Pura Vida: Backpacking in Costa Rica / by Dan LeMaitre

I recently ventured off on a last-minute backpacking jaunt to Costa Rica with my girlfriend, and the timing couldn’t have been better as the seams on my 5mil were starting to tear open (it’s been a rough winter up here in the Northeast).

Spending only ten days in the Guanacaste Region, I made sure to travel as light as possible. The airline wanted $150 each way for a board, so… no board. Fuck it, I was on a budget. I figured backpacking would be easier without having to lug around a board in the Central American sun anyway. What I did end up bringing was a hand plane and some fins, which turned out to be a great decision considering most of the waves I came across were quick, heaving beach break close-outs. For the few days the waves did turn on, I found a board wherever I was, and It was actually really fun to surf something different for a change.

I’ve generally found trading in a bit of security for adventure to result in a good time. I’m convinced it’s the best way to travel. We didn’t rent a car; we used our legs and thumbs to get around. We didn’t know where we were staying; we just figured it out as we went. We didn’t know anybody in the area; we simply made friends as we went along. We ended up sleeping in hammocks, a treehouse, staying in hostels and even a loft in the guest house of a Playa Negra local. No hiccups, just good vibes and “pura vida,” as they say.