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Peninsula de Nicoya

Learning to Surf in Montezuma, Costa Rica
I'd never surfed nor wanted to until l I booked a week-long stay at a Yoga and Surf retreat in Montezuma, Costa Rica. I was interested in the Yoga but surfing was included in the package so I made use of the opportunity to try something new. Excitement was my first reaction until fear set in. What if I drowned got attacked by a shark? I arrived at the beach on a beautiful but windy day. The surf was pretty fierce and the instructor thought the lesson might be cancelled. We walked for about a mile to the section of beach where the lessons took place and learned they would not be cancelled. I was terrified. The waves were huge. Seasoned surfers were already out there and getting tossed around like rag dolls. I got a very brief lesson on how to get the board past the breakwater and how to stand on the board. I put a brave face on, walked to the water's edge and charged into the breakwater...and was tossed like a rag doll. But it wasn't so bad! All the thoughts I had were gone. Over and over again, I was tossed around only to turn around and do it again until I set my eye on one wave, a big one. I shut everything out, got on that board, waited for that right moment and stood up and rode it all the way to shore. I left the beach that day with a new-found respect for the sea and a new-found love for surfing. Did I mention I was the only one in my class that successfully rode a wave all the way to shore? Who knew I was a natural!

Finding the Perfect Smoothie...And Receiving a Lesson on Pura Vida
Smoothies are expensive in Montezuma, Costa Rica if you don’t shop around. I didn’t and wound up paying 7$ for one that arrived in a glass no bigger than a shooter. The heat had me so thirsty, I was willing to pay any amount but regretted it later. The next day, I found myself in the same predicament; thirsty and wanting a smoothie. I spotted a cute little smoothie bar tucked away near some trees and approached it cautiously to check out the menu. A friendly young man was only happy to mix me up something that was refreshing but not-too-sweet. It took a while for him to make it as he carefully thought out every ingredient and made sure it was mixed to perfection. For 3$, I received a delicious orange-colored smoothie in a large glass. “So are you from around here”? I asked him. “Yes, born and raised, just down the road a bit”. He asked if I knew what Pura Vida meant. To me Pura Vida means The Pure Life. Natural, untouched, simple and pure. He explained it in more depth for me. “That is how most people see it. Pura Vida can be a greeting, a state of mind, a way of life. You meet someone walking down the street, you say Pura Vida. You catch the perfect wave while surfing, you say Pura Vida. You have a wonderful day, instead of saying goodnight, you say Pura Vida. You find a great smoothie bar while walking the streets of Montezuma, you say Pura Vida. Anytime something good happens, Pura Vida is the thing to say”. Made perfect sense to me!

Anamaya Yoga Retreat, Montezuma, Costa Rica
I thought it was just another scam but lo and behold, I did win a trip to Montezuma, Costa Rica to participate in a yoga retreat at a resort called Anamaya. I had no idea what to expect before my arrival but Anamaya lived up to its reputation and beyond.Tucked away in a remote area of the Nicoya Peninsula, the small surfing village of Montezuma is home to several beaches, many restaurants, surf shops, local vendors selling homemade treasures and Anamaya is situated on the hill above the town overlooking a spectacular view of the Pacific coastline. My arrival was the start of one of the most inspiring and rejuvenating weeks of my life. I started the week off with a relaxing dip in the infinity pool overlooking that beautiful view. Early morning yoga, an abundance of wildlife, beautiful rainforest surroundings, daily strolls into the village to lie on the beach and mingle with the locals, healthy, organic meals, beautiful waterfalls nearby, daily surfing lessons, ziplining lessons and a fantastic group of people on staff were just a few of the things that made my week so awesome. Montezuma is magical. It’s a place where you can be whoever you want to be and not be judged, a place where you can be one with nature, be one with yourself and meet wonderful people from all over the world. No wonder people leave their cubicles and flock there to live their lives doing the things they love, surrounded by some of the most beautiful and pristine surroundings on earth.

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica