This time of year is especially epic in Costa Rica, and our stoked guests were treated to 8 fabulous days of endless warm waves, sunny blue skies, tropical adventures, new friendships, and joyful celebrations.
Lean in close now, because we’re going to tell you a secret: We love all of our all-inclusive surf camps…but this special New Year’s Eve co-ed retreat just might be our favorite.
We get to reconnect with Pura Vida alumni who have made us part of their New Year’s traditions, the waves are always amazing, and we get to meet wonderful new guests for a magical week together in our incredible town of Santa Teresa.
This year’s energy was bursting with good vibes galore. We loved the camaraderie and playfulness of this boisterous group, which included John and Kim–a couple from New Jersey who joined us for their 7th year in a row! (We told you people fall in love with our New Year’s camp!)
Pura Vida alums Anne and Laura also reunited here in Costa Rica for their annual visit, to shred the gnar and continue a friendship that began several years ago at Pura Vida Adventures. (And make even more new friends this year!)
You can believe us when we say that our surf retreats can form bonds that last a lifetime.
Just ask Shine, one of several first-time solo surfers who came this week to celebrate a special birthday and quickly made 16 friends and the nickname “Dirty 30.”
Although our group was a mix of couples, friends, solo travelers, first-time surfers, and experienced alumni, this group soon felt like family. (I mean, if your family cheers each other on in the surf and drinks ice-cold beers on the beach together).
From the very first night (where we each shared with the group what we wanted to create for ourselves in 2019) the positive energy, love, and fun multiplied every day in HUGE ways. There were breakdowns. There were breakthroughs. There was break-dancing (ok, just regular dancing).
This group came to party AND grow, and did just that.
But enough about that life-changing stuff, what about the surf???
Do you even need to ask? Amazing as usual.
Our whitewater surfers fell in love with the long rolling waves and picture-perfect surf scene at Playa Hermosa…
…and our favorite local break Playa Carmen allowed our experienced surfers to improve their green wave technique.
By the end of the week, many of our beginner surfers had advanced to the green waves under the awesome instruction of our top-class instructors and were ready to try a point break. We loaded up the Pura Vida van with excited surfers, cold beers and a picnic lunch and headed for our favorite local break, Cabuya.
After a solid session of super-long green waves and fun conditions, we enjoyed a picnic on the beach beneath the blue sky with sandwiches from Santa Teresa’s top lunchtime spot, The Bakery.
New Year’s Eve was a night to remember, as we gathered for a private dinner on the beach with funky dance music beneath the stars.
We all sang happy birthday to “Dirty 30” and surprised her with a decadent chocolate birthday cake. As the countdown to 2019 drew near, bonfires lit up the coastline and fireworks exploded in the sky. A live Latin band next door at Banana Beach kicked off a big salsa party in traditional style.
Several ladies also joined our surf instructors Davide and Michelle at a massive, all-night electronic party held further down the beach. Tip: If a fabulous Costa Rican invites you out to the best local party of the year, don’t say no!
Michelle made sure the ladies had the time of their lives, and they shook their booties until the sun came up—and still surfed the next day. Now that’s a great way to ring in the new year!
This special week of adventure also included a visit the neighboring town of Montezuma, where we relaxed seaside with a traditional Costa Rican lunch. An afternoon dip in the refreshing Montezuma waterfalls was the perfect way to cool down under the midday sun.
A hike through the jungle and over a hanging bridge brought us to the natural pools at the top of the falls, where we floated blissfully in the cool water. A few brave souls jumped off the rocks and into the second pool below, to the cheers of their Pura Vida surf buddies.
On our last evening together, we toasted to an incredible week of great surf and new friendships by watching a dazzling final sunset together.
The cooler was stocked with mouthwatering takeaway margaritas from the nearby Drift Bar, and danceable Latin music kept us all in a celebratory mood. As the last light dipped beneath the horizon, the sky began bursting with color above the glittering ocean. Brenna Britton, a professional photographer and first-time Pura Vida Adventures guest, surprised us all by offering to shoot portraits of everyone in the magical sunset light.
The stunningly beautiful photos captured the raw beauty of each surfer, snapshots of an unforgettable week of laughter, sunshine, warm waves, and pure joy.
After dinner, we had our famous Salsa Lizano awards ceremony and a surprise performance by our very own surf instructor, Annie Bethancourt.
Rumor is, a bunch of the students went out to shake their booties together AND managed to rip the next morning at our last dawn patrol surf session. Now THAT’S the spirit!
Pura Vida to all of our new and dear friends! May your next year find you back here with us as we play in paradise together.
Want to join us this New Year’s in paradise, check out our next New Year’s Retreat, December 27 – January 3.