If you’re travelling around Central America then Costa Rica is a must visit destination.
Dreamsea Costa Rica is a surf camp located in the lush jungle less than a 10 minute drive from the town and beach of Tamarindo. When we read about it online, there was lots of reviews and everybody seemed to love it. So we made up the below guide to try and give anybody thinking of going to the camp an idea of how it all works!
How to Stay At Dreamsea Costa Rica
At Dreamsea Costa Rica you have a few different options as to how you can stay at the camp.
Dreamsea Experience Guests – Guests can book online direct via website and get the full experience with no extra charges. This includes accommodations, airport transportation, breakfast, dinner, surf lessons, surf equipment, yoga lessons, and special weekly excursions and surf trips. Depending on the package you select, prices can range anywhere from $595.00 USD/per week and up.
Bed & Breakfast – Bed & Breakfast guests can book directly via website and also via 3rd party booking sites. This option includes a simple combination of accommodation & breakfast, with the option to add-on your choice of dinner, and the above mentioned activities once in camp.
Volunteer – The best thing about Dreamsea Costa Rica is the volunteer program. This insures the camp is always full and buzzing with activity. It’s a big camp and there is a lot of tasks and chores that need to be done, and the volunteers provide the workforce needed. You can apply through their Instagram, Website or like us on WorkAway. There are two types of volunteers (Qualified & General), depending on your skill set and interest level. For general volunteers there is a weekly $104.00 USD meal contribution, and while you may be thinking $104.00 USD to volunteer is a bit steep, you get two amazing meals a day and your accommodation in exchange for an hours work (see job types below)! This is a bargain in Costa Rica, as a similar breakfast, bed and dinner in Tamarindo would cost you $50.00 USD/per day easy!
The Dreamsea Costa Rica Volunteer Placement
There are a handful of Qualified Volunteer positions at Dreamsea where you are exempt from the weekly meal contribution in exchange for a shred more of a weekly volunteer effort. These are:
Surf Instructor – As a Dreamsea surf instructor, you can expect to hold lessons for guests, manage board rentals, board maintenance, help with surf trips, and oversee board coordination for beach runs. Lessons are normally from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM on the main beach at Tamarindo, with the weekly work being spread out between all instructors on staff.
Yoga Instructor – Dreamsea yoga instructors organize and lead the daily yoga sessions, typically around 7:00 AM each morning in the jungle, and around sunset in the evenings, either at the beach, at the cliff lookout point, or on the camp’s special weekly trips.
Photographer/Videographer – In this role you are in charge of capturing photos and videos of the camp atmosphere, day to day life, excursions, surf trips, and other camp activities.
Social Media Director/Writer – While there are multiple volunteers in the above mentioned roles, Dreamsea carries just one volunteer in this role, and they can expect to work with the photographers to feature select photos on the camp’s social media accounts, along with contributing weekly blog posts for the website.
As noted, all other volunteers are considered general volunteers and are in charge of general camp upkeep and operations. Working hours for general volunteers are typically after breakfast (9:00 – 10:00) unless otherwise stated! Some of those tasks and roles are listed below:
Common Area – Rake the leaves that fall around the camp and keep the common areas clean.
Tents – This job involves preparing all guest tents to a high standard ready for customers.
Bar – Help out behind the bar in the nighttime (hours vary depending on night).
Kitchen Crew – There is both morning (7:30 AM – 8:45 AM) and dinner crews (6:30 PM – 7:45 PM). They handle food preparation, cooking and serving. No kitchen experience needed, and a really nice job to learn how to cook some exotic dishes!
Lavatories & Showers – Cleaning the lavatories and showers twice a day, as well as ensuring there is always the proper toiletries and lavatory necessities are available.
There may also be random jobs called for during your stay, so keep an open mind!
The Dreamsea Daily Schedule
It’s always nice to get a feel for how your trip will pan out day to day, so here’s an idea of what a normal day at DreamSea looks like:
6:00 AM – Morning surf (inquire with the staff the night before for details).
7:00 AM – Morning yoga in the jungle.
8:30 AM – Huge buffet-style breakfast consisting of fresh fruit, cereals, eggs, coffee and more followed by the morning meeting.
9:00 AM – Daily tasks/jobs.
10:30 AM – Morning runs to the beach begin in the Dreamsea shuttle (on days with no excursions/surf trips).
Throughout the day go surf, eat, swim and explore in Tamarindo.
6:00 PM – Shuttle runs begin back to camp (usually from El Chiringuito) where people usually shower and relax until dinner time.
7:30 PM – Dinner time! Each night there is a different meal focused on a worldly cuisine, and they are all delicious. Everyone at camp gathers for a feast and it was a highlight of each day for me. Following dinner there is a “tips” talk, where people share one piece of advice on photography, surfing, yoga and more. New camp members are introduced, too (have your favorite dance move ready)!
After dinner people start hanging out, socializing, playing beer pong or just chilling in the mango tree.
10:30 PM – Shuttles start going in to town to whatever place is good that night. Make use of Tamarindo’s ladies nights! Women drink free (and men bring some straws)!
1:00 AM – Shuttles start picking people up to head back to camp at the prearranged spot. Grab some BBQ chicken outside the bars first – Epic!
Surfing At Dreamsea Costa Rica
Many people come to Dreamsea Costa Rica because they want to learn to surf, or they can already surf and they want to get some waves in the Tamarindo area. The good news is that Dreamsea is great for both!
For beginners, you can book lessons through the surf camp. Just ask the guys, and they will arrange lessons for you. Prices vary depending on how many lessons you purchase, as bulk discounts are available.
These are the three main beaches in the area to surf at:
Playa Tamarindo – Perfect beginners beach right in the middle of the town. Nearly always waves here, but rarely gets very big. Good longboard waves, and occasionally on a shortboard when there is some swell.
Playa Langosta – Easy 15 minute walk from Tamarindo. The wave breaks on a river mouth and is a nicely shaped, powerful wave with the odd barrel section going. It’s good fun, and a popular destination for the morning surf!
Playa Grande – You can take the $1 boat ride across the estuary from Tamarindo to Playa Grande (beware of crocs if paddling across!). Playa Grande is a really fun beach, with multiple peaks breaking the full length of it, generally getting more powerful the further north you go. Find an empty peak and enjoy the isolation of Grande, for sure my favorite of the three beaches.
Weekly Dreamsea Excursions & Surf Trips
Every week, Dreamsea Costa Rica takes full-paying Dreamsea Experience guests (included in package), and any B&B guests or volunteers who are interested for one special excursion and one special surf trip to different noteworthy destinations across the nearby region of Guanacaste.
Excursions are days where campers take off on a bus to different destinations for a day full of adventure. There are lots of different excursions, and they are a great way to see different parts of Costa Rica. They can include cliff jumping, hiking, waterfalls, hot springs, and mud baths among other activities. Volunteers have the option to pay a discounted rate for the excursions, and the price varies depending on the trip.
There is also one special weekly surf trip the camp organizes. Playa Avellanas, Playa Negra, and Playa Marbella are among the common trips.
Make the most of the excursions and surf trips when they happen as it is a great way to see different areas and sights within Costa Rica!
Random Dreamsea Tips!
- If you want a cheap lunch while in town during the day, find the red car! It’s ¢2,000 for an enormous typical Costa Rican style meal
- Take lots of bug spray with you, they tend to come out at night
- Play Flunkyball! you won’t regret it (except maybe the next morning)
- Light sleeper? Take ear plugs. They’re called Howler Monkeys for a reason!
- Learn something new that day? Get up and share it during the “tips” time
- Enjoy the Tamarindo nightlife! Even if you are not a big drinker, going out with the crew is the best way to make friends and have a good laugh the next day.
Well that’s all! These are just a couple of things I would have liked to have known before I went to Dreamsea, and I hope it has helped. The best thing about Dreamsea is the people in it. We went to Nicaragua with a few mates we made there, and three of them are coming to Ireland to visit in a few weeks. If you’re thinking about going, don’t think anymore, just book it. You will have the time of your life!
THE WORDS: This feature was written by Charlie Downes, who is from Ireland and is an avid-surfer and world traveler. You can follow his incredible journey via his travel-based website titled Lost & Stoked and also his personal INSTAGRAM.