Santa Teresa Beach in Costa Rica is known for its gold and light sand, warm, clear aquamarine water, world-class surf conditions and spectacular sunsets. Its neighbor to the south, the sleepy beach hamlet of Malpaís, is celebrated as a surfer's paradise with a very relaxed jungle lifestyle.
Both top Costa Rica beach destinations are found on the western coast of the southern Nicoya Peninsula. Poor or non-existing roads kept this tropical utopia off the beaten path for decades. Backpackers and surfers camping their way along the coast discovered the paradise of small fishing villages in the early 1990s. Today, they are popular – though still slightly isolated – tourism destinations and win awards for being the best beaches in Central America.
As a surfer, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to surf for longer without getting tired, get a quicker pop-up, have more strength and flexibility and better balance, relax your breathing and sharpen your mental focus? You can do this with yoga. Pro surfers are already aware that the practice of yoga keeps their performance constantly improving, and aids in preventing injuries.
U.S. yoga instructors/surfers like Peggy Hall have produced DVDs that tout the benefits of the practice especially for pro surfers. Here are 10 yoga poses for surfers that will make your arms and back stronger, improve your strength and flexibility, give you better balance, and help you avoid the all-too-common nagging lower back pain. Remember to always warm-up before heading out to the water, and stretch for 5-10 minutes after surfing. Your body will thank you.
1. Downward-facing dog: Benefits: Stretches shoulders and calf muscles, strengthens and tones the arms and legs, lengthens and straightens the spine helping to relieve pain in the upper, middle and lower back.
Walk down the beaches of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica and you’re likely to see multicolored crushed seashells, sea glass, and interesting rocks and pebbles along the white sand. What you won’t see as readily is trash.
The Pacific beaches of Santa Teresa – Mal Pais, Playa Carmen, Playa Santa Teresa and Playa Hermosa – on Costa Rica’s southern Nicoya Peninsula hold Ecological Blue Flag status. Costa Rica’s Blue Flag award is an honor for a community to earn. It means the beach community has near-perfect ocean water quality, potable water quality, coastal sanitation areas, treated waste and run-off water, garbage containers and very little litter.
Businesses on these four beaches have taken it upon themselves to keep the beaches clean. Since 2011, they have worked together to pay for two workers to clean each beach every week, all year long. They pick up trash brought in on the Pacific tides, or washed out from nearby rivers or that is left behind by beach-goers. The rubbish is collected in extra-large garden-size trash bags, separated between garbage and recycling, and brought to a municipal trash collection spot.
The business owners take turns in rotation to pay for the two workers and the cleanup costs. “We started in 2011 with only five or six sponsors, and now we are up to 50-60 sponsors,” said program coordinator Roberto de la Ossa. “The more business owners there are, the easier it is for everyone to maintain the program.” De la Ossa, who is general manager at sponsor Hotel Tropico Latino, said he works with a small team of business owners and managers to run the program. In turn, they work with the Environmental Committee of Santa Teresa, which coordinates the Blue Flag program.
There is no better way to relax – especially recently arrived on vacation – than with a massage. It really is amazing what 60 or 90 minutes of a professional therapist making your muscles and body unwind will do to produce feelings of bliss and well-being.
Massage therapy benefits you by relaxing tight muscles, increasing circulation, releasing toxins, easing stress, and benefiting your whole body in numerous positive ways. It can boost your health and keep you feeling full of vitality.
Now imagine having a soothing massage listening to the rhythmic sounds of ocean waves (real ones, not recorded!), and feeling cool sea breezes blowing. That’s exactly the experience at Spa Natural at Hotel Tropico Latino on Santa Teresa Beach in Costa Rica.
The southern Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica is a spectacular destination to visit – gold and white sand beaches, world-class surfing, warm blue Pacific Ocean, lush rainforest. The region stays off the beaten path, however, due to its remoteness.
The traditional way to get to the towns and beaches of the southern Nicoya Peninsula – Tambor, Montezuma, Mal Pais and Santa Teresa – is by ferry. The starting point is the Central Pacific port of Puntarenas, and it takes about 90 minutes for the ferry to cross the Nicoya Gulf to Paquera. Add on to that time at least another 20 to 30 minutes on each end for loading and unloading the ferry of cars and passengers. If it is high tourist season or a holiday and you are traveling with a vehicle, you need to be in line at the ferry terminal at least an hour or more before the ferry departs to ensure you’ll get on board. The trip definitely is picturesque and not overly expensive – 810 colones per adult passenger and 11,400 colones for a car one-way – but you had better not be in a hurry.
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