Surf Retreats with Substance AND Soul
In 2002, Tierza Eichner stepped onto the sand in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, and found the joy of warm water surfing, the paradise of mangoes and palm trees, the beautiful spirit of “pura vida” (celebrating all the good things in life)… and a passion to share this magical place with others. So she did! After saying “adios” to her dot.com job, buying a one-way ticket to Costa Rica, and navigating Central America as a single female entrepreneur, Tierza built a business and community celebrating the joy of surfing AND the beauty of Santa Teresa.
Since 2003, Pura Vida Adventures, a Costa Rica surf camp and yoga retreat, has brought the soul-changing, life-transforming, spirit-filling sport of surfing to people from all over the world.
Pura Vida’s Origin
Surf, Love, and a Lifelong Passion
Tierza Eichner, the founder and owner of Pura Vida Adventures, started the business in 2003 after a life-changing surf trip to Costa Rica. As a confident female entrepreneur in a male-dominated sport in a Latin American country, you might think that Tierza grew up in the surf industry. But believe it or not, this bad-ass surfer was once MAJORLY freaked out by the sport. No joke! Tierza first attempted to surf in Southern California at age 20, but got so pummeled by the waves that she swore off the sport entirely.
Obviously, this story has a happy ending. At age 32 Tierza tried surfing again with her first lesson in Santa Cruz, California, and instantly was hooked. And when the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, Tierza left her high-pressure job in Northern California to travel the world, looking for peace of mind and a piece of heaven…and, of course, endless waves! She found all of these things in Costa Rica, where she fell in love with the warm people, the vibrant culture, the beautiful surf, and especially the ocean-side village of Santa Teresa.
Combining her passion for adventure with her business dreams, Tierza decided to start Pura Vida Adventures—an all-women’s surf camp and yoga retreat that allows her to share the special paradise of Santa Teresa and her love of surfing with the world.
Now more than a decade later, she has personally gone through many evolutions, and so has the business! She is now married with twin girls, Makayla and Zayda, and her passion for Pura Vida Adventures has only grown stronger.
The Inspiration of Pura Vida Adventures
by Tierza Eichner
When I was 32, I took my first lesson in Santa Cruz, California and it changed my life. I was hooked the moment I stood up on my first wave. I was completely addicted to surfing and loved the buzz, presence and the freedom it gave me when I rode the waves.
That same year, 2001, I was laid off from my dot.com job and was left to ponder my next move in San Francisco’s very dismal job market. I decided that until the economy turned around I was going to really focus on surfing and began to formulate a plan to go on a surf trip. After glowing recommendations from fellow surfers who told me that Costa Rica had fun, gentle waves and is a great place to travel solo, I decided that this is where I needed to go.
My quest in Costa Rica was finding a beach town with endless waves. When I arrived in the Malpais/Santa Teresa area, I thought that I found a little piece of heaven and realized I had never felt so alive and present in my entire life. My type “A” personality stood no chance in these beach towns. The tropical vibe taught me to slow down and enjoy every moment of life. I also learned so much from the local Costa Rican people, who taught me to appreciate exactly who I am, and focus on the positive aspects of my life instead of the negative.
After two months in Malpais I decided to explore more of Costa Rica, visiting dozens of other beach towns. In my heart I knew that Malpais was where I really found myself. When I left, I cried because I felt like I was leaving part of myself behind. I knew I wanted to return to this idyllic location and it was at this moment that I started formulating the idea for Pura Vida Adventures.
After traveling for months in Central America, I returned to San Francisco a completely changed person. I was so determined to start a surf camp in Malpais and adopt the Costa Rican lifestyle, that I began working on Pura Vida Adventures the day I arrived back.
At this point I was quickly becoming broke. Thankfully I have great family and friends, like my cousin Randy that let me stay in his San Francisco apartment for only $250 a month (a complete steal) and my friend Suzanne that employed me part-time at her Casting Agency. I had no desire to return to corporate America and every move I made towards establishing Pura Vida Adventures brought me one step closer to realizing my newfound dream.
I had no prior skills, just my passion. Building this business has been magical and frightening at the same time. I was a single woman, opening up a business in a Latin American country, and figuring things out as I went along. It was pretty scary at some moments, like making contracts with hotels, buying a surf van (being a woman buying a van in foreign country is not fun!), learning the laws, etc. The main reason I kept going was the thought of being able to surf every day and the excitement of introducing surfing and the amazing Costa Rican beauty and culture to others.
I chose the name Pura Vida Adventures, because it really encapsulates surfing and the Costa Rican vibe. “Pura Vida” is a common phrase in Costa Rica. When you ask someone, “como estas?” They answer “pura vida” which means, ‘life is good’ and translated means, ‘pure life.’ I thought this was a perfect name for my surf camp.
After working on the business for a year and a half, I held my first camp in January 2004. Well, our first camp took off like a rocket. I could relive this week over and over again. I couldn’t believe our success. People were crying when they left saying Pura Vida Adventures was the best vacation they ever had. I knew at this moment that this was my calling. I had finally found my path. I’m so darn thankful for my staff, my husband Scott, and my mom Kathy. They are the reason the business is so amazing and successful. They bring just as much as I do to each camp – their passion, personalities, insight and love. This has been an amazing road and I have SURFING and COSTA RICA to THANK for it.
Meet Our Team
Lead Surf Instructor
Kathy Aka Mama Kitty
Jack of all Trades