Despite what many think, surf travel doesn’t have to break the bank if you go to the cheapest surf destination. In fact, many of the world’s best waves are located in some of the world’s cheapest travel destinations. This is just as well because surf travel costs add up if you’re not budget savvy. From your accommodation, plane ticket, surf coaching, food, transport, surf equipment, and non-surfing excursions, not to mention any annoying added costs like the dreaded airline surfboard baggage fees!
However, don’t let all these costs make you think you better give your next trip a miss. But don’t stress; I’m not going to tell you the only way to score waves on a shoestring is to sleep on the beach, live off Mie Goreng noodles and take 12-hour night buses. While this will all help you afford your next trip (trust me, I’ve done my fair share of them), there’s a much better way to afford your next surf trip.
By choosing your destination strategically and utilizing some budget surf travel best practices, you can travel and score waves in the world’s cheapest surf trip destinations for just a few hundred bucks! In this post, we dive into the world’s cheapest surf towns, from where to go, where to stay, the waves you’ll be surfing, and the typical costs involved. A lot goes into making cheap surf trips happen, so let’s get down to it.
The Most Affordable Surf Towns in The World
As a budget surf traveler, you must avoid expensive surf destinations such as Taihiti, the Mentawais, and the Maldives. While these are all dreamy surf trips, they’ll cost you an arm and a leg. However, there are several affordable surf destinations across the globe where you can core world-class waves without getting into debt. Here are the very best and cheapest surf destinations.
Just a short flight from Europe, you can tap into a whole new world: a unique culture and a coastline with several world-class points. If you’re a fan of endless right points, warm sunny skies, great food, friendly locals, and low living costs, Morocco is for you. In the small town of Tagazhout, you can stay for $15-20usd and eat for $5 per meal. Pretty cool, right?
In town, there are countless restaurants, hostels, and Airbnbs where you can walk to a couple of waves in town or hitchhike further up the coast. Taghazout is famous for the incredible Anchor Point, a super long right point with lucious walls and sessions for turns and tubes. Taghazout is one of the best places to score epic waves on a shoestring, especially if you’re coming from Europe!
Popoyo is a budget surf travelers’ paradise—a wave-rich stretch of coast in southern Nicaragua and a spot attracting surfers for decades. Here, the wind blows offshore 300+ days per year, and the spot variety is insane. From beginner-friendly bays, super fun A-frame reef breaks, and thumping hollow beachies–Popoyo has it all! Oh, and you’ll be able to stay a stone’s throw from some of the best breaks for less than $20 per night. When it comes to affordable surf towns, you’ll be hard-pushed to find a better option than Popoyo, particularly if you’re coming from North America.
Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Known for its thumping beach break of Playa Zicatela, Puerto Escondido is famous in the surfing world for hosting one of the heaviest beach breaks in the world, and even on small days, the beachie here packs a punch! Seriously, I surfed it last year and have never been so scared in 3-foot waves! What many people don’t know, however, is that Puerto is an affordable surf town with vibrant nightlife and an epic backpacker scene. So if you’re looking for great waves and a party vibe, Puerto is excellent when your bank balance is less than favorable.
In town (Centro), there are several hostel accommodations with dorm rooms for less than $15 per night. Not bad for putting yourself in the heart of one of the world’s best surf towns. You can grab a plate of Tacos for less than $5, and beers are only $1-2 a bottle. Not bad, huh? Whether looking for the barrel of your life or learning surfing for the first time, you can do it in Puerto.
Cheapest Surf Destinations in Europe
Europe, while not synonymous with budgets urf travel, there are a few areas where you can score world-class waves on a shoestring with some planning and budget surf travel skills.
Arguably the capital of European surfing, Peniche is known for the barreling beach break of Supertubos. Supertubos is a fantastic wave and hosts the WSL CT every March. However, there are countless other waves in the vicinity, perfect for beginners and intermediates. Baleal is a long crescent-shaped bay with peaks the length of it. Baleal boasts surf schools, cafes, and a large car park to hang out and watch the waves between surfs.
The perfect spot to chill, sip coffee and eat pastels. In town, check out Selina Hostel for a cheap but wicked palace to stay. You can find shared rooms for less than $20 per night, and you can make home-cooked meals for less than $5.
Biarttiz is a wicked surf town located in France’s South West. And while France is generally more expensive than most surf towns on our list, if you stay in a hostel and eat at the local bakeries (boulangeries), you can stay and surf excellent waves for less than $20 per day. The town is wicked, offering culture, mellow waves, and a relaxed vibe. If you’re after an epic place to soak up some European culture, surf easy waves, and drink fine wine–head to Biarritz, and you won’t be disappointed!
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
While technically part of Europe, The Canary Islands sit just off the coast of Africa and are perfectly positioned to receive the large and frequent North Atlantic winter swells. Among these islands is a gem of an island with dozens of epic waves scattered around it. Fuerteventura. The town of Corralejo is the main town on the island, and here, you’ll find any number of surf hostels with cheap dorm rooms. All within walking distance of shops, supermarkets, and several epic waves.
Most of the waves are powerful volcanic reef breaks! Rocky Point is an a-frame reef with peaks for all abilities; advanced surfers can surf out back, while beginners can surf the inside whitewater. Across the channel from Rockie’s, lies the jewel in the crown of Fuerteventura. Los Lobos. On its day, Lobos is a world-class right point with sections for tubes and turns. North along the coast, out of town, are countless set-ups, but I’ll let you hunt them for yourself.
Cheapest Places to Learn How to Surf
Bali has long been a budget surf traveler’s best friend and still is today. The island of the gods still boasts an affordable cost of living and is extremely popular with surfers of all abilities. Throw in warm tropical waters, the friendliest locals you’ll ever meet, and an abundance of beginner-friendly surf spots, and you have the recipe for the best (and cheapest) surf destinations on earth. As a beginner, check out Kuta or Canggu, but there are so many places to learn to surf in Bali; it’s silly. In my opinion, there is nowhere better to learn how to surf in the world.
Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is custom-made for beginner and intermediate surfers. The cost of living is low, the waves are mellow, the culture is unique, and the locals are among the friendliest and most welcoming on earth. The town of Hikkaduwa in the country’s southwest has several user-friendly beginner breaks, and countless surf schools offering lessons and hire equipment.
Another tropical surf paradise, a party town with perfect beginner-friendly waves right in town. The beachie is long, mellow, and forgiving, and there are many surf schools and hire shops in town. If you’re looking to learn how to surf, party, and hang out in the tropics, Montanita in Ecuador has everything you need. Prices are also super affordable; eat for less than $3, stay for $10, and surf your brains out.
Budget-friendly Surf Travel Tips
Sharing with friends is one way to save money on a surf trip. Whether you’re splitting fuel costs on a road trip, sharing a room, or cooking together, when you travel with a partner, friend, or in a group, you can split costs between you and save money.
Hostels are the best way to travel as a budget surf traveler. For instance, if you’re a solo surf traveler, you can stay in a shared dorm for a fraction of what you would pay for a hotel. Hostels are also an excellent place to meet others doing the same things as you.
Be Discount Savvy
Whether you need new surf equipment pre-trip or looking to book accommodation online, you can find many discount codes online. Always have this mindset whenever you make a booking online.
Surf travel can be affordable, and by choosing to travel to some of these destinations, you can get a fix of waves without breaking the bank. By choosing budget-friendly surf towns and putting these budget surf travel tips into practice, I hope this has helped you believe and make trips happen.
Dan Harmon is a content writer and full-time surf travel enthusiast. He travels the world full-time while creating surf content, traveling to the world’s best surf destinations, and hunting out some lesser-known corners. You can follow more of Dan’s travels over on his YouTube Channel, website, and Instagram.