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A Day In The Life of an Iguana Surf Shop Intern

My name is Sofie Kyséla and roughly two months ago I moved to Costa Rica to embark on an internship at a Tamarindo Surf Shop with my best friend Isabella Carerra: who will be blogging alongside me at Iguana Surf Shop. I do everything from helping out in the shop, cleaning, waxing boards, booking adventure tours, showing people around in town, and checking people in at the hotel. Sometimes it even includes cuddling puppies, taking in the breath taking views and jumping in the water. I am here to ensure you have the best time during your Costa Rica Surf Trip or Tamarindo Surf Lessons.

Let me tell you a little bit about who I am. I’m a 20 year old girl from Sweden that has always loved traveling (did my first trip alone at the age of 15). When I turned 17 I moved to Kenya to study social science. Since then I have lived most of my time abroad in both Africa, Asia and Europe. I stumbled across an article that said that Costa Rica has the happiest people in the world: combining that with stunning and diverse nature, sun and adrenaline sports I decided that I had to go. Especially when I never been to Central America. I love the ocean and everything it has to offer. I do everything from diving, sailing, water-skiing to wakeboarding. However, I had never tried surfing. I found Iguana Surf on TripAdvisor, emailed them and got offered a internship. For me to be able to combine to learn how to surf, being part of a new culture, work with people and have an amazing internship is a golden opportunity. So I packed my bag and jumped on the plane.

 I was not disappointed: I′m happy to call this place my second home. Iguana Surf and Tamarindo welcomed us with open arms and the Costa Rican culture is amazingly friendly. It′s a Pura Vida lifestyle. I love this place and would like to show you a day in Tamarindo and a day in my life.

I was not disappointed: I′m happy to call this place my second home. Iguana Surf and Tamarindo welcomed us with open arms and the Costa Rican culture is amazingly friendly. It′s a Pura Vida lifestyle. I love this place and would like to show you a day in Tamarindo and a day in my life.

I’m going to take you guys with me on a typical Thursday:

06.30 my alarm goes off, I get dressed, grab my board and run down to catch the morning waves before work.

 Ready to hit the waves.

Ready to hit the waves.

8.00 I take my oatmeal and coffee from Breakfast Grinds down to the beach to enjoy the breakfast with an ocean view. This is a perfect way to fuel up after a great surf session and before a day of work.

 Morning cup of coffee on the beach.

Morning cup of coffee on the beach.

8.30 My shift starts. I check the Instagram, Facebook and Blog. Then help out at Iguana’s Tamarindo Surf Shop location with the lessons, sell tours, fix the boards, talk to customers, and take a snuggle with the puppies.

 Dario the little ripper and a baby pup in the shop.

Dario the little ripper and a baby pup in the shop.

12.00 I’m going to buy lunch from the local car-lady. Every day a lovely lady comes with her car and sells homemade food (Cascado) from the back truck off her car. These are local dishes she makes at her home and sells everyday. It includes a protein, rice, beans, salad and drink for only about $4 to $5. There are always locals and tourists lining up to grab a bite. It’s amazing!

 Local casado.

Local casado.

13.30 I finish my shift. Every day is different, sometimes I go up on the view-point, meet some friends, hang out at the beach, or go on a little adventure.

 Beach walk to the Tamarindo estaury.

Beach walk to the Tamarindo estaury.

 Beach walks are a great way to catch up with friends, get some sun and take in the beauty.

Beach walks are a great way to catch up with friends, get some sun and take in the beauty.

17.30 My friends and I go to the beach for the sunset. This is something we do every single day, can’t live without it. Sometimes we head over to the Volcano Brewery for happy hours and live music.

 Vaquero for sunset.

Vaquero for sunset.

 One of many breathtaking sunsets in Tamarindo.

One of many breathtaking sunsets in Tamarindo.

18.00 After getting ready, we head over to the local Tamarindo Night Market. It’s a family friendly fun place with live music and food from all over the world (meat, vegan dishes, homemade pizza, and a lot off sweets). There are also small handmade bars selling margaritas, coco locos, beers and more. There are also various vendors from around the globe selling jewelry, crafts, clothes and more.

 Checking out a food truck for some grub.

Checking out a food truck for some grub.

20.00 Time for live music at Oveja Negra. A super cozy (Swedish people love cozy) restaurant/bar/hostel that has amazing Mexican food and handcrafted beer. Live music brings in people from around the globe that dance, play pool, meet new friends and chill.

 Hanging out at Oveja Negra.

Hanging out at Oveja Negra.

23.00 For those who feel like dancing we head over to Pacifico, a club located in the heart of Tamarindo. Every Thursday it’s reggae night so get ready for showing of your best moves.

However, every day here is different and you never know what is going to happen when you live in a place like Tamarindo. Just the other day we had a giant ocean turtle laying eggs on the middle of the beach, that’s the charm of living so close to the nature. Tamarindo also has a lot of amazing restaurants, bars, yoga places, a tattoo shops, great shopping, art gallery, markets, local events, and festivals. You will never get bored!

 Local restauarant and bar in Tamarindo.

Local restauarant and bar in Tamarindo.

My friends and I spend a lot of time at the beach. Here are a few tips to help you while you are vacationing on the beach.

Here is my 5 Best Tips for Surviving the Beach:

  • Bring a lot of water and drinks. If you have an cooling bag I can highly recommend you guys to fill it up. It’s all about being well prepared. Otherwise we have a lot of guys selling refreshments at the beach, everything from cold Coconuts to beers. Try to drink at least 2 liters of water a day.
  • Sunscreen; I can never preach to much about it! The sun here is strong and when the wind is blowing it’s hard to feel the skin burn. Make sure to re-apply and have full coverage.
  • Never, ever, leave your valuables unguarded at the beach. Never bring values that you don’t actually need to the beach (avoid bringing credit cards, ID, passports, etc). On off my lifesavers is a small waterproof bag so I can have my phone and money with me when I go for a swim.
  • Go for a nice walk by the beach, get the blood flowing and enjoy walking barefoot on the white sand. Or bring a volleyball and start a game and meet new people. Or bring a plastic bag and help Mother Nature by picking up the garbage you see while walking. The ocean will thank you and we all need to help out.
  • Listen to the lifeguards! We do have quite a strong current in the water, rocks and a lot of people playing and surfing. Keep an eye on each other, be smart and listen to the people who are there to help you.

Besides Playa Tamarindo we do have two beautiful beaches located within walking distance. So if you have a couple of days here I highly recommend you to try them out.

Playa Grande – also known as Salinas, is located next to Playa Tamarindo divided with a river that floats out from the Mangrove forest. However, please never paddle or swim across because we do have crocodiles in the river. You just pay on of the local guys and pay them 500 kolones (1 dollar) to take you over, safely.

It takes roughly 2 hours to walk from one side to the other and there are only a few restaurants located on the beach and near by, something that makes it quiet and not as many people attracted to. The nature is stunning! So pack your bag full of snack and drinks. And when you come to the end of the beach  you are going to see a big rock: if you dare, climb it and enjoy the beautiful view

 Playa Grande.

Playa Grande.

 Aerial view of Tamarindo estaury and Playa Grande.

Aerial view of Tamarindo estaury and Playa Grande.

Playa Langosta – located within 20 minutes walking distance from Tamarindo. It’s less touristy, has bigger waves and the sunset is magnificent. I would recommend people to pack the picknick bag, blanket and head over to Langosta by walking the beach or street or grabbing a cab.

The beach offers white sand, shells, tide pools and a gorgeous estuary to soak in. At low tide you can venture around the Estaury and swim in the tide pools. There is shaded areas created by the foilage and plenty of sand and sun to tan in on the beach.

You can also walk around Langosta and grab lunch/dinner at one of the local restaurants such as Matty’s Deli, Fish and Cheese or Sapo an italian restaurant. There is also a small grocery store in town and water sports store to grab any games to rent for the beach time.

 Sunset in Langosta.

Sunset in Langosta.

 Various cliffs and rocks to climb up and watch sunset from in Langosta.

Various cliffs and rocks to climb up and watch sunset from in Langosta.

Other than these beaches one last thing I recommend to do at sunset or during the day is to check out the viewpoint. Put on comfortable shoes, bring a water bottle and head out on a 45 minute hike up on the viewpoint that will give a stunning view over Tamarindo.

 Tamarindo viewpoint.

Tamarindo viewpoint.

Moving here was the best decision I have ever made. Living here is truly a Pura Vida lifestyle.

I hope you come at visit us soon! We will always have a spot ready for you to try out a Tamarindo Surf Lesson (link to https://iguanasurf.net/tamarindo-surf-lessons/)  or just come by to say hi!

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