As I’m sitting here staring out at Cox Bay Beach in Tofino, it has me thinking of my favourite beach/surf towns I have visited. While thinking about them, it made me realize that they are actually all quite similar – just located in different geographical locations. All have lush, green forests surrounding them, are located on nice bays, have cute shops, and are hangouts for surf bums. If you love visiting Tofino, I would recommend considering one of these surf towns as a next destination (once international travel is OK again of course):
- San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – Located on the southwestern coast of Nicaragua, San Juan del Sur is a small town with good restaurants and shops, with close proximity to nearby Pacific beaches with strong-breaking waves. Near the town there is a contemporary statue of the Christ of the Mercy which stands on a cliff overlooking the bay (the cliff looks similar to the Cox Bay Lookout cliff/hill).
- Byron Bay, NSW, Australia – Located in the far northeastern corner of New South Wales, Byron Bay is a must visit. I had actually visited Byron Bay before I had visited Tofino, and absolutely loved it. I had been planning a trip back there at the end of my exchange before COVID hit. Tofino and Byron Bay give me the same vibes – tons of local artisans, markets, good restaurants, lots of young people, and a surf hub. It even kind of looks like Tofino – just ten times warmer. If you get a chance to go to Byron Bay – I would 100% recommend it. I definitely want to go back!
- Santa Teresa, Costa Rica – Located on the West Coast of Costa Rica on the Nicoya Peninsula, Santa Teresa started as a remote fishing village (similar to Tofino) and later became a hot spot for surfers and beachgoers. Travelling from San Jose to Santa Teresa takes around 6 or 7 hours, and includes a 2-hour ferry – kind of like BC Ferries but not as nice! This is a great, remote town with amazing beaches, sunsets and food. There is also a nice French bakery in the town which is always great in the morning.
- Noosa Heads, QLD, Australia – Another beach town on Australia’s East Coast. Although Noosa Heads is located on Australia’s Sunshine Coast – it does rain a lot there (like Tofino!). Similar to Byron Bay (and Tofino), Noosa Heads is known as a surfer’s paradise. The town also brings people who are interested in wildlife and fishing.
These are just a couple of beach towns that I have been lucky enough to visit and spend some time in. Reminiscing on them, it is no surprise why I was so drawn to Tofino and wanted to live here for a bit. Only difference between Tofino and the rest of these beach towns is the temperature!