The Life-Changing Magic of Costa Rica
May 8, 2019
How To Surf: Learning Surf Etiquette Video
June 25, 2019

Take a Vacation, Find Yourself

Have you ever heard the fable about the frog being boiled and wondered how that related to your life?

Uh….what? No seriously, stick with us.

The idea is that if a frog is abruptly put into hot water it will jump out and escape–crisis averted!

However, if a frog is placed into lukewarm water it won’t be aware of the incremental change as it slowly starts to boil…and boil…and boil…until it becomes, well, dinner. Eek! It’s a slightly gruesome cautionary tale about being aware of your surroundings, staying present to the circumstances in your life in order to stay healthy and happy (Sorry, froggies!).

We’ve all had a situation like this, right? A time where things changed so slowly over time that we weren’t aware that we were being stifled or suffocated, or just plain becoming unhappy in our lives.

It’s almost like sometimes we need to look around, shake things up, jump out of the pot, get out of our comfort zones, and THEN we’ll be in that open space that allows us to see just what we want for our ourselves.


No one represents the story of being aware of dreams and making a better life happen than our sassy, full-of-spunk camp hostess Sara Appino.


She might seem like the typical surfer babe with sunshine in her hair and salsa moves on her hips, but this tanned surf goddess was born an raised in the corn-fed Midwest–miles from the ocean.

All set up for a post-college publishing career in Chicago, Sara’s plans were completely turned around when she came to Costa Rica and fell in love with the warmth and the waves of paradise. She was not entirely sure how to make it work, but Sara knew a different life was calling to her.


“I was living in Chicago and felt very stuck–professionally, in my relationship, even in the climate! I felt in every way that I wasn’t REALLY living in my full potential. And I only really noticed this after I had made a few trips to the beach here in Costa Rica, and I just felt different. I felt better. I didn’t know exactly what that meant–I just felt more of MYSELF.”



So she packed her bags, put her things in storage at her folk’s house, and in 2010 bought a one-way ticket to the Rich Coast. And rather than feeling scared or unsure, Sara was certain she was making the right move.


“The interesting thing,” Sara says, “is that I didn’t have any fear at all. It was exhilarating. I felt a new life open up to me, at the age of 30. Whereas before I had felt my life closing in on me. I just knew it was the right thing. I had discovered the new message that was coming from myself…and I didn’t feel afraid at all.”


Sara credits her first job in town (teaching English to both kids and adults) as something that really helped her get rooted in the community and fall in love with her life in Costa Rica. (And we all know that warm glassy waves and an endless supply of delicious tropical smoothies probably didn’t hurt, either!)

For anyone who thinks this sort of story is too whimsical to be true, don’t be fooled! Sara promises that it hasn’t always been easy to create this life for herself…but it was worth it. And now, 10 years later, Sara doesn’t regret her decision for an instant.

“I took hard work, but I really love my life here. I love walking right across the street to the surf, I love my comfortable home, I love my circle of friends, I love the work I do that impacts people’s lives. But most of all I love the feeling of freedom I feel here–freedom with meaning. I’m here living this unconventional life, and I don’t have to feel these typical social pressures I think I would feel back in the states, but more than that–I get to experience transformation and life-changing meaning here on a day to day basis.”


Living in this special place has allowed Sara to be the person she always wanted to be, living the expansive life she never knew she could find…until she took the risk and went looking. What could be more inspiring than that?


Don’t get worried that these life-changing blogs will be only about those who moved to Costa Rica! Keep your eyes peeled for future posts about clients who came to camp and found their passion (and it WASN’T surfing!), learned how to let go, and faced their deepest fears.

And if YOU have a desire give yourself some space to breathe, reflect, and really soak in the beauty of life, jump out of that slowly boiling pot and sign up today for one of our 16th season all-inclusive surf and yoga retreats!

Group of Women at Costa Rica Surf Camp

After 15 years, Pura Vida Adventures and Costa Rica have touched so many people in such a positive way that it’s no wonder the community is still going strong…and growing every day. Join us!

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