I first visited Costa Rica in 2007. I had some unused vacation days at the end of the year which would not roll over. After having just spent a week at home with my family for Thanksgiving, the thought of seeing them again and so soon sounded more stressful than peaceful. I felt the urge to go international. But where? Where could I go conveniently, short notice, cheaply, and alone? I impulsively booked a ticket to Costa Rica and figured I would play the rest by ear. My friend Katie’s earlier insistence for me to try surfing bubbled up through my subconscious. I scoured the internet for cheap New Year’s surf camps and came across Santa Teresa / Malpais (the towns are 2 kilometers apart).
At first, I was skeptical. I wanted to go more off the beaten path of Tamarindo, Jaco, Dominical – the widely recognized go-to Costa Rican surfing spots for American beginners. But would this town and its waves be as good? I happened to befriend a Tico expat a week before my trip. He whistled – surprised and impressed I was making Santa Teresa my first stop. Sold. The beaches, the sunsets, and the punchy easy waves caused me to cancel my trip through the rainforest on the way back. I couldn’t tear myself away from watching the sky change so many colors of the rainbow in my own backyard.
Photo via Saeny Blaser, Swiss photographer.