Costa Rican getaway 2019
Co-owner Mom + Pop
We headed down south (Costa Rica) for the month of January to beat the cold and search for inspiration to help us usher in the spring season at the shop. Sadie was in Costa Rica to complete her 300hr yoga teacher training. She was fully immersed in long days of studying yoga history and gaining knowledge around it's modern applications. She will be doing a specific blog post in the near future on some of the goodness she learned during this program. Upon her graduation we had a couple of weeks to search for surf, embrace a new culture, eat good food, and spend heaps of time wandering along the beach.
We heavily debated upon using these two weeks doing the touristy day trips or just keeping things very simple with no real agenda. We opted for the latter and I couldn't have been more pleased. I had been to this zone a few times previously in search of quality surf and always wanted to come back and spend more time here. I absolutely love how rustic it is. No paved roads for miles. No stores, traffic, or crowds. The unofficial motto of the Costa Rican culture is Pura Vida (pure life) and you definitely get a sense of just that in this small sleepy village. Playa Negra is at the northern end of the Nicoya Peninsula on the pacific coast. The peninsula is home to one of the worlds 5 "blue zones". A blue zone is an area where people are known for their exceptional longevity. This particular zone is noted for the water quality among other lifestyle factors.
We opted to avoid the pricey car rental and just stay walking distance between town and the local beach. It helped that there was a world class wave at the end of the dirt road :)
To say we lucked out with lodging would be an understatement. We hopped on air bnb to find this amazing small 1 room cabin with a full kitchen. It was a short walk to town and the beach. The owner John was epic. He gave us the heads up on so many good spots and there was an amazing cafe right behind the cabin (more on that shortly)
This one room cabin was tiny but super comfortable. It was almost entirely constructed from teak trees that were found on the property. We were so happy to have found this gem and would be happy to go back and stay here again next time we are in the area. We hit it off with John right when we met him. He was a San Diego native trying to carve out a life for himself in Central America. The cabin was a short walk to the beach. There was a trail through the forest that ended right on the beach. The trail was always an enjoyable walk. We saw exotic birds, howler monkeys, and iguanas among all sorts of other native flora and fauna.
The inside of the cabin was all hand built and loaded with character. With a tiny kitchen we were able to cook the majority of our meals. There is a food truck that comes thru town once a day and we were able to score all kinds of fresh fruits and veggies. The meals were simple but nourishing. After so much physical activity we were grateful to be able to cook up some food in the evenings.
The first thing John did when he purchased this piece of land was to dig a well. We were stoked to be able to have amazing water straight from the faucet. Traveling through Central America in the past I knew what a blessing this was. First off, we got to lessen our plastic consumption (bottled water). Secondly, we got to experience some of the amazing water quality this area is known for.
Next to the cabin was a new restaurant (Corazon) that had just opened it's doors the week before we arrived. They had great coffee, smoothies, and bowls. It was amazing having them so close. Their food offerings were a unique experience compared to the rest of the food spots around. Honestly it doesn't get much better than having an acai bowl with fresh fruit after a morning surf or yoga session. Corazon was such a great place to drop in, find some shade, and reset. The owners Marc and Marina really took care of us.
There was other really good food in town but this particular spot had a really good vibe. Also, it was nice to have a food option other than rice and beans ;)
Inside of Corazon was home to John's coffee roaster. He worked diligently with local farmers to ensure that his product was grown and harvested responsibly. The finished product was biodynamically grown and sun dried before being roasted right inside the restaurant. This process resulted in an amazingly fresh cup of joe. We are blessed to have exceptional coffee in Northwest Arkansas but this was really fresh coffee. We are hoping to bring some of these beans to the shop in the near future... fingers crossed.
Watching the roasting process first hand was a really neat experience. Seeing the science and dedication that goes into crafting artisanal coffee blends was inspiring to say the least.
The next place we stayed was pure magic. Hotel Playa Negra is a series of small simple cabinas built in the 70's. These palm leaf thatch huts have stood the test of time. They are located on the beach in a dream setup.
With a restaurant and a pool located on the property you really couldn't ask for much more. The restaurant served typical Costa Rican cuisine under a giant thatch roof patio. With a full bar and an epic view of the beach the open air restaurant was an amazing way to watch the surf and stay cool.
On the property next to the restaurant is an open air yoga shala with daily classes overlooking the ocean.
We got to watch beautiful sunsets daily and enjoy fireside jam sessions. Locals gathered nightly on the beach to play all different kinds of musical instruments as the sun was going down into the evening hours.
The main surf break at play negra is a fast, powerful, and hollow wave. It changes shape drastically with the tides and wind. It was a treat to share waves with people from all over the world. We met many eclectic people traveling in so many different ways. This particular photo was shot right in front of the restaurant. We lucked out and scored really good surf the entire trip. It made for long days and early nights. In between surfs we enjoyed lots of exploring along the beach. During low tide the tide pools in the reef become exposed. We had a blast looking at all the critters in the pools. There are several areas where the swimming is much more inviting just a short walk from the main beach.
If you enjoy the outdoors, simple accommodations, surfing, yoga, and a slow pace of life you will really dig this area. We really hope to make it back one day in the near future.
Favorite products used during our trip
Near the equator, the sun is no joke. This wildcrafted shea butter felt amazingly nourishing on my skin after a long day surfing and playing on the beach
Loved the adaptability of this product. Can apply this clean scented oil from head to toe. Not to mention it is travel friendly.