Tag Archives: Surfing
August 22, 2011

POTD: Playa Avellana, Costa Rica

The above photo was taken at Playa Avellana, during our last full day of our Costa Rica trip in February 2010. Amazingly, however, I almost did not make this trip to Costa Rica due to an airline mishap. Thankfully, however, I had purchased a travel insurance policy when I booked my trip, so that salvaged a bit of the trip.

Basically, the night before I was scheduled to fly to Costa Rica, American Airlines canceled my February 13th flight and notified me that they could not get me to Costa Rica until February 15th. They had also scheduled me for a 13 hour overnight layover at the Miami airport. As you could imagine, I was rather pissed off, but a quick call to my insurance company Cover-More confirmed that my $70 policy covered trip delays and interruptions, so I could expect to get some of my hotel and food expenses covered. When I arrived back in the U.S., I filed my claim and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the company was reimbursing me for my hotel and food expenses in DC and Miami as well as the two days of pre-paid lodging and surf lessons that I missed due to American Airlines’ inability to get me to Costa Rica on time. So, lesson learned, if you are traveling abroad, make sure you have travel insurance!

October 23, 2010

POTD: Playa Tamarindo

playa tamarindo

playa tamarindo

For the past two years my friends and I have gone down to Witch’s Rock Surf Camp in Playa Tamarindo. This is the camp’s backyard. Not bad, eh?

February 26, 2010

Costa Rica photos

Photos from my week at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp in Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica, with daytrips to the Arenal Volcano and Playa Avellana.

February 12, 2010

Back to Costa Rica

After spending nine days in SoCal, I’m off to Costa Rica for another a week of surf, beer, and nachos at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp. More on that trip (and North Korea, China, Central Europe, and London) when I return. In the meantime, I’ll be posting photos from Costa Rica on my Twitter account.

August 30, 2009

Costa Rica: I’m here to surf, not overthrow your government

I didn’t have much to write about regarding my April trip to Costa Rica because it basically consisted of surfing, eating, and drinking. In fact, the only semi-funny thing that happened to me while in Costa Rica occurred when my flight landed at the Liberia airport.

The Costa Rican government requires that visitors fill out a landing card which you then submit to the immigration officer. It’s just some basic information, like name, date of birth, passport number, address, etc. For the occupation question I simply wrote “analyst” without identifying the organization I work for.

The queue at immigration was moving quickly, as the officers would take a cursory glance at each visitor’s passport, stamp it, and then promptly wave them towards the customs area. Except for me.

Despite having taken three years of Spanish in high school and being forced to spend part of my summer at Spanish camp in Minnesota (yeah, figure that one out) I really had no idea what the two officers were saying as they passed around my passport. The only word I recognized was “analista”, which the officers said repeatedly as they flipped through my passport pages, examining every visa.

“Hmmm…analista, analista, analista.”

Finally, one of the officers stamped my passport, handed it back to me, and smirked.

“Goodbye, analista político.”

And that was the only time in my life when I’ve wanted to say to someone, “No, no, you’ve got it all wrong, I work in the oil industry.”

June 15, 2009

Costa Rica: Surf Trip to Playa Avellanas

On Friday, our last full day in Costa Rica, we grabbed our surf gear, hopped on the Witch’s Rock Surf Camp bus at 6am and headed to Playa Avellanas, a few miles south of Tamarindo. Here are a few photos from that trip.

June 5, 2009

Costa Rica: Witch’s Rock Surf Camp

So, back to my Costa Rica trip, which I returned from over a month ago.

We stayed at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, a beachfront hotel run by surfers, for surfers. WRSC was founded by Joe Walsh, a Californian who decided to move to Costa Rica following his graduation from UCSD. He bought an old school bus, convinced some friends to accompany him on the trip, and eventually ended up in Costa Rica. Thus, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp was born.

The perfect location – right on the beach

I loved everything about WRSC. The staff members were incredibly helpful and the guests were laid back (Well, of course they would be. They are surfers, after all). The great thing about WRSC is that it caters to surfers of every skill level, from someone who has never been on a board in their life to a surfer who has been catching waves since he was a kid. All beginning and intermediate surfers receive daily lessons (in groups of 2-3 people) while the advanced surfers spend their days traveling by boat or van to different breaks in the region. Since I am not skilled enough to even think about surfing some of those breaks, I was content to take my daily lesson with the WRSC instructors, many of whom have surfed, or still surf professionally. I learned a great deal from these guys, who helped me break some of the bad habits I have managed to pick up over the years. I caught some great waves and also had some spectacular wipeouts that would make you grimace. I’ve always thought that if you’re not going to make the wave, you should at least go out in style.

“And today, we will work on your turns.”

My lesson group

The view from my room. The rooms at WRSC are very simple…bed, bathroom, chair, nightstand, and framed surf posters on the wall. If you are looking for a flat screen TV with on-demand movies, room service, and 1200 thread count sheets, then this is not the place for you. But if you could care less about all of that and just want to surf with a great group of people, then WRSC is where you want to be.

Best shower design ever

The view you enjoy while eating breakfast/lunch/dinner or just drinking beer. Another great thing about WRSC is the free breakfast at the camp’s restaurant, “Eat at Joe’s.” When I hear the phrase “free breakfast”, I generally think of the lackluster selection of pastries you typically encounter at an early morning business meeting. At WRSC, however, you can select any of the breakfast plates on the menu. I usually opted for the eggs, bacon, toast, and gallo pinto (rice and beans), drenched in salsa verde with a cup or two of coffee on the side. It was definitely a great meal to have after a 6am surf session.

This damn bird stole a piece of my bacon

Looking out towards the main street of Tamarindo

California pride!

I love nachos. I really love a plate of nachos as big as your ass. When we weren’t eating dinner at a place down the street, we were at Joe’s. You really couldn’t go wrong ordering something here. The nachos, tacos, burgers, sushi, and smoothies were all great, and the beer was always ice cold. Seriously, the WRSC crew should be incredibly proud of the food they are serving.


Entrance to WRSC/surf shop/board storage area. WRSC has a huge collection of surfboards, and if you are a student there you can check one out anytime. I mainly surfed a 9’2″ or 8’6″.

Rian and I

These guys were everywhere

Listening to Tico Hendrix.

No matter what time it was, you could always go downstairs to Joe’s and find someone to have a beer or nachos with.

For our last night, the WRSC staff threw a “graduation party” and served up a delicious feast.

Happy camper. Literally.

I had such an incredible time at WRSC and met a lot of great people there. I think about it often while I am sitting at my desk here in DC, working on spreadsheets or whatever. I have a feeling I’ll be back there sometime next year.

May 8, 2009

Costa Rica: Pura Vida

A few shots of surfers enjoying an afternoon/evening session at Playa Tamarindo.

Carlos, a WRSC instructor

I love this dog. He belonged to one of the WRSC instructors and whenever his owner went out to surf he would sit on the beach and wait for him to come in.

May 3, 2009

Costa Rica: Playa Tamarindo

I arrived back in DC last night. I’m covered in various scrapes and bruises, one of my toes is probably sprained, and my neck is killing me. But man, was that a fun trip. Costa Rica is amazing. Met a lot of great people, ate a ton of excellent food, surfed a lot, and am already planning a trip back there next year. I’m currently in the process of sorting through all my photos and acquiring others from my friends. Here are a few of Playa Tamarindo that I took while on an early morning walk.

The area directly in front of our hotel. Not a bad location, eh?

Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, our hotel and playground for the week (more on WRSC later).

My favorite trees 🙂

Tamarindo rivermouth


Pedro’s…serves amazing seafood caught that day!

April 24, 2009

Off to Costa Rica

Tomorrow morning I’m heading to Costa Rica and will be there for a week. I’m meeting my friend Rian (from GWU) down there. Yes, this will be a normal vacation with a beach, surfing, etc. There will be no landmines, tours of nuclear disaster sites, or heavily armed police escorts. Admittedly, this feels kinda strange.