The Ultimate Guide to Preparing for the Bodhi Sessions Surf + Yoga Camp

Bodhi Surf + Yoga / Surf + Yoga Camp Blog / The Ultimate Guide to Preparing for the Bodhi Sessions Surf + Yoga Camp

If you’re reading this, it’s because you are going to be vacationing with us here in Bahia Ballena, Osa, Costa Rica. We are so excited, and we hope that you are as well.

Now it’s time to get ready, and that is where this Ultimate Guide to Preparing for a Bodhi Sessions Surf + Yoga Camp comes in handy. Get ready for your upcoming, epic adventure: the Bodhi Sessions 7 or 14-Night Adult Surf + Yoga Camp!

This guide is a consolidation of the relevant resources we have created over the years. In it, we have endeavored to answer all of the commonly asked questions to facilitate your visit to Bodhi Surf + Yoga. Note that if it’s not answered here, you can also check our FAQ.

We hope that you are ready for a week (or two!) of fun and laughter, physical engagement, great conversation, and immersion into this beautiful and wild corner of Costa Rica.

Surf stoke in Costa Rica

What you can expect on your Bodhi Sessions: Adult Surf + Yoga Camp

We first started offering Bodhi Sessions surf and yoga camps in 2015 and they have become our pinnacle vacation option for adults.

One of the main reasons that many Bodhi Surf + Yoga guests return more than once is that they quickly learn how low-maintenance the trip is for them. The other of course, is that they fall in love with the Sessions experience, and our special little community!

You probably know that we are not an all-inclusive retreat, but you may not know why. It is intentional, as we want to allow our visiting guests the opportunity to be independent and interact with the local community.

Not only is this an important part of travel, for us it is also the more socially responsible option. It allows the economic benefits of your visit to extend beyond just our business, and allows you to have a more well-rounded, culturally enriching experience in our lovely little town here in Costa Rica.

Asana adjustment at Bodhi Surf + Yoga

So what is included in our surf and yoga camps?

Bodhi Sessions Adult Surf + Yoga camps run from Saturday to Saturday, and each week includes the following:

  • Round trip transportation between the San Jose, Juan Santamaria Airport and Bodhi Surf + Yoga
  • 7 nights of lodging (six at the Bodhi Lodge and one at a hotel near the San Jose airport)
  • 5 healthy breakfasts
  • 3 delicious dinners
  • 5 surf lessons
  • 5 yoga classes
  • A community walking tour
  • A visit to the local waterfall
  • A free day
  • A $20 donation to the SOMOS Community Foundation

Also, you get the benefit of staying at a quaint lodge with a group of passionate individuals, some of whom have lived in the community of Bahia Ballena for decades and who have a ton of local knowledge to share.

We are here (and stoked) to facilitate logistical details, to offer local knowledge and suggestions — and honestly, just to chat!

Meals at Bodhi Surf + Yoga

Other meals, tours, and transportation

You will notice that our program is not all inclusive. Yet never fear, there are a ton of options for both eating and keeping yourself busy in our little community.

Meals

Whether you’re buying groceries or eating out, there are many small, family-owned and operated businesses in our area.

Preparing food on your own

If you are staying in either of the private bungalows (Gratitud or Espiritu), you can buy ingredients at one of the three walking-distance supermarkets and prepare meals in their respective kitchenettes.

As you will see with our sample schedule below, the structure of most days is to have a bigger brunch-style breakfast after the daily surfing or yoga session.

Many opt to have a snack (such as a fruit smoothie) or a light meal (like a salad, chips and bean dip, or yogurt and fruit) in the afternoon when temperatures reach their peak. After the afternoon activity is done and the sun goes down, they go out for a bigger dinner.

Going out for meals

We are blessed to have a wide variety of great restaurants in our community. There are options for all budgets and most cravings. This is actually a pretty unexpectedly great place to stumble upon if you’re a foodie!

There are a whole host of restaurants in the Costa Ballena area which range in distance. There are approximately 20-25 restaurants in the immediate walking distance (20 minutes or under) from the Bodhi Surf + Yoga lodge.

If you opt to take a taxi anywhere (in 20 minutes or under), the number of restaurants available goes up greatly.

You can read more about some of our and guests’ favorite restaurants in our restaurant guide.

Travel to Costa Rica in Covid Era

Tours, activities, and transportation

Tours and activities

If you’re an active traveler and the five surf lessons, five yoga sessions, community walk, and waterfall outing are not enough action for you, you’ll be happy to know that there is both time and options for other activities.

For more information about what is available and recommended, refer to our handy “Things to Do in Uvita” blog.

If you already know what you want to do, we recommend that you book it ahead of time as many activities fill up in advance (especially during high season dates like U.S. Thanksgiving, Christmas/New Year’s week, and spring break season).

Getting around

Transportation is included to all included activities (surfing, waterfall visit, and community walking tour).

There are a few options for getting around in Bahia Ballena. We are located quite centrally in the community, and are within walking distance to restaurants, supermarkets, shops, and banks.

Walking to anywhere you may need to go is perfectly appropriate and safe — 90% of our guests opt to do just that.

However, if exploring via foot is not your jam, you can also do any of the following options:

  • Rent a bike at a nearby rental shop
  • Take taxis to the place and activities that are too far (or you are too knackered) to reach on foot
  • Rent a car at one of the various car rental locations (Enterprise, National, Adobe, to name a few)

Surf and yoga camp Costa Rica

Bodhi Sessions: Surf + Yoga Camp daily schedule

The following breakdown is designed to give you an idea of what to expect!

Note that this is a sample schedule, as exact times of activities are subject to change. The surfing component of our schedule requires us to change it weekly, around the tides and wave conditions.

Saturday (Day 1)

Guests are asked to arrive on the first day (Saturday) before 2pm at the San Jose, Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose, Costa Rica. After everyone clears immigration and customs (which can average anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours depending on the time of year), you convene at the meeting spot outside the airport, Deli “La Malinche” hopefully by 3pm).

You can grab a bite to eat at the restaurant prior to making the approximately four hour trip to Bodhi Surf + Yoga in our private shuttle. Upon arrival at the Bodhi Lodge, the staff will welcome you, check you into your room or bungalow.

Guests and staff will go out to a local restaurant to enjoy the first group dinner together, go over expectations and goals for the week. After that, it’s early to bed to get up early and be ready for the first full day of our Bodhi Sessions Adult Surf + Yoga Camp.

Sunday (Day 2)

Sundays start with an early breakfast of locally sourced fresh fruit, coffee, banana bread, and eggs. To beat the heat, we start with the community walking tour first thing after breakfast. This activity is a great way for guests to learn the ins and outs of the local community, get a “lay of the land” from a trained local guide, and learn some local culture and slang. Expect to see some of the local flora (and maybe even fauna), and maybe even finish with a local snack or drink!

After returning to home base, there is a little break before the first yoga class at the onsite Bodhi Shambala Yoga studio. Next up, take a stroll to the local supermarket to stock up on snacks and meal stuff or go out for lunch at a nearby restaurant.

In the afternoon, the whole crew will head down to the beach for the first surf lesson of the week where you’ll learn about where you’re surfing, equipment, and do some preliminary drills from a prone position.

Sunday night is unscheduled so everyone is welcome to do their own thing. Head to a local restaurant or make something simple to eat before relaxing in the hammock or playing some games before an early bed.

Monday (Day 3)

By Monday morning, guests have an idea of the rhythms and flow of Bodhi Surf + Yoga, Bahia Ballena, and life in general in a quaint coastal Costa Rican community. After a morning yoga class (usually consisting of a philosophy, breathing, meditation, and postural component) you will be physically and mentally limber for the day’s activities.

Next up: a leisurely, healthy, and filling breakfast at the Bodhi Lodge. Then guests head to a local waterfall to cool down from the mid-morning heat. When you return to the lodge after this refreshing outing, there is a period of chill time prior to the sunset surf session where you will work on your pop up and surf stance.

Monday night is group dinner number two at Bodhi Surf + Yoga, an experience that consists of delicious local fare and many moments of laughter. Bodhi Surf + Yoga team members may prompt reflections of the day or a “High, Low, Ha!”!

Sunset surf in Bahia Ballena

Tuesday (Day 4)

By Tuesday, you are going to be so into the way of life in the tropics that you rise, bright and early, with the sun and the sounds of local animals such as roosters, howler monkeys, and what Bodhi staff call “funky chickens”.

You know the drill by now: an invigorating yoga class is up next — much needed class after two days of physical activity!

After you float down the stairs of the yoga platform and over to the common area, enjoy some local coffee or fruit juice, a delicious home-cooked breakfast, and conversation with fellow guests and staff. After breakfast, everyone will head out for the first morning surf lesson of the week.

Post learning about waves and generating a surf report, as well as doing some shredding of your own, you will return to the lodge for some chill time in the pool or hammocks. Tuesday is a free night, so guests are most often found going out for a meal at one of the nearby restaurants.

Wednesday (Day 5)

Wednesday is the full free day! There are many activities to participate in and sights to see. For example, visiting the local Farmer’s Market, going to a nearby café, walking the Whale Tail, or just chilling at the Bodhi Lodge.

If you opt for the latter, you can hang in the hammocks, by the pool, or on the day beds. Guests can also do one of the many half or full-day tours of the area: boat tours (whale watching, snorkeling, or to a famous nearby national park), canyoning, ziplining, horseback riding, and more.

Thursday (Day 6)

On Thursday, we are back at it with a delicious and nutritious breakfast followed by a morning surf lesson in which we cover techniques for paddling out into the “lineup”. Guests may opt to spend more time at the beach, perhaps even enjoying the views from a comfy position on the sand.

There is an evening yoga class in which you can listen to the birds chirp as the sun goes down on yet another wonderful day. Thursday night is the last group dinner at the Bodhi Lodge, and game night!

On this last evening together we share an epic meal, reflect on some of the experiences we have had both together and apart, and maybe even play a game.

Friday (Day 7)

On Friday morning, it’s not unlikely to have a “dawn patrol” sunrise surf session, where the aim is that everything “comes together” and if conditions allow, you have the opportunity to catch a green, unbroken wave.

Following that, a light and delicious breakfast along with a hefty cup of coffee is in order.

The final yoga class of the week where some of the threads of the week are woven together, and you have an intentional “yoga goodbye” with your instructor. After packing, pool time, and lunch, guests and staff share one last activity together: the thoughtful and reflection-filled Bodhi Gratitude Ceremony.

Finally, at 3:30pm, you are picked up at the Bodhi Lodge for your shuttle transfer to your hotel in San Jose where you will be spending your last night. A farewell, but not a goodbye. After all, you can always come see us again. We hope you do.

Saturday (Day 8)

On this day, guests typically fly out of San Jose back home.

Responsible Yoga Class

Preparing for your surf and yoga camp

The Bodhi Surf + Yoga experience in the Covid era

If you have questions about traveling in the Covid era, to Costa Rica, to Bahia Ballena, and specifically to Bodhi Surf + Yoga, you’re in luck. We have an entire blog that covers that very topic.

Long story short, we have been safely and successfully operating our surf and yoga camps since November 2020. We have had feedback from guests that the environment, the facilities, and the program itself are an optimal vacation in the Covid era.

Bodhi Sessions Surf + Yoga Camp packing list

Depending on what time of year you come, your list of what to pack may change a little. Refer to our article which breaks down the weather here by month. Note that this is the tropics and the weather is ever-changing, so this is not a guarantee rather something to give you an idea!

Mandatory

  • A few sturdy, comfortable bathing suits. For guys, you’ll want to bring at least two pairs of board shorts, and note that some stretch is good. For women, there is a lot to be said about finding a good surf bathing suit. Read more about this subject here.
  • Hats. The sun here is much stronger than in other parts of the world, and being diligent about wearing a hat while out in the sun will help to prevent sunburns, heatstroke, and dehydration. We also recommend you bring a surf hat (with a strap) that can be worn during lessons. Read more about this subject here.
  • Personal rash guard. Bodhi Surf + Yoga has rash guards in a wide variety of sizes, but oftentimes people like to bring their own to ensure a good fit. Ladies with sensitive skin: knee rashes are quite common. If you’re concerned, get some into rash guard pants or simply bring some tight yoga pants that cover the knees.
  • Sunglasses. The sun and brightness are very hard on the eyes, so bring your sunglasses! If your eyes are sensitive, polarized sunglasses are recommended for optimal protection. If you are worried about losing or damaging your sunglasses, it’s a good idea to bring a less valuable pair for the beach and other activities.
  • Sandals. Flip flops or strap-on sandals are everyone’s favorites for going to the beach. Sturdy, good quality sandals with a hard sole and straps that are sewn on are recommended.
  • Shirts. Bring a variety of t-shirts and tank tops. Cotton or other natural fabrics such as linen are preferable. If you are visiting between June-November, you may want to bring a light sweatshirt or jacket as well, as it can cool off at night.
  • Shorts. Bring several pairs. Again, if you’re coming between June-November, you may also want to bring light pants.
  • Waterproof sunscreen. While it is available to purchase down here, it is significantly more expensive and there is significantly less selection than in your home country. We recommend mineral sunscreen both for you and the planet’s health — read more about it!
  • Reusable water bottle. The water here is both potable and delicious! We at Bodhi Surf + Yoga care greatly about the environment and thus try to reduce our plastic consumption. We hope you will join us in this effort!
  • Some cash. Credit cards are widely accepted and there are several ATMs in town, but it’s always good to have some cash on hand at the beginning of your trip.

Paddling out to surf in Uvita

Suggested

  • Rash guard pants. These are a new addition to the list, but a great one, and we recommend them especially for women. These prevent both burning and rashes on the knees, two issues that come up quite frequently!
  • Running or hiking shoes. There are many worthwhile places to see in the area which involve walking or hiking. Paths can be anywhere from in perfect condition to mildly treacherous, therefore we highly recommend a closed-toe shoe with good grip.
  • Day backpack. Great for going to the beach, on hikes, walks, or other tours.
  • Natural insect repellent. Bugs aren’t a huge problem here, but sometimes it’s nice to have repellent if you’re out during the evenings or early morning.
  • Personal toiletries and medications. Again, most items can be found here but just in case, it’s best to bring your own!
  • Earplugs and eyemask. These are suggested only if you have issues sleeping. As we are located within the community, there are certain sounds associated with that: birds, dogs, music, weed whackers, etc. Also, keep in mind that it gets light around 5am.
  • Dressy outfit. There is no dress code here at the beach in Costa Rica but you may feel like getting dressy for a night out at least once during your stay! [Note: “dressy” here in our beach town is pretty casual, i.e. sun-dresses for girls, short-sleeved button up shirts and khaki shorts for guys.]
  • A few good books or magazines. The Bodhi Lodge does not have any televisions on premises, but there are plenty of comfy areas to lounge around and read! We have a small library here, but you may want to use this time to power through your personal reading list.
  • Games. We have several games at the Bodhi Lodge (as well as painting and drawing supplies), but if you have personal faves, this is a good opportunity to get some quality game time in

Ocean Guardian Pledges at Bodhi Surf + Yoga

We are excited to see you soon!

Bodhi Surf + Yoga was founded in 2010, and our vacation offerings are designed to facilitate connection: to self, to nature, to community, and to purpose.

In our 12+ years of being operational, here are a few of the accolades that we are most proud of:

We are so excited for your upcoming trip and look forward to meeting you. In the meantime, if you want more material to get you stoked and ready for your upcoming stay, be sure to check out the following resources:

  • Bodhi Online Membership: Our online portal of wellbeing that offers you an opportunity to become familiarized to your upcoming experience and also prepare physically for it with our yoga classes and surf stretches. Note that the first two weeks are free!
  • Our “Hubs”: The consolidation of resources that we have created, organized into the following categories — surf, yoga, travel, and responsible business
  • Tropical Tidings, Tips for Your Trip to the Tropics: A fun and lighthearted series hosted by Bodhi Surf + Yoga co-founder, Adrianne, that has some helpful tips for preparing for your vacation, but more than anything will help give you the vibe of the place

See you soon!

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About the author

Bodhi Surf + Yoga

A surf and yoga camp providing community-engaged travel experiences in beautiful Uvita, Costa Rica. Learn about what makes Bodhi Surf + Yoga different and don't hesitate to contact us.