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Thread: Travel Question

  1. #1

    Travel Question

    Ok, so I have traveled and surfed in various locations in every state from NJ - FL and I have surfed Ocean Beach San Diego on several different occasions, but that is the extent of my surf travel. I am trying to plan a trip later in the year preferably at a new location (thinking out of country but not a must). I was just wondering if anyone had any ideas on a cheap yet decent surf destination. I am thinking the trip will probably be in November but also throwing the idea around for late December like the week after Christmas. Would Central America or the Caribbean have decent waves around then? I know it's after hurricane season but I don't really know the spots that well to know where to go around then. Also, it is going to be me and my girlfriend and she surfs but really doesn't care if there are waves or not for the trip, therefore it is more of a vacation (for her) but by god if I'm going to spend money to go somewhere I might as well make a surf trip out of it, ya know. So any ideas or info would be much appreciated.

    Oh and I guess I should throw this information out there: I'm a pretty decent surfer but nothing crazy special, so I know the North Pac will be lighting up so not trying to dive into anything huge in Northern Cali. I'm not throwing out the idea of Hawaii, but I'm sure the crowds will be hectic there around then and I'm not really sure I'm trying to deal with all that. Thanks in advance for any ideas.

  2. #2
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    Barbados is my pick. Almost always swell somewhere on the island. Your gf can surf, too, cause there's all size swell going on - - stay away from Soup Bowl & Parlors if it's big (based on what you stated are your abilities). However, the south side of the island has several tremendously fun breaks. Barbados also has chick stuff to do for her, so you don't risk the "I'm bored" whine & petulant look by day 3.

    Nica's still a little raw to bring the gf. Plus, if it's big, it's usually big up & down the coast. Meaning, you're stuck with huge waves that are beyond your ability level & thus nowhere smaller to surf. The plus side is that Nica is inexpensive in terms of meals, beers, lodging.

    Other guys on here know a lot about Panama & Costa Rica.

    Better start saving your money for those airfares. The way that prices are jacking, you'll be paying a boatload just to get there & back. BTW, I like www.kayak.com for airs....try punching in your search from a single-destination airport, instead of multiple-location airports. You'll get better prices. Little trick that the bastardo airlines don't tell you about....

    And get those passports now if you don't have them already. Never know when the 3-ring circus in DC may shut down.

  3. #3
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    while i've never been, everything i've heard about it makes me second the barbados suggestion. my dad did his honeymoon there back in the 70's & got some pretty good shots of him surfing there (taken by my mom) & the waves look pretty fun. winter is def. the best time to go there from what i've heard, too.

    costa rica could be good, even tho it's not their peak swell season in nov. & dec. you'll still find chest high surf, maybe a little bigger if you luck into a random late south swell. i'm a big fan of the nosara/mal pais areas...user friendly beachbreaks (more so than, say, playa hermosa to the south), good accomodations, good food, good people, easy to get to from liberia airport.
    unless your gf is the rugged sort, i'd stay away from panama. like nica, it's still a bit rough. "rustic," if you will. fun surf, tho.

    & like yankee said, make sure your passports are in order! (which reminds me that i have less than 6mos left on mine...time to re-up!)

  4. #4
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    Chances are better for December than November for surf in the Caribbean. I love Puerto Rico... been going there off and on for almost 30 years, and would like to live there when I retire. Nice variety of breaks, especially if you rent a car. Great cheap roadside food everywhere, and you can find simple accommodations at a fair price. But there's also luxury hotels and fine dining, too. Barbados can get expensive, but the surf options are great. Other places in the Caribbean, like the Virgin Islands, have less surfable territory and are less consistent than PR, but there are several good spots... Cane Garden Bay on Tortola comes to mind.
    Last edited by LBCrew; Jun 8, 2011 at 10:54 AM.

  5. #5
    I would second Puerto Rico. It's easy because you can use US money and many of the locals speak english. There's a huge variety of surf and it's a ton of fun. It's definitely inexpensive there if you do it right. Just don't go down into the ghetto of old San Juan.

  6. #6
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    PR is a good choice with plenty of options.The flight won't lag you.

    HI is about 80% dependent on tourism. There should be crazy package deals and sick surf. Plus, different island vibes, amazing food, etc. On Friday's,the flight is 10hrs direct on Continenetal. (Pineapple Express) It's a tough one to handle, but well worth it. If you like Vegas, it's a great layover place, with a ton of flights connecting. SF is a sweet place to layover also.

    Carrib. again, you should have a variety of package deals to choose from. I've found 5/6 star hotel packages for 10 days at a really good price. You have to check all the websites and travel agents too. Scored through Liberty treavel a few time during peak season.

  7. #7
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    November and December is a generally a good option for Puerto Rico on the North Coast. Puerto Rico is a pretty close and inexpensive trip. Barbados is more expensive, and Hawaii is a lot more expensive. Places in Central America, like Costa Rica, have waves all year round, so it is pretty hard to get skunked and it is pretty economical.

    For the first time out of the country, I would your best bet is:
    1) Costa Rico Surf Trip
    2) Puerto Rico Surf Trip

    The links will take you to places to stay.

  8. #8
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    6 month denial policy

    make sure your passports are in order! (which reminds me that i have less than 6mos left on mine...time to re-up!) njsurfer42

    Costa Rica is one of the many dozens of nations that can technically deny travel to their country if your passport is within 6 months of expiration. Fodors and State Dept. are great sources of information but you should always check with the contry's consulate (usually posted on their website) for the latest changes.

    These nations don't always deny entry if your passport is within 6 months of shrivel, but the fact is that they can if they want to- - and there's nothing that US Dept of State can do about it, since each nation sets its own acceptance policy.

    So check the expiration date & get that sucker renewed or you risk denial at the airport & a blown (expensive, stressful) trip.
    Last edited by yankee; Jun 8, 2011 at 11:25 PM.

  9. #9
    I agree that barbados is another good option... especially in the November and December. I went there for my honeymoon in Nov last year and had a blast. Take any of my knowledge with a grain of salt since I was only there for a week..

    Soup Bowl always works, but may be a bit advanced for you (it was for me)...

    Starting in late November, the west coast of the island wakes up. This lasts at least through December and probably later. I surfed it 6 ft and glassy and another time 3 ft and clean. Really fun waves.

    I would recommend doing a guided trip for the west coast, since some of the spots are a bit hard to find, and the local knowledge would be invaluable with these finicky spots. There are several, I had a good experience with Barbados Surf Trips and Dread or Dead.

    There's also the south coast which is much smaller than the west or east. Really windy longboard wave at one of the main spots, but it works.

    It's an expensive island... but it can be done on the cheap. We didn't stay here, but Peach and Quiet is not far from a south coast break and is really inexpensive and has good reviews. If you eat like a local most of the time, you'll save a lot of $$$ too.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bodhi View Post
    Oh and I guess I should throw this information out there: I'm a pretty decent surfer but nothing crazy special, so I know the North Pac will be lighting up so not trying to dive into anything huge in Northern Cali. I'm not throwing out the idea of Hawaii, but I'm sure the crowds will be hectic there around then and I'm not really sure I'm trying to deal with all that. Thanks in advance for any ideas.
    1. I've gotten my best waves in NorCal in November-December time window. If you don't mind the wetsuit, you will enjoy perfect waves with ZERO crowds, wine country, beautiful redwoods, fresh delicious food, amazing diving and fishing, Monterey Bay aquarium, San Francisco...in my mind there aren't too many better places to take the lady on a surf trip. It's amazing out there, though a totally different flavor than the tropics. Obviously if you want warm weather then go elsewhere, but if that's not a priority then it's absolutely worth considering.

    2. Hawaii...probably ain't worth it in December. The North Shore will be pumping for sure, and there are plenty of spots protected enough that you can surf even if the swell is 20+ ft...but the crowds peak in December and it's tough to find the less crowded spots during a short trip. November or Feb/March would be another story, but December is pretty insane.