I am looking to go on a surf trip with friends for about one week within the next month. Since we are going for such a short period of time, we would like to get a direct flight and land really close to the break (within half hour to an hour). I am thinking Costa Rica (liberia airport) the flight is about $700-800. I would like to keep the entire trip at about $1000-1200 if possible. We are looking for head high consistent waves and would prefer to book last minute to avoid getting skunked (like what happened last year's costa trip where we got one day of head high waves and the rest of the week knee to waist)
liberia may LOOK close to some breaks, but i can assure you that it's not. NOTHING is as close as it appears on a map in costa rica. think more like 2+ hours. the capital city, san jose, is a mere 60 miles from the town of jaco. it takes more than 2 hours to cover that 60 miles.
that said, costa is always a safe bet for waves. dunno what time of year you went last year, but may-october is the rainy season down there & also the better season for waves, given that most of the west coast faces a general southerly direction, wide open to the swells moving up from the southern hemisphere.
i've been to costa rica 3x & gotten good quality surf every time. i've never been there in august, but i don't see why you wouldn't get surf.
w/ your budget, i would suggest that you camp. your airfare will eat up most of the $1000, leaving you w/ only $200-400 left for lodging, food, beer, transportation, etc...camping will be your best (only) bet.
ou could do Cabo. For really cheap. You can get round trip down there usually like $400 from the east coast. Its already hurricane season down south of there, so consistent swell is already hitting south Baja and coming up our way.
You may have a potential hurricanes, but they typically dont make landfall in Cabo. You should just have the whole southeast/south and southwest portions of Cabo breaking. Nice points and reefs down there... Cheap hotels, cheap food. Especially right now...
Costa Rica will probably have better surf, because all the canes down there line up basically aimed right at costa from long distances, so in August, there should be plenty of tropical activity way off the coast sending swell right at Costa Rica.... Those same swells make their way up and hit Cabo head on, then make their way to CA....
So, Costa will get pounded with surf the best, but Cabo is a pretty cheap alternative. You can use an economy car there and access all the main breaks. No 4x4 needed. No crazy exploring. There are a few world class waves that are typically not too crowded....
Cabo is an often overlooked surf destination, and since mexico has some PR issues right now, I bet you can score some killer deals.