It's our last day of surf camp at Waves Costa Rica and our instructor, Allen, has surprised us with a visit to Jaco beach. We sit in the back of the school's van and watch experienced surfers shred as the day ends with a fiery sunset over the Pacific.
Over the past week, my cousin and I start out on gentle baby waves and graduate to bigger breaks. We spend several hours a day with personalized instruction learning how to paddle, practicing strenuous drills and catching waves with rugged beaches and jungle as our backdrop. We are energized by our surroundings and manage to balance our time with daily ashtanga yoga classes, power hikes, nature tours and relaxing beach time. We have learned to experience what the Costa Ricans call "pura vida," which translates to "pure life." It expresses the national philosophy of living a life full of joy, peace and simplicity with an appreciation for family and community. We are hooked.