The Mentawai Islands are a cluster of about 70 different islands and islets situated 150 kilometers off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. Home to some of the best surf breaks on the planet, crystal-clear waters and white sand beaches that compete with places like the Maldives, rare species of monkeys and tattooed hunter-gatherer tribes – traveling to Mentawai is one of the most exciting experiences in Southeast Asia.
While there are many off-the-beaten-path adventures to be enjoyed in the archipelago, the main reason people flock here is to jump on a surfboard and ride the waves. Every type of surfer can be catered for in this epic destination – from experts who want to tackle heavy intimidating barrels to beginners who can find mellow long peelers to practice on. Across the largest islands of Siberut, Sipura, North Pagai and South Pagai, and a handful of others, visitors can discover 50 recognized quality breaks.
Siberut is the biggest island with an area of 3,838 km². Most people arrive in Siberut after flying to Padang and then taking a boat. Palm trees line the coast of Siberut with shallow shelves and coral reefs nearby, and five types of virgin forest coexist across the interior. The forests give shelter to unique species including the Siberut macaque, which is a primate endemic to the island. Another feature of this popular Mentawai island is the indigenous culture who have maintained their rich customs and traditions.
If surfing is your primary aim, you will be pleased to know that Siberut offers a variety of surf charters and camps. The charters are perfect for those who want to hit up remote breaks, while the camps are suitable for those who value comfort and convenience – as the accommodations have plenty of space and the waves are usually located right on the camp’s doorstep. Surf camps are also ideal for families or groups of friends that have certain members who can’t or don’t wish to go surfing.
Additionally, some of the camps arrange all-inclusive surfing packages for your stay in the Mentawai Islands – which elevates the entire experience. Mentawai Surf Camp, nestled in the south of Siberut, is one of the best in the business in this regard. Their surf packages include speedboat transfers from Padang, private beachfront villas, a rooftop restaurant, and surf expeditions to the neighboring reefs and waves. Below we cover the best surfing packages in the Mentawai Islands that Mentawai Surf Camp offers.
Best Surfing Packages in the Mentawai Islands
1. Surfed Out 7 Nights
This seven night package is a great option for travelers short on time who would like to fit in as much surfing as possible, while spending their downtime in a laid-back environment. The surf expeditions leave everyday from Mentawai Surf Camp to one of the 25+ waves in the vicinity. You don’t need to be a professional surfer to join because the experienced staff at Mentawai Surf Camp will recommend a wave suited to your abilities. Guides, photographers and videographers come along to ensure your surfing journey runs smoothly, and to capture stunning content for you.
As you tear up the waves, knowing you have a nice place to rest your head at night is the cherry on top. The rooms at Mentawai Surf Camp are equipped with WiFi, fans, air-conditioning, lamps, plugs, and a full en-suite toilet and shower – all the creature comforts of modern life. Up to three adults can fit into the same room, or two adults and a child. The camp also boasts a rooftop restaurant where you can sample delicious cuisine from Indonesian-born chef Lora Riska. Most lunches are provided out at sea while surfing, so it will mainly be breakfast and dinner there.
2. Surfed Out 10 Nights
The 10-night surfing package in the Mentawai Islands with Mentawai Surf Camp gives you that extra bit of breathing space to explore the reefs and waves of the region without feeling rushed. By having more time at your disposal, you can choose between full surf days or half days and tick other items off your bucket-list. This could be anything from visiting the colorful hunter-gatherer tribes in Siberut to snorkeling with vibrant fish and corals (the camp has snorkel gear available for guests to use at any time).
As well as staying at the camp itself, the package includes a night in a 5-star hotel in Padang – making your journey that much more stress-free and luxurious. The surfing packages with Mentawai Surf Camp are created in a way that minimizes transfer times, so you can immerse yourself in this paradise to the fullest extent. This package, like all the other ones with a duration over seven nights, includes return transfers from the airport in Padang to the surf camp (and back) any day of the week at no extra cost.
3. Surfed Out 14 Nights
There is no better place in the world to spend two weeks surfing than at Mentawai Surf Camp on the Surfed Out 14 Nights adventure. Whether you are looking to hone in your already high level surf skills or are trying surfing for the first time and need days on end to practice, this package is the right one for you. A full two weeks enables you to wait patiently for the dream wave to arrive and then take the opportunity with both hands when it does. On your days off from surfing, you can head to the beach to work on your tan and regain the energy to head back out on another surf expedition.
The family camp’s cozy atmosphere, led by Lora and Diego, makes your long stay feel peaceful and invigorating. Prior to arrival, they will help you with whatever logistical arrangements you require and once at the camp you will be supported attentively with your day-to-day needs. Families with children can book in the knowledge that their kids will be looked after and entertained. The young ones can go swimming safely in the front bay and play frisbee with the locals. The sense of community at Mentawai Surf Camp is palpable and you are sure to leave with a few new friends.
4. Ace 14 Nights
Ace 14 Nights takes you well beyond the limits of any other surf camp in the Mentawai Islands. Highlights of the package are: nine nights surfing in the Playgrounds Area, and four to six nights glamping and surfing on the waves surrounding Silabu, Batutumonga, Hollow Tree’s, Tuapejat and Malakopa. You will be surfing in spots more incredible than your wildest imagination. Also, the boat transport utilized as you go from place to place is part of the appeal: a blend of a modern boat with a classic dugout canoe.
The vessel is made of fiberglass and simply speeds along the water powered by a 400hp motor. With plenty of space aboard to lounge on, and soak up the sun and views, getting around the archipelago has never been easier and so thrilling. Mentawai Surf Camp even jokes lightheartedly that this is the boat James Bond would be seen on as he ventures around the islands, and once you see it in action you won’t be arguing with that description. Another benefit of the boat is that you can easily go fishing.
Tips for Visiting the Mentawai Islands
The dry season in Indonesia runs from April to October but there is a bit of regional variation. May to September is your best bet for the Mentawai Islands as the weather is typically sunny with very little wind or rain about. For the adventurous surfer, the largest swells tend to occur around June and July. That being said, beginners can still find waves big enough to practice on in the months of March to April and October to November.
As mentioned before, getting to the Mentawai Islands is only possible from Padang via ferry or speedboat. Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur both offer direct flights to this West Sumatran city and are popular choices with travelers. If you are coming from Bali, you would need to fly to Jakarta first. Get in touch with the team at Mentawai Surf Camp with any questions you might have about the weather or arrival routes. They will be happy to help.