Why not try surfing?!
Was looking for my next adventure and came across Bodhi surf school.... I love the ocean, swim and scuba dive, so why not try surfing?
Bodhi has a unique approach to the fashionable "ecotourism" market; their business actually gives back to the community and the environment through grass roots daily programs. A perfect match for this newly retired over 55 adventurer.
Once in Costa Rica, a 4 hour van ride gets you to Uvita where you are greeted by Adrianne, one of the 4 owners. It's a small compound comprised of the main house where you eat and gather. There are two quest rooms on the second floor of the main house, I stayed in one of them. There were two comfy bunk beds and a nice size bathroon. Everything was very clean. The rooms had a ceiling and stationary fan. Just for the record.... no AC. There are two more building for guests, the yoga deck and the two owners homes. Guest capacity is around 12.
A surf board in the eating area has your itinerary for the week, we did not deviate and everything was executed right on time - it flowed nicely.
The first day you are taken to the grocery store.... Get snacks, lunch makings and drinks of all kinds. Don't think oh.... I'll go out. At times you are pooped, too hot or enjoying your newly established friendships.
Surfing was a "journey" for me but Gibran stuck with me.... I had a blast everyday trying, which made the accomplishment that much sweeter. My travel partner and all the other guests were up and surfing day two! Gibran may seem laid back, but he's focused on the guests' personal surfing success.
Yoga, the "add-on". The okay I'll do it but I'm here to surf, took on an unexpected emphasis for me. First, it's hot in the yoga loft - be prepared. Pilar took us through a 5 step journey. I had taken two yoga classes before coming out bodhi - the progress I made daily was addicting. We had a variety of skill levels and I never felt like the beginner". A surprising benefit to the experience!!!!
Take the waterfall trip, it's 2 hours and the water is cool and a needed refresh from the heat. On your free day - do something! We walked to the whales tale and saw a humpback whale out in the ocean. Others hiked or kayak. We were all happy we broke off from the schedule.
Adrianne's food choices and meal prep were right on point.
As others have stated, Bodhi provides a very home away from home experience which fosters happy times and new friendship.
Don't give it a second thought..... just go.
Can't get enough!
My husband and I visited Bodhi last year and knew we had to go back with our two kids (ages 4 and 8) this year. I do not typically return to places in this world that I have previously visited because there are just too many amazing things to see with such little time to do it all. However, Bodhi creates the exception! Why, you ask? It's because my experience there fulfills me physically and spiritually. I walk away wanting to be a better person and feeling motivated to continue or begin new practices that make me, my family, and the world I live in a healthier place to live. Simply put, visiting Bodhi is good for my soul!
The amazing foursome of Bodhi owners (Gibran, Adrianne, Travis, Pilar) are some of the most top-notch people you will ever meet. They do not settle for "just" running a surf school and yoga classes. They are constantly dreaming up ways to create an experience for guests that educates, challenges, and fulfills. This is all done with an intentional focus on improving the quality of the community they call home. One example of many is their offering of yoga to community members in exchange for community service hours. Another example is their traveler's philanthropy program where they support local organizations by contributing a portion of their profit. They do all this in the midst of providing high quality surf and yoga instruction!
As I mentioned, this trip to Bodhi was different for us because we brought our family. We didn't know what to expect from this, other than knowing it would be very different from being there as a couple only. Rather than walking everywhere, we did have to rely on a car a bit more. We also had to adjust our expectations about the intensity of our surf and yoga sessions. We still surfed five times and did five yoga classes, but a couple of each were done "family style". Family yoga, in particular, melted my heart! I will forever remember the gratitude and awareness circles--thanks Pilar! We immensely appreciate the Bodhi instructors' willingness to be so adaptable and flexible, especially in those times when kids just wanted to be kids in nature.
I could go on and on! The accommodations are beautiful, the food is amazing, and the people are some of the best you will ever meet. I will forever recommend Bodhi as the trip of a lifetime. We will be back!
A life changing adventure!
Our time spent at Bodhi Surf School was a life changing adventure. The Shuttle picked us up from our hostel in Alajuela and our driver Wally was very nice and was happy to stop at some tourist spots to allow for some pictures. When we arrived at Bodhi Surf we were shown to our rooms which were really cozy and had THE BEST shower! With the exception of one free day, we participated in daily surf lessons and yoga sessions and felt incredibly empowered with what our bodies were capable of doing every day. The surfing curriculum was exactly what we needed to learn to surf and by the end of our time with Gibran, we were surfing the waves we never thought were possible before we arrived. The yoga sessions with Pilar were inspirational and gave us strength not only in our bodies but in our minds. Adrianne's meals and humour feed us more than can be described and Travis' passion for a better world was infectious and we left with the desire to spread it around the world. On our free day, Adrianne gave some good advice about some local excursions and we booked a canyoning tour with Costa Canyoning. This company was only a 15 minute walk from Bodhi and with some great directions from Gibran we made it there with no troubles at all. The team at Bodhi Surf School genuinely cared about our experience and truly wanted to get to know us as individuals and we have learned so much from them in such a short time. Another great feature of this business is they have their own photographer so you don't have to worry about taking your own pictures. Additionally, their commitment to protecting the earth and enriching their community was evident in everything they did and they are imprinting this passion on their guests. We are so thankful for this experience and will definitely be back again soon.
Amazing experience and great method of teaching
My time at Bodhi was simply amazing. Travis is a very patient teacher and has a great way of teaching so that anyone can learn how to surf. It was easy to tell that he truly loves the sport and enjoys teaching others how to truly appreciate the ocean.
Anastasia, is the perfect yoga instructor. She is mesmerizing with her words and tone and encourages you to move at the pace you are comfortable with while helping you achieve poses you might not have thought possible.
The accommodations were very well maintained and provided a private and peaceful environment while allowing you to commune with other guests if you so chose.
My trip to Bodhi felt like I had visited with friends for a week, but the kind of friends that know when you just want to have your own time. 😉
I highly recommend the experience.
Bodhi is like family
Our trip to Bodhi was amazing. This is the second time we have visited Bodhi, and we will return again! The surf instruction is top notch. Gibran is patient while at the same time challenging you to be the best surfer possible. The food is amazing. Adrianne is a wonderful cook and great conversationalist! The staff at Bodhi care about you as a person. They want to get to know you and help you to love the ocean. They are truly like family. We feel like we have found friends for life at Bodhi!!
So much more than a vacation!
my friend and i in our mid 20's decided to attend bodhi surf sessions as a way to check off that bucket list and learn to surf. in the end, we got so much more! first, the location and weather in bahia ballena (the tiny coastal town where bodhi is located) could not have more perfect weather. we traveled in january and had 90 F and sun every day. the natural resources are also unparalleled - from the pristine, gorgeous beach to local waterfalls to the local forest, the location is beautiful. plus, the beach is perfect for beginning surfers with its warm water and gradual incline. but the real reason to choose bodhi over any other costa rica experience is the people. gibran, adrianne, travis and pilar who run the school are all incredible, passionate people who provide top-notch yoga and surfing instruction while maintaining a commitment to sustainability and responsible local development. this experience is jam-packed and eye-opening in so many ways. plus, in terms of the practical issue of price, it can't be beat! with round trip transportation to and from the airport, a massage and most meals also included (which are utterly scrumptious!), you get an amazing experience for the price.
Excellent surf instruction, excellent yoga, serene and lovely location
Surf Instruction -
I had never really surfed before, tried a couple times without instruction and got frustrated paddling about in the whitewash.
On day one under the instruction of Gibran, I was riding whitewash, by day three I was catching green waves, standing and having enjoyable rides. It only got better from there. Gibran is a very good surfer who also has the gift of being an excellent instructor. He is constantly observing your form and offering tips for improving form. I tried one other surf school (in dominical) on this trip, and really noticed a hugSe difference. At the other surf school, the instructors were nice guys, but much more interested in chilling out, pushing you into the wave rather than teaching you how to better catch the wave, and leaving the beach quickly to get back to their lives.
Gibran on the other hand is very attentive, always there with hints and tips, and very excited to see his students succeed. I give him the highest marks possible.
I have been practicing yoga for over 20 years in a variety of disciplines and have gone through a 200 hr teacher training and have guided a number of yoga classes myself. One never really knows what the quality of instruction might be at any given retreat or yoga center (except through word of mouth)
Pilar, Bodhi's yoga teacher, has a very solid practice of her own and its apparent that she has dedicated a large part of here adult life toward her asana, but also toward all 8 limbs of yoga and toward sharing yoga and guiding class. In each class I took with Pilar, she altered the class based on the experience level of here students and on the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of her classes.
Pilas's background is in Ashtanga, and her vinyasa is based upon that discipline, but she is not constrained by it. I found her classes to be just challenging enough, while keeping my body loose and ready for more surfing.
The Shambala is a beautiful place to practice, the entire property is very serene and surrounded by nature. The rooms are clean and inviting, the showers are spacious walk-ins with a nice strong flow.
Bodhi Surf is very involved with the community and are active in youth education, environmental conservation and community planning.
I love this place. Please come here if you like the ethos of yoga to carry out past the asana practice and to influence the greater community.
Please don't tell anyone bout it who sucks. If you want serenity, great surf lessons, excellent yoga, I strongly recommend Bodhi surf. I will return.
The best way to start our Costa Rican adventure
The team at Bodhi Surf and Yoga looked after our every need, made sure we were well prepped for our holiday and then made it a very special week in a low key and relaxed way. We did the surf and yoga package and the experience of both was exceptional. From being welcomed by Travis and Maya, who showed us round the thoughtfully designed and beautifully crafted buildings, to the end when Pilar helped us organise our journey to the next destination, it was a joy to experience Bodhi.
We stayed in the small bungalow and it was just perfect, it was so thoughtfully laid out and we had everything we needed. The bathroom was beautiful, the shower was great. A really homely place.
I did the walking tour of the local area on the first day. It was great get your bearings and learn at the same time - we even saw the local "celebrity" which is a little croc(not quite a croc but looked like a mini one) called Rancho (I think that was his name). It's nowhere near the accommodation though so don't worry 🙂 Learning a little about the history of Bahia and Uvita, the communities and the wildlife was an invaluable part of the trip for me.
We had Gibran as our surf teacher (we were both total beginners) and he was the perfect balance of enthusiasm, instruction, challenge and support. We learnt about the ocean and waves and different breaks too. We were both catching waves on our own fairly quick and Gibran had given us a really strong foundation on which to continue to practice our new found love surfing!! Pilar's Yoga classes were also exceptional ... We both felt that we made a lot of progress throughout the week. Pilar is a talented teacher. Adrianne looked after us, giving us advice on what to do in our downtime and cooking a gorgeous chilli on the last night. The guys at Bodhi are living it - they're making a difference through their livelihood and how they further contribute to the community of Bahia through beach litter picking sessions and activities for the kids is quietly inspirational. You won't find any righteousness here, just authentic, mindful and enthusiastic friends running a very special surf and yoga retreat in a VERY special place. We were just sad that had booked our next destination otherwise we would have stayed another week.
After hearing about a few of things they're planning for the continued development of Bodhi Surf and Yoga, I'm excited for all future guests ... And hopefully we'll be among them.
Relaxing and Thoughtful!
Staying at Bodhi Surf was wonderful. We spent 6 days surfing, enjoying the beach and getting to know the community a bit. Travis, Pilar, Adrienne & Gibran are beyond thoughtful; their attention to detail makes a big difference. Also, their surf and yoga instruction was really great - they are all gifted teachers! I would recommend staying at Bodhi and signing up for one of the packages to anyone.
Amazing experience. Great people. Pura vida!
Spending time with the team at Bodhi Surf School was simply amazing. The personalized surfing and yoga sessions were incredible and so much better than we could have ever expected. We had first timers for both surfing and yoga but Gibran and Pilar's teaching methods allowed us to relax, learn the techniques and have a blast. We were able to develop an understanding and appreciation of the practices that will allow us to continue to enjoy them after our trip.
The team at Bodhi has really figured out how to create a positive environment that leaves a lasting impression. We've been feeding off the positive vibes for weeks after our trip and it's surely an experience we will never forget.
On top of everything their passion for community and environmental initiatives is contagious. I couldn't think of better people to introduce us to Costa Rica.
Thanks to everyone at Bodhi Surf School, pura vida!
The perfect detoxifying trip
This was our 1st trip to Costa Rica, I picked Bodhi Surf School from a friend's recommendation who also had an awesome time staying with them, we chose the bodhi sessions. It was more than what I had expected, the people are so sweet, mindful, and knowledgable. You truly feel like a family member upon arrival. Not only did we have awesome yoga classes and rad surf lessons (a lot of standing, a lot of falling, a lot of fun), we also had the BEST food (I'm still trying to recreate these recipes at home). They were also really helpful when it came to planning other nearby activities for when we had some free time, we chose the SUP tour and hiking, there's A LOT to do in this area, but we could have honestly spent all our free time at bodhi or at the beach surfing. Cant wait to go back
A perfect getaway
The trip to Bodhi was amazing! It was my first time in Costa Rica and I will be back again soon. The team, Pilar, Adrianne, Gibran, and Travis, were very welcoming and attentive. Whether it was assistance from Adrianne with obtaining a local rental car, a recommendation for dinner, or help with travel logistics the team was extremely helpful.
The goal of my trip was for some surfing, yoga, and R&R. As a solo traveler I chose to stay in the room armonia. The accommodations were very comfortable and peaceful. The alegria shared kitchen and open air space was perfect for enjoying lunch after surfing or yoga, or for taking a nap in the hammock. Overall my expectations were exceeded.
The surfing instruction was top notch. Having taken surf instruction in other places my experience with Gibran and Travis far exceeded my previous experiences. The emphasis on not just standing on a board, but learning about the ocean and the waves made very valuable. Both Gibran and Travis are very patient and knowledgeable teachers willing to answer any question that came up. From the first day beginning on my stomach in the whitewater, to standing up and dropping in on the face of waves and turning on the board by my last lesson, the experience was amazing.
The Bodhi Shambala and yoga platform is a beautiful environment to practice in. Pilar is an amazing teacher. Having limited experience with yoga she guided me through the practice and gave me modifications on poses to match my abilities. If you can catch an evening class during sunset, I highly recommend it, as it was one of the most tranquil and peaceful experiences in my life.
Overall I would highly recommend a stay at the Bodhi Surf and Yoga lodge. From the amazing team, to the beautiful scenery of the Bahia Ballena and Uvita areas, and the great instruction, it was an amazing trip!!
Amazing place, people and food!
I stayed at Bodhi Surf for a week in November and had the most amazing time. Adrianne, Gibran, Pilar and Travis run an amazing surf experience not just a surf school. I've stayed in a number of surf schools around the world and Bodhi Surf is one of my favourite. The surf instruction from Gibran was one of the best I've had, the food from Adrianne was amazing, yoga with Pilar was just spot on - not just stretching your body but your mind. If I was to be back in Costa Rica, I would definitely go back. The personalities and people that run or stay at Bodhi surf are warm, friendly, funny, energetic, down to earth and caring to people and the environment. I was travelling on my own but never felt alone as there were always people around or things to do if I wanted. Thank you!
There's a reason why Bodhi has 262 EXCELLENT reviews, this is 263.
It is difficult to find the right words to express how I feel about Bodhi Surf School because I feel I could use all the wonderful adjectives in the dictionary and it still wouldn’t be enough. The holistic experience I achieved at Bodhi is more than I could ever fathom. The emotional and physical transformations through the practice of yoga and surf enlightened me, centred me, and balanced me. Adrienne, Gibran, Pilar and Travis are remarkable, compassionate, and attentive human beings. I felt like I was at home while stay at Bodhi. The lodge is beautifully built and furnished. Adrienne’s cooking is divine, fresh and home-style. Gibran’s surf lessons are customized, the best I’ve ever had. Pilar’s yoga practice is spiritual and all-encompassing. Travis’ community involvement is integral to the conservation of Uvita. I have a deep appreciation for the staff at Bodhi. I admire their dedication to environmental conservation, community awareness, and of course the exceptional treatment towards their guests. I feel like I will always have a home in Costa Rica with Bodhi Surf School. I’ve been raving about them since I’ve returned home and will continue to do so. Until we meet again, sooner than later...
Fantastic week of surf & yoga, thanks to the amazing team at Bodhi
I had a fantastic week at Bodhi & couldn't recommend this place enough. Adrianne, Gibran, Pila & Travis have created a little oasis of peace and tranquility in Uvita and made me feel so welcome from the minute I arrived. Gibran was a great instructor, patient and encouraging and the beach where we surfed was perfect for beginners. After surfing, yoga with Pila in the beautiful yoga studio in the tree tops was a perfect way to end the day. And finally this review wouldn't be complete without mentioning the amazing food that Adrianne cooked, from the homemade granola to the banana bread, it was all deliciously fabulous! Thanks for a great stay!
AMAZING SURF AND YOGA SESSIONS PROGRAM!
My wife and I had the most amazing week of great surf and yoga lessons. The Bodhi gang created a beautiful sense of belonging and appreciation for an absolutely gorgeous place. We strongly recommend the sessions package as this will ensure you end up feeling like you are a part of this amazing place!!! We will be back!
More than a vacation!
When people ask me about my week in Costa Rica, I respond that it was more than a vacation. My husband and I had high expectations upon our arrival given all the great reviews, and the experience surpassed even these high expectations. First of all, you will not a more committed, genuine, passionate, life-loving, and Earth loving group of people than Gibran, Adrianne, Travis, and Pilar. Their intern Melissa was equally as amazing, as was sweet little Maya! With every moment, we became more and more impressed with the fabulous work being done at Bodhi. They are invested in their community and shared their love of Uvita with us through conversations and a community walking tour (loved "Dora" and "Diego"!). Simply put, it felt like we were doing good by being there, and we left hungry to know more and do more.
As for surf and yoga, I never would have considered how these two activities complement one another, but this experience at Bodhi has me believing it! If you are considering a vacation at Bodhi, I urge you to do both surfing and yoga. In fact, I urge you to commit your whole week to doing both. We are so thankful that we did five days of each!
A little bit about the instructors...
As educators, my husband and I know good teachers when we see them! Gibran was incredible. We spent five days with him learning to surf. His passion for surfing and the ocean shined through in his desire to not just get us to stand up on a board, but to teach us about surfing in a holistic way (i.e., reading the waves, appreciating the ocean, studying technique, etc.). It's not easy to teach people with different learning styles how to surf at the same time. However, he was always thinking and trying new techniques to reach each of us in a way that we learn best. My favorite moments include hearing Gibran cheering as one of us would have a good ride! Another moment that will never leave us is our beautiful sunset surf session the night before we left. It was probably in our top five experiences ever.
Pilar was equally as amazing! We could not have asked for a better yoga instructor or a more perfect environment. She is so thoughtful and reflective in her words. Each session began with her talking to us a bit, usually related to something she has been reflecting on. It was refreshing and set the stage so well. Her attention to each person's individual poses was so helpful. I've never had a yoga teacher who could adjust me ever so slightly and have such an enormous impact on the feeling of the pose. Whoever thinks yoga isn't a workout needs to take a class with Pilar! You will leave sweaty (at least we did), but totally at peace with the world.
We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Adrianne and Travis as well. Adrianne is such a genuine, happy spirit with a huge zest for life and adventure! She was integral in helping us set up other activities around town. Travis awed us with his never-ending ideas for further developing Bodhi, and we loved sharing Peace Corps experiences. They are truly class acts!
I could go on writing forever (great bungalow, wildlife, great hikes and more), but you just have to experience it for yourself. We can't imagine not going back, so we have already started talking about how to get our whole family (including a 7 and 4 year old) back next year. I drove away knowing we would be back. It's just one of those rare places in the world!
I have been at Bodhi the third time in 15 months. I think this speaks for itself…
Next to the surfing program I also signed up for the 5 day yoga course. It was an overall incredible experience.
I can not say enough great things about Bodhi, their program, accommodations, food , environmental engagement and especially the people. Love, care and commitment is the main ingredient of running this amazing place.
It feels like home away from home and a place where you can absolutely disconnect, learn how to surf, lose yourself in the sound of the jungle while doing yoga and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Thank you for another unforgettable experience and keep doing what you are
Wonderful experience with amazing people
I did the Bodhi Sessions (one week surf and yoga with some meals, some community activities, and transport from the airport included), and I highly recommend it. It is one of my best travel experiences ever. The location is perfect if you like to be embedded in small communities that are not over-developed. The teaching techniques for both surf and yoga are very effective. The learning was not rushed, and I made huge improvements during the week. I really felt the connection between mind, body, and nature. Bodhi made me feel like I was part of their family, a family that shares similar values and inspires me to live those values one step at a time. I hope to stay connected with Bodhi and their mission and this part of Costa Rica. I will return for more.
Oh, and the food is the best! I want all of Adrianne's recipes.
I am so glad I stumbled upon this gem of a place when booking our Costa Rica trip. We spent 7 days learning how to surf with Gibran, while exploring the local area. We were able to kayak, snorkel, zipline and visit local restaurants all within a short distance of Bodhi. Gibran's passion and enthusiasm for surfing and the ocean shined through at each of our lessons. He spends time educating you about the waves, safety, technique and the ocean. My previous fears of the ocean completely fanished. He truly helped us gain a whole new appreciation for the ocean. My boyfriend and I were both standing on our first lesson. He is truly a world class instructor. I would strongly encourage anyone to spend an entire week with Bodhi and Gibran learning to surf. We didn't do the Yoga, but if we go back (which we without a doubt would) I will add the Yoga to the package. The small community of Uvita is beautiful and welcoming. It's small and charming. There is no nightlife, if that's your bag, so you would have to travel to surrounding areas if you wanted that. We felt very safe while getting a truly authentic Costa Rican experience. The Bodhi headquarters itself is very beautiful and peaceful. Small bungalows that provide everything you need during your stay. Including a mean breakfast by Adrianne! Everyone is so accommodating. You will go here on vacation and leave with an incredible experience with the ocean and a few new friends. Our expectations were highly exceeded. Hope we can make it back someday.
Out of this world
300 5* reviews out of 305. Kind of says it all really?!
Quite honestly, if you are looking to explore a new area, learn new hobbies, get some sun and learn more about the world around you, then Bodhi Surf is the way to go.
The entire experience struck the perfect balance between rustic beauty, comfort and privacy and inclusiveness. Gibran and Adrienne were impeccable hosts, Pilar's yoga is incomparable and Travis was a great fun while although unfortunately only with us for half of the week.
I loved it and will definitely be back next year.
Everything about this experience was amazing
Traveling with a friend, this was the perfect get away for us. The people at Bohdi surf camp are absolutely wonderful. Adrianne, Gibran, Pilar, and Travis were all so warm and welcoming. They went above and beyond in every situation, always making sure we had everything we could need. I truly felt like a group of close friends by the end of the week. The food was outstanding. I can't imagine that in any other situation would I have felt so good at surfing after 5 lessons. The teaching was incredible. Similarly, the yoga fit perfectly with each surf lesson. Everything was so well organized. The local community experience and commitment to sustainability and gratitude left me feeling so rich at the end of the trip. This was the trip of a lifetime and I will definitely return.
Life-changing week of surfing, yoga, delicious food and meaningful connection
The Bodhi team has clearly worked hard to craft the best possible combination of experiences into their Bodhi Sessions package and I couldn't recommend it more. We were cared for like family from the moment we touched down in San Jose. I could go on for hours about all the special touches that made this week such an amazing experience for me and my 3 girlfriends, but they all come down to the love that Bodhi has infused into every aspect of the week.
After 5 surf lessons with Travis, we all felt WAY more comfortable in the ocean, and in addition to now having a much more informed understanding of the how/why behind surfing and the ocean in general, we were also all paddling out and riding waves all on our own! This felt like such a huge accomplishment and I know it was a direct result of Travis' unique blend of a well-honed teaching style and warm, mindful presence. He was so tuned in to our needs and gently but strongly encouraged us to unbelievable heights.
Our yoga sessions with Pilar were amazing as well. Our group had a mixed ability/experience level with yoga and everyone walked away feeling like we had received so much from our time with her. Between a better understanding of yogic philosophy and game changing prompts that allowed us to deepen into poses like never before, it was a beautiful blend of strength and ease. As with Travis, Pilar is an amazingly skilled teacher. Her presence and ability to reignite/facilitate a connection with the strongest, wisest version of yourself is an absolute gift.
The lodge itself is beautiful... a simple, peaceful sanctuary that felt like such a pleasure to explore. We were so grateful for the comfortable, thoughtful amenities and loved the clean, earth-centered lifestyle so easily embodied in all aspects of this magical place. And the food... oh wow... it was SOOOO fantastic! The amount of love and sweetness infused in every meal felt like the icing on the cake. Nourishing to our bodies and souls on every level.
One of the best trips of my life!
I just got back from my week long Bodhi trip in Dec and I am already planning Round 2. The whole experience was life-changing and I had the time of my life. Travis, Gibran, Pilar and Adrianne, are all FANTASTIC! Travis and Gibran were excellent in teaching me to catch my first waves, I am officially hooked on surfing! Pilar was a calming and welcoming presence and taught amazing yoga classes. I had only taken one yoga class in my life and felt like I walked away with a much better understanding of not just the physical, but also the mental aspects of the practice. Plus, you are taking yoga classes up in a tree house basically and it is the most surreal experience ever. And then there is Adrianne......the best chef ever! The delicious, homemade breakfasts and dinner were fantastic and my group and I (we are all a bunch of foodies) looked forward to every meal. Adrianne also gave us great recommendations for local restaurants for dinners....the best place in town, Carlito's, is right across the street. The rooms were very clean and nicely designed. Activities were coordinated and on-time. This was my first time in Costa Rica and the area is just beautiful. I will be back in the next few months for sure! Thank you, Bodhi, for such an awesome time!
A magical experience: idyllic setting, surfing, yoga amazing people, inviting and engaged community.
Yes, Bodhi Surf School is a piece of magic. We spent one week there with our 12-year-old son and feel our lives have opened to new levels of depth and richness.
The property is a winding network of several gorgeous wooden bungalows punctuated by lush tropical gardens and pebble paths. The design of the bungalows gives the feeling of always being outside and in nature. To a visitor from the non-tropical North, the gardens have a wildish look and feel, yet they are meticulously maintained to meet their highest potential of growth and beauty. In fact, that is a theme that courses throughout Bodhi - this place is designed to bring out the living best of us all.
Upon arrival, co-founder and co-owner Travis greeted us with a wide smile, and once we were settled into our home for the week - Bungalow Gratitud - we planned out our itinerary: yoga at 10 am through the week, some down time, then surfing in the afternoon, a guided tour of the community, and time for us to all sit down together and get to know each other. Our "get together" turned into three nights of delicious shared meals and vibrant, into-the-night conversations!
On our Community Walking Tour, expert local guide Wayne led us through the town pointing out the native flora - often citing their scientific names - and providing a running commentary on the history and structure of the community. This was a fabulous way for us to actually get to know and engage with the community. We even happened upon a large group of local schoolchildren dressed in traditional Costa Rican outfits and practicing at the community center for a province-wide cultural dance contest.
Bahia Ballena is part of a larger town called Uvita, and Wayne told us the origin of the name Uvita. "Uva" means "grape" in Spanish, and Wayne showed us the particular type of grape (Bactris guineensis) that grows in the area. At one point, a lady from the region named Uvita began making wine from these grapes. People would say, "Let's go get some wine from Uvita!" Soon everyone was calling the area Uvita, and it stuck.
We were intrigued to meet a live Ylang Ylang tree. Ylang ylang is one our favorite scents, and we were stunned by the richness of the live smell from the wavy little yellow flowers.
One of my favorite spots on the Bodhi property became the Bodhi Shambala Yoga Center - an airy lounge for meditation, reading, expressing gratitude and, of course, yoga – the upper level is a stunning open-air yoga studio. By open-air I mean it's a platform with open walls surrounded by greenery - birds fly right through sometimes (happened to me twice while doing my Qi Gong up there in the early morning). So while doing yoga you feel as though you are in the canopy of a rainforest. There is bird music galore and the odd neighbouring rooster calling out its cock-a-doodle-doo’s throughout the day.
Another of our favorite spots was undoubtedly the common area Alegria, which sports a couple of colourful, inviting hammocks. There is something utterly womb-like and comforting about swaying in a hammock on a warm afternoon. Throw in fragrant tropical foliage, a gentle airy breeze, the sight of nearby blurry-winged hummingbirds, and, well, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
Yoga classes are normally led by Travis's partner, Pilar, but she and Travis recently welcomed a new baby daughter into the world, so she was unavailable. She had, however, approved of Travis putting us in the capable yoga hands of local yogini KT, a gentle smiley soul. KT took us masterfully through Ahstanga routines, including her customized "Yoga for Surfers," which truly helped us adjust our bods to the surfing life. She also offered some challenges to our son - a great way to keep a 12-year-old engaged in an hour-long yoga class. I'm sure he'll thank us when he's older for insisting that he take part.
And then there was the surfing.
None of us had ever surfed before. Utterly irrelevant, because I would argue Bodhi is THE place to learn to surf. Highly skilled instruction, warm water, a stunningly beautiful uncrowded beach -- the fine sand, palm and eucalyptus-lined beach is located within Ballena Marine National Park.
Travis took us through a daily comprehensive on-sand training that included such touchpoints as how to walk in the ocean (you drag your feet forward along the ocean floor - not up and down steps, which could have you stepping on and harming marine life), knowing the parts of the surfboard, how waves are formed, the importance of tides and reading the ocean, ocean surfing safety, and, of course, surfing technique. There was lots of time in the water with him by our sides encouraging us and constantly honing our technique -- all of us had no problem getting up and actually surfing within a day.
At one point he said to me, "Out here surfing in Mother Ocean is where I feel the most present."
I think we got a solid taste of that pure living presence - la pura vida. Mother Ocean, as Travis respectfully refers to her, demands your full and undivided attention or she will just do her thing and treat you to some tough love as the waves roll over you in a whitewash. But I'm sure the "present" Travis is referring to involves much more than the physical effects of Mother Ocean. One day, before heading out into the warm salty water, he read to us a moving passage about the powerful effect of surfing on the human brain, from the recent book "Blue Mind", by well-known marine biologist and fervent ocean conservationist Wallace J. Nichols. This hit home with me. I think there is a strong spiritual element to surfing. It's one of those sports that brings you so close to nature as you are completely in it head to toe. Travis explained to us how each time he first goes into the water for a surfing session, as he gets out into the white wash he lies face down floating in the water between waves and gives deep thanks to Mother Ocean. Gratitude is a strong underlying theme at Bodhi.
And when you catch a long green wave and ride it all the way in from that peaceful ocean calm beyond the breakers, which I managed to do once, there is gratitude beyond words. La pura vida.
The other fundamental pillar of Bodhi's multi-faceted mission are their eco-action and community engagement initiatives, including town and beach trash clean-ups, planting trees for community reforestation projects, teaching local stakeholders about conservation, empowering local youth with GPS technology, offering free yoga classes in return for community service work, hosting high school students to work on community projects. Giving back and spreading positive energy are part of the Bodhi DNA.
You can't go wrong with Bodhi - there is something for everyone, and Travis and his partners are committed to ensuring your Costa Rican experience will be unique, meaningful and unforgettable.
Amazing people, gorgeous surroundings, incredible yoga and surf instruction
Bodhi surf and yoga school is a truly holistic experience. Gibran and Adrianne take you in and make you feel at home right away in this small town that is a beautiful oasis on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
The yoga instruction by Pilar is the best I have ever experienced. She is knowledgable, spiritual, calming and inspiring. Gibran's approach to surfing is as holistic as Pilar's approach to yoga. He teaches you about the ocean, how to read waves, and everything that you will need to know to be successful on a surf board. He breaks it down and allows you to try everything step by step so that you are successful and build confidence. I was a little nervous about surfing and he made me feel confident and calm each time I went out. I ended up loving the surfing because of Gibran's great instruction.
In addition to the yoga and surf, the accomodations are clean, beautiful and the space is so peaceful. The food was delicious and we had so much fun eating meals and spending time with the Bodhi crew.
I cannot recommend Bodhi enough - it was one of the best weeks I have spent traveling ever!!
Best weeks holiday ever!!!
My girlfriend and I stayed at Bodhi surf camp for a week and it was so good we booked an extra 2 days cutting short other activities we intended to do. The staff welcomed us with open arms and become very much friends near the end. The surf lessons were really good, we both stood up very quickly. Travis was our main instructor at the beginning and was always able to tell immediately what was stopping us and adjusting, and he was very supportive and patient (we certainly were not naturals). I hurt my chest so had 2 days where I couldn't surf. Gibran took me out for a sunrise session at 5.30am to make for a missed one which was very nice. The yoga was great, Pilar is a great teacher in an amazing environment on a platform in the jungle. Couldn't think of a better yoga environment. This was not a bit of yoga attached to surf camp though a very in depth yoga lessons including about the yoga lifestyle. Adrianne cooked some great food, better than many of the restaurants in the area and eating with the staff and other guests was very nice and communal. The accommodation was great and we got upgraded when we arrived into a huge 2 bed bungalow. The staff were always happy to help out with lifts to the beach or the shops. The 2 interns Hannah and Jazeen were great fun and will be there till march. Overall much better than our high expectations and certainly deserve the 5 star reviews on trip advisor, the people make this place great and I couldn't imagine a better way to run a surf camp. There are plans to build a pool which will really be very cool. We hope to come back very soon. If you are looking for a nice chilled retreat for yoga and surfing this is by far the best place to come.
Idyllic getaway in Costa Rica
Nothing but praise for Bodhi Surf School and family!! Yoga and surf instructors are knowledgeable and proficient in their practices and passions. And they do an amazing job enhancing each personal experience. The surfing break down, fundamentals, and sport education made it a much more enjoyable (and attainable!!) process than previously anticipated for a group of surfing novices. Standing up is still such a rush!! Both activities provided welcomed physical and mental exhaustion's at points. Clean and charming facilities nestled in tropical gardens of green. Fusion of authentic Costa Rican food with other delicious worldly meals. Fresh fruit and homemade granola available each morning was unparalleled. Staff were extremely flexible and willing to do anything they can to make it a great vacation and encourage immersing yourself in Costa Rican knowledge and the regions culture. They made the trip easy by taking care of us from start to finish.
While the location and lessons are brilliant, the people definitely made the trip what is was for our group. For Travis, Pilar, Gibran and Adrianne who put their hearts and efforts into both Bodhi Surf School and the Uvita area, it is truly evident and appreciated!
REASONS TO CHOOSE BODHI
When it comes to surf and yoga tourism, Bodhi is in a class of its own.
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SURF CAMPS FOR FAMILIES
A balanced surf camp designed for families with children. Spend three days learning some new skills and three more days exploring the Uvita area!
SURF & YOGA CAMPS FOR ADULTS
A holistic surf and yoga camp for adults — week-long, set-date vacations that promote learning, community engagement, and fun!
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