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“Best Girl's Trip Ever!”

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Corky Carroll's Surf School
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Best Girl's Trip Ever!”
Reviewed 27 February 2013

If you are looking for a one of a kind adventure, you have to check this surf school out!! Learning to surf is definitely the focus but never felt pressured and always felt like family. Instructors, Rick, Collin, Tanillo, Drew, and Callan were fantastic, very patient and knowledgeable. Accommodations and food were amazing!!! Kelsey handles all of the details and preparations, planning was a breeze. free wi-fi was an unexpected bonus.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank tracy d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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89 reviews from our community

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English first
Maryland, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 January 2013

If you're expecting a posh resort with white table cloths, little interaction with other guests, and watching TV in your room, then this is the wrong place for you. If you want to have access to great waves, surfboards and instruction, combined with a beautiful facility, great food, and a welcoming atmosphere, then this should be your first choice. This was my second trip, and my brother and I probably spent about six hours a day in the water. The rest of the time is spent enjoying the wonderful food and beer with the company of the other guests and the instructors. If you're a beginner this is a supportive, nonjudgmental atmosphere that will help you get started correctly. If you're a surfer, then know that this spot gets very consistent waves and there's a full quiver of surfboards you can choose from. I hope that's a enough to convince you. All the best to Collin, Rick, Tanallo, Callen, Drew, Daniel, and the rest of the team. James T.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with friends
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1 Thank James T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kula, Maui
Level Contributor
34 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 December 2012

It is amazing what one family, Rick, Kelsey, Collin and Keith, and their loyal employees have developed in the wilds of Costa Rica. I say wilds as compared to the mega-resorts many miles to the North and South. The roads are well improved gravel and there is a mall ½ mile away with a bank and all the other stores one might expect in a neighborhood mall, (no Sak’s or Tiffany’s). The “less treaded path” is a short distance with local wild life in abundance, and Howler monkeys and iguanas are known to frequent the property. The other “Wild Life” is a short walk to the surf bars in the area. Not to downplay the copious amounts of very good food available on site, there are several excellent restaurants a short cab ride away.

Of course, transportation to and from either major airport is available through the school, but renting a car and driving in Coast Rica provides no major problems. The drive to and from Liberia has less traffic, but the drive to San Jose provides more variation in scenery if one can deal with the traffic encountered as one approaches the capital. If one chooses the San Jose route, a side trip to Aranal is well worth the time and effort.

The accommodations are spacious, and the maid and laundry service is outstanding. Be prepared for humidity even in the “dry” season. Hanging of garments between uses is mandatory ;)

The school is working on a reliable wireless network, and there is currently an Internet café with excellent connectivity a short walk down the road.

Which is all fine, BUT this is a SURF SCHOOL.
Being from Maui, I am somewhat familiar with surf schools. Most on Maui are only a way of generating income. At Corky Carroll’s, for the Walker’s, Rick and Collin in Costa Rica, (Kelsey and Keith are at their operation in Huntington Beach), and their staff, the school is a way of sharing their dedication to the sport. I have seen them tirelessly spend time with the novice, and then share the intricate points of the sport with other professionals. This is not a part time pursuit for them; it is their life. By the way; the pictures don’t do justice to the waves.

For the non-surfing visitor, from sunrise to sunset, there is plenty keep one occupied between meals. From endless, apparently safe, walking opportunities, to a local Yoga institute, to an on-site collection of varied reading material, to sunsets that rival Maui’s, one is never want for activity. For couch potatoes, there is satellite TV.

Room Tip: An end room offers better cross ventilation
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank ReadyonMaui
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Alamitos, California, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 December 2012

I absolutely loved learning to surf at Corky Carroll's Surf School in Costa Rica. Below is a comprehensive review of my experience.

Instruction 411 - The quality of the instruction is fantastic. There are three instructors: Drew, Danny, and Tanallo. Instruction is 1-on-1 and each day you learn from a different instructor. Not to worry because there is 100% consistency between the instructors with regard to the information that is taught, which is fantastic for a complete novice like me. Each day there is a 2-hour morning session (which gets taped) and a 2-hour free surf session in the afternoon (not taped). When you leave, they provide you with a DVD that has clips of you, the other students, and the instructors surfing. This is a great learning tool.

How They Teach You to Surf - The instruction here is all about patience and natural progression. The first day I was taught how to handle the ocean conditions with my board. This entailed doing "up-and-overs" and "barrel rolls" with my board, as these maneuvers are crucial to being able to eventually get to where you need to be in order to catch waves. The second, third, and fourth days were spent in the whitewater, first experiencing lying down what it feels like when the water picks up and starts carrying the board, and then standing up and maintaining balance as the whitewater propels the board forward. After developing the ability to stand up and maintain balance in the whitewater, I was guided to the outside where the waves start forming to learn how to (i) position myself properly, (ii) time the paddle to catch the wave, and (iii) stand up with the correct foot positioning to be able to catch the wave. Everybody learns at a different pace, and the instructors are expert at gauging your progression and adjusting the lesson plan accordingly. Also, if you have prior surfing experience, they will take this into account so that you don’t get taught adding and subtracting when you’re ready to move onto calculus.

Camaraderie – The sense of camaraderie you develop with the instructors and your fellow students is very strong. This is facilitated by “video time”, where instructors and students gather together to view the thrills and spills of the morning session. When someone does something correctly, everyone praises and congratulates him or her. When someone does something incorrectly, the instructors provide constructive advice on how to remedy the mistakes being shown on the video. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn and to bond with fellow students and instructors.

Dining – Meals follow a schedule that is adhered to very closely. Breakfast is usually from 6:30am to 8:00am. Lunch is at 11:30am and follows the morning session. After video time, which is around noon, you have the afternoon off to relax. At 3:00pm, there is coffee time (my favorite time of the day). Following coffee time is afternoon free surf from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. At 6:30pm there is “bocas”, which is pre-dinner appetizers, followed by dinner at 7:00pm. Breakfast is your regular assortment of made-to-order eggs, waffles, toast, and fruit. Lunch and dinner featured rice, black beans, salad, chicken/beef/pork/fish served in enchiladas/tacos/burritos. The food was cooked fresh and was absolutely delicious. If you have dietary restrictions, the surf school staff will be more than willing to accommodate them. Also, everyone eats lunch and dinner together.

Lodging – The cabanas are minimalist. Each cabana has a bed, bedside tables, futon, shelves, a small fridge, a safe, two ceiling fans and a full bathroom. There are no televisions in the rooms, and honestly, when you are in this sub-tropical paradise, the last thing you want to do is watch television. Each day the room is kept while you are out surfing the morning session.

Other Stuff to Do – If there is something you want to do, whether it is fishing, zip-lining, horseback riding, getting a massage, etc., talk to Tanallo. He is the instructor, equipment manager, and local hookup extraordinaire. When he’s not out on the water teaching, he is usually in the board room repairing surf boards. Having lived there his whole life, he knows the area intimately and will not steer you wrong. I highly recommend taking an afternoon off to go zip-lining in Samara.

Final Thoughts – If I could do this trip over again, I would stay for two weeks instead of one. That is because I was just starting to get the hang of surfing, and one more week would have been invaluable toward helping me become more consistent at catching waves. However, I will never forget the moment when I caught my first wave. It was shoulder high, and as I rode down the face, the instructors who were all close by and some of the more experienced students started hooting and hollering. They were as stoked for me as I was for myself about that wave. I will truly miss surfing with them, and cannot wait to go back.

If you go, there is a good chance that you will have the most fun you have ever had.

Pura Vida.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
5 Thank Junaid H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 October 2012

My family has been to the surf school 7 times. My daughter was 10 the first year. I compare this trip to a ski trip but it is warm and you don't need to schlep anything but a bathing suit and a few t-shirts. Every trip is memorable. The boards and instruction are top notch. We all were surfing within the first hour. The water is warm and the "wave machine" runs 24/7. The waves are fun for beginners (white water) and expert surfers. This trip is not for every family. While the accommodations are comfortable and beautiful, they are not luxurious. Meals are surfed buffet style and with only 6 rooms all of the guests get to know each other. This is a surf camp so the main activity is surfing. If you don't like surfing you can sit or jog on the beach, go horseback riding, relax at the pool, or go to a yoga class. There is not much in the way of shopping in Nosara and no place to wear fancy clothes. Flip flops and a sun dress are about as formal as things get! Enjoy!

Room Tip: All rooms are the same.
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
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1 Thank Heidi R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jackson, Wyoming
1 review
Reviewed 11 July 2012

Staff, surf, food, poolside rancho for afternoon siestas, and the other guests all made our 10th anniversary EXCELLENT in every way!! We wanted to quickly improve as surfers and the one on one instruction plus the warm water and consistent waves made this dream a reality.

We were there in early July and there was a head high to slightly overhead swell that presented plenty of challenge but the waves are forgiving. Plus, the surf coaches helped you pick out just the right waves that would allow for challenge but success. Whether staying inside the outer break or getting out into the bigger surf, the coaching and then release to try on our own allowed for tons of growth and confidence.

The surf school's welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff made us feel immediately part of their family. Collin (manager/owner's son) has created a relaxed but professional surf retreat that delivers!!!

Room Tip: All rooms are great.
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank greg p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ny
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 July 2012

One Of my top vacations!! Everyone was Great the instruction was very informative 1 ON 1 great way to learn. I can't talk any more highly about it. I have recomended it to every one that ask about it. I enjoyes it so much i will be going back in 7 monthes can't wait.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Neil_GNy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Corky Carroll's Surf School

Property: Corky Carroll's Surf School
Address: Playa Guiones, Nosara 53211, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Nosara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Nosara
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are the original surfing vacation of the Nosara area. A family owned and operated establishment. We provide comfortable hospitality in our private property, eating meals with other guests creating an interactive environment. All the surf lessons you need are included, cooks are on-site ready for you, beer and juice are included and your transportation once arriving Costa Rica. A family who surfs together sticks together. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Corky Carroll's Surf School Costa Rica/Nosara

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