Planning your next surf trip? Here are 10 cheap surf travel destinations to score some epic waves for all levels without breaking the bank!
Looking for some ideas for cheap surf travel destinations and want to score some epic waves without breaking the bank?
From mellow beginner friendly surf spots, to world class waves, here are 9 awesome surf destinations to consider for your next cheap surf travel adventure
9 Cheap Surf Travel Destinations – Epic Waves On A Budget!
Sri Lanka – Perfect For All Levels
Best For: Beginners and fun waves
Main Surf Areas: Ahangama, Weligama, Arugam Bay
Surf Season: Oct – May (South Coast) & May – Oct (East Coast)
If you’re looking for a cheap surf travel destination where you can learn to surf, and that offers plenty of fun waves for beginners and intermediates to progress your skills then Sri Lanka ticks all the boxes and would certainly be my top pick.
With rolling beach breaks for learners and deep water reef for those looking to get to grips with green waves and turns – there are a whole host of spots to choose from.
Local guesthouses and hostels are super budget friendly and not only is the local cuisine super cheap, it’s incredibly tasty and varied too.
Board rentals is from as little ast SU$5 a day and local instructors are plentiful if you need a cheap surf lesson too.
Philippines – Island Paradise
Best For: Island vibes
Main Surf Areas: Siargao
Surf Season: July – Dec
An absolute island paradise, the Philippines is a dreamy budget surf destination, filled with palm trees and clear blue waters.
Siargao is still the epi-centre of the Philippines surf scene.
Although lessons are available this wouldn’t be my top pick for those looking to learn to surf as many of the spots are shallow reef breaks. Intermediate and advanced surfers will have heaps of fun and variety to choose from – with the world class Cloud 9 being the jewel in the crown.
Indonesia – world class waves
Best For: World class waves
Main Surf Areas: Bali, Lombok and Mentawais
Surf Season: April – Oct
When it comes to cheap surf travel and world class waves, Bali and Indonesia really don’t need much of an introduction, with more iconic surf spots than I care to list off!
Although not as cheap as it once was, Bali and Indo on a budget are still certainly possible – with guesthouses and local warungs being the go to for cheap food and accomodation.
For those looking for more adventure and even better bang for their buck, the further out of the Bali bubble you get, the easier things are on your wallet – with neighbouring islands like Java, Lombok and Sumbawa offering some incredible breaks and cheap day to day living costs.
This is certainly one of the top picks for experienced surfers looking for consistent, pumping waves.
Ecuador – Latino Vibes
Best For: Super fun culture
Main Surf Areas: Montanita
Surf Season: Dec – April
Having done a few seasons of coaching in Montanita, Ecuador is somewhere I’m always keen to venture back to and is certainly an epic Souther American option for those looking for a cheap surf trip.
With tasty local food, a huge range of accomodation options and nights filled with salsa and Latino vibes it’s a great place to spend some time chasing waves.
The coast has a variety of options for all levels too, so whether you’re taking your first steps into surfing on a beach break like Olon or looking for pumping point break perfection, Ecuador has something for you, and it’s easy to get off the beaten track and score some empty waves too.
Peru – All The Lefts!
Best For: Reeling left handers
Main Surf Areas: Mancora and Lobitos
Surf Season: Oct – March
And if you do end up in Ecuador, or want an alternative in South America, Peru is another awesome cheap surf destination.
As a goofy footer, this place was an absolute dream – with iconic left hand points like Mancora and Lobitos offering up some leg burning long rides, with minimal crowds.
Hostels like Loki in Mancora offer all the comforts of home and social vibes with waves right on the doorstep, and all whilst being super easy on the travel budget too.
Morocco – So Many Surf Spots!
Best For: Euro based surfers
Main Surf Areas: Taghazout and Tamraght
Surf Season: Sept – March
A favourite cheap surf travel option for those based in Europe, Morocco not only offers cheap prices on the ground, but the flights to get there are solid value too, with low budget airlines such as Easyjet offering routes in both Marrakech and Agadir.
The focus of things is certainly the Taghazout and Tamraght area, which is one of the most wave rich sections of coastline I’ve ever experienced.
Rolling beach breaks and an abundance of surf camps make it ideal for learners, whilst more experienced surfers have the likes of Boilers, Draculas and the iconic Anchor Point serving up some incredible waves.
Refuel post surf with some tasty (and cheap) tagine and a a refreshing glass of mint tea!
Check out my Taghazout Surf Guide here
South Africa – Heaps Of Adventure
Best For: Off the beaten track adventure
Main Surf Areas: Cape Town, J’Bay and Durban
Surf Season: April – Sept
If you’re looking for some awesome adventure along with your cheap surf trip, South Africa is certainly another curveball option.
The Garden Route from Cape Town up to Durban is packed full of awesome surf towns to visit and a whole variety of waves to enjoy. Beginners will love the mellow beach breaks of Muizenberg in Cape Town, Coffee Bay offers up empty perfection, and then of course the world class points of J’Bay in the mix too.
Budget wise it’s surprisingly cheap too and you can eat out pretty cheap (easily under US$10 per meal) and most hostels have cooking facilities too which certainly keeps the cost down.
Your main expense if you’re doing a big overland adventure will be your transport between destinations, and all the other non surfing activities that South Africa has to offer!
Maldives – Not As Pricey As You’d Expect
Best For: a surprisingly budget surf trip
Main Surf Areas: Thulusdhoo and Himmafushi
Surf Season: March – Nov
Now the Maldives is going to be a curveball option for a lot of people when it comes to cheap surf trips – but if you hit up the local island options instead of the luxury resorts, prices are much more affordable than you might think.
Spots like Himmafushi and Thulusdhoo have access to some incredible waves like Coke, Sultans, Honkys and Jails with a double, A/C room from US$25 a night per person, including breakfast and a daily surf transfer!
Local island restaurants are limited with their menu compared to some of the other locations on this list, but still serve up plenty of tasty meals and you’ll be kicking back in the Maldives, which is a trade most are willing to make!
…a far cry from the high end resorts which charge upwards of $800 per night.
Check out my Maldives Surf Guide here
Nicaragua – Central American Wave Magnet
Best For: American based surfers
Main Surf Areas:
Surf Season: April – Nov
For those based in the US, or heading that way Nicuragua offers a great cheap surf travel spot and is certainly much easier on the wallet than its more famous neighbour of Costa Rica.
Local food is cheap and tasty and a meal with a cold post surf beer will usually set you back around US$5.
When it comes to destinations to head within Nicaragua, spots like Playa Maderas offer the widest range of budget accomodation (and surf camp options) but San Juan del Sur is certainly the most famous place to head if you’re looking for a lively, social vibe.
When it comes to the waves there’s something for al levels – with fun beach breaks at Playa Madera (closest to San Juan del Sur) and or punchy peaks at the likes of Playa Colorado, Popoyo and Playa Santana.
Things to keep in mind when planning
If you’re planning a cheap surf travel trip there are a few key things to keep in mind as well, which can change depending on where you are based in the world…
This is a big one and even the cheapest surf travel destination can jump up in price if the flights to get there and back are pricey!
If you’re based in Europe spots like Morocco and Sri Lanka are going to be cheapest for flights, whereas Aussies are going to be able to hop to Indonesia on some super cheap flight deals and Americans have cheap and easy access to Central and South America.
Surfboard baggage allowances
Along with flight prices, it’s also worth making sure you research surfboard baggage allowances too – as sometimes the cheapest flight might actually end up stinging you heaps to bring your quiver along for the ride!
An easy example of this is Jetstar and Virgin Australia. Jetstar usually have cheaper base fares but don’t include surfboards as part of the baggage allowance. Virgin on the other hand do, and usually by the time I’ve added that all in, Virgin ends up being the better deal.
Some of my favourite airlines for travelling with surfboards are Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar, all of which have generous baggage allowance which include boards. Double check the length restrictions though!
Length Of Stay
Length of stay might also be a big factor in the overall budget, but staying longer can actually make your trip even cheaper, at least if you consider daily budget.
This is mainly due to the factor some of your bigger costs (such as flights and transport) will then be spread across a longer time period, reducing the amount it adds to your daily budget.
For example, if your flights are £1,000 and you’re staying just a week, this will be adding £142 to your daily spend. Stay a month and this drops to just £35! And if your living costs are on the ground are cheap (which they should be in most of the above surf spots) you’ll get better value for money on a longer trip!
Surf season – is it best season for weather as well?
Not budget related, but another key thing to keep in mind is the surf season for where you’re heading also rainy season too?
For spots like the Maldives peak surf season also coincides with rainy season, so you’re trading swell for weather. On the flipside spots like Sri Lanka and Indo have their peak swells during dry season – so you’ll be able to score waves and sunshine too.
Any spots for cheap surf travel you’d add to the list?