After only a few weeks interning at Bodhi Surf + Yoga, I’ve already had a wide variety of experiences in the community of Bahia Ballena. Last week, I had an amazing opportunity to see what Bodhi is like from a guest’s perspective. I was able to surf, practice yoga, eat some delicious food, and interact with the other guests. From my outlook, a week-long surf and yoga camp at Bodhi will not only provide you with a chance to really learn how to surf and improve your yoga practice, it will also allow you to experience a small, Costa Rican community, gain a new “tribe”, and either start or renew your commitment to being an environmental steward.
Moreover, during research of Bodhi Surf + Yoga before arriving, I noticed that there seems to be a consensus among guests who have patronized the company in its eight years of operation. With over 325 “five star” reviews on TripAdvisor, people seem to agree that choosing to travel to Bodhi, you will have more than just a simple vacation. I have highlighted the repeated reasons why customers choose Bodhi Surf + Yoga in the words of these pasts guests, and why you should too!
1. Promotes community engagement
Bodhi helps bridge the gap between guests and the community of Bahia Ballena in several different ways, one of which is their Community Walking Tour, included in all vacation packages. It’s a fun and educational way to get some exercise all while seeing the beautiful town and learning about it from a local Tico guide.
“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.” Jay S
2. Gives back to the community
In this day and age, businesses are quick to tout “social responsibility”. While it’s a good indication that there is demand for this within the marketplace, with little-to-no oversight in this aspect of the industry, many businesses are unable to back up their claims with concrete proof. Bodhi prides itself on giving back to the community. In 2014, Bodhi started its own Travelers’ Philanthropy Program, in which 2% of the profits from surf and yoga vacations is reinvested into the local community, creating a positive chain reaction.
“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!” BobLisaBurton
3. Hosts small groups and provides personalized attention
At Bodhi, small groups allow instructors and hosts to provide guests with an intimate, personalized vacation experience. You are able to learn how to surf and do yoga classes at your own pace while receiving the proper attention and instruction that is required. You will never feel lost in a crowd at Bodhi, hosts are very attentive to what you may need, so you can be positive you will always be well taken care of.
“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.” Gary Brozyna
4. Encourages environmental stewardship
Bodhi owners and staff are not just surf and yoga educators – they are committed conservationists and global stewards. Through their corporate social and environmental responsibility initiatives, they are working to become a better and more responsible company. While on vacation at Bodhi you have the opportunity to make your own Ocean Guardian Pledge.
“The bonus about Bodhi… is that you see just how passionate they are about not only the sport of surfing but the community of Bahia Ballena and taking care of the environment (we signed the Ocean Guardian Pledge this morning). I left more reflective and “aware” of just how much of an impact eco-consciousness can make.” lkgirl306
5. Holds surf lessons in in a marine national park
Bodhi holds all of its surf lessons on Playa Chaman, a beach within the Marino Ballena National Park. The park was created in 1989 to protect coral reefs, the visiting humpback whales, and resident marine animals. This is a stunning national park with amazing views up and down the coast. As you’re out on your surfboard looking toward the beach you get a magnificent view of the jungle and mountains in the background. Not only are you able to support the preservation of an unspoiled beach it also makes for a truly spectacular surfing experience.
“Uvita beach is perfect for learning to surf. The complete lack of crowds, other surfers, we had any and every wave to ourselves. The sandy bottom made walking out to waves completely painless and MUCH less tiresome than trying to paddle out after each ride.
We would absolutely recommend Bodhi surf for beginners to advanced. There were waves of every size you could want. If you were ‘good enough’ to paddle further out to the larger waves, there were waves of significant size. We were happy on the more medium size swells. We had a blast at Bodhi surf school and recommend it wholeheartedly!!!! Spectacular!” Ed R
6. Takes care of logistics and provides travel support
Traveling to another country can be nerve-wracking when you’re worried about the details. The owners and staff have a combined 30+ years of experience being part of the responsible travel and tourism industry so you can feel confident about your arrival to and from Costa Rica. When you book a Bodhi Sessions or Bodhi Family package, you can rest assured that the details will be taken care of so you just have to show up and focus on surfing, yoga, and relaxation!
“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.” John J
7. Is a family-run and family-oriented establishment
Bodhi is a family, is comprised of two different families, and when you’re at Bodhi — you are also family! Whether you are a single traveler or are coming down as a family unit, you will fit right into the mix. In only a week you feel like you’ve known them for a lifetime. Breakfast and dinner are prepared authentically by Adrianne and tastes like home cooked food. Whether it’s laughing about wiping out multiple times on the surfboards or telling them about how amazing the view from the mountains were they genuinely like to know how your day is going. You may be on vacation but Bodhi makes you feel right at home.
“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!!” Denice E
8. Shares the essence of Pura Vida
Pura Vida (pronounced POO-rah VEE-dah), in English means, “Pure Life”. To Costa Ricans it can mean a variety things like “have a good day,” “enjoy life,” “full of life,” “hello, “goodbye” but it is more than just a saying in Costa Rica, it is a way of life that is carefree, optimistic, and laid back. After a few weeks at Bodhi I definitely can say they are the essence of Pura Vida. The relaxed atmosphere makes for a relaxing and enjoyable vacation.
“[The Bodhi team] embod[ies] the Pura Vida spirit with their authenticity, professionalism & just plain compassion & kindness. We cannot speak highly enough of this group. We are already looking forward to our next vacation with them.” alternatelatitude
9. Is a rejuvenating and peaceful place to vacation
Translated, Bodhi means “awakening”. Bodhi provides an excellent combination of relaxation and energization (or awakening) for our bodies through surf and yoga. Whether you’re swinging in the hammocks, cooling off in the pool, or relaxing on your front porch, you can close your eyes and let the tropical breeze or chirping birds put you to sleep. You will certainly leave Costa Rica feeling stronger and more in tune with your body and nature.
“We left transformed. Not only had Hilary and I brought our Yoga practice and Surfing to an entirely new level, but we left deeply relaxed, and blessed with a profound appreciation for the environment, the ocean, and a commitment to carry the lessons we learned forward. And we felt blessed to have gotten to know Travis, Pilar, their lovely family, and their exceptional staff.” rockval
10. Provides an authentic, one-of-a-kind experience!
Every step of the way Bodhi Surf strives to give the best vacation possible. From the beautifully constructed bungalows nestled around the vibrant greenery and wildlife you are able to experience Costa Rica in it’s truest form. You are left with personal connections to the employees, local community and memories that will last forever.
“Bodhi… is the quintessential Costa Rican surf and yoga camp. During my stay, I learned to surf on a sandy and remote beach, with perfect waves for a beginner surfer like me; practiced yoga on a quiet outdoor platform surrounded by palm trees and hummingbirds; and ate home-cooked meals made from fresh, local ingredients, served family-style to encourage a sense of community among guests. I recommend it to adventurous travelers and families alike, who are looking for an authentic, active, and peaceful vacation in a tropical community.” Erin R
Written by Elizabeth Belville