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How to Book a Surf Trip During a Global Pandemic

By Vere Dixon-Smith, General Manager at Mentawai Surf Retreat.


So you booked that surf trip…


It was this time, last year when you dropped your dollars into that surf resort or charter boat dream surf trip and your mind’s eye saw you getting the barrel of your life in 2020 – yeah well, we all know what happened to that dream. If you were one of the lucky ones, your trip was rescheduled into 2021.

But is it all completely lost for 2020? Maybe not, depending on where you live, and what you are willing to pay to surf some amazing empty tropical line-ups.

It is now possible for you to enter Indonesia and surf the real trip of your lifetime, uncrowded.


While the Indonesian borders remain closed, special visas are being issued which allow you to enter the country and probably score places like the Mentawai Islands, like you will never see it again.


Before you get your froth on, there are a few things to consider such as:


  • Will the country you live in allow you to travel internationally?
  • Are there quarantine requirements on your return to your home country, and what will that
  • cost you?
  • Are you willing to risk travel during this pandemic?


If you can get past those, you could be on your way. So, what do you need to do?


Believe it or not, travel is not as difficult as you may think. To enter Indonesia, all you need is a valid PCR Covid test, and the relevant entry visa. That’s it.

On arrival in Indonesia, your temperature will be checked and to travel domestically within Indonesia, you’ll need a Rapid Covid test done which is a finger pin-prick blood sample and takes just 15 minutes to get the results and (at time of writing) will cost you IDR150.000, roughly US$10.


The pros:

It is possible to travel internationally

Airports are near empty, so no queues

Fewer people on the planes

You could score your best deal ever to surf in Mentawai, there are some ridiculous deals on


Perfect empty waves


The cons:

In some cases, flights can be delayed

Fewer flights available, so travel time can be a bit longer than previously

Risk of infection during travel

On arrival in Indonesia, if the health checks show signs of infection, you could be

quarantined for 7 days or more

Visa cost. Originally started at US$1,600 but is now US$450

No one to talk to in the line-up!



While there are some amazing deals on offer now, you can be sure that as Indonesia opens its borders slowly, prices will start to go up again. We’ve all seen the social media clips of Slater, Andino and others who have done it, maybe it’s your turn now.


One thing you should remember though, Indonesia does not want you bringing any virus here, so be sure to be vigilant about your safety.

We’ll see you soon, in the line-up.


Article and research courtesy of our friend Vere Dixon-Smith, General Manager & Content Creator at Mentawai Surf Retreat, Indonesia.



Mentawai Surf Retreat presented by World Surfaris from World Surfaris & World Snowfaris on Vimeo.

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