Frederick Bouari had always wanted to learn how to surf. Spending most of his childhood in L.A., he admired the sport from dry land, but before he could hit the water himself, he up and moved to Canada. Luckily, his Martinique born-and-bred coworker, Eric Rowan, is an award-winning surfer. Eric was happy to show Fred how to find the perfect wave on their latest adventure in Costa Rica. So happy, in fact, that Eric built Fred a custom “short board” for the trip. “It’s a bit of a process” says Eric, “but it’s a lot like surfing – difficult, and I love every minute of it!”
The two friends took off to Guanacaste with three others where soaring waves were waiting. They traveled in May, which is the beginning of “green season” when the swell tends to be exceptionally high. The conditions did not disappoint, nor did their digs for the week, Diosa Del Mar. Translating to mean “Sea Goddess” the villa was right on the ocean, a true surfer’s paradise. Here, the duo tells us about their Costa Rican adventures in 10 questions.
1. Ah, first moment of vacation! Do you have a ritual?
Frederick: As soon as I step out of the airport, I drink an ice cold – emphasis on cold! – beer.
Eric: I’d have to say the same, but I always make sure that it’s the local brew. In Costa Rica, the go-to beer is Imperial.
2. What’s one thing you never leave home without?
F: I can’t say that I’m a man who travels with much “stuff”, but a camera for photos is a must, and now… my brand-new surfboard.
E: I always have a go pro, my board, and a hat; I need to protect myself from that sun!
3. What was your favorite thing about Diosa del Mar?
F: The greenery that surrounds the entire home. It’s incredible and so lush; there were two or three iguana friends that we made, and there’s hundreds of palm trees that line the grass around the pool area. The yard leading up to the ocean is almost the size of a football field too, so post-surfing we had a ton of room to run around.
E: Honestly, the sunsets from the back terrace were spectacular. I’d say that Costa Rica competes with San Diego for some of the best sunsets I’ve ever encountered.
4. Anything you wish you could take home with you?
F: I have to say the wildlife! The unique birds, iguanas and lizards really bring that feeling of the tropics to a whole other degree. That’s a bit unrealistic for Montreal, but one can dream!
E: I loved the cozy bedrooms, and each room in the home was uniquely designed. Diosa del Mar is anything but cookie cutter; it’s owned by a couple who handcraft the furniture and even make the artwork. It has an interesting laid-back gallery vibe.
5. What’s one experience in CR a traveler cannot miss?
F: The surfing, of course. We also took an ATV tour and were super lucky as our tour guide took us off the beaten track, so we zipped through the jungle mountains and went down to a huge stretch of white sand on a secluded beach as well. I was surprised to see how awesome the mountaintop views are in Costa Rica.
E: Zip lining. If you’re an adventurous type, you need to go to this area called Brasilito, it’s about 10 minutes from Tamarindo, and check out the many operators who do canopy tours. It’s a cool way to see even more of the country’s terrain.
6. What was the theme song to your vacation?
E: It was Man Down by Rihanna, partly a joke due to Fred’s choppy start on the surfboard!
7. Did you tick off any “bucket list” items while you were there?
F: For me, it was learning how to surf. Growing up in California, I would always see people out on the ocean and think, ‘I want to do that!’ But, life got in the way, and an opportunity to get a crash course didn’t pop up until now. Needless to say, it was the first of many surfing vacations to come, and now I have the custom board that Eric made me to take along for the ride.
E: I’d always wanted to rip down a beach on an ATV, and although that wasn’t part of our planned excursion the fact that we actually got the opportunity to do it was really cool.
8. Did you have any vacation reads?
F: I’m guilty of reading a few work e-mails while I was away, but otherwise, when in Costa Rica, my mantra was to be outdoors enjoying the surroundings as much as possible.
E: I read Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.
9. When you look back on this vacation in 10 years, what will you remember most?
F: I’ve been lucky to travel a lot in my life and to meet many interesting people, but I have to say that the people in Costa Rica may be some of the nicest and most welcoming I’ve ever encountered. You can really feel the pura vida vibe as soon as you step off the plane, and it’s contagious.
E: This was my second time in Costa Rica, and part of the reason I was drawn back was the friendliness of the people. For this vacation in particular, though, I’ll remember totally unwinding by the awesome pool and waiting for sunset after a day out on the waves. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
10. Where are you off to next?
F: We’re both planning to go back to Costa Rica very soon, Eric still has much to teach me about surfing. Otherwise, I’m heading to Beirut in September to see my family.
E: I’m also heading home to see family in Martinique soon, with my surfboard in tow of course.
Find out more about Diosa del Mar