This is Photography

The rich colors and natural beauty of Costa Rica make an ideal backdrop for photography classes and workshops. Photo opportunities abound with the friendly locals, abundant wildlife, and beautiful landscapes nearby.

best surf camp in costa rica

Shutterbugs unite!

We’ve developed a photography program at the School of the World that satisfies everyone from first time photographers to working professionals looking to learn new techniques, and every level in between.

Our photography program was started by S.o.t.W. founder Zach McDuffie, an award winning photographer whose travel and beauty photography have appeared in publications around the world.


"All of the photos and videos on our website were shot locally by our staff and students. That says a lot about the quality of our photography department."

- Zach McDuffie, Founder and Creative Director of SotW

Capture your adventuresBeginners become acquainted with the fundamentals of photography, digital workflow, and basic digital editing. Advanced photographers learn new techniques, and students of all skill levels benefit from having a local guide take them to amazing locales to shoot that they otherwise would never see.


Worth a thousand wordsPhotography classes meet daily (Mon-Fri) for aprox. 2 hours, alternating between learning new lessons in the classroom, taking trips to shoot in the field, and editing in our digital darkroom using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.



Focus! Time to choose…You can combine the Photography course with Surfing, Spanish, Yoga, or GoPro to create a custom learning vacation of your own.

  • Photography + Surfing

    Take your photography and surfing to the next level.

    What's included?
    Photography + Surfing

    Satisfy your soul and express your creativity. Surf sessions are 2 hours a day (M-F), and photography classes are 2 hours each day (M-F). The photography classes take frequent field trips to beautiful local destinations that you otherwise would never know about. No matter what your skill level is, you will take home new skills and the photos to prove it!

     see prices/ plan trip

  • Spanish immersion in Costa Rica
    Photography + Spanish

    Getting better portraits of locals is just one of the benefits to this combo.

    What's included?
    Photography + Spanish

    Each day (M-F) consists of approximately 2 hours of Photography class, 2 hours of Spanish class, and an hour of Spanish Lab (designed to reinforce the day’s lesson with conversation, games, etc). Photography class is a mix of fun lessons, field trips, and editing in our digital darkroom suite.  

     see prices/ plan trip


  • Photography + Yoga

    Let your creativity and energy flow with the "pure vida" vibe.

    What's included?
    Photography + Yoga

    This combo is good for your mind, body, and soul! You will practice yoga daily and creatively tell your own Costa Rica adventure story through your camera lens. Photography classes meet 2 hours a day and Yoga classes meet for 1.5 hours per day, M-F.  

     see prices/ plan trip

Check it out!Join our mailing list to get our monthly e-newsletter and find out about upcoming specialty workshops, discounts, special events, internship opportunities, and our latest adventures.  No Spam Ever!!


Our beautiful facility has free Wi-Fi for our guests, a shared kitchen and dining area, 12 guestrooms, outdoor lounge, pool, garden, and lots of great spots to hang out and relax. It is located in a quiet neighborhood close to the center of town and is just a few minutes walk from the beach, dozens of great restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and everything else you could need.

More about our Lodging

the experience

How it Works

Never been on a learning vacation? Learning something new is the ultimate souvenir; it outlasts the usual vacation sunburns, bug bites, and hangovers, and makes the experience stay with you forever. Here is how it works:

  • get here read more »
    1. 1. Select the programs, lodging, and dates that work for you.
    2. 2. Make a reservation and pay your deposit.
    3. 3. Book your ticket and pack your bags. (Celebration dance optional!) We can also help arrange your transportation from the airport to our facility.
  • get schooled read more »
    1. 1. Arrive and settle in. Ahhhh, tropical paradise.
    2. 2. Take classes in a relaxed and friendly environment.
    3. 3. Benefit from the local knowledge of our staff that treats you like family.
  • get friendly read more »
    1. 1. Socialize and make new friends with like-minded travelers from around the world.
    2. 2. Settle in to the "Pura Vida" lifestyle, with local restaurants, markets, bars, and beach all just walking distance from your doorstep.
    3. 3. Plan to extend your stay, because you won't want to say goodbye!
people are talking

Kind Words

Having hosted guests of all walks of life from over 40 countries over the last 16 years, we have a great reputation and history. We are recommended by the top travel experts and publications- but who better to tell you about us than your fellow travelers? Take a look at what people have to say about their experiences at School of the World:

I want in
  • “My experience at The School of the World was priceless. It was full of laughter, sun, and great people. It was magical. Straight-up better than anything Disney has to offer 6 year olds. You should go there and make some of the best memories of your life.”

    - Lindsay, Kansas
    Surf and Yoga retreat Costa Rica
  • “I was heading off on my first solo travel adventure, armed with a whole load of enthusiasm and next to zero Spanish… Laura, my Spanish instructor, was fantastic and managed to get the girl who couldn’t do languages to a point where travelling and chatting was easy and fun! The school gave me the confidence and the necessary tools to have the adventure of a lifetime.”

    - Hannah, London, UK
    Spanish School Costa Rica
  • “The founders and staff of SOTW have created such an incredible and unique opportunity for travelers. The vibe cultivated between students was perhaps the most memorable thing. The 18 of us, from ten different countries and spanning a couple of decades in age, felt like one big chilled-out, respectful family the entire time. So cool.”

    - Mike, New York
    School of the World Costa Rica
  • “School of the World is a wonderfully unique concept. A beautifully designed place of learning where surfing, Spanish, photography and yoga all coexist. Every day is packed with as much or as little activity as you want and your fellow students are friendly and adventurous spirits from all over the world.”

    - Mark, South Africa
  • “The whole concept of this school is one of a kind. This was truly a wonderful experience. The staff was very helpful and very nice. I have taken surfing and yoga, since I am very active person. If you want to meet wonderful people, learn something new and have fun than this is the place to be. Highly recommend to everyone.”

    - Iva, Prague, Czech Republic
    surf and yoga camp Costa Rica
  • “I booked SOTW because I was traveling alone and through the reviews I felt it would be a safe place to stay at especially since I’m a girl. At the last minute my girlfriend came with and all I have to say is WE HAD A BLAST!! I went for the surfing classes, it being one of those bucket list type of things for me. The staff is friendly, the instructors were awesome, and the school itself is simply breathtakingly beautiful.”

    - Ginji, Miami, FL
    School of the World students

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