Pura Vida Adventures

»Surf Camp meets Yoga Retreat in beautiful Costa Rica«


At Pura Vida Adventures life is meant to be enjoyed. On a long, sun-bleached stretch of beach by the Pacific, surf lessons are taken after an early-morning yoga session and a deluxe breakfast. Days are filled with lounging, mocktails, and new friends. Inhale and exhale the ‘pura vida’ way.

  • What we love
  • Lush tropical surroundings
  • Pristine beachfront location
  • Idyllic getaway
  • What to know
  • With seven surf spots to choose from, surf classes have never been cancelled
  • First and last days of the retreat are travel days
  • Non-surf yoga retreats are also available
  • Why go
  • Top-notch yoga served with a side of surf
  • Experience the laid-back Costa Rican lifestyle
  • Perfect for groups of friends or solo travellers

Pura Vida Adventures has gotten a lot of press coverage over the years. Founder Tierza Eichner started Pura Vida Adventures in 2004 with the first surf camp after travelling through Costa Rica and falling in love with the town of Malpais. Her passion for surfing and love of the alternative lifestyle grew into Pura Vida Adventures. Now Pura Vida offers retreats to those who want to actively experience the never-ending Central American summer.

Pura Vida offers two different types of retreats; Surf Camp and Yoga for Transformation. The week-long Surf Camps include two daily surf lessons (depending on surf conditions), yoga, three meals a day, accommodation, day trips to other surf spots, and a spa voucher. All surfing equipment is included, as well as bottled water and snacks. Surf Camps run all year round.

Yoga for Transformation is offered as women-only or co-ed. These retreats are also week-long and include two yoga sessions per day; a two hour morning yoga class - with pranayama - and a one-hour afternoon session that incorporates meditation and mantras. Along with the yoga classes, two meals a day are on offer, accommodation, spa voucher, a daily nature hike and a fire ceremony. Yogis get free bottled water too. If you're feeling left out from all the surfing Pura Vida offers optional one, two, or three day surf instruction packages so you too can join in the fun. Apart from the activities included in your package, Pura Vida Adventures also offer stand up paddle lessons, a zip line canopy adventure, a horseback ride, a fishing tour and an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) ride through the countryside. The non-surf yoga retreats are held from May to November.

The daily yoga sessions are taught by the resident teacher, Brazilian Cristina Kalyani. Kalyani studied with the Bihar school of yoga and teaches a variety of styles. These include Hatha, Vinyasa flow, Swasthya and Kundalini. The access-all-areas yoga ‘dojo’ (no walls) where all classes are held, is situated amidst the lush tropical green foliage that is found in Costa Rica. Wake up, stretch, breathe in the clean air then hit the waves!

The surf instructors deserve a special mention too. Surfing at Pura Vida is not just an add-on, it is a true complement to the self-discovery and good health of yoga. Eichner describes the surf teachers as an integral part of the retreat. “They aren't just instructors, but coaches, friends and guidance counselors.” From rank beginners to life-long surfers, guests are lovingly guided through the optimum exercises that blend the yogic spirit with the search for the perfect wave.

There are three different accommodation options at Pura Vida. Shared rooms, private rooms with a shared bathroom or a private room with a private bathroom. The rooms are simple yet luxurious, with a beautiful wooden theme throughout. Teak floors, bamboo beds, wood furnishings, outdoor decks and white sheets - no tents needed here! All rooms are tucked discreetly into the tropical surroundings and are a matter of minutes from the ocean front. And did we mention all rooms also have AC?

Pura Vida Adventures is located on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, in the town of Malpais. Rustic Malpais town and beach is fast becoming the place to surf, with long white sand beaches, a continuous swell and the sumptuous surrounding tropical nature. Although the area has yet to be totally developed, there are plenty of moderate to luxurious hotels and resorts to be found, all capitalizing on the growing interest in the area. Even hollywood celebs like Gisele Bündchen have a not-so-secret hideout or two dotted around town.

The increasing popularity of Malpais has made it much easier to get to. There are seven daily flight from the capital San Jose to Tambor, followed by a one-hour drive to Malpais. The other transfer option is to take a scheduled shuttle bus provided by Pura Vida Adventures (cost not included) direct from San Jose. A short journey it is not, at seven hours, however it’s a comfortable ride and the sights you will see along the way are unforgettable. Despite the ease of transfer, the retreat has preserved its feeling of isolated charm, thanks to the extensive natural surroundings.

Pura Vida defies the notion that great yoga can only be practiced in an environment of austerity. Their approach is one of fun and light-heartedness, and the number of returning guests is a testament to high-quality yoga, luxurious accommodations and their celebration of the natural environment. Saluting the sun with a surfboard and a smile - Pura Vida wins again.

About the area: Malpais

The weather in and around Malpais is generally good year round. There are two main seasons; the dry season from December to April and the wet season from May to November. Both are pleasantly warm although the wet season often involves morning or afternoon showers that can feel torrential. Temperatures range from 25 - 31 degrees C (77F- 88F). Getting to Malpais is slightly difficult, as there are no direct flight connections. Options are to fly into the Juan Santamaria International airport situated 17km from the capital San Jose, then take a domestic flight to Tambor. From then a one hour taxi ride takes you Malpais, at a cost of US$50 for 1-4 people ($10 for each additional person).

Image credit: Pura Vida Adventures

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