it’s no secret. As surfers, we love to travel. Chasing the dream of perfect waves with no one out is maybe the most overused cliché out there. But it’s based in truth. Travel is fun, and its good for you. Interacting with new people that might speak a different language, trying new foods, seeing new sights, and maybe scoring some fun waves make us better people.
Unfortunately, traveling costs money. But thanks to Kayak’s Explore feature it doesn’t have to break the bank. Kayak Explore is the travel site’s best kept secret. That’s because it’s difficult to navigate to from the site’s home page. But if you type kayak.com/explore into your browser, up comes a pretty powerful tool.
It allows you to enter your home airport, the time of year you’d like to travel, and price range, and up pops a world map with all of the options that fit within your specifications.
Below we curated the top five places you can fly to right now for under $400 (from LAX).
Como se dice “firing” in Spanish? Photo: ISA / Dave Nelson
1. Nicaragua ($259)
Fly in to Managua, and you’re a hop, skip, and a jump away from some seriously fun beach breaks. Playa Colorado is probably one of the most famous, and as a result one of the most crowded, but a little exploring goes a long way in Nica. In the southern coastal zone, wind that blows off of Lake Nicaragua means offshore winds 330 days of the year–sculpting waves into feathering, pumping tubes.
2. Cabo, Mexico ($311)
Not quite Indo, Cabo’s not known for world class waves. But, with a handful of decent right point breaks on offer, and the blinking neon-lined streets of downtown Cabo San Lucas promising all kinds of night-time entertainment, a Cabo surf trip is an experience. And just a short plane ride from Southern California, you could get a morning session in a full suit and an evening session in boardshorts, with time to spare for happy hour at Squid Roe.
La Saladita is a goofy footer’s dream. Photo: Rusty Surf Villa
3. Zihuatanejo, Mexico ($362)
There are plenty of quality waves in the Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo region in the Mexican state of Guerrero. A quick glance at the shape of the coastline will give you a sense of the potential of this area. Sharp curves and bends accept southern hemi swell in spring, summer, and fall months, and bend it into some world class waves. Probably the most famous of Mexico’s left point breaks, Troncones, is a short trip north from the town of Ixtapa proper, not to mention all of the options you have in Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo themselves. A little sense of adventure could be seriously rewarding with a little luck.
Chicama, Peru. Quite possibly the longest left in the world.
4. Peru ($386)
Ah, the land of the lefts. While most credit the Hawaiians for bringing surfing to the world, few realize that Peruvians of the town of Huanchaco have been riding waves with fishing boats made of reeds for over 2000 years–pre-dating Ancient Hawaiian wave riding.
Peru also happens to be home to a smattering of seriously long left point breaks like Chicama, and Lobitos. A lot of them tend to be uncrowded and relatively user friendly, too.
Costa Rica south swell.
5. Costa Rica ($330)
Costa is no longer off the beaten path–at least the most well-known spots like Playa Hermosa, Pavones, and Witch’s Rock. But that doesn’t mean the possibility of scoring some fun uncrowded waves has gone completely out the window.
Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world without a standing army, and the overall friendliness of the people is a telling parallel. The spirit of “Pura Vida” (pure life) is alive and well.