by steven watts March 06, 2017

Our Family Costa Rican Adventures

To those of you who missed our daily updates on Instagram stories of our epic trip to the very beautiful Costa Rica, I decided to do a recap in blog form.

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Traveling is in my DNA

I spent the good part of my 20’s traveling to as many different surf destinations as I could, from Australia to Canada and everywhere in-between. Although, for reasons unknown, I had never ventured to any South or Central American countries. It’s not that they hadn’t been on my radar, quite the contrary, traveling  to South and Central America had always been a dream. Still, the closest I got was spending 4 month hitchhiking through Mexico trying to get to Puerto Escondido.

Dreams Of Latin America

I always knew I would get down there at some point some how,  but as I am sure many of you know, work and in particular starting a company (as I was doing) takes a lot of time.  Along with just about every other resource you can muster, so the dreams of perfectly blue tropical barrels had to be put to the side, at least for the time being.

Building Slyde is my passion, but truth be told…..I live to travel. To me there is no better feeling than getting on a plane, and going to a place I have never been before. It’s in the moments of seeking out new experiences, sights, sounds and cultures, that’s truly the essence of life and what makes me tick. It’s these experiences that have built who I am as a person and remain a part of my life forever. It’s funny how I can still smell the clove cigarettes that permeate through the streets of Kuta beach and taste the incredible street food in Hanoi.  

When Ange said she found some cheap tickets to Costa Rica I didn’t hesitate, Hell yeah let’s do it!

I was so excited, I think I forgot we also had 4 month old travel companion, but she rides for free so why not just bring her along.  

Bodysurfing Adventures in Costa Rica With a four month Old

Family Fun

Our family adventure began on the 15th  February,  we packed our boards, fins in what seemed like more luggage than 2 people should ever have (traveling with a baby requires a lot of planning, which I soon discovered). I literally packed a pair of boardshorts and 3 t-shirts the rest was belonged to the Mini me. It took a bit of getting used to, but I also found out I make a pretty decent pack mule.

Puntarenas Bound

Our destination was a small village on the south coast of the Puntarenas Province called Malpaiswhich lay right at the very tip of the Costa Rican peninsula. Our trip started with a 1.5hr drive to LAX from San Clemente. From there we hopped on a plane for 6 hours to San Jose, Costa Rica. Although Venice had already done the trip to Florida and a short flight to Vegas. This was the longest flight we had taken. Our Plane resembled a cattle truck just with less room to move and quite possibly the worst food. As well as having less legroom than if I was lying at the bottom of a rugby maul. The flight went off without a hitch and the overwhelming fear of having to deal with a screaming child at ten thousand feet slowly dissipated as we began our descent into San Jose.  

Note to self: Learn Spanish!

It was great to be back in the tropical warmth and the buzz of a third world country. where driving is a bit like playing Donkey Kong without the reset button, and most of your time is spent trying to figure out what everyone is saying around you. My Española no Bueno!  A friendly reminder, putting “el” behind every English word does not Spanish make.

We figured it would be better to spend the first night in San Jose and leave the next day for the trip to Malpais. In theory, it’s only a short distance give or take a 100 miles, but the rugged road conditions and slow moving ferries make it a six hour trip. We had our rental car booked to leave by 8am to catch the 11am ferry,  8.30 came and still no car. We waited, and waited, and then we waited some more. All to be told our car would not be coming for another 2 hours, but we could have this awesome little two door Suzuki bread box (looks like a loaf of bread) if we wanted for $100 less.

Driving Stick is fun... if its not your car

This was our crash course on Costa Rica time moves.  One thing I learned traveling, is just roll with it because most likely it’s going to lead you to an awesome adventure. The decision was made, with the $100 extra in our pockets,  we crammed everything, including the baby into the world’s smallest four wheel drive you might ever see and off we headed toward the ferry. At this point, I would like to thank the 405 Freeway for teaching how to play Tetris with a car at 70 mile an hour because I had to perform some evasive actions the Stig would be proud of. After what seemed like a ludicrous amount of pay tolls, we finally got to the ferry without too much issue apart from the residual heart palpitations of the near miss with an oncoming semi, we were all good.

Bodysurfing Adventures in Costa Rica With a four month Old

The Ferry left at 2pm and we eagerly waited to depart to get on with the next part of our drive and hopefully our date with paradise. I really consider the journey and not the destination to be just as fun but I was looking very forward to white sand beaches warm water and glossy barrels, you can hardly blame me for that. After 2 hours we finally made our way to our cars off the ferry and crammed the baby into her car seat. As a side note, a two door car is really not ideal for easy access for a baby seat, I do not recommend it, let’s say it can cause just a ” little”  frustration, I will just leave it at that. But with very few complaints from Venice we headed on our way.

Awesome Fences not such great roads

The road to Malpais was, how do I say this? Well, it was not well paved, if at all and after the first mile I thought there was a good chance we were going to be making a teary phone call to the rental agency to come pick up the pieces of their bread box. It wasn’t till we hit the dirt road that I realized it would be a minor miracle if all of us didn’t come out with severe brain damage from the rattling. My best piece of advice to anyone doing this trip DON’T GET A NICE CAR. I lived in Africa all my life so I have good experience with bad roads, but these potholes were in a league of your own sneaky buggers too. That being said the route through was absolutely beautiful and the scenery completely made up for destroying the car suspension.

Bodysurfing Adventures in Costa Rica With a four month Old

After taking 3hrs to drive 40 miles we slowly cruised down the hill into Malpais and the ocean started to unfold in front of us. The palm fringed jungle creeping out onto the volcanic rock and white sand beaches with perfect offshore peaky barrels stretching as far as we could see,  it was perfect paradise. We realized this is why we had spent 2 days to get to here. It was that feeling when you have found exactly what you’ve been looking for. There’s always the image in your mind of how something you have been waiting for for so long will actually look, and then for the reality of that image to far exceed everything is a pretty special feeling. It’s fair to say truly beautiful things take effort to find.

Bodysurfing Adventures in Costa Rica With a four month Old

For the next 5 Days myself,  Ange and our mini me spent an amazing time living in a constant state of . “Hey Did you see that” or “Oh my god that tasted so amazing” and “can you believe a sunset could be be so beautiful”. We handboarded, swung in hammocks and generally did nothing. We even grew to love our little bread box and I was quite bummed to give her back in the end.  As much as I love running Slyde and waking up every morning to do what I love, this was an amazing break with two amazing people, one which I will never forget.

Bodysurfing Adventures in Costa Rica With a four month Old

Bodysurfing Adventures in Costa Rica With a four month Old

Bodysurfing Adventures in Costa Rica With a four month Old

steven watts
steven watts

Growing up in South Africa, Steve spent his youth dreaming of far off places. After spending eight years extensively traveling to many of the great surf destinations of the world getting dengue fever, having a near death experience from a falling coconut in mexico, Surviving a 15 foot drop on a handboard on a Nias bomb, jumping from every rock he could find without adequate health insurance. and comprehensively debunking the myth there are no waves in Thailand, even if they are small. He decided it was time for a a degree. Steve Graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London with a degree in product design. He missed his graduation to go surfing in Californian, found a kindred spirit with Venice and never left


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