And just like that, another year has gone by! 2018 has been an incredible year for Iguana Surf Shop – we have had expansions in what we offer, grown our team, met new friends and welcomed many visitors into the Iguana Surf Family. We are sad to see 2018 go, but we cannot wait to see what 2019 has in store for us! Here is a year-end wrap up of what we have been up to the last 12 months from our Costa Rica surf camp to surf lessons & more. Ready?!
The Iguana Surf Beach Hotel has been a big part of the changes Iguana Surf has seen in 2018. The hotel officially opened at the end of 2017, and we had our first guests on December 28, 2017. So, the hotel really started to get up and running as 2018 went on. We were able to host guests from all over the world,
from single travelers in the shared dorm room to entire families in the deluxe family suite. The beachfront location right in the center of town has made it the ideal destination for all of our visitors.
Having the hotel right upstairs from the shop has also enabled us to host interns and give them a place to stay while they are in Tamarindo. We have had a whole bunch of awesome folks come through to work and stay with us at Iguana this year – Sofie and Isabella from Sweden, Ugo from France, Isabel and Micah from the United States, Jun from Japan, Amelia from the United States, and Gina from the United States. Most of them have interned for a couple months at a time, but Isabel, Micah, and Jun are here again with us to help over the holidays and might even become more permanently involved with Iguana Surf after finishing the internship. It is amazing to watch what starts as a random connection turn into incredible relationships, lifelong friends, and a second home! If you are interested in learning more about the internship, feel free to send an email to [email protected].
The hotel also made it possible for us to start offering our surf camp package, which has become a very big and successful part of what we do. Before, we could offer surf lesson packages and things like that, but now we have an all-inclusive option that is super convenient, fun, and a really amazing deal. Folks can come either solo or with groups of friends and get a package of however many nights they would like in the hotel, free breakfast at the restaurant outside every day, a surf instructor assigned to them to give them daily lessons, a day surf trip to another nearby break, photos and videos, and so much more! There are also discounts for groups – for example, if four people book together, the price per person is less than a solo booking. But if you are traveling solo, doing a surf camp like this is the perfect way to meet people. The shared dorm room is always a happening place and there is always a ton of fun stuff going on around town! We are so excited about our surf camp and have been having a blast with all of the campers that have come to stay with us. It has become a very popular option for many of our visitors and a fun way to experience Tamarindo, learn a new skill, and meet new friends along the way.
Check out everything about our Costa Rica surf camp experience!
Another thing we are very proud of is that all of our instructors got certified by the International Surfing Association this year. Of course, all of our instructors were already awesome. But now, they are that much more credible all over the world and have lots of knowledge to offer our surfers. ISA is one of the biggest surfing certification organizations in the world and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee, so this is a pretty big deal for our Tamarindo surf shop! Much of our staff has been with us for a very long time, but we were also happy to welcome and bring on some new instructors this year. Our team is the biggest and best that it has ever been!
Besides the big things like the growth of the hotel, development and expansion of our surf camp, and certification of our instructors, we are constantly making little improvements in our programs and around the shop. Before the holidays the surf shop got a fresh paint job, a new TV, a bunch of new boards and rash guards, and a shiny new sign. Things have never looked so good around here!
2018 was an exciting year for surfing as well. Costa Rican surfer Malakai Martinez is one of Costa Rica’s top young surfers, and this year he finished fourth in the Junior Pro of the World
Surf League, which took place in Pipeline, North Shore Oahu, Hawaii. He was the only Hispanic competitor to reach the final and was fourth out of 32 competitors – pretty sweet! This win earned Costa Rica a place in the top 10 of the North American ranking (where Central America is assigned) in the Junior Pro of the WSL. “I am very happy with this achievement. I didn’t get the win, but this is a good result, it motivates me to go home, prepare and come back next year for that first place,” Malakai said after the competition. He is actually a Tamarindo native – so I guess learning how to surf here really pays off!
Read the full article about the competition here: https://news.co.cr/costa-rican-surfers-continue-to-achieve-success-malakai-martinez-finished-4th-in-the-u18-category-of-the-world-surf-league/72006/
Around the country, it was also a very newsworthy year. Some of the highlights include the election of Costa Rica’s 48th president, Carlos Alvarado, the work that Costa Rica has been doing to use renewable energy and protection of endangered jaguars that are such a symbol of Costa Rica, the signing of a declaration against discrimination and in favor of same-sex marriage, and more.
Every day here in Tamarindo continues to be beautiful and filled with new faces, good waves, and top-notch sunsets. 2018 was absolutely awesome. And 2019 is the year for you to come check it out! We’ll see you on the beach!