Destinations

Costa Rican Standup Paddle and Adventure Paradise

Winter Storm Jonas was not going to stop us.

The storm delayed our departure, but nothing was going to stand between us and our peaceful retreat to the jungle along the coast of Costa Rica.

We fled the 20-degree weather and before we knew it, we stepped out into a warm 80-degree day in Liberia. After renting a car and mapping out our two-hour drive to the coast, we were on our way and if it all went just right… we would even arrive in time to catch the sun setting over the Pacific… VAMOS!

Our destination was set for Blue Zone SUP and their facility Casa Corona, owned by good friend Erik Antonson who runs Blue Zone SUP out of the area. Camp rates start at $2,100 per person and include everything! Gourmet fresh local foods, two excursions per day and the best paddle surf coaching on offer. Erik is the current Costa Rica National Champ and hosts the PaddleWoo Podcast.

You can also rent Casa Corona without the retreat experience. The home rents for $3,250 per week and Erik can set you up with a private chef and point you in the right direction for surfing, fishing, horseback riding, zip lining and whatever else you’d like to do.

Casa Corona highlights:

  • 5-minute walk to one of the best beaches in the area
  • Two living areas (upstairs main house and downstairs apartment—both with kitchen)
  • Master bedroom suite with balcony
  • Private chef
  • Pool
  • An entire room full of surfboards

We arrived at this magical destination, met up with Erik and his two friends from Modus Photography based out of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida and set off to the beach just in time for sunset.

You know when you really, really need a vacation? That was us. Our feet were in the water in no-time at all as we waited to catch our first Costa Rican sunset. Let me tell you, the sunsets are pure magic. After all the stress of winter weather and rescheduling flights, we were staring down a bright orangey-pink and yellow sky and all was well in the world.

Still in sunset-induced euphoria, Chandler of Modus Photography told us, “I snapped a few pictures of you guys down by the water.” Not really knowing him at the time, we thanked him for his kind gesture, hoping that if we got to see them, they would be cool.

A few short days after our trip ended—Chandler sent “the casual photo he took of us on the beach at sunset.” CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE THIS PHOTO? Kudos to you, Chandler, you magician, you. Thank you for capturing such a special moment for us.

Lindsey and Adam Costa Rican Sunset Playa Nosara by Modus Photography

For dinner we headed over to Burgers and Beers—a newer spot with craft beers and burgers and a great fish menu. We had fried shrimp over Caribbean rice with hibiscus beer to kick off our first night of vacation.

Just when I thought we’d had a perfect first day in Central America, we were introduced to Trits. It would be simple to call it “an ice cream sandwich,” but that would be wildly inaccurate and insufficient as Trits are actually heaven located in the freezer section of the local super. Vanilla ice cream with chocolate fudgy swirls between two graham cracker-like cookies. HEAVEN.

Wednesday, our second day in the Nosara area was a day we will surely never forget. We spent the morning on Playa Guinoes, just one of the many beaches along the unspoiled coastline before we headed over to Boca Nosara tours for a guided horseback ride through the jungle and along the beach.

I’ve found horseback to be one of the most intimate ways to experience a new place and riding in Costa Rica was no exception. Our tour guide, Manuel, a local Tica born and raised in Nosara, was an excellent guide for a truly incredible experience up into the hills with breathtaking ocean views, through the jungle trails and mangroves, ending along the beach to capture the sunset. We were left speechless watching the sun set over the mouth of the Nosara River, pelicans diving into the ocean for their evening meal in the background, local fisherman in the foreground.

We ended the day with a traditional Italian meal at La Dolce Vita. We are from New Jersey—the land of limitless Italian restaurants, and let me tell you, La Dolce Vita in Costa Rica was above and beyond some of the best Italian cuisine we’ve ever had. Owner, Roberto, is a true gentleman, greeting his tables with a smile and ensured that the shrimp fra diavlo wouldn’t disappoint. The food was magnificent and Roberto topped off the meal with a nice toast of Limoncello. Highly recommend!

By Thursday, we found ourselves completely immersed in the laidback Costa Rican lifestyle, secretly plotting ways that we could stay in this paradise forever. So of course, we embarked on an excursion that would make this case even stronger.

We met up with Erik near his home on Playa Garza. Erik had fallen in love with the breaks in Garza and relocated his family to be closer to his favorite beach and place to surf. We did a flat water paddle out in the bay during the middle of the day. We had spent most of the trip looking out into the ocean, but now we had the incredible perspective of looking back onto the mountainous coastline from the water. We absorbed the warm sun, salt water, ocean air and amazing views. We sat on our boards and talked about life and could have stayed in that moment for an unmeasurable amount of time.

Here is a nice edit of that experience:

The day wrapped at a local favorite, La Luna. If you want to watch the sunset in the most idyllic setting, this is the place. La Luna sits on Playa Pelada and serves up a trendy, laid back ambiance with comfortable seating, paired with delicious food and drink. A must-go place if you’re in the area.

Dinner At La Luna

Dinner At La Luna

We had such a great time with Boca Nosara tours for our horseback tour we decided to go back on Friday to kayak the Río Nosara and the Rio Montaña. The aptly named tour company is located right on the mouth of the river where it meets the ocean. We were about an hour into a relaxing paddle as we started to notice the sun lowering in the sky. We paddled about another hour under the brightly colored sky anticipating the sunset. Along the paddle we saw countless species of birds and even a crocodile basking in the evening sun! We brought the kayaks back in just in time to grab a beer and watch the remarkable sunset, yet again, over the Boca Nosara.

boca nosara tour: kayak

Photo courtesy of Boca Nosara Tours

Saturday came way too fast, as the days always pass far too quickly on vacation. We decided to end our vacation with a bang by signing up to zipline across the Costa Rican jungle with Miss Sky Canopy Tours.

After we were prepped in gear, we hopped into a van and drove up into the mountains for our zipline experience. The first run looked daunting, but the experienced guides promised all would be okay as they taught us the “ropes” and explained how their entire course is double wired to ensure safety. Filled with butterflies we let go of inhibitions and took off on the first run. Euphoric to say the least, we continued on at least a dozen more runs, traversing mountain ridges, soaring above the jungle ravines, surrounded by the whipping sound of the wind and the howler monkeys in nearby trees.

As all good things always do, the trip had to come to an end. We escaped the wintry weather in northeast USA and discovered paradise in Central America. A good trip leaves you speechless, but gives you endless stories to tell. I hope you enjoyed our story of a magical getaway. Until the next adventure, we’ll be dreaming of Costa Rican sunsets…

P.S. The search for locating Trits in the United States was wildly unsuccessful BUT we did locate a recipe and it’s bookmarked for when the hankering sets in.

Written by Lindsey Scharf
Sr. Manager, Brand Content & Communications, Sotheby’s International Realty

If you want an epic vacation where you can relax and adventure then contact Erik below and he will send you some information

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Costa Rican Standup Paddle and Adventure Paradise

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