We spent our last month in Costa Rica in beautiful Playa Santa Teresa, on the southern end of the Nicoya Peninsula. We had heard that this friendly little town was a great surf destination and was not to be missed on our travels, so we decided to find an apartment and settle in for some more quality time at the beach. To get here from San Jose, we drove west to the end of the Puntarenas peninsula and boarded our rental car onto a ferry in Puntarenas.  The ferry took us across the Gulf of Nicoya to Paquero where we disembarked and took the bumpy country roads past a few small towns and into the Santa Teresa / Mal Pais area.  In total, this trip took about 5 hours!  But the journey was well worth it…our lives changed when we got to Santa Teresa.  To begin, we found it to have a very diverse international population, which appealed to us instantly.  The town’s vibe was laid back, the local food was tasty and the beaches were endless…what more could you ask for?

Costa Riki property During our one-month stay, we lived in a phenomenal one-bedroom apartment at the Costa Riki Apartments, which is centrally located to a top surf spot and a yoga studio!  It was definitely the ideal place for us.  We also had the opportunity to meet several of Costa Riki’s other guests who were all traveling from around the world and gave us some great information that we hope to use later in our travels.

Nautilus Yoga Deck While in Santa Teresa, Mike spent a lot of time surfing “La Lora” a popular surf spot full of locals and visitors alike while I spent many hours teaching yoga at two local yoga studios.   Interestingly enough, the low tourist season allowed for several yoga teaching positions to open up!  I was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time for both opportunities.  The day after we arrived, I attended a morning yoga class at Nautilus Boutique Hotel & Wellness Retreat (http://hotelnautiluscostarica.com) located next door to our apartment complex.  There I met Adi (the hotel’s owner) and Aldi (yoga instructor) who instantly offered me a position to teach two days a week!  In addition to the peaceful yoga environment and beautiful hotel grounds, Nautilus has an amazing vegetarian and raw food restaurant – Olam.  We spent several mornings and afternoons there enjoying their smoothies, hummus and chocolate muffins!

Casa Zen

My second teaching opportunity came when I attended a yoga class at Casa Zen Guesthouse and Yoga Center (http://zencostarica.com) located about 15 minutes away from our apartment.  There I met Kelly (yoga studio owner) and Jenny (yoga instructor) who offered me a position to teach the remaining three days a week!  We couldn’t believe how perfectly this worked out!  This incredible month give me the opportunity to work with students from Argentina, Germany, Israel, Canada, USA, Norway and Italy.

Mike surfing with fresh stitches Mike was dividing his time between surfing and work; he’d wake up at dawn to go check the waves, surf for a few hours, come home and put in a day’s work, then go out for another surf at sunset.  It really was a perfect set-up.  Knowing Mike, it should not come as a surprise that his time here was not without any injuries.  stitched lip The latest accident was not too serious, but did involve a Costa Rican ambulance and some stitches.  Mike had met a couple of surfers traveling from San Diego and they had gone to a nearby beach called Playa Hermosa, known locally to be a slightly heavier, more hollow, and less crowded wave than the scene at Playa Santa Teresa.  The conditions were great; chest to head high, offshore, clean barrels.  As Mike was tucking in to a left-hand barreling wave, he fell forward, sliding in front of his board along the face of the wave.  As he slid forward on his belly, taking the usual defensive “crash position” and covering his face with his arms, the board continued riding the wave behind him and the nose came up directly under his elbows, and Mike got a big mouthful of surfboard. Somehow his teeth left a large bite mark on the nose of the board while the board sliced a jagged pattern on his upper lip and cheek.  While it bled quite a bit, the injury wasn’t all that bad; none the less, a local surf instructor who saw the injury decided it best to call a local ambulance service.  This turned out to be a great experience; after taking all my vitals and ensuring that I was healthy, the doctor was able to stitch me up right on the beach, and the whole ordeal only cost $100.

We also experimented with quite a few new culinary delights.  Our days began with amazing tropical fruit smoothies!  Some of our favorites were: mango-papaya-OJ, pineapple-banana-yogurt, pineapple-papaya-OJ, and banana-cacao-peanut butter!  One day a local fisherman dropped by Costa Riki and we purchased mahi-mahi filets and shrimp he caught earlier that day.  We decided to make mahi-mahi fish tacos with a homemade mango salsa.  The next day we enjoyed Mediterranean pasta with shrimp.  On most days, our meal staples included handmade corn tortillas, Mexican rice and homemade black beans.

Montezuma Waterfall Guide ArmandoAt the end of the month’s stay, our dear friends Robert and Sunshine from California came to stay with us.  During their stay, we watched football games (both soccer and American football) and took a fun day-trip to Montezuma.  Montezuma is small beach town located 30 minutes away from Santa Teresa, on the other side of the Nicoya Peninsula.  During this day-trip, we decided to climb Montezuma’s three waterfalls (http://montezumawaterfalls.com) with a local guide named Armando.  Although we were initially hesitant to hire a guide, we’re glad we did because the hike up to the waterfalls was challenging to say the least.  It was probably because we were all wearing flip-flops up the slippery rocks!  When we arrived to the first waterfall, both Mike and Rob decided to join Armando on a jump off the slippery rocks into the waterfall pool.  Marisa and Sunshine simply relaxed in the waterfall pool to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere.  Then we hiked to the second & third waterfalls where the fun really began, for Mike that is.  We had heard from other tourists that jumping off the top of the second waterfall was fun, but dangerous.  Armando helped Mike determine the details of the dive and down he went!  It was about a 40-50 foot jump!  Meanwhile, Marisa, Sunshine and Rob relaxed in the pool of the third waterfall until it was time to make the climb down back to the beach.