Pura Vida En Costa Rica
Words by Malcolm Hill, Senior Tropicsurf Guide Four Seasons Costa Rica
A few years ago, I arrived at the Four Seasons Resort, Papagayo Peninsula in Costa Rica. I instantly fell in love with this paradise and have run Tropicsurf’s program with my wife Anisa since our arrival. Being able to call Costa Rica our home is something we’re very thankful for and we love nothing more than sharing our stoke with visitors to the resort.
I will never forget the first time I entered the Papagayo Peninsula. We slowly drove toward the Four Seasons Costa Rica, traversing along the highest point of the Peninsula, greeted by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the beautiful Bahia Culebra (Snake Bay) on the other.
Our initial reaction was one of amazement, thanks largely to the beauty of the area and the amount of wildlife surrounding the resort. Whilst exploring the resort surrounds we’ve encountered spotted coatis grazing alongside the road, white-tailed deer, howler monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, turkey vultures, colorful birds and the ever-present black iguanas. I never tire of sightseeing around the property and I love sharing my passion for the Peninsula with guests when they visit.
Let us show you around the place!
Four Seasons Costa Rica is located at very the tip of the Peninsula, which comprises lush rainforest bookended by two white-sand beaches; Playa Blanca and Playa Virador. You can visit the Tropicsurf shack located at Playa Blanca to say G’day to me (yes, I’m Australian) and the other friendly Tropicsurf guides. We’ll let you in on all of the best-kept surfing secrets, and dial you into the best waves possible. Here you’ll also find the Recreation team who offer a range of activities including bird watching, hiking, kayaking and paddle boarding. I suggest that you grab a snorkel and explore the rocks just off Playa Blanca, where guests often spot olive ridley turtles on the grass flats, as well as an array of fish and spotted eagle rays.
By now you’ve probably figured out that a trip to the Four Seasons Costa Rica resort represents your gateway to boundless adventure, however if wellness and relaxation is more your style, don’t despair as you’ll find an abundance of therapeutic treatments to reenergize your soul. Or, simply relax and enjoy a good book!
If you’re a surfer, or curious about surfing, the adventure really begins when you embark on a surf excursion with Tropicsurf. Our beginner waves are just a 20-minute boat ride away where you’ll find soft sand bottom, gentle waves, which makes this the perfect introduction to surfing; a fantastic activity for the whole family to enjoy. Allow Dorindo, our boat driver to slice up some fresh, cold, sweet Costa Rican pineapple to enjoy after you’re surfed out.
Those with more surfing experience can explore a little further. Enjoy a 45-minute boat ride to the famous Witches Rock, located in the Santa Rosa National Park. During the journey, you’ll likely encounter turtles, dolphins and devil rays. The devil rays often like to break the surface of the water and perform backflips in the air. It’s quite a spectacle. In the tail end of the green season, humpback and pilot whales make regular appearances.
Once you arrive, you’ll feel as though you’ve entered another world. The stunning National Park scenery is often compared to the set of the Jurassic Park movie. Enormous cliff faces fall abruptly into the Pacific Ocean, met by ocean swells that have travelled thousands of miles. You’re greeted by beautiful waves groomed to perfection; the kind of waves that you dream about.
Out to sea, Witches Rock perches from the ocean, forming one of the most iconic backdrops in surfing, made famous in the 1994 movie The Endless Summer ||, and this makes for a truly unique surfing experience. On large south or southwest swells, waves will crash against the giant rock, splitting into peaks before making it to shore. Here you’ll find no infrastructure. No signs of civilization.
Just YOU, the waves and nature.
On land, the beautiful white sand of Naranjo Beach divides the deep blue of the Pacific from the emerald-green hues within this remote National Park. Surfers from all over the globe are drawn to Costa Rica, hoping to experience the exhilaration of gliding along the offshore walls of Witches Rock and Ollie’s point.
Surfing in Costa Rica is all about friendly vibes in the water. Costa Ricans are known for being relaxed, welcoming and very patriotic. This aligns with their most famous saying ‘Pura Vida’ which translates to ‘Pure Life’. Local surfers live by this mantra and are genuinely stoked to see visitors enjoying their country’s beautiful waves.
When your surfing’s done, and you’re back at the resort, I suggest enjoying my favourite après surf cuisine, the tuna poke bowl. This delicious meal has fresh local ingredients and offers a great nutritional balance for the exhausted surfer. Wash it down with one of Costa Rica’s most famous artisanal beers, the refreshing treintaycinco, available at Four Seasons Costa Rica Anejo bar. And of course, the newly renovated Spa is the perfect place to treat yourself to a massage to relieve those tired muscles from surfing all day. Pura Vida!