Relaxed and stylish family surf hotel in Costa Rica
Make yourself at home in a boutique surf hotel just footsteps from the surf peaks of Playa Grande. Stretch out in the yoga shala, chill out in a hammock and sample traditional Tico cuisine in the treetop restaurant. Expert surfing instructors can teach children as young as four, or you can hire a babysitter and sneak out for a grown-up surf session.
- BE THERE
- SURF & BEACHES
- FOOD & DRINK
- THINGS TO DO
- KIDS SAY
- WE SAY
Relaxed and stylish family surf hotel in Costa Rica
Location: Playa Grande, Tamarindo
Transfer: About an hour from Liberia International Airport (LIR), or 4 hours from San Jose (SJO).
Family friendly: All ages
Climate: Av. temp 30C.
Best time to go: Nov–July. November to February is best for smaller swells and wall-to-wall sunshine, with Christmas holidays being peak season. February to May are quieter months with better swells. May–August is considered ‘Green’ season, but there is a ‘mini summer’ in July with dry spells, balmy temperatures and good swells, which makes it one of our favourite times.
Surf level: Beginner to advanced.
Other activities: Horse-riding, watersports, boat trips, turtle watching and wildlife tours.
Time zone: GMT -6
Want to BE THERE? Read our blog.
RipJack Inn is a small and friendly hotel with 21 rooms and suites.
- Best for larger families is the self-contained bungalow, sleeping up to 5 in two bedrooms with Queen-size beds, with a small patio and spa shower.
- We love the two large Family Suites beside the swimming pool. Sleeping 4, these are decked out a living area, kitchenette and a private patio (perfect for keeping an eye on the kids in the pool).
- Deluxe can also rooms sleep up to 4, with two queen-size beds, a sofa and a small fridge.
- Standard rooms have a Queen-size bed, one single bed and a patio – these are perfect for budget-conscious families with just one child.
- All rooms have a coffee maker and air-con.
The vibe is tropical and relaxed, with everything you need from two swimming pools, to table tennis, hammocks to relax in and a treetop restaurant.
- A yoga shala with a daily timetable from Vinyasa to Yin (drop in $15 per class/ 3 classes $40 /5 classes for $60)
- A tree-top restaurant serving delicious Tico cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Ping pong, hammocks, a little shop for beach basics.
- Rejuvenate with a deep-tissue massage, sports massage or relaxation massage.
- Beach towels and free wifi.
- Babysitting service ($10 per hour)
- It’s footsteps along a sandy track to the stunning palm-fringed Playa Grande, a surfing Mecca and part of the Park Nacional Marino Las Baulas.
- This thee miles of golden sands is world-famous for its surf and for being one of Costa Rica’s key nesting sites for leatherback turtles (November to mid February).
- Perfect for families, it’s un-crowded – and the waves get mellower the further south you venture. Swells are smaller from December to February and more challenging from March onwards.
- The sunsets are blazing – make sure you sit on the shoreline or even enjoy them on your board in the ocean.
- It’s a short hop by panga boat over the estuary to the surf hub of Tamarindo.
Surfing lessons are run by the experts at Frijoles Locos (frijoleslocos.com) surf school.
- Frijoles Locos provide excellent instruction for children as young as 4.
- Lessons will be conducted at the breaks best suited to your ability.
- Group lessons from $40pp/ semi-private lessons from $55pp/ private lessons $120.
- Playa Grande has four different surf breaks along the 3-mile stretch of beach.
- The main break is best for intermediates and advanced surfers, while beginners can head further south along the beach.
- Tamarindo, just across the estuary (hop over on a little panga boat) is home to a great beginner break but it gets super crowded.
- Babysitting is available if you want to sneak out for a solo session.
Sip smoothies in your salty beach wear or tuck into a three-course seafood feast in the open-air treetop restaurant.
- Family-friendly dishes including traditional Tico cuisine using ingredients from the land and sea.
- From breakfast burritos to Costa Rican specialities, food is served all day, from menus scrawled on floor-to-ceiling blackboards (from garlic shrimps and fish tacos, to nachos and tuna steaks).
- Happy hour is popular, with bargain beers, cocktails and tapas plates.
- With a nod to RipJack’s eco-friendly values, the ingredients are local and food packaging and takeaway cups are made from corn starch and avocado seeds.
- The kids’ menu includes favourites such as meatballs and pizzas.
- Food served all day 8am–9pm.
When you’re not surfing, stretching out in a yoga class or stretching out in a hammock, there’s plenty to do on the doorstep.
- Go snorkelling on the famous Playa Conchal (about 30 minutes’ drive north).
- It’s a short hop by panga boat to Tamarindo – arguably Costa Rica’s most popular surf town, with great waves and an array of cafés, bars and seafood restaurants.
- About 45 minutes’ south is Playa Avellana, dubbed one of the most stunning beaches in Costa Rica.
- Take a 4WD ATV tour along the Gold Coast.
- Swing through the tree tops on a canopy tour.
- Hop aboard a sunset sailing trip.
- Encounter wildlife on a horse riding adventure.
- Try all sorts of watersports including snorkelling, paddleboarding and fishing.
- Spot crocodiles, visit National Parks and dip in hot springs.
“With two swimming pools, expert surfing tuition, a daily yoga timetable and lip-smacking food served in the tree-top bar and restaurant, RipJack Inn is an amazing location for a family surfing holiday. On our trip in December the waves were two-foot every, and I surfed from sunrise to sunset every day.”
Oli, surfer, aged 10.
“This is honestly family surfing utopia. An easy hour’s drive from Liberia international airport, RipJack Inn is perfectly situated and one of our top locations for family surfing holidays. The staff are friendly, the beach is vast and amazing, the waves were perfect little A-frames and the sunsets dreamy. Frijoles Locos surf school was amazing with the kids, and the family suite was the perfect accommodation for four of us. It’s a must for the family surfing bucket list.”
Hayley Lawrence, surfer mum of 3.