Nestled in the small beach town of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica is an intimate beachfront hotel called Pranamar Villas. There are four two story villas and a few bungalows sprinkled throughout the lush property, with a beautifully designed pool in the middle. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a few howler monkeys up in the trees. If not, you’ll definitely hear them from time to time and wonder “What the hell is that?!!!”
The open-aired restaurant serves great quality food and drinks that leave you wanting more.
The yoga shala is surrounded by lush greens where yogis can practice and look out at the ocean at the same time. Yoga sessions occur daily.
If you want, you can take surfing lessons with Del Mar Surf Camp. The instructors meet you with surf boards. Take a 8 minute stroll down the pristine beach where all you can see is jungle (green, not concrete) and get to the surf spot where the waves are great for learning.
Practically everyone you interact with there is genuinely friendly. Maybe it’s because they live in this amazing beach town. Pura Vida really rings true here. “Pure Life” is the direct translation, but most people use it as they say their hello’s and good-bye’s. It’s like a “How’s it going?” but with a lot more flavor. This, among other things, is one of the reasons why Drew and I have ventured to this particular place twice – in one year!
Even though we could do this easily practice yoga on our own here and surf with Del Mar, we chose to go with Vajra Sol‘s surf yoga retreat both times. The experience is just that much better this way. For starters, Sandra Tedeschi is phenomenal at creating a warm and casual atmosphere for all her retreat guests to feel completely at ease. She’s so laid back and takes a genuine interest in everyone. Sandra is not only a wonderful yoga instructor, but she has an amazing life story as well, doing humanitarian aid in several countries before finding her current home in Costa Rica. Over the course of just a week, you bond with her and other retreat goers as you surf, practice yoga, and eat meals together.
Ok, onto one of the best retreats ever: Vajra Sol Adventures. I don’t think Drew and I can say enough about how much of a positive impact this retreat has made on our minds, bodies, and souls. We felt connected again to nature, to each other, and to ourselves. The retreat went beyond just fun and relaxation, it helped us delve deeper into our own spiritual realms.
Our group for this particular surf yoga retreat in February consisted of five working professionals in our 20’s and 30’s. Two from California, two from Arizona, and one from Canada. Drew was the only guy…score! We formed friendships by the end of the week after many belly-aching laughs, daily meals, surfing, and practicing yoga together.
Every morning we woke up and had breakfast together which included coffee, a smoothie, and some awesome breakfast menu item. After some digesting time, we’d head out to meet our surf instructors. We then carried our boards five minutes down the beach to the prime surf area and started our lessons.
The surf instructors are great & you hit the jackpot if you get to work with Ismael. This man goes the extra mile to get you to the next level. Really, on our second trip back to Santa Teresa, he felt I was ready to catch a REAL wave and helped me get through the crazy wave crashes. Then when my arms were so paddled out that I could paddle no more, he’d push my board for me! Talk about wanting your student to love the sport & succeed. There was actually one day when (with a little push from Ismael), I rode this GIGANTIC, clean, blue wave! It was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life, with the wave carrying me up so high and just riding it out til I decided to jump ship before I ate it.
After surfing, we’d all jump in the pool, have a smoothie, and take a nap before the afternoon yoga session with Sandra.
On our second time back, we decided to go spearfishing with Pabro of Sapoa Adventures. If you ever get the chance to try this, DO IT!!! It’s was a lot easier than any of us thought it would be!
I got to go first with Pabro. Once I hopped in the water after him, Pablo handed me the speargun and off we went in search for some fish. Visibility was poor and my untrained eyes had a hard time finding fish at first, so I followed Pablo. When he saw one of a decent size, he pointed it out to me underwater. Hold my breath, dive down, get in line with the fish, aim, and fire. And just that like, in milliseconds it seemed, I speared my first fish. It was exhilarating to say the least! Turns out I caught a trigger fish. Good eatin’ says Pablo. We go down again and after hitting my second fish in a row, Pablo was ready to hire me as his assistant, and I seriously contemplated that idea. So, so tempting. Of course, no one does it better than the man himself, so Pablo snagged a parrotfish after we all had a turn at spearfishing.
Drew and I love this week long retreat so much that we’re thinking about holding our own retreats down there now. I’ve fallen deeply in love with yoga and am getting certified at the moment. Unfortunately, Ismael had a terrible motorcycle accident on the highway last year and is no longer able to surf, and I’m sorry that some people will never get the chance to experience the spirit of this great man. However, Drew and I took our own trip to Costa Rica in Feb. 2014 and found an excellent instructor – Ben at Nalu. He was a phenomenal instructor and Drew and I are now both confident in going back ourselves to try & catch our own waves!