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Join La Escuela Del Sol for a week of yoga and surfing in Costa Rica. This country is known to have some of the most consistent waves in the world. With its diverse topography and coastal winds, there are waves for every surfer. Add to that the year round heat and warm ocean and there is never a bad time to pick up a board and head to the beach.
You can choose a deluxe room with air-conditioning for yourself or with a friend, or request to be set up with a roommate. You may also choose to stay in one of the economical shared rooms with shared bath. No matter which accommodation you choose, you will share a full kitchen. The dining room and lounge with swing chairs, couch, and fans is now complete and available for your chilling pleasures.
If you come alone and choose a shared room, you will normally be set up with one roommate, or if circumstances require, a maximum of two roommates. If for some reason La Escuela del Sol does not have a roommate available for you, you may be upgraded to a private room instead. If you come as a couple or with friends, they will place you in your own room with up to three beds.
The campus offers four deluxe rooms with air-conditioning. Each has one queen bed and a twin bed. All have private bath with hot water, digital safe, mini fridge, and a porch with swing chairs and ocean view.
Also available are three economical shared rooms with shared bath. The two co-ed rooms have a bunk bed and a twin. There is also a room for couples with a matrimonial size bed. Shared rooms with shared bath provide fans and mosquito netting for every bed. They also share a living room, three showers and bathrooms, as well as a changing room downstairs. Bathrooms are equipped with hot water.
Whether you are just starting out in yoga or looking to take the more advanced program, you will have the opportunity to practice with others on your skill level in a very relaxing, intimate atmosphere. In addition to this you will be taught by professionals whose goals are to help assist you in getting to new yoga levels and who want to help you reach the ultimate in relaxation.
Classes are exclusive for La Escuela Del Sol students to ensure the best quality experience. The classes are Hatha Vinyasa based, held in a studio surrounded by nature, and are within earshot of the sweet sounds of singing birds and howling monkeys. They are open for all levels, taught in English, and the space is limited to 15 people in order to keep classes intimate.
The areas of Cabuya, Montezuma, Mal Pais, and Santa Teresa provide all sorts of breaks to choose from. Most of the classes revolve around Montezuma's Playa Grande, but if the group improves enough, the instructors will bring you to some other breaks in the area.
Generally each class will last two hours (Monday to Friday), but that may depend on your endurance as surfing is a rigorous and, often times, tiring, sport. Either way you'll find two hours to be more than enough to be ripping in no time.
On day one for beginners, you'll go over the safety and technical introduction on land. You'll spend the rest of your two hours in the water practicing your balance on the board, getting a feel for the waves, and learning the basic techniques of how to stand up and paddle effectively. These lessons will introduce you to surfing and give you the tools for what often becomes a lifelong passion.
For intermediates, you will have a chance to hone your skills on a relatively unknown and empty beach. Those from California know how much of a privilege that can be!
When much of the country is pounded by large and powerful waves (exactly why the professionals like it!), those who don't know how to handle those waves can easily get hurt. Because of La Escuela Del Sol's unique geographical location, the beach is protected from the open ocean and waves are generally a foot smaller than everywhere else (which makes a bigger difference than you may realize).
If you're in good shape, Playa Grande is a 20-minute walk from the edge of town. If you consider yourself a "slow walker" or if you think you are one to stop and admire the rain forest, natural pools on the beach and howling monkeys, it may take you longer. Either way, they recommend bringing the right shoes: hiking sandals or running shoes work best. This walk is one of the keys to making the surfing beach so good.
No one wants to walk with a heavy surf board out to the beach. Luckily for you, La Escuela Del Sol has a surfing cabina there, so you won't have to either. What does this mean for you? There's no crowd. No one fights for waves. You don't have to be embarrassed to fall because hardly anyone but the students and instructors are watching. There are less people to crash into and hurt yourself. To top it off, you have a place to keep your valuables safe while surfing.
On other beaches which more commonly have deeper shore lines, it may feel like you're part of a wash cycle when you wipe out. When you finally do come up for air, you're pounded by another wave. Kind of sucks the fun out of it. Here, when you wipe out, the bottom is not too deep, meaning you can easily find which way is up and pop right out of the water.
There are no rocks, other than one boulder, way off shore which provides nice right hand waves. No hitting feet, knees, heads, etc. on rocks when you fall. The beach has a soft sandy bottom, keeping you out of harm's way.
The walk to Playa Grande takes you through an absolute nature reserve along the beach and through shaded jungle passes. It's a great chance to see wildlife every day; families of howler and white faced monkeys, neon orange and purple crabs (they don't bite, don't worry), beautiful birds, etc.
There's not a single house or building for most of the walk, but there is a small river with waterfalls and a natural swimming pool on the beach along the way. It's absolutely beautiful. If Costa Rica calls you because of its natural beauty, it's here where you'll find it.
One of the cooler features of La Escuela Del Sol surf cabina is that it forms part of a complex aimed at protecting endangered giant sea turtles. That means that part of your program fee goes toward helping fund the project to save these amazing creatures. If you time it right, you may see baby turtles hatching and racing out for their first swim!
At the cabina, you can choose from any of their 20 board selection (maximum 15 students; 5 students per instructor). Ranging in size from seven feet two inches to 12 inches, there's a perfect board for everyone. As your balance gets better and you want to carve more, you will move from larger to smaller boards.
Since La Escuela Del Sol is located so close to the spectacular Montezuma Falls, they can't pass up the opportunity to show off a little bit. Every student will be taken on an easy hike to the local watering hole for a rest and a quick dip. There you can swim or just sit and admire the magnificent 75 foot falls (the largest in the area).
For the more daring, you may continue through some difficult terrain to the second and third falls where you can take the rope swing out for a twirl and maybe even do some cliff diving. It's a great time, guaranteed.
Yoga Alliance RYT 200 (AcroYoga)
Jessica initially came to yoga as a follower of another trend; however, ended up uncovering something so much more valuable than that - the incredible power of being present now and how stilling the mind can provide clarity as you move through your experiences. Now as an experienced 200-hour yoga instructor and a certified Acro instructor, she attempts to bring yogic philosophies to energetic classes while guiding students to maintain a certain lightness in their practices.
With over 15 years experience in the fitness industry, Mandy has offered personal fitness and yoga classes to both individuals and in class settings. She has completed two 200-hour yoga teacher training courses, and is certified to teach both pre-natal and children's yoga, she is currently working on completing her 300-hour certification. Mandy’s students enjoy her easy-going, humorous, and light-hearted approach to yoga during her alignment-based Vinyasa flow classes.
Rolando was born and raised in the Guanacaste Province, of the best surfing spots in Costa Rica. He moved to the peninsula when he was 14 and learned to surf at Playa Grande - being one of the first surfers in town. He enjoys surfing both long and short boards at many different beaches throughout the country. Rolando has many years of teaching experience and loves to watch his students' progress in the waves!
Located in the beautiful and tranquil Cabuya, Costa Rica, La Escuela del Sol is founded on the principle of self-enhancement of the body, the mind, and the soul. La Escuela del Sol's brand new campus is located on five acres of ocean view land, just off the main Coastal road in Cabuya.
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Born and raised in Cabuya some 60 years ago, Doña Nena can tell a story or two! She also makes fresh marmalades and coconut oils from locally grown and collected fruits. Nena also boasts a bird farm of ducks, pheasants and a few rare birds she keeps for company. Be sure to take a walk around to see them all.
La Escuela del Sol provides the use of two bicycles available to all students and volunteers. Biking to Montezuma will take about an hour, but there are so many beaches, rivers, waterfalls, tide pools, and secrets to find along the way. They recommend a full day of biking and exploring to discover and enjoy a few gems you won't find in any guide book.
Five minutes from the school, you will see a mysterious island off the coast. During low tide, you can walk there, but the onset of high tide may leave you stranded, so time it carefully! There are close to 50 head stones on the island. Some were created by local artists and are extremely creative. It's certainly worth a visit or two.
Located just a mere 20-minute walk outside Cabuya's center, Rio Lajas provides hours of free entertainment. The river is shallow but every now and then the rock bed opens up and forms a natural Jacuzzi with cascades sending water into your swimming hole, perhaps over your shoulders for a nice massage. There is a large swimming area close to the river mouth which is frequented by exotic birds, including the large, pink Roseate Spoonbill.
Hike up river for about an hour and head to the right when the river divides by equal tributaries and you will find a small waterfall with a large pool followed by the tallest waterfall in the region. During the dry season, this river can fill up with tad poles and other fun creatures but may not be suitable for swimming. But for hiking, always!
Take a ride on the wild side with a Honda four-wheeler to discover some of the more secluded pristine beaches, waterfalls, and pueblos in the area. One of the better forms of transportation on the mostly bump-laden (a.k.a. adventurous) dirt roads, you can take your quad all the way to Cabo Blanco or Mal Pais and Santa Teresa for some wildlife or an afternoon surf. You can rent an ATV for 60 USD for half a day and 80 USD for the whole day.
Take a bumpy ride for some snorkeling at Las Manchas or Los Cedros beach. Stop for a rest in the beautiful Rio Lajas where natural Jacuzzis form in the shallow rock bed and mini-cascades massage your shoulders from above. Or keep on keeping on to the Cabo Blanco reserve for some great exercise. If you're a mountain biker, La Escuela del Sol can recommend some trails. You can rent a bike for 15 USD a day or 75 USD per week.
In 1963, the nearby Cabo Blanco became the first National Park in Costa Rica. Today it boasts 1250 hectares of lush rainforest, dramatic coastline, and countless species of animals and plants. Monkeys, sloths, toucans, parrots, and a slew of other exotic animals frolic through the forest and fly overhead.
Hike through the mountains, picnic by the river, or stroll along the stunning beach and you'll see things your friends would never believe if you didn't have the proof on your camera. This activity costs 8 USD.
This uninhabited island off the coast of the Nicoya Peninsula provides exquisite beauty and endless fun. You'll work on your suntan and enjoy the views from the deck of a speedboat on the way through the islands. Once you reach Tortuga, you'll disembark, grab your snorkel gear, and head for the volcanic reef to hang in the crystal clear waters with some tropical fish.
Afterwards, you can wade in the ocean or explore the island while your guides cook you up some fresh fish and local cuisine. But save some gas in the tank 'cause the ride back often turns into a dance party. This activity costs 55 USD.
Costa Rica is also the top fishing destination in all of Central America. Take a three-hour tour into the Pacific Ocean, cast your rod, and start reeling in blue marlin, giant yellowfin tuna, roosterfish, red snapper, dorado, and wahoo among others. Whatever you catch, bring on home and for a few more colones, a local chef will grill it up for a mouth-watering, happy ending to a fantastic day. This activity ranges from 250 USD to 800 USD.
A speedboat will take you straight from Montezuma beach to a prime dive spot near Isla Tortuga. Visibility ranges from 30 to 80 feet where you may spot angel fish, sea horses, octopus, manta rays, spotted eagle rays, dolphin, whale sharks, and countless tropical fish. Trip includes lunch and drinks, full diving gear and professional, English speaking, dive master instructors. This activity costs 100 USD for one tank dive or 140 USD for two tank dive.
There are two companies which offer a 30-minute flight from Juan Santamaria International Aiport (SJO) or Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) to Tambor Airport (TMU), 45 minutes from Cabuya. From Tambor, you'll need a 50 USD, 45-minute taxi. Please allow La Escuela Del Sol to arrange your taxi to make sure you get the fair price from a trusted driver who knows where to drop you off. Also, if their surf van is available, they can pick you up for 40 USD instead.
Sansa Air and Nature Air leave directly from Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) as well as Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR). La Escuela Del Sol recommends that you arrive at least two hours before your connecting domestic flight.
There is no direct bus from Liberia to Cabuya but there are local buses. Connections are not timed so it may take you all day (or two). If you don't speak fluent Spanish, this is not a recommended way to travel.
There is daily, direct service between San Jose and Montezuma through Transportes Rodriguez. The trip takes approximately 6 hours, including a 1.5 hour ferry ride from Puntarenas to Paquera. The cost is approximately 15 USD.
Once in Montezuma, there are buses to Cabuya (1.50 USD) every two hours until 4:15 p.m. If arriving later, you will have to take a taxi (14 USD) from the center of town to reach the campus. Having a fair handle on Spanish is essential or you may miss a changeover and get lost.