It’s been an amazing two weeks here in Nosara. Week two was much like week one – wake up early, surf, work, eat, sleep, repeat.
We have an amazing chef named Sarah Tilhou who is cooking our lunches and dinners during the week. Everything she makes is the most delicious meal I’ve ever had – I’m not entirely sure how we’ll manage to feed ourselves anymore after this trip.
When it comes to surfing, I started off really well. Our instructor Luigi had me on 3 different boards in 3 days, crushing the whitewater. Then, the first day we went out past the break I got absolutely tossed by 2 bigger waves, one right after another.
Nothing bad actually happened other than that initial terror when you’re caught off guard and realize you’re sorta running out of air and not yet at the surface of the water. But for me, that type of terror is really hard to shake.
It was all in my mind, and I knew this, but over the next three days it was clear that I was surfing with The Fear. And feeling more anxiety than I should. But, over a few days I did my best to beast through it by returning to the whitewater to regain my ganas. Each day the waves got a bit smaller and I got a bit braver and finally stood up on some of the olas verdes (green waves). While I’ll probably never be a pro surfer, it’s been a good feeling to overcome The Fear, even if it took a few days longer than I would have liked.
Travis has been obsessed with surfing. He’s gone every single day, often times twice a day. I think the only other thing he loves more is skiing – but he’s tackling surfing in the same way. Goes all day every day, says he’s going to take a rest day then doesn’t, and even went out the morning before we caught our ride to the airport.
Over the first weekend, we rented ATVs and took a trip up to a remote coffee plantation (una “cafetal”) owned by a Brooklyn ex-pat named Howie who makes, according to him, the best coffee in Costa Rica. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I’m no coffee connoisseur but it was delicious – very naturally sweet.
To be honest, though, the best part was ripping up and down the dirt mountain roads on ATVs. It’s the closest thing to Mario Kart IRL that I’ve ever come across.
We also went on a group dinner outing to a restaurant called La Luna at the next beach up, called Playa Pelada. Literally every single human we asked for restaurant recommendations told us to go here, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s perfectly situated on a small stretch of white sand beach, with palm trees, and the whole thing faces the ocean. Sunset here is at around 5:30 so the view was perfect, the breeze was perfect, and the pizza was also perfect. We went back during the day to play around in the tide pools at low tide. The rocks reveal crevasses and pools you can sit in, along with hermit crabs and other motley, miniature sea creatures. So basically, Playa Pelada sticks the landing, every time.
Melissa and I took our ATVs to San Juanillo Sunday morning, which is another beach north of Guiones. The drive was chock full of peaceful brain candy – we passed lots of grassy green fields, horses in the road, big ass iguanas, cows, some pretty deep mini-rivers that were fun to cross, the black sand beaches of Ostional, and all manner of birds I couldn’t identify (disclaimer: I am not a bird watcher). We arrived around 8am and had the whole beach to ourselves for about a half an hour.
Afterward, we went to a place called Ancient People for pinto gallo and smoothies for breakfast. Entertainment was provided by white throated magpie jays, a chihuahua, and a massive orb weaver spider.
I took a few yoga classes at the Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort during our stay. The first was a restorative sound healing class that was perfect after a week of getting throttled by waves on a surf board, and a couple other slow flow classes. The resort itself is beautiful – the studios, or shalas, are all open air, wooden huts and all the mats and things are there. Drop in classes were $15 and very much worth it.
We rented ATVs again our second weekend and went to some waterfalls called Mala Noche with a local guide/tuk tuk driver named Sebastian. The water levels were lower than normal as the dry season is kicking in, but the falls were still completely beautiful and extremely refreshing to swim in. We ate fresh watermelon and pineapple thanks to our lovely guide, and enjoyed our time crawling up the falls to the higher pools, jumping off the sides, and chasing butterflies.
The remainder of my/our time consisted of going to the beach for sunsets and sunrise (okay, one or two sunrises), boogie boarding with a broken ass board left at the house, scouring the beach for shells (I found tons, but there is signage that says not to take them so I ultimately left my sea treasures behind…except for one wee cowrie shell), sipping late afternoon cans of Imperial, swimming in the pool, noodling around Guiones shops and craft tables, working, resting, reading.
I love Costa Rica and understand the appeal of Nosara now. It’s small and remote, the dirt roads make it harder to get to (much like the lack of subway made Red Hook hard to get to, hence its appeal), the beach and waves are exceptional, and while you’re there all that seems to matter is embracing pura vida. And for some reason, it’s so very easy to do.