Inside Peak – Feliz Navidad from Nosara

Happy Holidays from Safari Surf School!

Safari Surf Senior Instructor Extraordinaire Helberth Ruiz

Beautiful empty tube photo by Graham Swindell

The Holiday Season is upon us in Nosara with perfect sunny days and all-day offshore winds. It is amazing how dependable these conditions are in our dry season. Safari Surf School looks forward to welcoming our new guests and immersing them in Aloha and Pura Vida! We meet lovely folks from around the world here all seeking the same spirit and joy we find through surfing. Here are a few of their Christmas stories….

Christmas in Nosara Costa Rica

Maritza and Alycia of Safari Surf
“Our ‘Tradiciones de Navidad’ are centered around a large family gathering on Christmas Eve. Parents and grandparents, brothers & sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins all gather at papa’s house. At 8pm we all go to La Iglesia (church) for Mass, and then return to papa’s for bocas (appetizers) and drinks. At midnight on Christmas Eve we have a big dinner of chicken and pork tamales, and a bebida dulce (sweet drink) called chicheme – made from pulpo de maiz morado (purple corn pulp – yummie!). Afterwards we gather around the Christmas tree and open gifts. On Christmas Day we look forward to working at Safari Surf!!!”

Christmas in Holland and the United Kingdom

Safari Alumni Ellen
“I am originally from Holland but have been living in England for many years!
In Holland the big holiday is celebrated on December 5th when Sinterklass (St. Nicholas) visits. The children leave their clogs by the fireplace hoping that Sinterklaas will fill them with presents.
In the UK they go all out with heaps of decorations, parties, and lots of presents delivered by Father Christmas. It has become quite commercial, very similar to the United States actually. On Christmas Day the entire population eats turkey and Christmas (or plum) Pudding.”

Christmas in Finland

“Well everyone knows that Finland is the home of Santa Claus right?!! This means that he will stop there first to deliver his presents! On Christmas Eve families celebrate with a big early supper of pork, potatoes, and rice pudding. Then Santa comes around 7pm to deliver presents and sing with the children. Gifts are opened around the tree and everyone plays with them late into the night. Of course I will celebrate in Nosara with my novio Luis and his lovely family!”

Christmas in the United States

Jaida (my granddaughter!)
“On Christmas Eve we go to church and everyone holds candles and sings Silent Night. Then we go home and go to bed early so Santa can come and leave presents. On Christmas morning we open our stockings and lots of presents and play play play! Then in February I get to come to Nosara to celebrate my 4th birthday with my pa-pa, ma-ma, and my mommie!”

A Rustico Christmas in Nosara Village!


Inside Peak – Nosara Restaurant Guide



surf food
With all of the great restaurant choices in Nosara, Safari Surf School management has decided to make Sundays an “Open Meal Day”, providing guests with an opportunity to eat at establishments of their choosing. To assist we have created a restaurant guide comprised of eateries we recommend. Nosara has an impressive assortment of restaurant offerings. With each new season we see at least 3-4 new places open; some survive, some don’t. Most restaurants here these days accept Visa and MasterCard as well as U.S. currency. Be prepared for a mandatory 13% sales tax and 10% service charge to be added to your check. I usually leave another 10% for the server if service is good. There are a few “mainstays” you can always count on: For Romantic go to Dolce Vita, for ocean front dining La Luna. IL Basilico makes awesome pizza, and for burgers the newly opened Burgers and Beers is the ticket. Rancho Tico is the place to go for excellent local ‘tipico’ cuisine and Harmony is popular for excellent sushi. It is rare to get a bad meal in Nosara as everything is generally prepared from scratch. Table service has improved vastly from the old days, but remember that ‘cooked to order’ still takes longer, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the Pura Vida. Make sure to call in advance to verify hours, etc. And don’t hesitate to talk to fellow travelers and ask for their restaurant recommendations. Provecho!

Harbor Reef
Harbor Reef
*Recommended for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
On-site at Harbor Reef Surf Resort is a pool-side restaurant known for local fare from farm and sea, a fully stocked bar with swim-up access , live music and a roof-top smoothie bar. The Reef Restaurant menu is updated daily to reflect the freshest, finest ingredients available; also featuring desserts by Ems Yums.
Location: Main Street Guiones/walk from town
Price Range: $5-$20
Phone: 2682-1000

Rosie’s Soda Tica
Rosie’s Soda Tica
*Recommended for Breakfast and Lunch
Rosie’s Soda Tica serves authentic traditional fare at very reasonable prices. New location next to tennis courts on Main Street Guiones.
Location: Main Street Guiones/walk from town
Price Range: $5-$10
Phone: 2682-0728

Harmony Hotel Bar and Restaurant
Harmony Hotel Bar and Restaurant
*Recommended for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
The Harmony’s restaurant showcases the bounty of the Nosara area. We use fresh, local ingredients whenever possible and work with producers who share our sustainable values. We also source produce from our very own nearby farm. We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner (including an amazing sushi menu). Full bar and wine list.
Location: Main Street Guiones/walk from town
Price Range: $5-$30
Phone: 2682-4114

*Recommended for Breakfast and Lunch
Bagelmens features breakfast specialties, wraps, salads, soups, desserts and a variety of bagels baked fresh daily. Indoor and outdoor patio dining. Bagelmens opens daily at 7am for that early coffee wake-up.
Location: Main Street Guiones/walk from town
Price Range: $5-$15
Phone: 2682-5448

Robin's Ice Cream
Robin’s Ice Cream
*Recommended for Breakfast and Lunch
Known for amazing home-made ice cream and sorbets, Robins also features breakfast selections, sandwiches, salads, wraps, crepes, coffee drinks, smoothies, and milkshakes
Location: Main Street Guiones/walk from town
Price Range: $5-$15
Phone: 2682-1607

Café de Paris Bakery
Café de Paris Bakery
*Recommended for Breakfast and Lunch
Excellent freshly baked goodies; homemade sandwiches, croissants, deserts, baguettes, celebration cakes, pies and more. Good take-out option for tour excursions, fishing trips, etc.
Location: Main Street Guiones/walk from town
Price Range: $5-$10
Phone: 2682-0087

Marlin Bills
Marlin Bills
*Recommended for Dinner
American styles steakhouse menu featuring steak, chicken, fresh fish, burgers, pastas, and salads. Full bar menu.
Location: Main Street Guiones/walk from town
Price Range: $7-$25
Phone: 2682-0458
Web: Bills

IL Basilico
IL Basilico
*Recommended for Dinner
Il Basilico is a locally owned talian restaurant. The ambiance is rustic, with incredible food at affordable prices. Il Basilico offers everything from pizzas, to specialty salads, pasta, seafood, and much more. Several nights a week live music can be enjoyed. Come join us for a wonderful evening!
Location: South Guiones/taxi from town
Price Range: $6-$15
Phone: 2682-1472

Kaya Sol
Kaya Sol
*Recommended for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Extensive menu, all meals. Fresh seafood, free-range steaks, pasta, burgers, salads by popular Chef Jorge. Full bar and wine list.
Location: North Guiones /taxi from town
Price Range: $5-$20
Phone: 2682-1459

Gilded Iguana
Gilded Iguana
*Recommended for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
A Nosara landmark since 1986. In November (2014) former owners of popular seafood restaurant Pacifico Azul assumed management of the Gilded Iguana hotel and restaurant.
The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a wide variety of fresh selections with an emphasis on seafood. Full bar. Live music Tuesday and Friday nights.
Location: North Guiones/taxi from town
Price Range: $5-$20
Phone: 2682-0259

Burgers and Beers
Burgers and Beers
*Recommended Lunch and Dinner
Monster burgers and hand cut fries. Excellent handcrafted beers.
One visit will you keep coming back for more!
Location: North Guiones/taxi from town
Price Range: $10-$15
Phone: 2682-5558

La Luna
La Luna
*Recommended for Lunch and Dinner
Ocean front restaurant, great for sunsets and special occasions.
The eclectic menu has Asian and Mediterranean flourishes; excellent wood-fired pizza. Deserts by Ems Yums.
Full bar and wine list. Call ahead for reservations.
Location: Playa Pelada/taxi from town
Price Range: $7-$25
Phone: 2682-0122

La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita
*Recommended for Dinner
Upscale Italian cuisine in romantic setting. Proprietor/Host Roberto DeSilvio proudly oversees every detail and table nightly. Good wine list.
Location: South Guiones/walk from town
Price Range: $5-$40
Phone: 2682-0107

Rancho Tico
Rancho Tico
*Recommended for Dinner
Located in Nosara Centro, Rancho Tico is great for tipico food:
Casados, Lomito jalapeno, and fresh seafood. Full bar.
Location: Nosara Centro/taxi from town
Price Range: $6-$20
Phone: 2682-0006


Inside Peak – New Season Starts for 2015!

Safari’s New Season Off and Running!

Safari Surf Schools 2014-2015 season opened with a bang as an early season cold front ushered in fresh offshore winds, sunny skies, and super fun surf. It is always a challenge emerging from the rain soaked months of “Septober” where flooded roads, stormy skies, and choppy surf keeps visitors away and locals holed up in their homes. Although the El Nino weather phenomenon did result in a “less intense” rainy season, from my perspective it stayed pretty darned wet and soggy around these parts. Most sources predict an early end to this year’s rainy season which has been evident in two successive northern hemisphere cold fronts already in the books. Around town merchants are painting, cleaning, and readying their businesses for the busy high season ahead. Safari welcomed a good number of new and “alumni” guests this week, so I thought a little recap of our 1st week would be fun.

Hot and Glassy & nobody out – get down here!


Safari Manager Jeffrey with ‘El Jefe’ Tim Marsh

We’ve been stoked to have Safari President Tim Marsh here this week to help us kick off the new season. I sat down with Tim to get his thoughts on the upcoming season and the “New Safari Surf”.
PL: Welcome back Tim, fresh from Indonesia, where did you go?
Tim: I was in the Mentawai Islands boating from break to break.
PL: Well here we are, a brand new season. What’s new for Safari this year?
Tim: We are very excited about this new season. We have trimmed down to our “core staff” and are focused on making our surf lesson teaching system the best in the business. We interview all guests as to their experience and
ability levels and structure their equipment and instruction according to a new multi-level rating system. This way we can focus appropriate attention on each student. No longer will a complete beginner be paired with an experienced rider. We are also investing in our instructors training and personal development towards attaining their Level 2 International Surfing Association coaching and instruction certification. In December we will take delivery of 35 new surfboards made specifically for Safari Surf School. We have just opened a new branch of Safari Surf in Nicaragua and look forward to growing that program, and of course we have the ongoing development of Olas Verdes Sustainable Surfing Resort right next store. Our new website will launch soon so stay tuned to for all the latest safari Surf news!

Olas Verdes

The Week in Pictures


Surfer Town comes to Life


Safari Guests


Kate & Charlie                                                                                                                                                            Helberth, Mary, & Catherine

Catherine from Dallas
Mary from UK
Jessica from NYC
Alejandra from Canada
Skye from NYC
Tim Marsh in Indonesia

PURA VIDA – see you soon!

I would like to dedicate this blog to my dad, William Lewis, who left this earth last Monday. Dad loved the ocean and instilled in me a love for the water and waves that lives on today.


Inside Peak – Equinox

book your costa rica surf vacation

Spring has Sprung! (sort of!)

summer-break (2)
On Monday, September 22, 2014, autumn began astronomically in the Northern Hemisphere. This also marked the start of spring in the southern half of the globe. The September equinox is the moment when the sun appears to cross the celestial equator heading southward. At the equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. In the Northern Hemisphere the southward equinox is known as the autumnal equinox. In the Southern Hemisphere it is known as the vernal or spring equinox. Even though Costa Rica is located at 9 degrees north in the northern hemisphere, the names of the seasons are commonly flip-flopped and the September equinox is referred to down here as ‘spring’, and ‘summer’ starts late in November. From what I can determine this is based on local folklore and tradition, not science! What does this all mean for us optimistic surfers? Spring is here in Nosara! Summer is coming! In November we begin to usher in the dreamy offshore wind season. As the Southern Hemisphere winter winds down, we begin to see our surf “source” spawning from singular primary directions, drop in size a bit, and become more spaced apart, lined up, and very clean. Our dry season begins “sometime in November”. This year, due to the El Nino weather phenomenon, there is a good probability that our rains will taper off early in the month and sunny days, starry nights, and offshore winds return!

Up North

run (2)
weather map

wetsuit (2)

Down South

logo (2)
soft wave
donavon strum (2)
kid surf
Safari Surf School’s New Season Starts November 1st!

Take advantage of predicted early summer conditions, less crowds, learn to surf in paradise.
We’ll be waiting for you, “hasta pronto” – (see you soon)!
~Pura Vida~

Inside Peak – Surfers Who Stayed: Emily


Name: Emily Lewis
Status: Year-round since 2008
Business: Owner of Ems Yums deserts/Dog Rescuer

The Road Less Traveled

One of greatest things about our beach here is that it seems to pull you into the water. The gradual sloping descent of the ocean floor creates numerous fun zones where the white water regenerates into smaller/mellow new waves. I believe this is one reason Nosara seems to appeal to a “slightly older” demographic interested in learning and experiencing surfing. Look and you will see this; healthy, tan, and active folks that ain’t kids anymore. Look closer and you will see a number of surfing senior citizens out there catching waves and surfing well. Nosara has one of the oldest and well established expatriate communities in Costa Rica. I married Emily 31 years ago in San Diego. Our life compass has taken us to many shores, all water places. In 2008, we sold everything we had, and moved from Florida to Nosara. I guess these days this may not seem such a big deal, but for two baby boomers in their mid fifties, uprooting from an American Life and moving to Costa Rica was definitely The Road Less Traveled…at least for us! Here is Ems story:


“The Cake Lady” baking at home                                                          Spreading the love at local school fundraiser

Emily’s Story

“In 2004, long after my prime years of nursing had passed and “burn out” set in; we had an opportunity to run the “hotel on the point” (Hotel Playas de Nosara). Our daughter and a friend rented our house and cared for our two dogs and off we went! By June 2005 we knew that our parental responsibilities were not over and we returned to Florida to work and pay the bills. Peter worked for Surf Express, a travel company that arranged surfing trips to Costa Rica. This enabled us to explore the country extensively. Once we saw Nosara, well it sort changed everything for us, it was like finding Shangri-La, an earthly paradise! Finally, at the end of 2007, Peter flew to Nosara to meet with our builder and plan out our house design. Nine months later we arrived at the Miami airport with 3 dogs in kennels and 4 suitcases. We had sold all of our possessions and were starting over, “looking for the seventies” as Peter puts it. We’ve had many adventures and ‘misadventures’ in the six years we’ve lived here, all valuable learning experiences.”

Starting Ems Yums

“I have always loved baking for special occasions, etc. and have accumulated some great original recipes over the years. The owner of La Luna Restaurant (Angelina) asked me if I could come up with some “special desserts” for the restaurant.  My longtime favorite Carrot Cake and newly created Mocha Chocolate Chip Cake filled that niche well. Newly arriving Safari guests are treated to a ‘Welcome (carrot) Cake’ which is a nice touch. Currently my cakes are available at la Luna, Harbor Reef, and Robbie’s Guiones mini-market. I receive quite a few private birthday cake orders as well. I also bake muffins, cheesecake, cookies, fudge-nut brownies, and pumpkin pie. I think I give away more that I sell! It’s a labor of love for me; it’s worth it to see the smiles of happy customers.”
Dog Rescuer/Animal Advocate
“When we moved here my goal was to be retired and do volunteer work with local stray animals. I was immediately drawn to the number of malnourished dogs in Nosara. I assembled a ‘road kit’ with food and medicines, and stopped wherever I saw an emaciated dog(s). Over time my profits from Ems Yums were used to buy bags of dog food which I donated to local families who couldn’t afford to feed their pets. Realizing the immediacy of slowing the population growth of these unwanted/neglected dogs, I became involved with Nosara Animal Care, and took as many strays as possible to be spayed and neutered. The most rewarding part is when I am able to find new homes for these animals. An offshoot of this work was the creation of ‘Dog Tales’, an educational outreach project involving local schools. The kids would write cute stories about their pets in both Spanish and English, and share them with their fellow students and friends, fostering awareness and pride in their care of pets and local animals.”


   Dog Mobile                                                     My dog Blinky                   Hungry Beach Strays “Still Surfin” After all these Years
There is no feeling like catching a wave and riding it to the beach. I still go surfing occasionally; as much as my busy schedule allows. I admit to being a small wave whitewater surfer and just love being out in the ocean.


Jaco Beach 1999                                                                                                                                                         Playa Guiones 2007


“People are generally fascinated that we were able to uproot and move here. We seemed to have less “anchors” in the ground holding us back so we just went for it. We have great support from our family members and they visit here as much as possible.”

A Changing Nosara

“Nosara life can only get better in the future. In our six years here, we have seen a proper full service gas station and national bank open, and the government is taking a more active interest in Nosara. Last year a major dike was constructed in the Nosara River to prevent flooding, and the recent visit here by the new president left us all with high hopes that our roads really will be paved. Nosara has more year-round residents and services than in past years, and the activist community here strives to keep things clean and green and limit development. The growing number of “healthy lifestyle” businesses here attracts good people and inspires everyone to seek ‘wellness.’ We came looking for “a more interesting life” and certainly found that here!”
The vigilant Nosara Civic Association………………..keeps high rise development away

Inside Peak – Surfers Who Stayed: Robbie Vickers

Name:Robbie Vickers
Status: Year-round since 2005
Business:Owner: Mini Super Guiones

“When Irish Eyes are Smiling”

It seems most folks are drawn to the melodic ‘Irish Lilt’. My friend Robbie Vickers has one; he was born and raised in Ireland. Ireland is a beautiful country with lots of open green spaces, and heaps of waves of all descriptions. One wonders how he came to call Nosara home. Robbie and his wife Nella own and operate the Guiones Mini Supermarket. If you’ve been in Guiones in the last couple of years it’s very likely you been in their store. It’s centrally located in the middle of “Main Street Guiones”, adjacent to Surfing Nosara and next to Robins Ice Cream. Last year they totally renovated the store and property, expanding the markets shelf space and building two very stylish upscale rental flats upstairs. Robbie and Nella have two beautiful daughters, Sophia (15) and Isabella (4) and are expecting a third girl, Camilla, in September. They are both widely known and loved in town.
Robbie’s story is original and inspiring, and we are lucky to have this lovely family here!


  Nella, Isabella, Robbie (with Camilla in oven!)                                           Mom and Sophia

Robbie’s Story

“I was born and raised in Ireland. It was great as a kid growing up. I remember we used to get long beautiful summers with lots of rain the rest of the year. I used to travel to the west coast with my dad almost every weekend – he would fly fish the rivermouths for salmon and I would go surfing. If there were no waves I would fish with him. I left Ireland when I was 19 years old to attend my friend’s wedding in Montauk New York. I fell in love with the surfing and fishing scene there and decided to stay. One of my first jobs was working on a commercial fishing boat, which I did for two years. Fishing allowed me to save enough money to travel and surf in the winter months. I spent a lot of time in Puerto Rico back then. The waves were great but it just got too crowded for my liking. I began to focus on saving enough money to start my own business. My painting company Robbie Vickers Custom interiors employed 28 people at one time and we painted mansions on eastern long Island in a place know as The Hamptons. Being self-employed allowed me to take some cool surf trips. I spent two months in Indonesia and experienced the best waves I’ve ever surfed. But it was on an extended trip to Central America where I first saw Nosara.  I arrived at the beach and looked out upon perfect blue-green waves peeling off up and down the beach that did it for me.I wanted to be somewhere where the surf was more consistent and the water was warm and Nosara offers that. I returned to New York and realized that after twelve years it was time for a change. I got very lucky and sold both my house and business two days before the collapse of Bear Stearns financial empire. I moved to Costa Rica 2 months later and built my house in Nosara. I met Nella three years ago at the Nosara Fiesta and it was truly love at first sight”.
Nella and Robbie – Stop in and say hi
Luck of the Irish! Robbie likes the power, punch, and hollows of Playa Ostional and also surfs Guiones regularly. Here he exits the pit with full beard commitment! When not surfing or running he’s at the store taking care of business. The recent expansion of the market has enabled him and Nella to increase the product line with an emphasis on quality and diversity. Healthy/organic selections and varied ethnic items are available as well as fresh produce, fine wines and beers.
With a major renovation/expansion last year, Mini Super Guiones is has grown with the town.
Plus two Uber-Chic New Apartments!

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!

Inside Peak – Little Summer


“Little Summer”

We have been experiencing a long stretch of beautiful dry sunny weather and all day offshore winds this month, more so than in past years. The locals refer to these dry spells as the “veranillo”, which means ‘little summer’. I have read in various guide books that the actual name of this phenomenon is ‘El Veranillo de San Juan’. Being a surfer/ armchair meteorologist (and also the son of a real life one), I like to probe a little deeper into these things and learn a little more about what makes this place tick. I never did find out who San Juan is/was and what he has to do with this weather trend, but I reckon surfers owe him a debt of gratitude for these awesome off-season surfing conditions.


El Niño
Most likely we all have heard by now that scientists are confirming that another El Niño is developing. El Niño means The Little Boy, or Christ Child in Spanish. El Niño was originally recognized by fishermen off the coast of South America in the 1600s, with the appearance of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean. The name was chosen based on the time of year (around December, i.e. The Christ Child) during which these warm water events tended to occur. The term El Niño refers to the large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate interaction linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific. Typical El Niño effects are likely to develop over North America during the upcoming winter season. Those include warmer-than-average temperatures over western and central Canada, and over the western and northern United States. Wetter-than-average conditions are likely over portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida, while drier-than-average conditions can be expected in the Ohio Valley and the Pacific Northwest. For Costa Rica the implications point to a dry rainy season.
          El Niño: warmer than average waters in the Eastern equatorial Pacific ( in orange, affects weather around the world.
The real concern in Central America of course is severe drought and water shortages. For surfers lucky enough to be here, it all feels like a tropical fantasy.
image13 Another interesting factor contributing to these little summer periods is the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), a large band of clouds, usually thunderstorms, that circle the globe near the equator. Its location is affected by many things, most noteably landmasses and ocean currents. A deflection of the ITCZ northward past Costa Rica in July enhances the creation of offshore wind and dry weather.
Disclaimer: the world’s weather is changing. As much as we try to understand it all scientifically don’t be surprised when another weather surprise springs up – like last night, in the midst of a seven day dry spell the thunderstorm from hell dropped six inches of rain in one hour!  As Saturday Night Lives’ residence weather man Father Guido Sarducci proclaimed: “It all depends on the weather”.
Enough science! Now the photos tell the story…
 El Veranillo – the Goods and Bads




Dry river mouths = new sandbar formation and pristine beaches


Sand Factory
Jennifer planned to stay with us  a week – it turned into a month and counting!


Edyie                                                                                                                 Scott                                                                                                                    Anya


      Next Bay Over
“It all depends on the weather”
The skies open for 6 inches of rain!

Inside Peak – Surf Forecasting


This past week the entire west coast of Costa Rica (and Central America) was slammed by a massive “Southern Hemi”. That’s surf speak indicating a swell born on the poles and charging up from the Southern Hemisphere. In this era of technological advancements and wizardry, these swells are now predicted well in advance of the event, and delivered to the world via numerous websites. Now any of you fellow baby-boomer surfers out there can remember a time when getting a surf report meant driving to the beach and looking at the ocean to see how the waves were. Surfers by nature become armchair meteorologists, tuning into wind directions, tides, seasons, and the like. The phenomenon of computer model forecasting has only been around for a decade or so. This issue of Inside Peak will focus on some of the basics of modern day surf forecasting, including the monster swell we had last week.


What Makes Waves?

Waves are created as wind blows over the ocean, transferring its energy into the water. The size of the swell is affected by three variables: the velocity of the wind, its duration, and its fetch (distance the wind blows in a specific direction). There are two different types of swells that influence the surfing conditions.

  1. Groundswell- waves that are generated a long distance away, far off the coast. This can be thousands of miles!
  2. Wind Swell – waves that are formed from local winds.

In general groundswells produce better surfing conditions. Wind swells are usually smaller, choppy, and more of a challenge to surf. Although both types of swells are normal at most surf spots, groundswells create more powerful, lined up surf. Groundswells will tend to dominate, reducing the influence of local wind waves. This occurs because groundswells originate far from the shore and have more time to organized and groomed.


       Ground Swell                                                                                                                                         Wind Swell

Swell Data

In order to forecast surf conditions important data needs to be analyzed:

    • Swell Height – the height of the swell in deep water.
    • Swell Direction – the direction from which the swell is coming, measured in degrees.
    • Swell Period – the swell period is a measurement of the time between successive waves in seconds. Waves travel in groups (called sets when they approach shore, as in “Big Set Outside”! In general waves will be referred to as either short period or long period. A long period indicates a wave born on a storm far out to sea making its way to shore. As waves travel they pick up velocity and amplitude. If there is a swell of significant height and swell period heading your way, you are probably in for good surf.

Our swell last week was forecast to be 6 feet of deep water swell with a period of 25 seconds. This would indicate a gigante swell. As these waves reach shallow reef or sand they stand up and heave, throwing out huge caverns of Pacific Ocean energy. Interesting to note is that a 6 foot deep water swell at 25 seconds is capable of generating breaking waves with faces up to 20 feet!
Big swells can light up offshore spots that are dormant under normal surf conditions



Bathymetry is the study of the depth of the Ocean floor. Its land based equivalent is topography. Waves will always turn and refract towards shallower water and meets a variety of surfaces; sand, reef, piers, jetties, etc. The shape of the ocean floor greatly affects a wave’s mood, shape, and size. A gradual sloping ocean floor like we have here in Guiones generally results in a slower crumbling wave, great for learning how to surf. However with a swell the size of last week’s event, the whole ocean can come crashing down on you all at once. There are many more factors including land contours, tides, local winds, etc. I don’t want to get anymore technical here than this, but I think this gives you a good idea on wave formation.


Perfection through the arches of Hotel Nosara


       Rumbling giant heading for the impact zone      


Surf Forecasting Websites

There are numerous websites that offer wave forecasts, many with a great degree of detail, photos, and weather charts.
For Nosara my favorite is:
Many of the local like this one:
The original pioneer:


In Southern Costa Rica, pavones is one of the true wonders of the surfing world. Pavones focuses Southern Hemisphere energy into perfect peeling freight train lefthanders that wrap into the Golfo Dulces many perfect points. It is said to handle waves up to twenty feet!


Sequence: local womens legend JESSIE on the wave of the day!
[soliloquy id=”4170″]

Cover Shot

The breathtaking lead photo was taken by local master photographer Graham Swindell.
Graham hosts a popular website called Nosara Shack. Graham focuses on surfing as an artistic expression, which you can see in his brilliant compositions. He and surf buddy Scott McDowell set off on a reconnaissance mission to witness how this monster swell behaved at the multitude of coastal nooks and crannies to our south. Check it out at:

Inside Peak – Driving in Costa Rica

Road Trip!

Costa Rica is a wonderful place to explore by rental car. In my early years as a travel agent for Surf Express Travel in Florida, the majority of our bookings were fly/drive packages, facilitating adventurous minded surfers to roam the country looking for perfect, uncrowded surf. Renting a car in Costa Rica has the potential to create a very unique trip for travelers. You can seek out little-known places, stop when you want, and craft your own adventure from scratch. However, driving in Costa Rica is serious. Road conditions can be difficult, signs are spotty, and driving times can be long. Before getting behind the wheel, think about what it requires and how you want your trip to unfold. Costa Rica has more than 20,000 miles of roads, yet fewer than 25% of them are paved. Many are so poorly maintained that driving on gravel surfaces is the better option. The road system infrastructure in Costa Rica is incomplete but somehow gets you there if you persevere.

City Driving

Driving in San Jose can be harrowing, especially during rush hours. Tico’s tend to drive offensively and assume they always have the right of way.  Fortunately the airport is on the outskirts of San Jose; point your car west and go prepared for anything! Road signs out of San Jose are good, but become less and less so as you get out in the country. Seat belts must be worn and are strictly enforced by the Transit Police. Always carry a copy of your passport with you. Distance and speed limits are in kilometers (1 kilometer is equivalent to 0.6214miles). Avoid night driving! As you depart the city, the scenery becomes breathtaking. Plan to have a leisurely drive and enjoy the experience. There are some great roadside restaurants, and plenty of photo opportunities along the way.


Avoid rush hour!                                                                                                                                Don’t drive at night!

Country Driving

The real fun of driving is when you get out of the city and into the country. Once  of the you exit the mountains you can cruise to your beach destination. You will encounter big trucks that appear to be taking up the entire road. Pass only if you are on a clear straightaway and can see oncoming traffic. It is more likely that the trucks will pass you, on a blind curve in the fog! Two lane roads often narrow into single lanes over bridges. Some roads lack guardrails and have steep drops along either side. Rainy season driving can wreak havoc on Costa Rica’s roads – landslides, flooding, dangerous erosion, and horrendous gaping huecos (pot holes). In spite of all these hazards and deterants, driving is a great adventure and gives you a sense of achievement.

Dirt Roads

One of my favorite sayings is “Dirt Roads bring good people, paved roads bring all kinds of people”. Many great beach destinations are end of the road places. The driving is slow and sometimes sketchy with river crossings, cows and horses on the road, and unbelieveable potholes. On one of our trips we got behind a big funeral procession where  mourners  were carrying a coffin to it’s burial site. This created a huge traffic back-up, but was cool  to see.

grande junc

                                         GRANDE JUECOS – THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!


            RICKETY ONE-LANE BRIDGES                                                                                                          COLLAPSED ROAD – YIKES!


        TREE DOWN!                                                                                                 MUD                                                                                      MOUNTAIN MIST


4-wheel Drive Mandatory!                                                                                                                                                         True country
Ferry to Tambor

River Crossings

When driving in the rainy season (May to November) you will surely encounter a few rivers. Always get out of your car and walk through to the other side to test the water depth and river bottom (mud, sand, rock). Drive across slowly but with determination!
Rocky Bottom and Shallow – GO!


Getting Around in Nosara

Most Safari Surf guests arrive from the airports (San Jose or Liberia) via shuttle van. Because of Nosara’s beach protection, no roads are permitted within the maritime zone. Most of the hotels are within walking distance to Safari Surf. Some folks rent golf carts and “quads” to tool around. Bicycles have become increasingly popular and there is a fully equipped bike shop on main street Guiones. It is also possible to rent a small car for use in Nosara.


Walking!                                                                                                                    Quad fun                                                                                  Golf Cart

True Story – my near disaster!

We live up on a mountain north of the Nosara River. In dry season, crossing the river saves fifteen  minutes from going the ‘long way’. Once the rains start the river fills, but this year there has been a tremendous build-up of small round river rocks that have formed a natural corridor across the river. I’ve made successful crossings up until the other day. As I neared the far side I wasn’t  paying attention and nudged closer to the bank than I should have. Suddenly the left side of my quad sunk down and threw me off into the water. As I surfaced I saw the quad  still there idling away, so I got up and little by little pushed it to safety. (Remember, dark water indicates deep, lighter colors means shallower water).  All I lost was my cheap cell phone, it could have been much worse. Gracias a Dios.


  Smooth Sailing.                                                                                                                                                                              Avoid the bank!

Inside Peak – Soccer Madness!


Soccer Madness Captures Nosara!

The 20th edition of the World Cup of soccer kicked off on June 12 in host country Brazil.
Not being a big team sports fan, I was converted on last Friday when Costa Rica won their game 1-0 against highly favored Italy. This happened as I was driving to the beach. As I passed by the Rancho Tico restaurant I was amazed to see cars parked everywhere up and down both sides of the street as far as I could see. I decided to stop and take a look, and what I encountered was actually shocking – 300 revved up fans celebrating and partying like there was no tomorrow. The win puts Costa Rica in the top 16. It has been 24 years since Costa Rica advanced this far, and Costa Ricans everywhere are on fire. Today Costa Rica faces England but this time “Los Ticos” are favored to win. I am told that soccer has become very popular in the states now. The game last night between the U.S. and Portugal was a heartbreaker for the American team ending in Portugal’s last second tying goal. The following gallery of photos tells the tale of spirit, loyalty, and national confidence.


‘Los Ticos’ team and Fans celebrate after Friday’s victory over Italy
Carnival Atmosphere prevails in Nosara!
Camilla and Sebastian  in team colors waiting for start of game
Tailgate Party at Safari House!
Brazil’s Stadiums are Out of this World

Inside Peak – Meet The Marsh Family (The Kids!)


We are stoked to have the Tim Marsh Family here for their annual summer vacation!
Tim, Marsi, and Tyler Marsh own and operate Safari Surf. Tim and Marsi live in Southern California and operate the corporate offices, and Tyler lives in Nosara and oversees the surf school operation. I have grown very close to them and especially love the kids. This week I will introduce the kiddos to you and next week’s blog will feature interviews with Tim and Marsi. The Marshes are a very tight-knit unit. They always seem to be together and one easily gets the sense that they adore each other. They love people, animals, and the ocean. I marveled at the five of them in the pool together tossing a football and having so much fun. Camille, at 15 doesn’t strike me as being the stereotypical moody angst-ridden teenager. She is quiet, sensitive, and intelligent, and she sings in a voice as smooth as honey. Zane and Liana are 10 year old twins. They are smart, clever, and fun loving grommets and they are an ambitious lot, always scheming up some new creative endeavor. The Marshes have traveled together as a family since the kids were toddlers and they all have that beautiful bushy-bushy blonde hair for life!

The Twins

Zane and Liana Marsh were born within one minute of each other, Zane 1st, and then Liana. There has been a lot written about twins; they are unique and special.I have had the pleasure of knowing these two for four years or so and it is so great to see them every summer. I love to hang out with them individually or together, we always have a blast. I know without a doubt that these kids are going somewhere. They may figure largely into future incarnations of Safari Surf, or maybe not. But they will always be an integral part of Safari’s soul and spirit. I thought it would be fun to ask them some questions and see what’s on their agendas.


PL:                   Hey Welcome back Zane-Brain, howz it going?
Zane:              Solo Bueno, that means really good right?
PL:                   Yes and it shows because you always have a huge smile on your face.
Zane:              (Smiling) Yeah I like it here.
PL:                  Cool beans. You get to come every year and see your cousins, go surfing, dig for clams, play at the waterfall, and visit the monkeys. How long have you been coming down to Nosara?
Zane:             I think for like 7 years, since we were babies.
PL:                  When did you 1st go surfing?
Zane:             I was three and my dad took me out on a soft board.
PL:                  You got pretty good! Do you like big waves?
Zane:             Yeah I do, but not too big. The biggest I surfed was three feet over my head.
PL:                  Dude, I’ve seen some pictures of you on some mackers!



Zane – Starting Early                                                                            Tough questions for Zane-o
PL:                  What’s your favorite subject in school?
Zane:             Math
PL:                  What do you want to be when you grow up?
Zane:             I want to be a soccer star/surfer/artist combination.
PL:                  Wow now that’s original! I can see why you like it here!
Zane:             Here everyone loves soccer.
PL:                  Favorite food?
Zane:             In the US its ravioli, here its ceviche.
PL:                  Music?
Zane:             Classic Rock. My favorite group is Queen.
PL:                  OK now I see where the artist comes from!


Liana with cousin Maddox

PL:                  Nickernutt! It’s so great to see you! Watcha been doing?
Liana:            I have been over at Uncle Tyler’s playing with my cousins.
PL:                  That’s so cool, they just love you!
Liana:            I know, I’m hoping to be their babysitter.
PL:                  So last year you told me you were going to be a surgeon one day.
Liana:            Well I changed my mind! I now want to be a forensic scientist or personal chef.
PL:                  Wow! You still love writing I hope.
Liana:            Oh Yeah, still do. I love writing stories and making up characters.
PL:                  Still surfing?
Liana:            Always! I love the warm water here.
PL:                  What are your favorite foods?
Liana:            Back home: artichoke. Here: mangoes
PL:                  Favorite Music and Band?
Liana:            Alternative; One Republic. I love to sing too. I even recorded a song!
PL:                  Interesting. Hey do you know  Zane’s favorite group?
Liana:            Queen, he’s a Queen freak!
PL:                  Hey let’s write a story together for the blog

Liana:            OK Cool
Tandem with Helberth


              Liana making a record!


I am getting to know Camille better and had the distinct pleasure of hearing her perform during the brunch at Harbor Reef Lodge. Her singing is amazing, “a sound blend of Jewel and Natalie Merchant” I said – but I don’t think she know their music. No matter – at 15 this kid is poised for greatness. She is focused and disciplined and has a beautiful lilting voice.


     Camille – Oozing with Style!                             Smooth   Surfin’                        Performing in Nosara
PL:                  (During Break) Wow Camille, that was amazing!
Camille:         Thanks for coming!
PL:                  When did you discover you were “musical?”
Camille:         I sang in my 3rd grade talent show and liked it.
PL:                  What instruments do you play?
Camille:         Guitar, piano, trumpet, ukulele, drums. I’m learning the banjo now.
PL:                  Do you write your own songs?
Camille:         I have written 5 so far. I know more will come.
PL:                  What about school?
Camille:         I like school and want to go to college.
PL:                  Where have you performed?
Camille:         I play at the wineries around here (Temecula, CA) and go to open-mic nights              where I can find them.
PL:                  So what’s ahead for you?
Camille:         I want to be a singer or a teacher.

PL:                  Keep singing Camille, the world will be better for it!
Karaoke duet with Sister Liana
Nosara summer vacation – the early years
Summer 2014 at Safari House (with Zane hamming!)

Next week I’ll be interviewing Señor y Señorita Marsh!
Pura vida!

Inside Peak – Safari Surf Culinary Tour



is a much ballyhooed mantra heard around Nosara. Surfing is great exercise that sets all of your senses pulsating. There is something about the salt water that brings on hunger! Fortunately Nosara has excellent restaurants featuring a variety of fresh and delicious cuisine. I thought it would be helpful to describe Safari Surfs food programs. When planning your Safari vacation you have an assortment of meal plans. Most folks seem to select the (prepaid) breakfast and dinner plan. Others choose the daily breakfast and keep the dinners open to explore individually. And still others leave their eating options totally open and make it up as they go along. Regardless of which food plan you select, you can always join the Safari group for breakfast and dinner and just pay as you go!


   Fresh Pacific Lobster!                                     Tyler Marsh’s “everything” pizza!


Carina and Alicia | Hungry Surfers! | Jeffrey super-stoked!
Prior to the morning surf lesson we set out trays of fresh tropical fruits; something light before surfing.
After the lesson a ‘proper’ breakfast is served in the Safari House. Breakfast choices are Banana pancakes, Tico breakfast (scrambled eggs, sausage, rice & beans), huevos rancheros, French toast, granola & yogurt with fresh fruit, eggs any style, and Costa Rican coffee and juices.
Safari Dinner guests gather at the Safari House on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for our legendary hosted dinners. Your ‘host’ for the evening festivities could be Tyler and/or Jeffrey, or one of Safari’s affable instructors. Menus vary with the season and include fresh fish, shrimp, or lobster, Tyler’s “free-range” organic chicken, Lomito (filet mignon), pasta, pizza fresh from our oven, salads, veggies, and Safari’s famous Carrot Cake. Dinners include two beers or one wine, and mixed drinks can be purchased ala cart.
Staff: We are fortunate to have two of Nosara’s best ‘foodies’ on staff to serve you: Maritza is our very talented chef, and Alicia, the worlds’ best server. We can accommodate vegetarian or specialty diets. On occasion we have guests who rent a private house and our culinary duo cooks and serves specialty dinners on site. One night per week we feature ‘Ems Yums’ amazing carrot or mocha chocolate chip cake for dessert.

Martiza and Alicia
Martiza and Alicia (The A Team!)
Din Din with host Tyler
Din Din with host Tyler
Dessert Night- Carrot Cake!
Dessert Night: Carrot Cake!

A favorite time-honored tradition at Safari Surf is loading up the van and visiting Nosara’s finest local restaurants. Currently our out to dinner nights fall on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. We have chosen to dine at our four favorite restaurants – Harbor Reef, Kaya Sol, Rancho Tico, and IL Basillica.
Pre-paid dinner guests can order anything they desire off the menu and two beers or one glass of wine is included. We always welcome non-meal-plan guests to join us on a pay as you go basis. Meet at Safari House at 6:30 pm or we will pick you up at your hotel!
The Harbor Reef Surf Lodge and Restaurant are well established mainstays in Nosara. Taco Tuesdays there have become so popular that reservations are required. The tacos are made fresh and tasty and they just keep coming! This is also a great people watching night. You will encounter folks you met on the zipline or our surfing, and the atmosphere is upbeat and happy happy!
Jeffrey’s Favorite: Tacos and more Tacos
Tyler’s Favorite: Tacos and Beer


                       Harbor Reef Restaurant                                     All you can eat Tacos!
Kaya Sol Surf Hotel and Restaurant are a weekly stop on Safari’s restaurant tour. Chef Jorge Diaz is well known around Nosara. Jorge spent many years at Harbor Reef Restaurant (as did our chef Maritza), and is well known for his creativity and generous portions. Kaya Sol’s diverse menu features market fresh meats and seafood as well as pastas and local ‘tipico’ dishes.
Jeffrey’s favorite: chicken nachos supremo
Tyler’s favorite: steak with portabello mushrooms


*Kaya Sol Menu Download:
Rancho Tico is a true local Tico spot that’s a bit off the beaten path in the Pueblo. Specializing in Casados (meaning married), this dish combines meat, chicken, or fresh fish with rice, black beans, salad, plantains, and veggies. There are many other items on the menu that are terrific, such as typical Costa Rican Sopa de Mariscos, Ceviche and Camarones a la Milenesa. Famous for huge portions, great prices and a fun, friendly traditional Tico atmosphere, Rancho Tico remains a weekly Safari favorite.
Jeffreys favorite: lomito jalapeno
Tylers favorite: fish casado
Rancho Tico – made from scratch tipico cuisine under the huge open air rancho


IL Basillica
The hands down favorite for pizza and Italian specialties in Nosara, IL Basillico is the creation of local a local surfer known as Chandy. Chandy spent years learning the art of Italian cooking in various local establishments, and was the kitchen manager for 6 years at Pomodoro, a very popular Italian restaurant in San Jose. One of the most popular selections at Il Basilico is the Pizza Il Basilico; a house specialty featuring ham, pepperoni, salami, mushrooms, chili, onion, garlic & olives. The authentic menu also features a full range of traditional pastas, as well as seafood & meat specials.
Jeffrey’s favorite: pesto pizza
Tyler’s favorite: seafood pasta

IL Basillica-1
IL Basillica-2
IL Basillica-3

Chandy´s IL Basillico: Out of this world pizza, and Italian delights
Safari Kids Camps
Snacks and lunch at the Safari House are included in our half and full day kids camps!
**Special Requests**
Safari will gladly help plan and arrange birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasion. Please let us know!
How about a sunset horseback ride on the beach and dinner at La Luna – we can do that!
La Luna Restaurant
Hope to see you grubbing down here soon!
Pura vida,