Letter from the US Partner

In December 2000, my brother, Alex, and I decided to go on a brother-sister surfing trip for 13 days in Costa Rica. We’d both had a difficult year professionally and personally and just needed a break. My brother had been to surf camp in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica several times before, and was anxious to introduce me to the sport of surfing and the beauty of their beaches. Little did I know how much this trip would change my life.

I was your classic workaholic, ex-investment banker in Silicon Valley. I pushed myself constantly and never sat still. My brother didn’t dare suggest staying at a surf camp, as the lack of Internet access probably would have been the end of me (not to mention lack of air conditioning). We stayed at a nice hotel nearby and were referred to Alvaro Solano, the four-time national champion at the time, as the right person to teach me to surf.
And surf I did. I loved it! Alvaro enabled me to catch successfully the very first wave (and made me feel like I was the first student ever to do that) and 21 subsequent waves on my first day. I was in heaven. That evening, as my brother and I kicked back “Cuba Librés” (rum and cokes), looking out at the beach and nursing our tired arms, I finally let go of the stress of my old life and got my first taste of “pura vida” – the pure life, and the national motto of Costa Rica.

After 10 blissful days of surfing the warm waters and soaking up the natural beauty of Costa Rica, I returned to California after that trip with a resolve to change my life. My brother and I called up my new friend Alvaro and together we dreamed up the Vista Guapa Surf Camp. We agreed that the camp would be higher-end than most surf camps – air conditioned, spa services, yoga deck, beginner classes – to cater to a more diversified crowd. My father helped to design the camp, Alvaro’s brother-in-law put together the architectural drawings, and a number of friends and family pitched in to help finance the idea and to contribute in other ways – logo design, web site work, room décor, etc. Within a year, we had built our dream – Vista Guapa, a Costa Rican way of saying “beautiful view”.

While I still work and live in San Francisco, I return to Vista Guapa several times a year, as do my family and many of my friends. Alvaro and the entire team at Vista Guapa are a second family to my brother and me, and Vista Guapa a second home. We invite you to join the Vista Guapa family, share the experience and find your own personal “pura vida”. Our phenomenal team of surf instructors share our philosophy of making the experience fun, exciting and empowering for all of our guests, and our surf guides help experienced surfers uncover the hidden treasures in the 21 surf breaks nearby. And in between, we have hammocks, a swimming pool, yoga, massage, and endlessly beautiful views by which you can kick back and contemplate the things that are important to you and hopefully keep that feeling with you for a long while.

Life is about family, friends, laughter, love, nature, health… and so is Vista Guapa. We hope you’ll come see for yourself.

Pura Vida!

Letter from the President:

“Once upon the time, there was an ambitious 11-year old boy, who would use a tight sock and an old rope on his ankle as a leash, and attach it to a piece of anything that would float, or if he was lucky, half of a broken board. That was the beginning of the dream, inspired by the few local surfers at that time and the surfers who visited us in Jaco”

That was me 19 years ago!
How did I feel the first time that I stood up on half of a broken board?
Right then, at that very moment, I knew that I was going to surf the rest of my life.
I knew there was no other feeling like standing up on a surf board, or enjoying a great surf session with your friends, or on your own!

I was blessed to be born in Costa Rica with its 108 surf spots, which is why I want to share my knowledge of these breaks with others and teach beginners how to surf.

My goal is to provide you with a great vacation and to enable you to experience the feeling and excitement of “a killer surf session”.

So my dear friends, check out our site and then come join us in waking up early, grabbing a surfboard, shorts and wax, and heading out to the best surfing spots around, because this could be the greatest experience of your life.

PS Always remember to say PURA VIDA!!!

Alvaro Solano