Be adventurous and transform yourself during a week long retreat at Pura Vida Adventures. Our intent is to rejuvenate and to empower the mind, body and spirit through surfing and yoga – the “pura vida” way. Our retreats draw inspiration from the Costa Rican phrase “pura vida,” which, loosely translated means “enjoy life.” This spirit is infused into every aspect of our retreats. Pura Vida Adventures is about giving you a new experience and perhaps a new outlook on life.
Come immerse yourself in the Costa Rican “pura vida” lifestyle and allow us to pamper you at one of our week long retreats:
Surf Camp: Together we will explore the art of wave riding, find presence in daily yoga, experience Costa Rica’s natural beauty and harmonious way of life, enjoy a variety of fresh local dishes, relax under the tropical sun, and share in a community of laughter and fun.
Yoga for Transformation Retreat: Discover the many benefits yoga has on all aspects of your life; soak up the beauty and energy of tropical Costa Rica; awaken your senses during a meditative hike through the jungle; share meals and experiences with new friends; and transform yourself into a more relaxed and radiant you.
Be adventurous and transform yourself during a week-long surf camp in Costa Rica. Come alone or with friends and be a part of a community of like-minded women. Just imagine warm water, great waves, a caring team of highly trained surf instructors, and an oceanfront hotel located on a beach that has been described by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. Welcome to barefoot luxury.
Our 7-day/6-night Surf Retreat includes:
- Beachfront accommodations
- Daily surf instruction
- Daily yoga sessions
- Three healthy, gourmet meals per day
- One 1-hour private massage
- Sunset surf sessions
- Superior surf equipment
- Surf board usage for your entire stay
- Day trips to secret surf spots
- Sunset at Vista de Olas infinity pool with swim up bar
- Tropical beach fiesta
- PVA rash guard (surf shirt)
- "The Core of Surfing" surf manual
- Unlimited bottled water
- 24-hour concierge service
- Bellhop services
- Daily maid service
- Snacks, water and essential beach supplies
Summer 2013 Surf Camp Rates
Shared Accommodation ~ $2095
Private Accommodation with Shared Bath ~ $2395
Private Accommodation with Private Bath ~ $2895
Fall 2013 thru Spring 2014 Surf Camp Rates
Shared Accommodation ~ $2295
Private Accommodation with Shared Bath ~ $2595
Private Accommodation with Private Bath ~ $3095
These large rooms have two beds with a large private bathroom and outdoor patio. This is perfect for solo travelers who would like to share a room with another guest and would like us to choose their roommate, or for two friends who want to share a room. Some of the bungalows have three beds, which is a fun option for three friends who want to share a room.
Private Accommodations with shared bath
This type of accommodation has two separate rooms with their own entrances, outdoor patio and has a large bathroom that is shared between the two rooms. This is perfect for someone who likes a bit of privacy, but doesn't mind sharing a bathroom.
Private Accommodations with private bath
This type of accommodation is a large room with a queen size bed, private bathroom and outdoor deck. This is perfect for someone who enjoys their privacy.
"This place is a gem! The people are friendly and welcoming. The sound of the ocean, the trees, the beach. -all so peaceful. - all of it. Soul food and much appreciated. Thank you, thank you, thank you." ~ Katherine
Our beachfront retreat is a real tropical paradise located at our favorite beach, Playa Carmen. Our accommodations are situated amidst lush tropical gardens that flow onto an expansive white sand beach, combining the best natural elements Costa Rica has to offer. Hidden beneath the colorful foliage, you can enjoy a swim in our crystal blue pool, or simply lounge in a beachfront chaise or hammock while taking in the beauty of the warm sparkling ocean and deep red sunsets. Just walk out your front door and be on the beach and in the surf in under a minute. Can you say dreamy?
Our accommodations feature Teak and mosaic floors, bamboo beds, wood doors leading to indoor/outdoor decks and custom hardwood finishing which combine modern comfort with local, tropical decor. We offer shared and private rooms with closets, ceiling fans, mini-fridges, safety boxes and air conditioning.
Our retreat's private patios with chaise lounges are the perfect hangout between sessions. The hotel's private beachfront chill-out area is shaded by coconut and almond trees. Relax or nap in one of the hammocks or many lounge chairs scattered about, while the ocean breeze cools your sun-kissed skin, and soothes your tired muscles.
Oh yeah, and there's the 24 hours of tranquil pacific breeze and the soothing sounds of waves just a stone's throw from your bed.
beachfront accommodations, Al Chile Viola restaurant, ocean view pool with Jacuzzi, beach side hammocks and lounge area, Spa Natural, beachfront yoga studio, air conditioning, ceiling fans, verandas, hot water, coffee maker, wireless internet, safety box, mini bar, 24 hour security, and walking distance to shops, bars and restaurants.
The first and last days of your surf adventure are considered travel days. The first day officially kicks off around 6:00pm with a "Welcome Dinner" and the last day ends around 10:00am after a surf session and brunch. We have fun activities planned for both those days, so be sure you don't arrive too late or leave too early! We recommend that you allow 2 hrs between your international and domestic flights for customs, baggage claim and ticketing.
Flying To/From Costa Rica
International Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), 17 km outside San Jose, the capitol of Costa Rica.
There are 2 ways to get to our retreat from San Jose Airport:
The closest airport to Malpais/Santa Teresa is Tambor. The two airlines that fly from San Jose to Tambor are Sansa and Nature Air. Once in Tambor, expect a 1hr taxi ride. Taxis cost approximately $50 for 1-5 people and $15 for each additional person.
We have partnered with Montezuma Expeditions to provide you with shuttle bus services to/from Malpais. The shuttle bus leaves San Jose and Malpais daily once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The shuttle bus will pick you up at the airport or your hotel. The price is $45/per person each way. The shuttle ride is an approximate 7-hour drive through Costa Rica's picturesque countryside, including a 90-minute ferry ride on the Golfo de Nicoya. Please contact Montezuma Expeditions directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 011- (506) 2441-3394.
"Tierza Eichner, the founder and owner of Pura Vida Adventures, built the business after realizing that her passion for surfing was more than just a travel hobby. For a woman to have the confidence to be an entrepreneur, in a male dominated sport, and in a Latin American country, you would think the achievement came as a natural progression in her life. Perhaps, you would think at first, like I did, that ‘…she must have grown up in Costa Rica, surfing as a local girl with her brothers.’ However, Tierza didn’t learn to surf until she was 32 years old, and that was in Northern California. This is the story on how she found Pura Vida Adventures and how the company really found her."
~ Elizabeth McKay
The Story of Pura Vida Adventures
by Tierza Eichner
I actually first attempted to surf when I was around 20 years old in Southern California; but my third day trying, I got pummeled by a wave and the board hit me and tore up all my thigh muscles. I became absolutely afraid of the surfboard and swore off the sport entirely, or so I thought. Years later I moved to San Francisco and took up boogie boarding, because even though I feared surfing, I never lost my passion and love for the ocean. It wasn’t until I was 32 years old that I was finally convinced to try surfing again, and this was only after I received surf lessons as a gift. I took my first lesson in Santa Cruz, California and it changed my life. I was hooked the moment I stood up on my first wave.
That same year I was laid off from my dot.com job and was left to ponder my next move in San Francisco’s very dismal job market. I decided that until the economy turned around I was going to really focus on surfing and took regular surf trips to Santa Cruz. I was completely addicted to surfing and loved the buzz, presence and the freedom it gave me when I rode the waves.
After Santa Cruz, I formulated a plan to go to Costa Rica, but decided to first make a stop on the North Shore of Oahu to witness the Triple Crown of Surfing, one of the biggest surf contests in the world. I stayed in a hostel near the beach and oddly enough, I was the only girl out of about 20 women staying there that was really into surfing and would go out every day, usually by myself.
On one of these days I experienced a moment out in the ocean that inspires me every day. During a lull between sets one of the most beautiful, brilliant rainbows appeared...and this next part I still can't believe, there was a dolphin doing flips underneath the center of the rainbow. One of the long boarders yelled out, “There is a God!” Just then a perfect right came straight to me; I took it and felt the breeze on my face as I flew down the line. This is the very reason I LOVE SURFING. Magical moments like these.
During this trip, I met a woman named Arzum that was staying at the same hostel and winding down her year-and-a-half trip around the world. I persuaded her to come with me to Costa Rica, which wasn’t that hard of a sell. I think it went something like this, “I will teach you how to surf. We will have so much fun meeting hot surfer boys. Costa Rica, I heard, was beautiful, and it will be the time of your life.” Little did I know it would soon become the best eight months of my life.
Our quest in Costa Rica was finding a beach town with endless waves. When we arrived in Malpais, I thought that I found a little piece of heaven and realized I had never felt so alive and present in my entire life. My type “A” personality stood no chance in Malpais where I learned to slow down and enjoy every moment of life. I also learned so much from the local Costa Rican people. They taught me to appreciate exactly who I am, and focus on the positive aspects of my life instead of what I perceived as faults.
After two months in Malpais we decided to explore more of Costa Rica, visiting dozens of other beach towns. In my heart I knew that Malpais was where I really found myself and when I left, I cried because I felt like I was leaving part of myself behind. I knew I wanted to return to this idyllic location and it was at this moment that I started formulating the idea for Pura Vida Adventures.
After four months in Costa Rica, we spent four more months traveling through Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. After almost a year abroad, I returned to San Francisco a completely changed person. I was so determined to start a surf camp in Malpais and adopt the lifestyle I had been shown, that I started working on it the day I arrived back in the States.
At this point I was quickly becoming broke. Thankfully I have great family and friends, like my cousin Randy that let me stay in his San Francisco apartment for only $250 a month (a complete steal) and my friend Suzanne that employed me part-time at her Casting Agency. I had no desire to return to corporate America and every move I made towards establishing Pura Vida Adventures brought me one step closer to realizing my newfound dream. There were countless moments that I felt overcome with fear, but when things are meant to be they are pretty seamless. The main thing that kept me going was the thought of being able to surf every day in Costa Rica and introducing this amazing feeling, culture and people to others.
I chose the name Pura Vida Adventures, because it really encapsulates surfing and Costa Rica. Pura Vida is a common phrase in Costa Rica. When you ask someone, “como estas?” They answer “pura vida” which means, ‘life is good’ and translated means, ‘pure life.’ I thought this was a perfect name for a surf camp in Costa Rica.
I had no prior skills just my passion. Building this business has been magical and frightening at the same time. I was a single woman, opening up a business in a Latin American country, and figuring things out as I went along. It was pretty scary at some moments, like making contracts with hotels, buying a surf van (being a woman buying a van in another country is not fun), learning the laws, etc.
After working on the business for a year and a half, I held my first camp in January 2004. Well, our first camp took off like a rocket. I could relive this week over and over again. I couldn’t believe our success. People were crying when they left saying Pura Vida Adventures was the best vacation they ever had. I knew at this moment that this was my calling. I had finally found my path. I’m so darn thankful for my staff, my husband Scott, and my mom Kathy. They are the reason the business is so amazing and successful. They bring just as much as I do to each camp - their passion, personalities, insight and love. This has been an amazing road and I have SURFING to THANK for it.
"Surfing was something that’s so different than what I do in my “normal” life. Pura Vida Adventures taught me to slow the "eff" down, enjoy life, and just chill—all while hanging out in an incredible place, eating fantastic food, and having conversations that made me laugh so hard I snorted pineapple-smoothie out of my nose. And the second time was even more incredible than the first. As soon as I walked through the gates of the hotel I had a smile on my face and literally did cartwheels and handstands on the beach my first afternoon there. I fell even more in love with surfing, and more than that, definitely consider Pura Vida my safe haven and happy place. I love the people it attracts, the positive attitudes everyone brings, and the fact that it creates connections that last long beyond the trip. And yeah, I’m already planning on heading back for round three in the not-so-distant future! I love you guys!" ~ Anna Davies, Senior Editor at Cosmopolitan Magazine
“The best moment was the first time I caught a solid wave. Amazing!!! I can’t believe that just two and half months ago I couldn’t swim and now I am actually surfing and loving it!! There is nothing like facing your fears. After that, I was like, ‘bring it on’, I can do anything. This adventure was revitalizing, relaxing, and healing all in one and went far beyond my expectations. I’m a changed person since this trip and have come back a far better person. I wish I could share this experience with everyone…” Arpita ~ Essex Junction, VT ~ Click here for Arpita’s inspirational story of conquering her fears.
"Pura Vida gives you the whole experience - the surf, the food, the bonding. Most importantly though - I would like to really highlight how AWESOME your staff is. They were all professional in and out of the water but at the same time, super fun. They really looked out for us and we could all tell that they really wanted us to learn and do well. I honestly can not say enough about how great this camp is... SO worth the bruises and cuts, the bug bites and the tacky bathing suit tans we all come back with. I'd do it all over again in an instant." Ako Matsuzaki ~ San Francisco, California
"I just had to write and tell you how this trip has just completely affected me. First of all, it reminded me how to LIVE, what it felt like to live, love the world. It was Malpais and everyone at surf camp - you, Danny, Erika, Julia, Melissa... just reminding me what life really is all about, and the ocean and surfing of course. Truly - it's so awesome that you have Pura Vida and know that everything you've created really touches people (me) in more ways than just a "surfing adventure". It brought the passion back in me to really live and reminded me what pura vida really is." Tammy Chang ~ Honolulu, Hawaii
"I wanted to write you an email expressing my absolute ADORATION for PVA. I had an amazing time on my trip and could not have wished for anything more. I raved about it to all of my friends and still haven't stopped talking about it weeks later. There is nothing better than a bunch of exciting, adventurous women getting together to catch some waves. Lots of laughs, lots of surf, AMAZING food, wonderful accommodations, fantastic instructors, warm water, endless sun, gorgeous sunsets...perfection." Jennifer Graham ~Old Chatham, New York
"Thank you for the best vacation! I went down to Costa Rica feeling like I was simply walking though life but not actually living it and now I feel more alive than ever. You have an amazing group of instructors and are running a spectacular program." Rebecca Steele ~Seattle, Washington
"Start by imagining the perfect week: surfing, yoga, wonderful food, beautiful women, falling asleep to the sound of the waves every night - wake to the sounds of tropical birds in the morning. Maybe see the stars like you've never seen them before. Start telling time by the direction of the wind and the tides. Forget what day it is. How hard can you paddle? Drink? Laugh? Double that, and that's Pura Vida." Elizabeth Proctor ~ Pacifica, California
"Today while doing yoga, I watched little waves break against the rocks and noticed the colors of the palm trees change from jungle green to lemon-lime. Later at Playa Carmen, I paddled to the outside, sitting on my board in the warm sun, floating up and over waves. I caught a wave, wiped out, and came up smiling. At sunset surf, I caught waves while the moon rose over palm trees while the sea quietly swallowed the sun. Tonight, I gazed at the stars while swinging in the hammock. Pura Vida. Who knows what tomorrow will bring." Cathie Bechan ~ Stamford, Connecticut
"An amazing time, a magical place, and an adventure for the mind and soul. I couldn't have had a better vacation. The camaraderie, surfing, food, laughter, chick-chat and the staff all add up to a very sweet moment in time. Thanks for creating an enriching and fabulous experience. An absolute treat for the senses." Jen Hunt ~ Oakland, California
"This has been the best vacation/experience/surf adventure of all time. We have been so fortunate - this group of women is phenomenal!!! I really can't express how great this has been. Our first day paddling out in warm water, all I was thinking was how lucky I was to be here. We've become fast friends and will continue on in the future, hopefully with a return trip to Costa Rica. Most thanks, appreciation and love to the Pura Vida staff and now friends." Karen Wilson ~ San Francisco, California
"The most eloquent words that come to mind when I think about my surf camp adventure in Malpais - life changing. Pura Vida taught me how to surf, how to be tranquil, how to conquer my ocean fears and most importantly... how to enjoy life. The scenery is breathtaking, yoga and surf instruction are fabulous, accommodations are great and the Pura Vida staff are some of the most unpretentious, dedicated, talented and hardworking individuals I have come across in my business dealings. I came to surf camp, never having been on a surfboard. I left 7 days later "hanging 10", meeting lifelong friends and coming away with the best experience of my life." Arlene Bae ~ San Francisco, California
"The week I spent at Pura Vida Adventures would certainly be on my top 10 list of most terrific, fun, fabulous, and best things I've ever done in my life. I was fortunate to meet a group of amazing people, surf some waves, and generally revel in the utopian environment that is Mal Pais and Pura Vida Adventures." Elizabeth Levy ~ New York, New York
"Here I am sitting at my desk at work and I thought of the story you told of the woman who would look at your website everyday when she felt sad. I thought I would have a hard time re-entering the madness and I was right. So here I am looking at the website and longing for the Pura Vida and thinking of the girls that got to stay an extra few days. Lucky! Thank you so very, very much for such a great week. I had the time of my life. Marla and I love telling the stories of ATVing, surfing and Canopy Zipping and we are spreading the word. We will certainly be back." Jennifer McGeorge ~ Brooklyn, New York
"I just wanted to pass along a little note to thank all of you for a fantastic trip to Costa Rica. Each of you contributed with your own personal touches to make my Pura Vida experience awesome. I'm still stoked from the inside waves I was able to ride. You only learn to surf and catch your first wave once....I'm so glad that my first surf memories include all of you." Wendy Weidman ~ San Francisco, California
"Thank you all for the most fantastic adventure of my lifetime (so far)! There is no other place I would rather be to turn the big 50 than here. Tierza - you rock!! Thanks for making my b-day so special. Erika - You are the bomb!! Your patience, insight, surfing knowledge, energy, and positive attitude are inspiring. I want to be like you when I grow up!!" Kate Trujillo ~ Oakland, California
"What a way to celebrate being 60! AND just what I needed.. a surf vacation in warm water without the bother of a wetsuit. Despite having 5 yrs. of surfing experience, at first I was very intimidated by the waves. However with Brett's patience, calm encouragement and attentive guidance, I pushed through my fear and discovered that yes, I can ride these waves! Again and again! I gradually relaxed and ended up catching some of the best waves of my life. PVA is not only a great place for beginners, but also the perfect place for those who already can surf, and want to challenge themselves and learn more. And all the instructors are fabulous! Thanks so much for helping me overcome my fears! And for taking such good care of us. The memories will keep me warm." Mary Wagstaff ~ Larkspur, California
Day in the Life of Pura Vida
Your week-long surf adventure is designed to fit your desires. Many fun activities are scheduled throughout the week, but remember, this is your vacation!!! We have designed an exciting set of activities to get you into the “pura vida” spirit: surfing lessons to teach you how to surf or improve your surfing skills; yoga sessions and a one-hour private massage to relax body and soul; three delicious meals per day to keep the energy flowing; and daily outings that will introduce you to the local beauty and culture.
Typical Day in Life of Pura Vida
Relaxation (scheduled massages, poolside, hammock, and/or siesta)
Optional Sunset Surf Session (depending on surf conditions)
Dinner (occasional outings to other restaurants)