Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Topics

Your Trip with Bodhi Surf

What does your surf school offer that sets it apart from all the others?
Bodhi Surf offers a smaller, more intimate surf school setting where we, the owners, are the ones sharing in your Costa Rica surfing experience. Our operations are based out of a small town that is still relatively untouched by tourism and we work to create a deeper understanding of the importance that small communities such as Bahia Ballena have in the big picture. We are committed to sustainable tourism: community involvement and environmental awareness are part of your experience with Bodhi Surf.
What does my trip include?
All Bodhi Surf vacations and retreats offer: the main activity (activities) of surf lessons and/or yoga classes, accommodations, meals (check vacation/retreat page for specifics), local transportation, snacks during surf sessions, Bodhi Surf t-shirt, guided walking tour of Bahia Ballena, a CD with pictures of your time in Bahia Ballena, and National Park entrance fee.
How long can I stay for?
Our standard packages and retreats are either six or seven nights; however you can create your custom Costa Rica vacation to fit your plans. Get in touch with us to create your custom vacation.
Do I have to sign up for a six night package to take lessons at Bodhi Surf School?
You do not. We have “walk-in” private and group lessons, as well as a 2-day Surf Clinic
Do I have to do both surfing and yoga?
No, you can do either or, or you can do both.

Before Leaving

Do I need a Visa?
The Costa Rican government does not require Visas for the majority of its foreign visitors; however, be sure to check requirements for your specific country. A good resource for this is the website for the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington DC, here.
Should I have traveler’s/health insurance?
It is always a good idea to have your own medical insurance. Costa Rica has a fairly developed health system which includes coverage for all of its citizens. As a visitor you will not be insured. Most standard procedures are not too expensive by the standards of developed countries, and is best to be prepared to pay up front.
Are there any immunizations/medicines recommended?
This is something that you should check with your personal health practitioner before traveling to Costa Rica. Most of the recommended immunizations are standard (such as Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Measles/Mumps/Rubella, and Tetanus-Diphtheria), but we recommend each individual check. Because it is a tropical country, you may be recommended to take malaria medicine, though Malaria has not been recorded for the area out of which Bodhi Surf School operates.
Do I need an electrical adapter?
If you are coming from anywhere in the Americas, you do not need an electrical adapter as Costa Rica operates on the 120 V/60 Hz system. If you are coming from Europe, Asia, or the Middle East, then you most likely need an adapter. To see if your electrical appliances will work in Costa Rica, you can check this website: http://www.kropla.com/electric2.htm

Costa Rica

Is the country safe?
Costa Rica is a very safe country indeed. As a more developed country than its other Central American neighbors, Costa Rica does not struggle as much with issues such as poverty, crime, and other problems that often coexist with underdevelopment.
Are the people friendly?
Costa Ricans pride themselves on being extremely friendly and welcoming towards those who visit their beautiful country. You can expect to encounter smiles, helpful advice, and a very high level of hospitality throughout the entire country.
What is the culture like?
Costa Rican culture is generally very happy, warm, and family-oriented. Costa Ricans love to show off their beautiful country which has many celebrations and cultural festivities. As a former Spanish colony, Costa Rica is a Roman-Catholic country with many of the country’s residents considering themselves religious. One thing to keep in mind is that, as a Latin American country, there is still a prevalent atmosphere of “machismo” or male dominance.
Is it cheap to travel?
While not as cheap as the other Central American countries, Costa Rica is still a relatively affordable destination.
Is it safe to travel with children?
Costa Rica is a very family-friendly country with plenty of family activities, child-friendly accommodations, and more.
What is the food like?
The traditional food is very simple: Ticos eat lots of meat, beans, and rice. Tourism is such a large industry in Costa Rica, so there are also lots of ethnic and gourmet restaurants in the larger and more touristy cities. Because the tap water in the majority of the country is potable (though we recommend you always check before drinking it), there are fewer sanitation issues in comparison to other Latin American countries.
What is the weather like/when is the best time to visit the country?
Depending on your preference, Costa Rica has a bit of everything (except snow, of course). From May to November, the climate is slightly cooler but also very rainy. From December to April it is very hot and dry for the most part. Also, the mountainous regions are generally cooler than the low-laying coastal areas.

Surfing in the Area

Is it dangerous?
Bahia Ballena is a very safe beach to surf at, which is why it is such a prime spot to learn.  While surfing has its risks, many of these risks can be minimized by being aware, having basic ocean safety knowledge, and remaining calm.
Are there any dangerous marine animals?
There are marine animals that can be dangerous to humans everywhere in the ocean. We will also teach you techniques of how to stay safe while sharing the ocean with marine animals.
Do I need to bring any surf gear? What does the lesson include?
The lesson includes all of the equipment necessary for surfing, including surfboard, wax, and leash. Basic items you should bring include: sunscreen, a comfortable bathing suit, and a towel. Petty theft is common throughout Costa Rica so we recommend leaving valuables at the hotel or at our office.
How big are the waves?
The waves average around 2-4 feet, though on any given day they can be bigger or smaller, depending on the swell.

Bahia Ballena

How far is Bodhi Surf located from the San Jose airport?
Driving via the coastal route it is about 3.5 hours from San Jose to Bahia Ballena, home of Bodhi Surf.
What else is there to do in Bahia Ballena?
You can go on a boat and whale watching tour, go horseback riding, take a canopy or kayak tour, go diving or snorkeling, and practice yoga. There are also nature hikes, such to a waterfall in the mountains east of Bahia Ballena. You can also relax on the beach, do some shopping in the nearby markets, and surf at breaks in the Costa Ballena region.
Is there a bank/internet place nearby?
Yes, in the town of Uvita (which is practically attached to Bahia Ballena) there are several bank options and as well as internet cafes.
Are there dangerous animals?
As Costa Rica is still quite pristine, there is a lot of wildlife in the country, considered to be one of it’s best features by most visitors. While many of these animals are completely harmless to humans, there are a few that can be dangerous. As a smaller town, Bahia does have some animals, though they generally tend to stay away from humans as they are more scared of us than we are of them. The best policy is to be aware of your surroundings. You can also ask the locals when in doubt.
Are there lots of bugs?
You can expect to see some bugs. The best policy is to keep your bags off of the floor, check your bed at night, and generally be aware of your surroundings. Mosquitoes are not a big problem in the area of Bahia Ballena.
Is there crime?
While crime is something that cannot be predicted, Costa Rica in general has very little serious crime, and this region in particular is very calm. In any case, one thing to know is that petty crime exists all over the country. Be sure to lock up when you leave your hotel and always watch your belongings on the beach and on public transportation.
When is the best time to travel?
This depends on what your personal preference is for weather. The months of May to November are cooler and wetter, and December to April is hotter and drier. Also, keep in mind that as a Roman Catholic country, religious holidays are widely celebrated, so these times can be a bit “crazier.” It is helpful to check local listings for what is going on in the area that you are going to at specific times of the year. As a smaller town, Bahia Ballena is fairly tranquil the whole year.
Is there any night life?
There are no nightclubs in the area, but there are several bars and other venues in Uvita and Dominical that provide fun night-life.
Can I do any community service there?
Volunteers are always welcome, please contact us if you are interested in contributing to the local community during your stay.
Bodhi Surf
700 meters southeast of Restaurant La Fogata Bahia BallenaOsa60504 Costa Rica 
 • +506-2743-8453