the event that you have to miss some, or all of your trip but are not eligible for a refund from us under our cancelation policy. Our cancelation policy is as follows: Please note that a booking is considered cancelled even if you wish to make a new reservation for other dates. If you feel it necessary to cancel your vacation, or change the week when you would like to come, then we will refund any payments made to us as long as we can resell the places which we had been holding for you. We will also retain a $200 admin fee. If we do not have enough time to resell your place then we will not be able to refund you so it is important that you have adequate travel insurance to cover any amounts that you have paid to us. The most common reason for last minute cancellation’s are personal injury or a death in the family, so we advise that you check your insurer will cover you in these instances. If your stay at Surf Simply has to be cancelled by us but due to reasons beyond our control (like a natural disaster for example), Surf Simply is not liable for any refunds or travel costs so it’s also important that your travel insurance should cover “operator cancellations”, which most standard policies do. As a woman, is it safe to travel by myself? The single biggest demographic of guests that we have at Surf Simply is solo travellers and, of those, more than half are female. None of our guests have ever had any issues of safety or talked about feeling unsafe at any point during their trip. Our driver will meet you directly off your plane and bring you straight here to the Surf Simply resort so that you can relax and enjoy your vacation from the time you get on the plane. Is there a place to buy toiletries and other goods? There are several general stores about 10 minutes walk from Surf Simply where you can buy toiletries and other goods if you need to. Do I need to get any shots before travelling to Costa Rica? The vast majority of our guests do not get any shots before visiting Costa Rica however you can read the latest US governmental advice here: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/costa-rica Are there safes in the bungalows? Yes. Should I worry about petty theft? We have not had any issues of theft at the Surf Simply resort. However we advise against leaving valuables, particularly electronic goods, on display and/or unguarded when travelling around Costa Rica generally particularly on the beach while you are swimming. Can I Surf If I Am Pregnant? We cannot allow guests to surf if they are pregnant. If you become pregnant between the time that you book and when you come to stay with us, then we will not be able to refund you unless we can resell your place as per our usual cancellation policy. Pregnant guests are of course welcome to join us as non surfers. Costa Rica When is Costa Rica's "wet season" and what is it like? May, June, July, August & September all typically see afternoon showers. It’s usually only October where the rain can be prohibitive but even then the waves are more consistent than most other countries, even at their best times of year. Occasionally we have a big weather system that covers the whole of Central American for a few days with rain. This can happen any time between May and October but it didn’t happen last year and only happened twice the year before. Even if that does happened, it’s only a few days out of your week and it doesn’t affect the surf, only the sunbathing. For the last three years June, July & August which have been our busiest months. The swell is incredibly consistent during this time of year (which you can see from the historic surf data on Playa Guiones on MagicSeaweed). In fact Outside Magazine chose to come down here and do this story on us during August. We typically have sunny mornings with glassy surf followed by just an hour or two of rain in the early afternoon. Actually the rain can have the effect of cooling the land as well, meaning that the midday winds often drop giving us glassy surf again in the afternoon. It is also of course when the jungle is lush and green, and Costa Rica is at its most beautiful. The term “wet season” is really just comparative because we have no rain at all from December until May. You might like to have a look back at our weekly photos on Facebook from any given week throughout the summer months from the last couple of years, to give you an idea of what the surf is like. Are there sharks? There have never been any reports of shark attacks in or near Nosara. What about bugs? Bugs are not a problem although some guests prefer to wear long pants in the evening so that the “mozzies” can’t bite your ankles at dinner. We provide you with bug spray too. What wildlife am I likely to see around Surf Simply? Howler monkeys are a daily appearance although you will hear them before you see them. Coatis, armadillos and iguanas are all common as are hundreds of thousands of other species. Surf Simply is surrounded by some of the most bio diverse jungle in the world. Is it easy to spot monkeys in the trees? Yes. It’s rare to go a week without seeing a family of monkeys but you will here them long before you see them, hence the name “howler monkeys”. What about turtles? It’s not uncommon to see Ridley turtles laying on the beach or in the ocean. Can I contribute to local schools or the local community? Sarah Antonson runs The Surfing Nosara Foundation. She is the best person to contact to find out what is most greatly need at any given time and she is always very grateful for any support. Sarah’s email is: firstname.lastname@example.org Do people speak English or Spanish? You do not need to be able to speak any Spanish for your stay at Surf Simply and in fact most people who live around Playa Guiones do speak at least a little English. The driver who picks you up from the airport, the girls who prepare your breakfast and our security guard here at Surf Simply have very limited English but everyone else at Surf Simply speaks fluent English and all your coaching will be in English too. Other Stuff... Where else do you run Surf Simply coaching courses? In the past we have run coaching courses in France and Indonesia. In the future we will also be running courses in Peru, Portugal and Mexico. These courses are only open to level 3 and 4 surfers (i.e. the focus is on video coaching, rather than in water coaching). You will need to have stayed with us at least once in Costa Rica before joining us on one of these courses so that we can properly assess your skill level. Simply let us know during your stay if you have an interest in joining us on any future satellite projects and then we will contact you with details as soon as they become confirmed. Do you ever offer discount prices? No. Surf Simply does not have a low season and operates at 100% occupancy throughout the year. So unfortunately we cannot discount any particular weeks. I am interested in working at Surf Simply. How can I apply? If you are interested in working at Surf Simply please contact the owner, Ru Hill at rusurfsimply.com.