There are moments in global history that mark distinct and profound changes. Without a doubt, the world has recalibrated as we have adjusted to the ramifications brought forth during the global COVID-19 pandemic. While there have been great shifts all over the world and to all aspects of life; one of the most seismic transformations will have been to how we humans travel. Some forms of travel, like the cruise ship industry, may never quite bounce back in the same way, as we have become wary of being together in small spaces. Others, like outdoor and wellness travel, may see an increase in popularity as feelings of stress and confinement ascend. One thing is for sure — humans will keep traveling and reaping the benefits that it brings!
At Bodhi Surf + Yoga, we have made some shifts and changes to our operating procedures. We are adhering to the protocols established by Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health, as well as incorporating best practices from the country’s tourism board (ICT), AirBnB, TripAdvisor, and US Center for Disease Control to name a few.
The most important thing to note is that we are adhering to social distancing between social bubbles, and mask use whenever social distancing is not possible.
In reality, we have not had to make very many changes, as the Bodhi Surf + Yoga vacation experience was already ideal for a world under COVID:
- Our camps and lodge are designed for small groups, so social distancing is done with ease
- Our activities and common spaces are all outdoors, a recreation type that has continued to be recommended by experts weighing costs and benefits
- Our points of focus have always been about health, wellness, meaningful connection, and community, and despite light changes to our daily operations, this is still the case
In the spirit of preparedness, we have put together another ultimate guide to preparing for a visit to Bodhi Surf + Yoga in Costa Rica so that you know what to expect. We hope to answer any questions you may have in order to help you make the best possible decision as to if it is the right fit!
Why visit Bodhi Surf + Yoga in the COVID era
First and foremost, it bears stating that the health, wellbeing, and safety of all of our stakeholders — our guests, staff, providers, and community — is our number one priority. Bodhi Surf + Yoga is a responsible, award-winning vacation destination spot. We hold ourselves to the highest standards, and are committed to going above and beyond, and not just comply with our country’s requirements and recommendations.
As mentioned above, the Bodhi Surf + Yoga vacation experience is a good travel option in the Covid-19 era. It meets some of the new criteria: with a maximum of 10 guests able to stay at the lodge at one time and thus an as ease to adhere to social distancing, as well as the ability to book the entire lodge out. It takes place in a community with low population density that is surrounded by pristine nature. Finally, the vacation itself is experiential and promotes holistic wellness and belonging — two issues of growing importance in the COVID era.
What travel to Bodhi Surf + Yoga looks like during COVID
HOW WILL MY WEEK BE DIFFERENT FROM A PRE-COVID WEEK?
We will continue to provide the highest quality of service while offering a clean and safe environment that will enable travelers to renew, rebalance, readjust, as well as awaken purpose.
Here is what you can expect during your stay in the COVID era:
- Face masks required for staff
- Face masks required for guests (not including within social bubbles) when social distancing is not possible
- Hand sanitizer widely available to guests and staff
- Rigorous staff health protocols including heightened communication, regular hand washing, and temperature checks
- Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas, as well as surf and yoga equipment
- All shared spaces at Bodhi Surf + Yoga are outdoors and well-ventilated
- Contactless check-in and check-out and 24-hour minimum vacancy between guests
- Bodhi Surf + Yoga kitchen adhering to meticulous health protocols
- Surf lessons in the Marino Ballena National Park are organized to respect its health protocols
- Yoga classes at the lodge that follow rigorous health protocols
- All recommended restaurants, stores, and tours/activities for the free day are pre-authorized by Bodhi Surf + Yoga as clean and safe to visit
Travel within Costa Rica
ARRIVAL AT JUAN SANTAMARIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
You will be required to wear a mask while in the Juan Santamaria International (SJO) Airport. The process of arriving and clearing customs and immigration may take longer than usual to ensure that the international airport protocol is executed properly. There is now a sanitizing carpet, temperature measurement, sanitizing stations, visual instructions in Spanish and English, social/physical distance indicators, digital epidemiological form, luggage service arrangement, amongst other measures to ensure a safe visit to Costa Rica. There is also free wifi, restaurants, shops, etc.
TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM BODHI SURF + YOGA
Your transportation provider will meet you just outside where you exit the airport building, holding a sign that says Bodhi Surf + Yoga. They will be using a face mask and have hand sanitizer for your use upon entry to the shuttle bus. For the duration of your drive from the airport to Bodhi Surf + Yoga, every adult individual will be required to wear their face mask. While mask use is obligatory in the shuttle bus, the driver will make a stop at a not-highly-trafficked spot so you can take a bathroom break and purchase snacks if necessary.
Your driver will ensure the vehicle has been cleaned and sanitized using the five-step enhanced cleaning process:
- Prepare equipment and get the space ready for cleaning
- Clean each surface by removing dust and debris
- Sanitize all high-touch areas, appliances, and electronics
- Check that the space has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized
- Reset the space and restock supplies
TRAVEL WITHIN BAHIA BALLENA
There will be a several times during your stay at the Bodhi Surf + Yoga lodge in Bahia Ballena in which you will be transported in a vehicle: such as to and from surf lessons, to and from the waterfall, and if you do any optional tours or activities on your free day. All of the Bodhi Surf + Yoga vehicles as well as any recommended taxi service vehicles will be regularly sanitized. During these trips, you will be required to use your personal face mask.
Your home for the week
THE BODHI SURF + YOGA LODGE
Our “small is beautiful” philosophy means that we have always limited our space to 10 guests per week. Coupled with our enhanced five-step cleaning process, you can be sure that the Bodhi Surf + Yoga lodge is a safe and clean place to stay. We have over 100 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor for cleanliness.
The Bodhi Surf + Yoga lodge has four distinct spaces that you can choose from in which to stay — two independent rooms and two independent bungalows. Each space has its own bathroom. The two bungalows have their own porches and cooking facilities. The two rooms have an ample shared porch, as well as access to the main kitchen and common area with tables and chairs, a day bed, and hammocks. These common areas are large enough to maintain social distancing.
There is a small pool for the entire lodge which receives regular cleaning and maintenance. The new COVID guidelines allow the distinctive social bubble groups to enjoy the pool independently.
SURF AND YOGA CAMP MEALS
The meals at Bodhi Surf + Yoga are one way in which there will be a big difference from previous seasons. We will maintain our usual high standards of cleanliness and food production. There will be an increased level of disinfection of everything within the kitchen, and staff will be required to wear masks at all times.
There will either be a buffet line or food will be plated. If it is a buffet line, you will now be required to wear a face mask, and the kitchen staff will serve your food at the buffet line. If it is plated, you can sit down normally. Staff will let you know ahead of time.
Depending on the number and layout of which spaces are filled in any given week, some guests may be required to eat their meals on their own porches versus in everyone eating in the common areas.
INTERACTION BETWEEN BODHI SURF + YOGA STAFF AND GUESTS
The essence of hospitality is a generosity of spirit from the heart. Bodhi Surf + Yoga is about connection, and we will still take advantage of the opportunities to share and create community. This may look a little different than it did prior to the pandemic, but we are adapting, improvising, and overcoming the challenges this may present!
Being a responsible company means that we must protect our visitors, our staff, and ourselves. We require our guests to follow all health and safety protocols in order to protect our local community as well as other guests and travelers. This means using personal protective equipment when indicated by staff, residents, and public officials.
Bodhi Surf + Yoga will communicate any new protocols as we learn them, as guidelines are wont to change quickly.
The activities you will be participating in
SURF AND BODYSURF LESSONS
Our surf and bodysurf instructors will follow protocols that have been established for the Marino Ballena National Park established by the Costa Rican Ministry of Health and Tourism Institute. Surf lessons will occur between 7am-4pm and will always maintain a 3:1 student to instructor ratio.
Our equipment and vehicles will be regularly subject to the five-step enhanced cleaning process. During the entry process into the park, both instructors and guests will have to wear masks. During the theory and practice portions of the class, mask use is not required as social distancing is possible.
Our yoga instructors will follow protocols established by the Costa Rican Ministry of Health and Tourism Institute. The yoga classes will be organized to maintain social distancing. This means that it is possible that yoga classes may have to be split into two sessions depending on the number of guests present.
The yoga equipment (mats, straps, blocks, and bolsters) and platform space will be subject to the five-step enhanced cleaning process before and after use. Mask use is likely to be required during yoga classes, depending on the conditions. Be prepared by bringing and wearing a breathable, sport face mask (more information on the packing list, below).
All of our providers are screened to comply with the highest standards of health and sanitation. Massage therapists will follow protocols established by the Costa Rican Ministry of Health and Tourism Institute. Massages will take place staggered by social bubbles, in an open-air space, and the equipment and massage tables will be subject to the five-step enhanced cleaning process.
Mask use is obligatory for massage therapists but not for the guests who are receiving the massage.
COMMUNITY WALKING TOUR
Like all of our providers, our recommended local tour guides follow protocols established by the Costa Rican Ministry of Health and Tourism Institute. They will use personal protective equipment such as masks whenever necessary. Any equipment they use will also be subject to the five-step enhanced cleaning process.
Being an outdoor tour, both guests and guide will also be allowed to remove fast masks whenever the maintenance of social distance protocols is possible.
The owners and operators of the waterfall location will follow protocols established by the Costa Rican Ministry of Health and Tourism Institute. They will limit capacity and indicate spaces where you can enjoy being within your social bubble while also respecting others.
Optional activities you can participate in
FREE DAY ACTIVITIES/TOURS
We are more than happy to help you organize a tour or activity with one of our recommended providers and partners, those which have not only a reputation for safety and excellent service, but which are also following COVID protocols. Note that on any tour or activity where social distancing is not possible, mask use will be obligatory for both operators as well as guests.
MEALS THAT ARE NOT INCLUDED
In each week of camp at Bodhi Surf + Yoga, five breakfast and three dinners are included. On the first day, a staff member will either take or direct you to a grocery store so that you can stock up on any items you may need during your stay. Every space has kitchen access, so you are more than welcome to prepare any of your additional meals right at the lodge. The store visit will require you to use a face mask both for the ride there and within the store itself.
There are also a great many restaurants and eateries which you can either visit and dine in, or get takeout from. We are more than happy to help you plan the best option for you!
VISITING AND SHOPPING OUTSIDE OF BODHI SURF + YOGA
Bodhi Surf + Yoga will indicate which restaurants are following protocols established by the Costa Rican Ministry of Health and Tourism Institute. Personal protective gear such as masks are mandatory when visiting public places such as restaurants, stores, and other businesses. We ask that you please respect health protocols to ensure your safety and the safety of others.
Our local community of Bahia Ballena
WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY DOING TO ENSURE A CLEAN AND SAFE ENVIRONMENT?
The public and private sectors in our community have collaborated to build a “best practices” guide for implementing COVID protocols. The guide takes into consideration the protocols developed by the Ministry of Health and Tourism Institute, and private sectors organizations like AirBnB and TripAdvisor. Local businesses have been following protocols and the community has created its own internal certification process.
MARINO BALLENA NATIONAL PARK
The community has invested in entrance and facility improvements for the Marino Ballena National Park so that health protocols are being met. The park has its own processes for entry, including social distancing, disinfection, and mask use. It has also reduced its visitation capacity in order to ensure that distancing is practical.
ARE ALL OF THE BEACHES OPEN?
Some of the beaches within the Marino Ballena National Park are currently open, including the Whale Tail (Punta Uvita) entrance (daily, hours dependent on tides) and the Colonia entrance (daily except Tuesdays, from 7am-4pm). Public beaches are open from 5am to 10pm.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER RESTRICTIONS I NEED TO BE AWARE OF?
Aside from what has already been described (mask use whenever social distancing is not possible and in public places and restricted hours on beach use), there are very few restrictions that will affect Bodhi Surf + Yoga guests. There are still some driving restrictions in place, but if you choose to rent a car, your rental will be exempt.
Packing list: COVID
FULL PACKING LISTS
Find your packing lists in their entirety based on which camp you are attending:
- Bodhi Sessions: Adult Surf + Yoga Camp
- Bodhi Family: Surf Camp
- Bodhi Awaken: Ocean Awareness, Bodysurf, Surf and Yoga Camp
- Face masks: we recommend bringing at least 3-5 breathable fabric masks as it is quite hot down here. You can wash them by hand and allow them to dry overnight.
- Exercise specific face masks: there are a variety of masks that you can choose from that are designed for heavier breathing and sweating. We recommend these for yoga.
- Hand sanitizer: for your hands when you’re on the go.
- Disinfecting wipes: for your personal items when you’re on the go.
While these new measures seem extensive, in reality, they are neither wildly different nor very difficult to implement. Most importantly, they will ensure the safety of all stakeholders, and enhance the ability for all to relax and enjoy the experience. We sincerely believe that the rest, invigoration, and renewal provided by one of our surf and yoga camps will be worth the effort!