Pura Vida: Surfing Nosara, Costa Rica

It’s been a pretty rainy summer here in Vermont, so instead of just dreaming of the sun and sand, I enrolled myself in a beginner’s surf camp, and headed down to one of the world’s most magical surf towns: Nosara, Costa Rica.

Nestled in a protected area within the Ostional Wildlife Refuge, this tropical haven is notorious for endless beaches with consistent waves, a mellow vibe, good food and lots of outdoor fun. I was also thrilled to find a sustainability-focused community of friendly locals that embrace adventure-seeking yogis and surfers of any level.

There’s no need for an alarm clock in the jungle. Each morning I awoke to the sounds of chattering monkeys and enjoyed a short walk to the beach for a post-sunrise surf lesson with my incredibly patient instructor, Tinis (the girl can shred).


This was followed up with a Tico breakfast of pinto beans and eggs, a chocolate croissant and the most delicious coffee. After yoga and some sleepy reading on the beach, Tinis would take me out for a second session focused on turning or paddling during high tide. In the evenings there were the most interesting travelers to chat with over Imperial cervezas about turtle-rolls and catching waves. My biggest lesson? Pura Vida! Life is better when you surf.

Here’s where to stay, eat and play if you go:


Costa Rica has two seasons, the dry (December to April) and the rainy (May to November). The rainy season is lush, less crowded and has bigger waves.


Thanks to the amazing Marsh family, the Casa Tucan provides a rustic surfer’s oasis complete with a pool, restaurant/bar and shuttle to get you around town at night.



Women’s Surf Adventures offers lessons at Playa Guiones, a beach that’s perfect for beginners because the waves break about a hundred yards offshore (so you only have to be waist-deep) and roll all the way to the shore.


Sit by the pool at Café de Paris and watch tropical birds during breakfast. Don’t forget to stop by their bakery for a sweet treat. And for dinner, the Gilded Iguana can’t be beat.


Check out the standup paddleboard river tours (beware of crocodiles!), kayaking, turtle-watching, rainforest treks, yoga and horseback riding. Afterwards, unwind at the Harmony Hotel, which offers an awesome menu of sustainable spa experiences (try the banana leaf wrap and massage).



Taryn Levy
A snowboarder for 20+ years, Taryn is the Communications Manager at Burton. You can find her dog, Jawz, cozied-up under her desk everyday. A recent Vermont transplant, this NYC girl loves life in the Green mountains and has just taken up cycling, cooking and composting. Taryn also enjoys traveling the world via volunteer adventures and yoga retreats.

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