Kalon! We started to miss you before we even left! If you're looking to make a long story short: this place is astonishing and wonderful. Book a trip now.
This is the kind of place you leave and can't really even talk about properly for a few days because you're still "processing." That's how amazing it was. My wife and I got back a few days ago, but it's been hard to coherently put into words all of the ways this place totally kills it. I'm writing an extremely long review because there are just too many good thoughts in my head that I need to share! Here I go:
The Surfing Experience
Probably the most obvious place to start. It's not a stretch to say you WILL learn to surf here. My wife and I had minor experience surfing before we came, but the other guests were at a variety of experience levels from total beginner to old hat. We all improved like crazy. Everyone stood up, everyone learned great form, and everyone went home feeling great! Kalon has a precise method for teaching you to surf and the instructors do a flawless job of working with you every day to make sure you get the key steps down. Whatever your level of experience, physical fitness, coordination, balance, etc., they will get you up on that board!
The surfing experience itself is 5 full days of about 4 hours each. You can spend as much of that time as you want in or out of the water and the amazing instructors are tireless and awesome about sticking with you as long as you have the energy to stay out. I personally needed a few breaks back on the sand every day, and you'll want to do the same because Kalon provides amazing snacks, fresh juices, and lunch right on the beach. Coming in from the ocean exhausted from a few hours of surfing feels amazing when you are handed fresh slices of pineapple and water to cool off.
Not only does Kalon teach you to surf on the beach, they take extensive video every day and review with you the following day to provide recommendations. Whatever level you're at, a video review does amazing things for improvement. Kalon also sends you all of the pictures and videos to download and they look fantastic (even if you don't!).
The Hotel Experience
The hotel is more of a house, but it's the perfect arrangement for the kind of experience Kalon provides. Only 6 rooms means there are not that many guests, and the common dining and lounge areas means you'll have tons of opportunities to to get to know your fellow travelers (housemates?). I was initially a little worried, since I don't normally make new friends while travelling. But by putting everyone into close contact against the backdrop of surf lessons, Kalon ends up providing an environment where everyone bonds and is extremely supportive of their fellow travelers. If you've ever been to summer camp, you may feel some of the same emotions when it's time to leave Kalon. Sad to be leaving friends and a bit nostalgic about the week you just had.
This one is a no-brainer. All of the meals are prepared by extremely talented in-house chefs and almost every single meal blew our minds! Fresh juices squeezed from all manner of tropical fruits, amazing fish, snacks... Luckily with all the surfing every day, you hopefully won't gain any weight.
Saved the best for last. The staff really deserves a special mention for truly making Kalon unlike anywhere else I've ever been. Unlike the staff at most hotels, the Kalon team will become your friends almost instantly. The surf instructors are friendly and supportive, and generally ended up spending time at the house with us after sessions to either help with dinner or just get to know us. They are wonderful, charming people who somehow mix impeccable service with the ability to connect to the guests personally. Just try not to make friends with them. Char, Andres, Henry, Esmerelda, and everyone else. You'll end up on a first name basis with them too, and they all do an amazing job. Kalon hires the best.
I'm not even getting into the amazing natural beauty of Costa Rica, the overall value the hotel provides for your money, the sweet house dogs who come to the surf lessons, and about a million and one other things that utterly blew us away.
Any downsides? I don't think so. I guess the free wi-fi was kind of slow, but I can't imagine you'll care. I would say it's pretty much impossible to come here and worry about things like having an internet connection.
For those worried about safety in international travel, Costa Rica is about as safe as it gets.
Just book it. We're already trying to figure out how to come back.
Your destination awaits
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We enjoy perfect year-round conditions, with outside temperatures averaging 82 - 88°F (28 - 33°C). Meanwhile, the ocean hovers around 78°F (27°C). And, of course, the waves are perfect.