Celebrating 25 Years of Safari Surf: A Look Back at Our History of Our Costa Rica Surf School 

safari surf school group

While it’s hard to believe it’s been so long, 2024 marks the 25th anniversary of Safari Surf School. Tim and Marsi first traveled to Costa Rica in 1995, and we were immediately enamored with the country’s natural beauty and the kindness of its people. A lot has changed since the first iteration of Safari Surf School opened its doors; we’ve moved locations, grown tremendously, opened two successive surf schools in Panama and Ecuador, and cemented our Costa Rica surf school as a staple of the community in Costa Rica. As we celebrate our 25 years of operation in Costa Rica, we want to reflect on how far we’ve come. Continue reading below for Celebrating 25 Years of Safari Surf: A Look Back at Our History of Our Costa Rica Surf School.

Arriving in Costa Rica

Safari Surf School

Tim and Marsi first set foot on Costa Rican soil in 1995; the rest is history. The couple immediately fell in love with the vibrant land, people, and, of course, the surf. The following year, the duo returned and bought a small market in the tiny fishing and beach community in Garza. Tim and Marsi worked the market and lived above the store. While it seemed to be a dream scenario, the slow season proved to be just that, and before long, Tim and Marsi returned to their lives in the States. Two years later, in 1997, Marsi was pregnant, and Tim decided to get a stable job in the mortgage business. Even with a new baby, house, and a Range Rover, Tim felt something was missing. These feelings grew when Tim ran into an old friend who had started a California surf school and was spending his days at the beach. So, Tim called his brother, who was living in Costa Rica, and pitched an idea— a Costa Rica surf school. 

The Start of Something Special 

Tim and Marsi

While the first few years of operations were touch and go, and everyone involved had to do a bit of everything, they built a reputation of excellence in Nosara over time. Safari Surf School became the go-to surf school for travelers from all walks of life. Soon, Safari had built a loyal clientele with returning customers who sought out their favorite instructors. The team at Safari Surf is entirely local, from the management to the surf instructors. No one knows the waters of Playa Guiones better than the Safari Surf team, and there’s no better way to see Costa Rica than through the eyes of a local. 

The Evolution of Our Costa Rica Surf School 

As our Costa Rica Surf School grew, we realized it was time for a change. Tim put together a business plan and presented it to a small group of loyal guests who expressed interest in investing. The team raised capital, found property, and began the new chapter of Safari Surf.  Our Costa Rica surf school operated out of a small house on the property while our dream property, Olas Verdes, was being built. 

The Legacy Continues 

Surf and fishing packages

After years of successful operations in Costa Rica, we expanded our operations at Safari Surf. We scoured the globe for a destination that reminded us of our roots in Playa Guiones but still had an independent culture and identity. After leaving no stone unturned and much deliberation, we settled on a little slice of paradise known as Playa Venao, Panama. Our Panama Surf School is an extension of everything we do in Costa Rica, and we love our Safari Surf Panama team. After a successful expansion to Panama, we stumbled across the charming town of Ayampe, Ecuador, and knew we had to be part of the community there. And so, Safari Surf Ecuador was born. 

We could not have imagined a better way to spend a quarter of a century than building Safari Surf School into what it is today. Now, with teams across three countries and too many favorite guests to count, we’re taking a moment to celebrate how far we’ve come and get ready for what’s ahead. 

The Safari Surf Guide to the Best Restaurants in Nosara, Costa Rica

Restaurants in Nosara, Costa Rica
Restaurants in Nosara, Costa Rica

Eating in Costa Rica has changed a lot in recent years. Costa Rica has always been known as a hotbed for Latin cuisine that is dominated by fresh fruits, abundant fish, and classic dishes like Gallo Pinto. In the last 10 years, Costa Rica, and Nosara specifically, have undergone a cultural revolution. Nosara has become one of the world’s most desirable health and wellness destinations, and with that title comes a whirlwind of international influence that’s most noticeable while roaming the dirt roads around town looking for a meal. If you’re planning to visit Nosara, bring your appetite. Continue reading below for The Safari Surf Guide to the Best Restaurants in Nosara, Costa Rica.

Best Restaurants in Nosara for Casual Dinning: Beach Dog Café

Beach Dog Cafe Nosara

Located just before the path to Playa Guiones down the road from the Sunset Shack Hotel, Beach Dog Café is one of Nosara’s most iconic restaurants. Serving casual yet delicious meals like burritos, fish tacos, burgers, and more, the Beach Dog Café is perfect for a quick lunch or a laid-back dinner. With live music on the weekends and an extensive cocktail menu, it’s easy to kick back and stay for a while.

Best Coffee in Nosara: Olo Alaia Surf & Brew

Olo Alaia Surf & Brew

If you’re in Playa Guiones searching for a pick-me-up, head to Olo Alaia Surf & Brew. While it’s technically not a restaurant, Ola Alaia still makes our list of the Best Restaurants in Nosara thanks to its killer combination of great coffee, unique surf crafts and supplies, and trendy clothing. Ola Alaia is one part craft coffee shop, one part surf shop, and one part boutique clothing store. Whether you’re looking for a cappuccino or a new board, Ola Alaia’s vibe and service cannot be beaten.

Best Local Meal in Nosara: Rosie Soda Tica

Rosie Soda Tica's Nosara

If you’re looking for an authentic Tico meal, you can’t go wrong with Rosie Soda Tica. With two locations in the Playa Guiones area, Rosie Soda Ticas has become a staple of the community through its delicious local offerings with backpacker budget-friendly prices. Try a traditional Gallo Pinto for breakfast or fresh fish for lunch. Rosie’s is open from 8 AM – 3 PM each day and is the perfect post-surf stop.

Best Restaurant with a View: La Luna

La Luna Nosara Costa Rica

La Luna offers guests exceptional views with beachfront dining and a sophisticated menu featuring brick oven pizzas, decadent salads, fresh seafood, and an extensive international wine list. As one of the only on-the-sand dining options in Nosara, La Luna is the ideal spot for date night or sunset cocktails.

Best Cocktails in Nosara: Howler’s Beach Lounge

Howler’s Beach Lounge

For craft cocktails and a relaxed yet refined atmosphere, head to Howler’s Beach Lounge. With a tropical ambiance and elevated cocktails and tapas menu, you won’t be disappointed. Meet friends for an evening cocktail, or head there for a post-surf snack. Howler’s Beach Lounge is a great spot to meet friends for a drink, bring a date, or just relax and people-watch with a good book in one hand and a cocktail in the other. 

Best Pizza in Nosara: Guiones Brew

Guiones Brew Nosara

Just because you’re in the jungle doesn’t mean you can’t find good pizza. Head to Guiones Brew, where you’ll find the perfect combination of fresh ingredients and innovative menu items. Pick from classic Italian favorites like prosciutto and pesto, or sample something different inspired by local flavors like honey and cashew. With arguably the best pizza in the Guiones area and a stellar craft beer menu, Guiones Brew is a must-try for pizza lovers in Nosara.

Work up an appetite with surf lessons in Nosara through our Costa Rica surf school, Safari Surf! Stay tuned to our blog for all things surfing and Costa Rica.

Revisiting Safari Surf History: 24 Years of Costa Rica Surf School Excellence

Safari Surf School

Our return guests likely know the Safari Surf story, but for those who don’t, we’ve decided to revisit our history as we continue to grow our business operations in Costa Rica and beyond. Safari Surf School, Nosara’s premier Costa Rica surf school, began decades ago, born out of a passion for surfing and a love for Costa Rica, its land, waves, and people. For many, the idea of starting a business in a foreign country is a distant dream that never materializes. For Tim Marsh and Marsi, our founders, it was inevitable. Dive in below to find out how it all began and learn the history of our Costa Rica surf school.

The Beginning

Costa Rica Surf Travel

After traveling to Costa Rica to surf in 1995 and falling in love with the country and its waves, Tim and Marsi returned the following year and bought a small market in Garza, where they lived and worked. Making a living selling sandwiches to traveling surfers and fishermen while living on the beach seemed like a dream, but the slow season proved too much to bear, and Tim and Marsi returned to the states.

By 1997, Tim and Marsi had resumed their lives in the States but were still just scraping by. When Marsi revealed she was pregnant, Tim knew he needed to get his act together. He got a job in the mortgage business, bought a house and a Range Rover, and began checking all of life’s boxes.  Despite his success, Tim knew that something was missing.

The Turning Point

One day in the late nineties, Tim ran into an old friend, Pat Weber. Pat had started a surf school in California and was living the dream—surfing every day and getting paid to do it. He handed Tim a surf school t-shirt and said to keep in touch. Tim’s run-in with Pat changed everything and gave him the perspective he needed to realize his dreams. He missed the Pura Vida lifestyle, the people, and the waves in Costa Rica.

A Costa Rica Surf School is Born

Costa Rica Surf School

When Tim was a boy living and surfing on Oahu’s South Shore in Hawaii, he would ask tourist girls if they wanted to learn how to surf. Sitting in his office, Tim realized his dreams were right in front of him all along. “Why not start a Costa Rica surf school?”

Tim called his brother Tyler, who was living in Costa Rica at the time, and proposed starting a Costa Rica surf school. Tyler was enthusiastic about the idea, but neither of them knew how to start a surf school. They used to eat at Casa Tucan in Nosara, so they approached the owners and asked if they could start a surf program based to help attract more guests. They got the OK from the team at Casa Tucan, and the Safari Surf School was born.

The first few years were tough for Safari Surf School, as Tim and Tyler had to work tirelessly to grow the business. Over time, they built a reputation for providing high-quality surf lessons and excellent customer service.They hired experienced, local surf instructors, who were passionate about teaching and spreading stoke. 

Safari Surf School Today

Safari Surf School

Today, Safari Surf School is a premier Costa Rica surf school with 24 years of surf lesson excellence. Located in Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica, we offer surf lessons, surf tours, surf retreats, and so much more. Since opening our doors in 1999, Safari Surf has expanded to Panama and Ecuador with new surf schools with the same founding philosophy based on a love of surfing and spreading stoke and joy to all of our students. 

Why Surfing Nosara Should Be on Your Bucket List

luxury womens surf program costa rica

If you’re looking for your next surf adventure, head to Costa Rica. Travelers have been flocking to Costa Rica for decades in pursuit of perfect waves. While some of Costa Rica’s surf towns have grown overpopulated and over-developed, Nosara retains its small-town charm. Known for world-class waves and stunning coastline, this tropical paradise has something for surfers. Whether you’re an experienced surfer yearning to travel to one of Central America’s best beach breaks or a new surfer looking to ride your first wave, our team at our Costa Rica Surf School can show you the ins and outs of our little Costa Rica surf town. Continue reading below for Why Surfing in Nosara Should Be on Your Bucket List.

Surfing Nosara Where There are Perfect Waves for All Levels

Another stoked Safari Surf School guest!

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, Nosara has waves perfectly suited for your skill level. With consistent swells all year round, even the off-season days are fun. Playa Guiones is a wide-open beach break with miles of sandbars to choose from. Playa Guiones offers new surfers the chance to catch and ride green waves thanks to the gentle slope of the wave. Down the road in Garza, experienced surfers will find a variety of world-class setups accessible by boat, including left and right point breaks. 

Beautiful Beaches and Scenery

safari-about-2

Nosara’s stunning coastline never gets old. We’ve seen thousands of sunsets from the shores of Playa Guiones, yet we still walk down each evening as the sun dips below the sea. Surfing Nosara gives you access to unapparelled natural beauty. Where other surf towns in Central America have high-rise hotels and towering resorts, Nosara has protected coastal forests and jungle-clad hills filled with exotic wildlife. 

A Surfer’s Paradise

surfing nosara

Nosara is a surfer’s paradise in every sense of the word. The town’s environmental protections and development guidelines have turned Nosara into a mecca for surfers, yogis, and travelers. When you’re not surfing Nosara, explore the town. The town is filled with surf shops, boutique clothing stores, charming restaurants, and yoga studios. 

A Chance to Disconnect

surfing nosara costa rica

Nosara is known for its laid-back vibe and commitment to sustainability. With limited development and an emphasis on eco-tourism, it’s the perfect place to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Take a break from technology and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area. If you’re a remote worker, fear not, it’s easy to stay connected in Nosara. With tons of cafes and strong WIFI around town, it’s never been easier to stay connected on a surf trip. Wake up early and catch dawn patrol each day before hopping on your 9 AM Zoom call. 

Opportunities for Adventure

Safari Surf guests love the local waterfalls in Nosara

While surfing is the main attraction in Nosara, there are plenty of other adventures. Take a zip-line tour through the jungle canopy, go on a horseback ride along the beach, or take a yoga class in one of the many studios in town. There’s always something to do in Nosara.

A Culinary Delight 

Delicious cuisine awaits you at Safari Surf School

Nosara has evolved in the last decade into a haven for Foodies. With decadent local flavors and a fine selection of international cuisines, it’s easy to fall in love with the food scene when you’re not surfing Nosara. Start each day with a traditional breakfast of Gallo Pinto or a healthy smoothie bowl and end each night with a meal to remember. 

Nosara, Costa Rica, should be on every surfer’s bucket list. With perfect waves, stunning scenery, and a welcoming surfing community, it’s the ultimate destination for any traveling surfing. Book your trip to visit Safari Surf and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime! 

How Nosara, Costa Rica Became an International Surf Destination for all Levels of Surfers

surfing Nosara Costa Rica

Surfing first arrived in Costa Rica in the 1960s when American surfers traveled to the country’s Pacific Coast in search of uncrowded waves. With the discovery of world-class surf in Costa Rica, it wasn’t long until it became a go-to destination for traveling surfers. Aided by the classic surf film, The Endless Summer II, Costa Rica rose to stardom as a top-notch surf travel destination by the 1990s. Today, Costa Rica ranks as one of the top surf travel destinations in the world. In addition to near-perfect surf, Costa Rica is home to rainforests, cloud forests, stunning beaches, exotic wildlife, and a welcoming and hospitable culture. To learn How Nosara, Costa Rica Became an International Surf Destination for all Levels of Surfers, continue reading below. 

The Early Days Surfing in Nosara, Costa Rica

surfing in costa rica

What’s now a convenient location just 2 hours away from Liberia’s relatively new international airport was once an off-beaten-path destination far from the country’s capital and only airport. For this reason, Nosara developed more slowly than Jaco and other further south Costa Rica surf destinations. While much of Nosara’s surrounding land was owned by expatriate American ranchers in the 1970s, the town lacked modern conveniences like roads, electricity, and telephones. An early surf trip to Nosara usually involved camping on the beach. At the time, a lot next to the beach was $3,000, electricity was only available by generator, and trips to town involved a long ride on horseback. Nosara’s first dirt road appeared in 1979, and other developments followed shortly.

A Commitment to Sustainability 

Nosara Costa Rica

By the 2000s, Nosara and Playa Guiones had a blossoming ex-pat community that would continue to grow through the first decade of the new millenia. As the parts of Costa Rica faced overdevelopment, Nosara remained a quiet retreat for those who wanted to escape the noise of other surf towns like Jaco and Tamarindo. As Costa Rica’s popularity as a global travel destination boomed, development in Nosara was imminent, but the town’s newly formed Civic Association fought to ensure it was done with the environment in mind. Making reforestation a priority, the Civic. Association established a buffer zone of 250 linear meters to protect the beach at Playa Guiones from development. Today, Nosara’s homes, hotels, and businesses are each set back from the beach, leaving the beach and its surrounding wildness as a protected wildlife zone. 

Fostering a Love of Surfing in Nosara 

Safari Surf School guests having a great experience

Because some of the earliest businesses in Nosara were surf schools, the area developed a tolerance and respect for new surfers that stands in contrast to highly localized breaks around the world. Thanks to the over 4 miles of sandy beach in Play Guiones, new and experienced surfers have room to spread out and surf comfortably within their abilities. Playa Guiones offers surfers safe sand bottom waves that peel gently with a sloped face, making them perfect for progression.

Along for the Ride 

Tim, our founder, first traveled to Costa Rica in 1995 with his wife and a few friends. They were chasing surf, but they found their future home in the tiny fishing village of Garza instead. After a four-day stay, they knew they would be back. Upon returning home to the States, Marsi and Tim sold their possessions and moved to Costa Rica with their two pugs, living in the back of the market in a tiny room with no computers, no telephones, no TV, and no internet. They made the most of their time and operated a deli catering to fishermen and traveling surfers, but the slow season forced them to return to the states, where they eventually found jobs and fell into the old routine. It wasn’t long before Tim and Marsi were drawn back to Costa Rica. After a run-in with an old friend who started a surf school in California, the idea for Safari Surf was born. Tim called his brother Tyler, and the pair went to work, making their dreams a reality. 

Today, Safari Surf operates the gold standard of surf schools in Costa Rica. Developed with sustainability and the local community at the center of our operations, we believe we’ve created the ultimate local team that’s been with us for years. Fall in love with surfing with Safari Surf School in Nosara, Costa Rica. 

Safari Surf School Staff Highlight: Our Surf Instructor Dani

surfer girls

As we mentioned in our Sustainability Goals for 2021 post, our local staff are the x-factor of Safari Surf School. As the first school to open up shop in Nosara, back in 1999, Safari Surf has been a trendsetter for similar businesses in Costa Rica. In over 20 years in business in Costa Rica, we’ve learned that no one quite compares to the local community. Our staff has a deep passion for surfing, the ocean, and sharing Costa Rican culture and Pura Vida hospitality with our guests. Since we were the first surf school to open in Nosara, some of our staff members have been with us for decades. Others have come on board a bit later, but either way, our staff is our family. In this week’s Safari Surf Staff Highlight, we introduce one of our surf coaches who is also the assistant manager and head of our women’s retreat, Dani. Dani and I caught up after his morning lesson.
safair surf
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Safari Surf School Staff Highlight: Our Surf Instructor Alonzo

Alonso

As we mentioned in our Sustainability Goals for 2021 post, our local staff are the x-factor of Safari Surf School. As the first school to open up shop in Nosara, back in 1999, Safari Surf has been a trendsetter for similar businesses in Costa Rica. In over 20 years in business in Costa Rica, we’ve learned that no one quite compares to the local community. Our staff has a deep passion for surfing, the ocean, and sharing Costa Rican culture and Pura Vida hospitality with our guests. Since we were the first surf school to open in Nosara, some of our staff members have been with us for decades. Others have come on board a bit later, but either way, our staff is our family. In this week’s Safari Surf Staff Highlight, we introduce one of our long-time surf coaches, Alonzo.

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A Day in the Life at Safari Surf School: Surf lessons, Epic Meals, and More

Safari Surf School

If you’re thinking about planning a surf trip to Costa Rica, chances are you’re wondering what each day will bring. Maybe it’s your first surf trip, and you’re hoping to pick up a new hobby that will get you outside and active. Maybe, it’s your first time out of the country, and you’re using surfing as a vehicle of exploration to see the world. Regardless of your reason, if you choose to surf and stay with us at Safari Surf School, you’re all but guaranteed to have a unique travel experience centered around surf progression and exploring Costa Rica. At Safari Surf School, you can book a package or build your vacation from the ground up, picking and choosing from your favorite offerings. No matter what you choose, your days will have a few commonalities, like surfing and great meals. So, dive in below to check out A Day in the Life at Safari Surf School: Surf lessons, Epic Meals, and More.
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Safari Surf School Staff Highlight: Meet Our Surf Instructor Pio

As we mentioned in our Sustainability Goals for 2021 post, our local staff are the x-factor of Safari Surf School. As the first school to open up shop in Nosara, back in 1999, Safari Surf has been a trendsetter for similar businesses in Costa Rica. In over 20 years in business in Costa Rica, we’ve learned that no one quite compares to the local community. Our staff has a deep passion for surfing, the ocean, and sharing Costa Rican culture and Pura Vida hospitality with our guests. Since we were the first surf school to open in Nosara, some of our staff members have been with us for decades. Others have come on board a bit later, but either way, our staff is our family. In this week’s Safari Surf Staff Highlight, we introduce one of our surf coaches who has been with us for years, Pio. Pio and I caught up after his morning lesson.

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What to Do in Nosara When You’re Not Surfing

At Safari Surf School, we’re in the business of turning regular people into surfers, which, as you may assume, require a lot of water time. For 99.9% of our guests, the more time in the ocean, the better. As guests become more acquainted with surfing and its many nuances, they can’t help but be consumed by it. When guests aren’t surfing, they’re talking about surfing, planning their next surf session, or at the very least, thinking about surfing. There are those rare moments when you surf so much and so often that you need to take a break. That break could last a few hours or even a whole day. Fortunately for our guests, there is plenty to do in Nosara and Playa Guiones, both in and out of the water, that doesn’t involve riding waves.
Nosara
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Safari Surf Staff Highlight: Meet Our Manager, Jeffery

As we mentioned in our Sustainability Goals for 2021 post, our local staff are the x-factor of Safari Surf School. As the first school to open up shop in Nosara, back in 1999, Safari Surf has been a trendsetter for similar businesses in Costa Rica. In over 20 years in business in Costa Rica, we’ve learned that no one quite compares to the local community. Our staff has a deep passion for surfing, the ocean, and sharing Costa Rican culture and Pura Vida hospitality with our guests. Since we were the first surf school to open in Nosara, some of our staff members have been with us for decades. Others have come on board a bit later, but either way, our staff is our family. In this week’s Safari Surf Staff Highlight, we introduce our long-time Operations Manager, Jeffery Noguera. Jeffery and I sat down after my morning surf when he was just getting back to the office from filming clients on the beach.

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Our Costa Rica Surf School’s Guide to Experiencing Costa Rican Wildlife

Our Costa Rica surf school is perfectly positioned for our guests to have a complete Costa Rica experience, both in and out of the water. Located in Guanacaste on a remote stretch of the Nicoya Peninsula, travelers in Nosara can experience Costa Rica’s abundant wildlife on land and sea. If you’re surfed out for the day or need to give yourself a bit of a break, head to one of the nearby protected nature reserves and see Costa Rica’s exotic wildlife. Nearly one-third of Costa Rica’s land is protected as national parks, nature reserves, and wildlife refuges. Additionally, since the 1980s Costa Rica has successfully reversed its deforestation by 200%. To say that wildlife thrives in Costa Rica would be an understatement. Costa Rica is home to exotic and endangered wildlife that once dominated the entire Central America region but has since but poached out of existence in many other countries. Sloths, Scarlet Macaws, Spider Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, Jaguars, and more all call Costa Rica home. If you want to find out how to experience Costa Rican wildlife on your visit to our Costa Rica surf school, continue reading below.

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Why Playa Guiones in front of our Nosara Surf School is the Ultimate Learning Break

Learning to surf is no easy feat. It takes a lifetime to truly master surfing and understand all the nuances of the ocean and the art of wave riding. While it can take years to become technically proficient and self-reliant in the water, the process is fun as hell. As we have said over and over again, once you catch your first wave, you’re hooked for life. Quite a bit of work will go into catching that first wave. To make that process easier, you’ll want to be sure you’re surfing in a proper learning environment, like our home break at our Nosara surf school. An ideal beginner-friendly wave has a sand bottom, minimal crowds, friendly locals, and a variety of peaks, just like our home break in Nosara, Playa Guiones. To learn more about why Playa Guiones is the ultimate wave for learning and progression, continue reading below.
Nosara Surf School
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FALL IS HERE…TIME TO CHILL


October in Nosara is generally considered to be the slowest month of the year, mainly due to its reputation for abundant rainfall and the majority of the town being “shut down”. Safari Surf School and Olas Verdes have made the commitment to remain open with full services year-round, which has resulted in an unexpectedly busy and eventful month.
The month started off with a very well attended water safety course held at Olas Verdes, conducted by Marvin Perez, who presented curriculum from the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the International Lifesaving Federation (ILS). Twenty-four participants came from all over Costa Rica, Central America, and even Dubai! Later in the month, Marvin held an all-day water safety “Jr. Lifeguard” course for twenty-five local children ranging in age from 7-15 years old. Marvin will also assist in the establishment and operation of two new lifeguard towers on Playa Guiones beginning in December.

Torrential rains inundated Nosara and all of Costa Rica during the first week of October as a result of Tropical Storm Nate, which formed in the Caribbean Sea, east of Costa Rica. The storm pulled moisture
into its circulation from the Pacific Ocean over a three-day period, creating devastating floods and widespread destruction throughout the country. Many families in Nosara lost everything. An amazing
community relief response immediately sprang into action providing food, clothing, shelter, and rebuilding assistance to afflicted victims.
Donations are being accepted at:
https://www.gofundme.com/amigos-de-safari-surf-y-olas-verdes

Throughout October the Pura Vida spirit flowed and those who were fortunate enough to visit were treated to our signature hospitality, amazing nature, and killer waves.
Thanks for coming and see you all soon!

Sustaining Substainability

Olas Verdes, Nosara
Olas Verdes, Nosara

In December of 2015, our partner hotel Olas Verdes opened its doors to the public. Touted as the world’s first L.E.E.D. Platinum rated surf hotel in the world, the project has received wide acclaim for its innovative design and management approach. I spoke recently with General Manager Luis Pardo, who has been at the helm of this noteworthy operation since its inception.
What does ‘Sustainable’ mean?
It’s the ability to run an operation than minimizes the ecological impact, while creating a positive effect to the community and its economy.
“We kept 85% of the original trees, planted over 15 times the amount cut, and added near 3,000 native plants.  We strive to furnish everything needed for the operation from local sources; supplies, food products, and employees. That’s not always possible, but it is the goal.  We are very active with community organizations and invest a good deal of resources in training and development of our staff.  We are proud of what we have achieved, but are conscious that it is a continual learning process and requires periodic reviews of our practices.”
Green Earth * Green Waves * Green Operation
Green Earth * Green Waves * Green Operation

Walking the Walk
“I lived in the United States for 10 years and worked as a manager for a popular casual dining chain restaurant. It was there I had a huge “epiphany” regarding the throw-away crisis our world is facing – plastic drinking straws! I saw that these straws came in huge boxes, and they were each individually wrapped in paper. They are used one time and then discarded. When I thought it through I pondered the foot print to manufacture, market, and ship them, an incredible expenditure of energy and resources, all ultimately destined for the landfill. This realization had a profound impact on me and inspired me to study and implement sustainable practices in my daily life.”

Project Manager & “Sustainability Guru” Carl Kish addresses the staff
Project Manager & “Sustainability Guru” Carl Kish addresses the staff

Sustainable Tourism
“Costa Rica endorses an ecological/environmental ethic in its developmental and operational policies. We protect our forests, wildlife, and natural resources. This instills pride and participation in our population. It’s cool to be green! The Costa Rica Tourism Boards states: The development of sustainable tourism must be seen as the balanced interaction between the use of our natural and cultural resources, the improvement of the quality of life among the local communities, and the economic success of the industry, which also contributes to national development.”

Olas Verdes – Model of Sustainability
“We are so fortunate to have owners who are dedicated to very high standards of ecology and environmentalism. From day one they insisted on building a state of the art sustainable hotel. It takes longer and costs more to do it right from the beginning, but it pays off! ”
Sustaining Sustainability
“It all comes down to a commitment on a personal level. My employees purchase and use the same biodegradable products the hotel uses for their homes. There is a sense of pride and personal responsibility in being a part of this special operation. They understand why we do not provide drinking straws, iron the bed sheets, or have hair driers in the bathrooms. They want to leave the world a better place for their children.”
More details on how Olas Verdes is committing to sustainability.

A Nosara Christmas Story

What’s the most memorable Christmas present you ever received; a train set, a sled, a new surfboard??

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Well, Safari Surf School senior instructor Pio Ruiz’s gift to his parents will really blow your mind!
I first caught wind of what Pio was up to six months ago.
His very sweet parents have lived in their little rustico casita down by the river all their lives. Little Pio was born and raised there as were his brothers and sisters. The reason I know about this is that we live quite close by. In dry season we can cross the river into town and would pass by Pio’s folks house every day and smile and wave to them. They would almost always be sitting on the porch, his mom clutching an old oversized Bible. They always appeared peaceful and content, and always waved back. “These are the simple joys of living here” I thought, “the real “Pura Vida”.
So what was Pio doing scouting about on some nearby undeveloped land? I asked him one day and he replied: “my parents own all this property and I am going to build them a new house”.
Well of course this piqued my interest, and I soon learned all about this remarkable man’s lifetime dream.
Pio:  “Ever since I was a young boy I knew I wanted to do something really special for my parents. They raised me in a loving environment and always took great care of me. They encouraged me to follow my dreams. So I became a surfer at a young age and it became my passion and livelihood”.
Pio has always been a very focused individual. When I first met him he had a bitchin’ 4×4 Toyota truck and took great care of it. I later learned that he owned his own home. When I interviewed him for a Safari ‘Instructor Profile’ three years ago he told me “I don’t like it when I hear people say ‘Tico Time’, which I guess means it’s ok to be late – It’s NOT ok to be late”!  As I got to know him better I developed a great admiration for his gentility, sincerity, and big heart. And oh yeah, the boy can surf…
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The New House: So it turns out that Pio is very disciplined with his earnings and has been saving for years towards this dream. “My goal was to move them into the house by Christmas of this year and I made it”!!

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One of my all-time favorite photos. Pio’s folks in the original family home.

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The term ‘Pura Vida’ has been around in Costa Rica dialect for many decades. In English it translates to ‘pure life.’ In local Tico culture it has become the expression of eternal optimism embodied by the people who live this peaceful, simple, uncluttered life with a deep appreciation for nature, family, and friends.
Kind of reminds you of the real “Christmas Spirit”!!
So good on ya brother Pio! This is a Christmas Story for the ages!!
Moving Day!
Moving Day!

 
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Home, sweet, home