Claire Smail's Costa Rica Adventure


By Saltrock Ambassador Claire Smail.

Two weeks, that is all the time that is left before my summer starts.  Two weeks and I will be heading up to London to catch a plane.  Two weeks and I will be going to Costa Rica for my summer holidays.  This realisation struck yesterday when I was asked how long it was until the schools break up and so at the same time as answering two weeks, I was simultaneously thinking I should probably have booked my airport transport and accommodation by now.  Admittedly a day later I am not much further on with both of those things.  However, I do know the top ten things I feel I need to take which is certainly reassuring me that I am nearly fully prepared for my travels.


  1. Surfboards -   After much deliberation I have settled on taking my 9’1 Diplock Pheonix Performance nose rider because it is great in most conditions and my 5’11 shortboard as it is so small I am sure I will hardly notice it in my boardbag. Now I know flying with boards can be risky and it is certainly awkward with a longboard but I feel if I am going on a surf trip, I want to use ones I know and like.
  2. UV rash vest and sun cream – I may have over stocked on the sun cream but I have a feeling there is a potential that I could roast in the tropical climate.
  3. Beach Towel – This is a must pack item, as I have found places do not like you taking their soft white towel to the beach.
  4. Wet wipes – I have not really packed these for any particular purpose, except for the fact they are so handy to have around.
  5. Flip Flop  – it is hard to image but I have been informed that the sand is just too hot to walk on during the day.
  6. Beach pants  – perfect to avoid any misquotes in the evening and made for my pre and post surf yoga sessions…by the end of five weeks I am hoping to be stretchier!
  7. Granola snacks bars and Earl Grey tea bag – all way travel with these as I never know when I might need a good old fashioned ‘cupatea’ or sugary snack.
  8. Long Sleeve shirt  – perfect for shelter from the sun, protection against insects or even to just snuggling up in on the always overly air conditioned planes.
  9. Reading book – During my first week when I am not surfing my socks off, I plan to read Gone Girl and Fault in Our Stars.
  10. Ear plus – I never surf or travel without them, as they are so useful when staying in hostels.

The evening of my second day in Costa Rica is just drawing to an end. The last two days began with a warl wind of taxis, buses and quad bike to reach my first destination in this South American tropical paradise. These long hours on the road led to a thankful arrival at my destination of The Green Rooms, Mal Pais.
I hear you ask, 'what do I think so far' and my first answer would be 'I am warm'! In explanation as a uk surfer this is not ushally the case. It has been quite a reolisation that for possibly the first time in a long time, I have not been remotely chilly at any point; not early in the morning when my jet lag wakes me up, or late at night once the sun has set or (and this is the most wonderfully) when I am in the ocean. Any trepidation of a chill was washed away when the first wave broke over me at Laloi.Stepping into the water there felt refreshing but neither Atlantic cold or bath water hot. Then the sensation of ducking under the waves, as I paddled out confirmed everything I have previously been told...the water is pleasantly, perfectly warm.


Having never been here before, I think my to do list is probably similar to most arriving in this tropical paradise and includes things like; explore the 'jungle', swim under a waterfall and see some of the eclectic native wildlife. I am now comfortably settled into my first week here in Costa Rica and have already ticked a few things off my must see list.
In between surfs yesterday, the opportunity arose to visit Monezuma waterfall. With clear blue sky's reaching as far as the eye could see, we headed across the peninsula to denser rainforest and faster flowing waters. As we clambered and climbed over the rocky riverbed and up vine laced banks we where graced with the sights of Howler monkeys and a massive iguana in the canopy above. Our destination the three tired waterfall, graced with refreshing deep, cold waters, sun baked rocks and dizzying hights.