LAIDBACK AND OFFBEAT
Legendary Surf Towns
Follow the surf-board-toting crowd, and wherever you land, you'll find a great vibe. Not to mention plenty of sun, sand, and good eats. Surfer Kimball Taylor takes you on a guided tour.
Sleep: Set just outside an 815-acre wildlife reserve, Hacienda Barú Lodge has a butterfly garden, bird-watching hikes, and some of the most beautiful orchids you'll ever see—all within walking distance of the beach (215-8000 San Isidro de P. Z., 011-506/2787-0003, haciendabaru.com, cabins for two $47).
Fuel up: Tortilla Flats, right on Dominical Beach, is the go-to spot for a sandwich and a drink. Surfers love its California Chicken sandwich, a baguette with grilled chicken, avocado, tomatoes, and mozzarella (Playa Dominical, 011-506/2787-0033, tortillaflatsdominical.com, sandwiches from $5.50).
Hang out: San Clemente Bar and Grill is the original surfer hangout, with a pool table, a ping-pong table, darts, broken surfboards hanging from the ceiling, and surf videos playing on the TVs (next to the soccer field on the main road, 011-506/2787-0055).
Surf: When you take a surfing lesson from Green Iguana Surf Camp, you get use of the board for a full 24 hours. Don't worry about storing it—most local hotels have designated surfboard areas or will let you keep it in your room overnight (011-506/8825-1381, greeniguanasurfcamp.com, two-hour lessons from $40).