Do you have a break from school and a little cash to spare? Let us help.
Spring Break is more than a week; it's a two-month season. From the beginning of March to the end of April, schools around the country shut down their classrooms so that kids can leave campus and go apeshit. With that in mind, we're here to keep you from getting caught in the party-only trap this year. Daytona Beach, Cancun, Miami, Panama City: all extremely overrated when it comes to a Spring Break vacation. If you're a student who surfs with a week off of school and $1500 to spare, consider these five destinations instead. They sure beat the hell out of spending your extra cash on bottle service.
Bocas Del Toro, Panama
Amazingly, Bocas is one of the most consistent surf destinations in the world, despite being tucked away in the Caribbean Sea. Storms often spin up and then stall to the east of Bocas, so the islands get swell almost all year round. And it's especially consistent January through March. From beachbreaks like The Bluff to beast reefbreaks like Silverbacks, Bocas has a variety of different waves. If you want to see what we mean, have a look at Evan's first solo section in E.Geiselman, which was all filmed in Bocas during Spring Break '16. A quick search will find flights for around $500 from LAX at the end of March, and once there, you can stay at Red Frog Bungalows on the cheap. Oh, and a bonus: Spend a night in Panama City on your way out for the classic Spring Break experience. Trust us, it blows Panama City, Florida out of the water.
I know what you're thinking: Bali is too far away, and it's too expensive to get there. You only have a week off from school, after all. But you've got it all wrong. I just searched for tickets using GoogleFlights.com and found roundtrip fare on China Southern Airlines for $700, leaving anytime in the first two weeks of April. Sure, it's 24-hours-worth of travel, but it's more than worth it. Once there, you can find decently priced hotels if you're traveling solo in Seminyak, or you could stay at the Uluwatu Surf Villas — the most amazing property in Bali — if you can find a crew to split costs. Plus, April is still early season, meaning you can avoid the crowded mid-summer lineups but still have plenty of options after dark (Just make sure you don't get sucked into the Kuta nightlife).
Rincon, Puerto Rico
You've likely heard of this one before. Rincon is the only spot on this list that's a hybrid between your classic Spring Break destination and an alternative one. Which is great, if you're someone who can stay out most of the night and still go surfing the next day. Puerto Rico gets consistently fun waves in March and April, and because it's so inexpensive from pretty much everywhere ($300 from FL, $400 from NY, $500 from CA at the end of March), it'll always be a popular destination for those looking for an affordable Spring Break getaway. Fly into San Juan for the best rates, or Aguadilla for the convenience, as it's only a 30-minute drive to Rincon (as opposed to 2-hours from San Juan). Only downside: Aguadilla airport has the most whack schedule ever, meaning you're likely to arrive and depart at 4 a.m., so plan accordingly and avoid the bars before the flight home, because if you appear hammered, you will be barred from flying. I've, uh, seen it happen.
Salina Cruz, Mexico
Spring Break is the beginning of south swell season in the Pacific, which means Salina Cruz has woken from a winter slumber. Now, this is the one destination on our list that truly has no nightlife to offer. Instead, Salina Cruz has right point after right point, and because there are always a few that are protected from the wind, you can pretty much always surf from sunup to sundown. And considering how much you'll be in the water, it's a good thing there's nothing to do at night — have you ever tried partying after spending an entire day surfing under the Mexican sun? It's impossible. The one caveat is that Salina Cruz is a little more expensive — tickets from LAX to Huatulco are around $700 in early April, and because you'll want to stay at one of the guided surf camps, expect to spend $100 per night on accommodation. That said, four or five days of surfing in Salina is all you really need, and since you won't be spending your money on alcohol, it's worth the splurge if you're just looking to surf.
OK, so this last one is a bit of a gamble. Unlike the other places on this list, where you're nearly guaranteed fun waves in March and April, Tortola tends to go flat for weeks at a time. But it's worth the risk because it's surprisingly affordable: We found flights from LAX to Saint Thomas (a neighboring island, from which you can then take a $60 RT ferry to Tortola), for $600 in early April. You can stay at Sebastian's — which is on the beach at Apple Bay, a really fun and semi-consistent wave — for around $40/person per night if you travel with a friend, and you won't need to rent a car. The best part is if you plan your trip around April 11, you'll get a chance to go to Bomba Shack's famous once-a-month full moon experience, which is better than any Spring Break party (Just make sure you don't drink too much tea).