Inside Peak – Surfers Who Stayed: Richard Jordan


If you have visited Nosara there’s a good chance you liked it so much you found yourself fantasizing about living here.

Wanderlust, escapism, dreamscaping – it’s a natural part of the travel experience. End of the road places always seem to have memorable distinct characters, expats and the like, who took the road less traveled and moved to paradise. The lure of living in a surfing paradise has drawn many such colorful folks to Nosara. Some are snowbirds escaping cold weather months in the north, others stick it out until the end of August, and still others come to call Nosara home year-round. In this post I begin a series of profiles on select surfers who stayed, and how they contribute to the Safari Surf experience.



Richard Jordan

Name: Richard Jordan
Status: Year-round since 2001
Business: Heart of Guiones Wellness Center

Richard is the classic California expat, tall, tanned, and super fit. He comes from San Diego California, a classic surf town. Richard is a registered Holistic Health Practitioner and has been a bodywork and movement educator for 30 years. Richard discovered Nosara on a surf trip 15 years ago. He loved the town and waves here but it was the chance encounter with Nosara Yoga Institute founders Don and Amba Stapleton during a teacher training seminar that sealed the deal. Upon learning of Richard’s background and qualifications they enthusiastically offered him a job…..and he eagerly accepted. He embraced the jungle, ocean, and people here and decided to make Nosara his permanent home. With quality year round surf and a yoga teaching job in hand, he loaded his 1989 Ford diesel pick-up with surfboards, massage tables, Russian Kettlebells, and a Gyrotonic Transformer fitness machine, and left California behind, making the drive in nine days. In 2002 he opened Nosara Workout Beach Gym, focusing on general fitness training for his mainly surfer clientele and local residents. In 2003 he taught six Nosara women the art of massage, free of charge, and Tica Massage was born. Richard’s prime location across from Harmony Hotel on main street Guiones has become a well know landmark in the area, and Casa Tucan (Safari Surfs former home for 13 years) was just steps away. Richard’s first sign is iconic in Nosara, which I still remember today. Upon turning into the cul-de-sac servicing Casa Tucan and Richard’s facility you are immediately overwhelmed by the image of a huge blue hollow wave with Richard slotted in the sweet spot. “Is that here?” everyone would say, and Yes it was here, captured right out front by the legendary photographer Soul Arch Matt.

tica-massage-signThe convenience of having a workout studio and massage spa located right next door led to a business relationship with Safari Surf which still exists today. Safari guests could take fitness and yoga classes and get a massage right after surfing all day, it was ideal. As Nosara grew into The Surfing and Yoga capital of Costa Rica, Richard added new structures and fitness programs and changed the name to Heart of Guiones Wellness Center, which encompasses Tica Massage, Studio Guiones, and Pilates Nosara. “Being a Health Practitioner myself I’ve always had my finger on the pulse of the growing trend of wellness in Nosara, and I’ve made adjustments to accommodate this blossoming “industry”. Safari Surf looks forward to working with Richard and his excellent facility in the future!
pilates nosara

Pilates Nosara packs ‘em In!



(Your Safari Yoga-Pass good for all classes!)

Richard exclusively rides big surfboards shaped by legendary California craftsman Tommy Lewis. He likes big, clean and hollow waves and is a standout in the lineup to this day.
     Family Car Outing with Kids Mey, Travis, and Maggie-Dog

Inside Peak – Foodies!

Safari Surf’s Dynamic “foodie” Duo!

Foodie: A foodie, as defined by Wikipedia, is a gourmet or a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. While gourmet and epicurean can be used as synonyms they have fallen out of favor and bring to mind a stodgy or snobbish attitude.Simply stated, a foodie is a person keenly interested in food, especially in eating or cooking. I am not sure this descriptive has been adopted into Costa Rican culinary culture yet, but if there ever were two avid foodies in Nosara, they are Safari Surfs Maritza Sanchez and Alicia Matamoros. They have worked together in local foodservice establishments for 11 years, including five years at Casa Tucan, Safari Surfs original home. Maritza wears the chef’s hat while Alicia is a top-shelf bartender and food server. Together they really are a dynamic duo! As the construction of the Olas Verdes Sustainable Surf Resort moves full speed ahead, we look to these two talented ladies to play significant roles in the development of the resorts restaurant and bar. They are both brimming with excitement and chock full of ideas for both the food and bar service operations. Here’s an inside peek – provecho!


Chef Maritza Sanchez                                                                                                         Server/Bartender Alicia Matamoros
Alicia and Maritza are very familiar faces around Safari Surf. This past year as we adjusted to conducting business in the “Safari House”, they have been the ultimate food team. Maritza’s wonderful cooking and Alicia’s seamless service just seem to complement each other. I have seen these girls in action when 25 ravenous Safari Surf students were awaiting dinner. The barbeque was cranking and all burners on the stove blazing away. When dinner was ready everyone sat down and was treated to one amazing multi-course dinner. The timing was just incredible as Alicia and Maritza orchestrated the cooking/serving with precision coordination. They are used to working in small cramped spaces so the move to Olas Verdes is like a dream come true to them.


Alicia’s special touches                                                                                                        Nobody leaves hungry

shrimp cocktail
pina colada
mojito 2
tuna slice

We spent a couple of hours together chatting about the exciting things to come:
PL: Well ladies what do you think about this new opportunity at Ola Verdes?
Alicia:It is like a dream come true, something I have always hoped for.
Maritza:All of my past cooking experiences have been in preparation for an opportunity like this, a place where I can express myself in my cooking, recipes, and flavors.
PL:You two have worked together a combined total of 11 years. What do you consider your strong points?
Maritza:I love to cook; I guess you can call me a chef! I incorporate a number of different styles, flavors, and influences into my cooking, from Italian, French, Mediterranean, and local “tipico” recipes; I think this is called “fusion”.
Alicia:My background is in bartending and food service. I love to work with the public. Safari Surfs guests are always wonderful people; I want to make them feel welcome and to have a great vacation here. Also – I make amazing cocktails!
PL:What kind of menu will Olas Verdes feature?
Maritza:Everything fresh, fresh, fresh. We will be a green and sustainable resort and our food will reflect that: salads, fruits, and lots of fresh seafood. One specialty will be our Ceviche, made fresh daily. I want to have a variety of daily fresh fish selections. I will also feature local ‘tipico’ favorites such as lomito jalapeño (filet mignon in jalapeño sauce), and arroz con pollo.
Alicia:I will create a bar menu using only fresh fruits and juices. Our mojito will be made with fresh yerba buena (mint), margaritas will be created with fresh hand-squeezed lime juice, and daiquiris will come in many flavors: mango, pineapple, banana, strawberry, and passion fruit.


foodie spread
The restaurant at Olas Verdes will feature indoor and outdoor dining. The facility is adjacent to the wildlife refuge, providing a green and serene atmosphere. There will be outdoor patio dining overlooking the pool and jungle. Keep tuning into the Safari Surf website and Facebook page for updates and previews!
Ola Verdes – Restaurant & Deck Dining


Dream Team: Jeffrey, Alicia, & Maritza

Inside Peak – Meet The Chandler Family

The Chandlers (L to R: Kerry, Tess, Sam, Jeff)
The Chandlers (L to R: Kerry, Tess, Sam, Jeff)

It’s been a great week here at Safari, highlighted by the visit of The Chandler Family and their guests. I pondered scripting a splashy and profound title for this blog; “Genesis of a Dream” or “Jersey Angels” or how about “Olas Verdes First Family Revealed”. The truth is, the Chandlers are such gentle, lovely, “salt of the earth” folks that none seemed appropriate or necessary. The Chandler’s have been loyal Safari Alumni for the past nine years. They come from Sandy Hook New Jersey, which makes me smile, since Jersey is my birthplace as well. There must be something about the New Jersey Atlantic salt air that gets in your soul and points you to the beach. My family devotedly spent those three precious summer months (June, July, August) on the beach for countless years. Come Labor Day the whole place would shut down and saltwater depression would set in. Same with the Chandler family. In those long, cold, dreary New Jersey winters we would dream of perfect waves in warm water, sunny skies, with palm trees on the beach…… and ye shall find. That we all have discovered Nosara is no coincidence – its serendipity! When Casa Tucan sold last year, Safari embarked on a new adventure. Tim and Tyler reached out to faithful alumni who might be interested in helping grow and expand the dream. Jeff and Kerry Chandler answered that call, and a partnership was formed to develop a one-of-a-kind sustainable upscale surfing resort called Olas Verdes.

A week with the Chandlers

One of the coolest things about the Chandlers is that when they come back to Nosara each year (sometimes twice) they come to Safari and enroll in the full program, lessons, meals, the works. Many folks return to Nosara determined to do it on a budget, which is fine, but the Chandlers seek the camaraderie and fellowship, the relationships, cultivated with Safari’s instructors and staff years ago. It is a true pleasure to have them here and kind of sad when they leave. Usually their kids Sam and Tess come with friends, and on this trip they each brought their 3 best friends in kind of a belated birthday trip. Sam and Tess celebrated their actual 16th birthday in January (yes, they are twins!). So here come the Chanders, 10 strong, extended family, instant atmosphere!

Here Come the Chandlers!
Extended Family
I sat down with Kerry and we chatted about life, kids, New Jersey, and of course Olas Verdes.

PL: Welcome back Kerry! When and how did you folks find Nosara and Safari Surf?
Kerry: We wanted to have a family surfing vacation and I knew Costa Rica was a cool place to visit. So I went on the internet to do research, typing in the search box ‘Surfing in Costa Rica’ and that’s where I learned about Safari. That was about nine years ago and we’ve been coming back to Safari every year.
(Kerry was actually in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica in 1985-87. Destiny!
PL: I was stoked to hear you are from New Jersey. I was born in Atlantic City, and learned to surf there. I spent the Summer of Love in Ocean City! Do you guys go to the beach in Sandy Hook?
Kerry: Oh yes, my family tree is full of beach people! Learning how to surf with Safari has led to us being year-round surfers in New Jersey.
PL: I am impressed that each time your family visits here, you enroll in the full Safari package rather than setting out on your own.
Kerry: Always! We feel so comfortable here. Our kids grew up with the instructors and they keep in touch. The meals together are a special time as well. Back home it’s hard to get everyone together at the same time – well you remember!
PL: Let’s talk about Olas Verdes. How did you come to be involved?
Kerry: We had heard that Casa Tucan was sold and Safari was in the process of reinventing itself. We had recently received a prospectus from Tim Marsh (Safari president/co-owner) seeking private investors interested in creating a partnership to expand the operation. Somehow it just resonated with us on many levels and we came aboard. The project is now full steam ahead. We will have 17 rooms, a restaurant, clubhouse, pool, and all the trimmings. Safari Surf School will be an integral part of the overall operation. Olas Verdes will be a sustainable surf resort!
PL: How do you envision the hospitality, theme, and creature comfort standard of the new resort?
Kerry: Olas Verdes will be upscale and very family-friendly. We have designed the accommodations as mini apartments with either a wet bar or full kitchen. Single units can be conjoined to form two and three bedroom suites. We are committed to making the facility as sustainable as possible following the LEED certification process. The resort will be a model of sustainability. There will be an educational component to this and we will conduct tours, identify all plant species with signs, and lots more. Most importantly, we want to capture the heart, spirit, camaraderie, and joy of Pura Vida that we have experienced so deeply on all of our trips with Safari.
PL: Any idea on the grand opening date?
Kerry: We are optimistically hoping for March 2015. And what’s this I hear about Donavon Frankenreiter performing at the grand opening?
PL: Confirmed! I was there when Tim asked him. He will most likely be here simultaneously with a Billabong ‘Surf with a Pro’ camp. The resort will be crawling with surfers!
PL: In parting I must say it has been a true pleasure getting to know you all better.
We are all very excited about Olas Verdes. Take good care and we’ll see ya at Christmas.

Kerry and Jeff Chandler

A chat with Sam and Tess

Sam and Tess Chandler are some of the nicest kids I’ve ever met. On this trip they each brought down three of their best friends, all wonderful people. They both turned 16 in January and belatedly celebrated the occasion here with family and friends.


Tess                                                                                                                                                                               Sam
PL: What do you guys think of this amazing place being built?
Sam: So stoked, Costa Rica here I come!
Tess: It is truly a dream come true to have a house here one block from the waves (the Chandlers are also building a home near the resort)
PL: What do you see yourselves doing in five years?
Sam: I’ll be living here working at the surf school!
Tess: Oh wow, let’s see, in college?
PL: What is your “must have” on the Olas Verdes breakfast menu? Dinner?
Sam: Breakfast: granola with yogurt and fruit. Dinner: large selection of seafood.
Tess: Breakfast: French toast. Dinner: arroz con pollo.
PL: TV’s in the rooms, yes or no?
Sam: No TV’s. The entertainment here comes from natural sources. I don’t think we’ve ever turned on a TV in all of our trips here.
Tess: Yes and No. It might be nice for families with kids, but personally I won’t watch it!
PL: Thanks guys, it has been great getting to know you and your friends. See you at Christmas and keep surfing in New Jersey.
Sam/Tess: (in unison) PURA VIDA!


Sam with his “Awesome Surf Mom”                                                                                                                                                  Sweet 16


Winter in New Jersey                                                                                                                                                  Tess and Kerry
December 2013 trip

Surf Photos

I found it interesting that I couldn’t find many surfing photos of the Chandlers. Truth is that they are having so much fun that they don’t really care! They are avid surfers who will be a presence in the Guiones lineups for many years to come. More photos to come!


Jeff                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kerry


Sam                                                                                                                                                                                                            Tess

COWABUNGA! Papa Jeff leads the charge


Symphony of the Sea


With conductor Alonso


Tyler Marsh admires the new Safari Clubhouse at Olas Verdes


A wave shaped pool – very cool!

Inside Peak – Surf Rides

Welcome to August! It was a quiet “news week” here in Nosara so for this week’s edition I thought it would be fun to take a look at surfing rides – the vehicles used by surfers to get to the beach. I’ll make sure to cover transportation options available here in Nosara as well. Surfing really caught on in California in the early 60’s and spread like wildfire to the Gulf and East Coasts. Surfers were becoming a distinct “demographic” with their own culture; music, clothing, lingo, hair styles, and surf vehicles. I remember my very first surf vehicle – it was a 1960 hand-me-down Valiant station wagon with pushbutton transmission. Mom make curtains for the back windows, and I had an 8 track tape deck blasting the latest Iron Butterfly album- a sure-fire chick magnet. Wood paneled station wagons or ‘Woodies’ were all the rage back in the day, and many woody clubs are going strong in the USA. The venerable Volkswagen Bus was the surf ride de rigueur back in my surf hippie days. Seeing them always sparks a tinge of nostalgia. Nowadays big SUV’s dominate the beach lots, but creativity is still in charge when it comes to finding a ride to the beach in style.


My 1st car – 1960 Valiant                                                                                         The legendary VW Bus
Back in the 60’s we had a word for someone who talked a good surf but never actually paddled out: HODAD. A hodad would bleach his hair blond, wear baggies and sandals, and drive around with a board strapped on his car to impress the girls. In later years these characters still existed and were called many things: poser, greaser, glam, wannabe, pretender, etc.

Perfect Hodad Car!

Surfing Safari

‘Let’s go surfin’ now, everybody’s learning how, come on and Safari with me’ – The Beach Boys
Tim and Tyler had it right when they chose the name Safari Surf. Perhaps based on the African wildlife expedition concept, a surfing safari is the search for waves by vehicle.



Most surfing safaris became camping trips, and over the years I’ve seen some amazing vehicles customized for a long stay at the beach.


The Woody

Very popular in the 50’s, the woody is a wood paneled station wagon. It became the perfect surf vehicle. There are many thriving woody car clubs that won’t let go!


VW Bus

If there ever was a classic timepiece of 1970’s surfing it was the coveted VW Bus!


Different Rides for Different Tribes


Horsepower to the surf zone – (just keep an eye on your board)!


Helicopter Entry                                                                              Fine Car Transport                                                                                Pedal Power


Camel Taxis are booming in the bustling Morocco surf scene!


Indonesia Luxury Charter                                                                                                                                                                              Cruising south of San Francisco


Hearses were great surf vehicles!


Where there’s a will, there’s a way…….
What the???

Getting Around Nosara

Playa Guiones in Nosara is the front yard of a mellow little surf community. Hotels, restaurants, a market, and bank all lay within easy walking distance. For those looking to explore a bit there are several options available: rental car, bicycle, golf cart, and ATV’s.
My favorite is the quad or ATV (all terrain vehicle). Quads are economical and easy to drive.
The best thing about the quad is you feel part of everything you see since you are outside.
Quads handle our rough dirt roads and seem tailor-made for this kind of place. Answering to demand, most quad rental businesses equip them with surf racks.


Customized Quads – ideal for surf exploration!


Tinis & Ricardo’s surf ride                                                                                                                                                  Helberth’s clan off to the beach


Fun Mobile!

True Story: This group of guys has been coming to Nosara every year for 20 years. In the early days they would charter a private plane that would remove the seats to be able to load all the boards on. The hotel owner would meet them at the airport and drive them to the hotel in his dump truck!
And don’t forget good ole’ walking – Go Surfing!