surfing Costa Rica
12 June 2011 | Nosara
Russell & Lynne
Lynne and I just returned from a ten day trip to Costa Rica (via plane) to go surfing. In a word -- it was awesome! We flew direct to San Jose from Ft. Lauderdale and stayed at a small B & B, Hotel Sabana. Jose, the owner's son, picked us up and drove us to the B & B, which was 30 minutes away. It was a great place to lay over for the night, since our flight the next morning onboard a small commuter plane (Nature Air), was at another airport on the other side of town.
The small plane had really large windows and an overhead wing which made for great photography as we flew west over the very rugged mountain terrain, then across the Gulf of Nicoya, to the peninsula of Nicoya and to a small village, Tambor, which had a nice anchorage nearby, complete with a few cruising boats. Maybe some day Blue Highway will find her way there, too. From Tambor, we flew the short distance to Nosara, a total surf town, where we were meet by a van from the Safari Surf School.
We never do package type tours, but since this trip was really focused on surfing better, we signed up for the 7 day package. It included a one hour surf lesson in the morning and one in late afternoon every day, plus breakfast, dinner and, of course, lodging. We were very happy with the whole deal and thanks to the internet and YouTube TV, we had researched everything so much there were no surprises. Actually, it was kind of strange, since I felt like I had already been there. Maybe there is something to virtual travels, huh?
The one surprise we both marveled and applauded at was that NOBODY smoked. Everyone takes the surfing and yoga on such a serious level that 90% of the population of Tico's, ex patriots and visitors all had very healthy bodies. (Read gorgeous in most cases.) The saying or greeting in CR is Pura Vida (pure life). I'd certainly say in these surfing towns, it's right on the money!
Whatever store you go into, you'll most likely see a well used surfboard propped up waiting for it's owner to get off work. Even the dogs surf! Don't laugh! As you leave the beach, they try to jump up on your board and they are good at it. If you're fast and get away, they may grab onto your leash (surfboard ankle leash) and try to keep you from paddling away without them. Totally hilarious and all in good fun.
The surf was great, with a 6 foot swell constantly crashing on the sand bars. That surf break produced 10 to 12 foot faces, which is very powerful stuff indeed. The hardest part is working your way offshore against these swells. Getting smashed and squashed in the white water on your way out is the hardest work out I've ever had. It's like three feet forward then two feet back all the while trying to time your breath so as not to inhale too many gallons of sea water. Great training in turtle and duck diving the board as there was no other way to get out. Nobody casually swims at this beach as it's too rough without a board to help you through.
We met a lot of great people at the school -- both students and instructors. Lots of snow boarders and surfers from LA and even Canada. Single guys, ladies, couples and one family too. Although I'd say the average age is around 35, so we were feeling a bit old. We both got off without any injury and considering some of the stuff we saw happen to others, that is saying something. A few times I hit up the bar tender for a bag of ice, and the instructors or students at the bar would be, oh wow, what happened? I told them that Nicaraguan rum was about to happen in our room. LOL
We also enjoyed the Miss Sky canopy (zip line) tour, where we zipped over the tree canopy, sliding between the mountains on wires. It was more of thrill seeker thing, since we zipped along at about 20 MPH on the wire. It's also kind of loud, with the whizzing of the wire just above, so we didn't hear or see much wildlife, but the view over the mountains to the coast was beautiful.
We did see some Howler monkeys and some unusual birds, but more than anything, this trip was about the surf.
Pura Vida, Russell & Lynne