Favorite places to catch some waves
Our Content Director and amateur surfer Arestia Rosenberg shares some of the best places she’s traveled to for surfing.
There’s a reason some surfers spend their entire lives traveling in search of the perfect wave. Once you catch your first unbroken wave, the sea has a hold on you and you’re hooked for life. I feel the most present in my body and my mind when I’m surfing. I’m focused only on watching for waves and letting my body naturally move in a way it knows it’s supposed to. Surfing for me has become a therapy, a way to be with nature, and has the magical ability to make my entire day better. I just completed a 30 days of dawn challenge, surfing every day at dawn . Some days I felt sore, cold, or tired, but I never once regretted rising with the sun to catch some waves. And I can’t tell you how much my surfing has improved in such a short time – consistency is key!
When people think of surfing, they often imagine summer being the best time, but actually, here in Los Angeles, autumn is one of the best times for surfing. At this time, we get both north and south swells coming in, providing for some bigger, great waves. The surf right now isn’t just solid here, but in many spots around the world too, like the epic Nazarene, Portugal which has been huge this fall. But the best part about surfing this time of year is avoiding the crowds. So put on a wetsuit and imagine yourself some of my favorite surf spots around the world. Perhaps one will be your trip in 2021?
Todos Santos, Mexico
Up the road a bit from Cabo San Lucas (where you fly into) is the magical beach town of Todos Santos. I’m mentioning it first because the swell here in the fall here is also great. You can find Mario Surf School right on the beach for both rentals and lessons. Not only is Todos Santos a great spot for surfing (and watching for whale spouts), but it also has a burgeoning art scene. Wander around the galleries and shops, eat cheap and delicious tacos at OG Tacos, and enjoy the fancy margaritas at the Todos Santos Inn. (Read more about Todos Santos on our founder’s Travel Diary blog post.)
Once a sleepy surf town, Canggu Bali has become a lot more lively over the past five years. It’s a great spot to catch island vibes and especially good if you have to work (or are a digital nomad) as there is a great coworking space there called Dojo Bali (still worth stopping by even if you’re not working for post-surf acai bowls at Nalu Bowls located inside). Along the southeastern side of the island, the surf is pretty consistent, with a ton of great spots like Batu Balong or Double Sixes. Right in Canggu is Old Man’s which is fun for any level and you can rent a board close by at Old Man’s Surf Rental.
Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Cabarete is known for kitesurfing, but the nearby Encuentro beach is great for surfing. There are a couple of places on the beach offering lessons or board rentals, and no need for a reservation. Just be sure to bring booties or water shoes – there’s coral here. When you’re done surfing, head back into town and to Vagamundo, a beautiful coffee shop with great coffee, healthy salads, delectable waffles, and good wifi. (To see all my Cabarete recommendations, check out my Story on Portico.)
Nosara, Costa Rica
I did a surf camp here with Barefoot Surf Travel, which really helped take my surfing to the next level. I caught those Costa Rican “pura vida” vibes hard and fell in love with Nosara—Playa Guiones to be exact. It was a cute surf town that never had bad waves, so much so that I surfed twice a day every day. Nosara is also great for yoga and I loved taking a few classes at Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort. (Check out my Story on Portico for all my favorites.)
While I already commented on the nearby Nazarene, you can find much tamer and still super fun waves at nearby Sintra. Known for its incredible castles (which you MUST see, like the Palacio da Pena, Quinta da Regaleira, and the Castelo dos Mouros, just to name a few), Sintra is located just outside of Lisbon (you can take the metro). My go-to spot was Praia Grande and not only were the waves consistent, but it was also an incredibly beautiful spot.
All I did in Biarritz was eat and surf and it was one of my best trips ever. It’s a gorgeous little seaside town and the surf at Plage de la Côte des Basques is epic. Walk there from downtown and you’ll see a bunch of places giving lessons and renting boards. When you’re done, toast to your surf session with a glass of rose at the oceanside Eden Rock Cafe. If you’re into oysters, head to Bar Jean.
Venice Beach, California, USA
I had to include my home beach spot. I’ll be honest, Venice can be pretty inconsistent, but any level of surfer can have a good time here. And you’ll see all kinds of levels surfing at the local spot, The Breakwater, just off the famed boardwalk. Surf is best on a mid-tide here so if that means you need to do dawn patrol as I do, you’ll find me getting a coffee pre or post-surf at Menotti’s, right by the famous Venice sign.