A Surf Retreat Full of Gratitude

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A Surf Retreat Full of Gratitude

Last week we hosted our third annual Surfsgiving surf retreat and the consensus with the Pura Vida Adventures family was it was one for the record books. Nine incredible women and one very, very brave boyfriend-of-the-year took this week by the horns and rode it like a mechanical bull at the local disco club. This amazing group of people from all over the United States, and one from Mexico City, brought a warm, positive energy that absolutely exemplified our Surfsgiving theme of gratitude (and crazy fun!). Was it luck? Law of Attraction? Divine intervention? Or just a shared passion for good alcohol? We will truly never know. The one thing that’s for sure is that this week was a humbling, inspiring, life-affirming, unforgettable, wild, champagne-soaked example of what Pura Vida is all about.

girlswalkingoutWe had a lot to be thankful for. Along with hosting this special Thanksgiving surf retreat, we were also celebrating the fiftieth birthday of one of our guests, a loving, spirited woman from Mexico City who had only dreamt of learning how to surf. And surf she did! Letting her inner child shine, she brought even more joy and playfulness to our week of gratitude than we could have imagined.

Floating blissfully on the wings of a giant, hot pink, blow-up flamingo–champagne glass in hand–our birthday gal was the picture of happiness. And the champagne kept flowing … In fact, we drank all of the champagne at that bar (and almost all the white wine too). Long after the glowing sun sank into the ocean, the reggae continued to play, the flamingo bobbed in the shimmering infinity pool, and the most happily intoxicated of the group ordered yet another bottle. The rest of us headed out for Banana Beach Bar to chow down on the best darn tuna burger in town (or perhaps the universe!). We all slept like babies.

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Hurricane Otto Threatens the Party

After our first successful days of surf lessons, we decided it was time to party. We planned a sunset celebration at Vista de Olas, an epic swim-up bar and infinity pool tucked into the lush mountainside and blessed with one of the best coastline views in town. With Hurricane Otto making landfall in some parts of Central America, we were a bit wary to make the trek, but we were determined not to miss this sunset view (and a chance to drink together). The skies were grey and foreboding as we arrived under a light mist, but as soon as the first round of drinks were served and the reggae music started to groove, something truly magical happened—the clouds parted and a radiant orange-pink sunset engulfed the entire sky. We were in heaven!

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Hangover? No way! Hurricane Otto? Not here!

We continued to surf. And oh, the waves! While most of Costa Rica suffered torrential downpours and gale-force winds, here in Malpais the waves gently rolled in under the balmy sunshine. Several of our first-time surfers were catching green waves within days. The stoke was contagious. Conditions were near ideal most days, with the only threat in the water being the swarm surf bums who circled our attractive crew, waiting for a bite. Thankfully our surfer girls rose to the occasion and paddled away, choosing good waves over mediocre dudes—always a smart choice.

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More news of Hurricane Otto trickled in on the day of Thanksgiving. We waited patiently at the hotel, hoping that our much-anticipated turkey dinner would not be ruined.

Had the bird arrived yet? Were the roads into town shut down?

We looked to the grey skies and wondered if this was it: A rained-out, sad evening shut away in our bungalows with Netflix. But low and behold, Otto never showed in our lucky-as-heck beach town. Thanksgiving was on and we rocked that mother out!

Our amazing couple arrived at dinner dressed to the nines for “Surf Prom” and warmed all of our hearts with their toasts to love. Chef Randy pulled out all the stops and we feasted on roasted turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, and decadent pecan pie. The champagne kept flowing. As the candlelight shone on our happy faces around the table, we shared thanks for friendship, family, adventure, love, courage, and (naturally) good champagne.

Still, not a drop of rain. Hurricane Otto was officially late to the party. So we danced the night away instead.

seascapeIt was a Surfsgiving surf retreat we could have never predicted, and would not have wanted any other way. Last week we found that by surrendering ourselves to the incredible power of love, friendship, playfulness, magic, good champagne and the unpredictable natural wonders of Costa Rica, anything can happen.

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