Supporting Local Youth Through Art in Costa Rica

At Surf With Amigas, we are always looking for constructive ways to engage with the communities where we host retreats. Whether it’s funding sea turtle conservation, donating school books to indigenous children, giving scholarships for higher education, or encouraging women to participate in sports by sponsoring a local ladies kickball team, we feel good about giving back wherever we are.

In this case, we have become friends with an amazingly inspiring woman named Hadas, who owns a vegetarian cafe and surf view cabanas as her day job, and offers art classes to kids and adults to feed her passion for art. She runs an open art studio called De Colores in Pavones, Costa Rica.

The art studio is dedicated to promoting well being and deep healing through the creative process of art making. That’s a goal we can get behind! 


We are so happy to donate funds to support free art classes for local children to explore and express themselves through color, textures, and the allowance to get messy! Here are a few photos from a recent class.

By supporting us, you are supporting her, and thereby supporting them. Thank you!

Giving Back – Books for Kids in Costa Rica

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Supporting education

Some of our goals at Surf With Amigas are to do good and leave a community better than we found it. We try to partner with a local non-profit who is doing good in the local community at all our retreat locations. We believe strongly in helping people through education and focus our efforts primarily on supporting students and schools.  Surf With Amigas gives back by donating books to kids Costa Rica.

At our Costa Rican location, in the very furthest Southern parts of the country we have teamed up with a local woman who has made it her mission to be sure all kids in the area have access to the books they need. You would think this would be the government’s job, and it is. But unfortunately some of the schools are located in incredibly remote areas and sometimes get forgotten.

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Remote Communities

A large part of the local community lives in an indigenous area, far off the beaten track. They are totally self sufficient and very remote. There are no roads, so the people travel to town along the beach on horseback and only at low tide. Book delivery can only happen via horseback and in some cases, by helicopter!

In order to do our part, we have dedicated money for each guest who joins us in Costa Rica. We recently received heartwarming photos of the books being delivered and enjoyed by the local kids.

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Giving Back – Skateboards for the local kids

At Surf With Amigas, we love to find ways to help out the community members wherever we host retreats. That means anything from improving schools, to making sure indigenous kids have school books, to encouraging women in sports. On a retreat in July we had a couple of returning Amigas join us who work for Vans and one of them is also involved in a really cool non-profit called Boards for Bros.

Boards for Bros is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization fully committed to providing equipment, safe skate spots and youth mentoring originally in Tampa, Florida but now across the US and even internationally.

Why skateboards? The magic of a skateboard is that it a mode of transportation in addition to being a tool for play, a tool for discovery, a tool to develop physical skill, a tool to interact with others who share an interest in skateboarding, a tool to teach problem solving and a tool to teach perseverance . It is good for the mind and the body. It is fun. It can change someone’s life.

Sarah Turner and Megan Klempa came on their retreat with just a backpack full of their own gear and two suitcases filled with skateboards. One day during the retreat the Amigas assembled the boards and hooked up with some local kids at the new “End of the Road” skatepark in Asseradores. The ladies were blown away to see these super stoked kids skating barefoot, so much that Sarah and Megan immediately gave the kids the shoes off their own feet! (click play above for the video!)

It was a super fun and inspiring afternoon. If you’d like to get involved, check out

If you’re coming on a retreat with us in Northern Nicaragua and have an old pair of skate shoes (or even just regular sneakers) lying around – particularly men’s sizes, but the boy’s aren’t picky if the shoes you bring are pink! – please bring them down and we’ll donate them to the skatepark!

Surf With Amigas Donates Books to Remote Indigenous Schools

As part of our dedication to give back and improve the lives of local people wherever we host retreats, Surf With Amigas supports educational opportunities whenever we can. In Nicaragua we work with Waves of Hope to rehabilitate (and in some cases build from scratch) local schools. In Costa Rica that means supporting a woman who has made it her goal to assure that all children have access to the materials that they need to learn, even if they are indigenous children living in areas so remote that there are not roads suitable to reach them.

Maryanne Aspinal (white shirt in photo above) is from a small town in the far South of Costa Rica located at the very end of a dirt road very close to where we host our Southern Costa Rican retreats. She has made it her mission to travel to the most remote schools in the country and assure that the children there are equipped with books. In some cases the schools she visits are only accessible by horseback or helicopter.

Delivering books by horseback.
A remote indigenous school.

For every guest who attends one of our Costa Rican retreats, we sponsor one child with school books for the year.

She can always use more help. Contact Maryanne Aspinal if you’d like to contribute! [email protected]

Update on the Waves of Hope High School Project

Surf With Amigas is partnered with the non-profit Waves Of Hope on a variety of projects including the endeavor to build the first high school in the area. Check out a video by Surf For Life from a recent trip with a group of volunteers. Come down and help us out! During the 2013 season, each retreat will involve the option to spend an a few hours helping out with this project.

For more info:

Painting a School with Waves of Hope


Surf With Amigas is mostly about surfing, yoga, and having awesome adventures with new friends, but we also like to help out the local community. We work closely with Waves of Hope – a non-profit working to improve the lives of local community members by focusing first on education on whatever project they have going on at the time. Right now they are engaged in re-vamping the local schools and making them more comfortable for learning. We took an afternoon to help clean, sand, and paint a middle school classroom.

hayla sophie school

A Trio of Nica Amigas Learn to Surf


Where there once were only boys, there are now a few local girls borrowing boards to head out into the waves. Inspired by all the international Amigas having fun in the ocean, a trio of local ladies are now heading out shredding too! They are so excited and super cute!

Amigas Give Back with Waves of Hope

It’s natural to want to give back and help people. Travel experiences are so much more meaningful when you get a chance to interact with the local community and impact their lives in a positive way. When I was looking for a place to run the women’s surf and yoga retreats I wanted to partner with someone who was making a positive impact on the community. Coco Loco is the perfect place. They run a non-profit called Waves of Hope that is investing in education to teach the people how to help themselves. Those are the sorts of businesses that I want to support and you can feel good about doing the same.
For more information about Waves Of Hope, click here!

First Ever Coco Loco Classic by Waves of Hope

Coco Loco, Waves of Hope, and Surf With Amigas are all dedicated to improving the lives of the people in the surrounding communities. One project was the Waves of Hope Surf Club which encouraged kids to attend school everyday by offering them a Saturday Surf Club which they could only attend if their teacher signed off that they had attended class every day, turned in assignments, and were generally being good students. Through this program, kids were motivated to stay in school, but they also got a chance to learn about the ocean and learn how to surf. The only problem was that after catching your first wave, you then want your own surfboard that those are expensive and hard to come by for a poor village kid.

Other gringos in other communities have solved this problem by just giving out a bunch of boards. The problem with this strategy is that the kids then don’t appreciate the value of the boards. They also then start asking for more hand-outs. We didn’t have enough boards for all the kids and tried to come up with a way that they could earn a new board.

Enter the Coco Loco Classic – We held a contest for 11 participants on a fun day at the point. A few of them didn’t even have a surfboard to use for the competition so we let them borrow some of ours. The contest ended in a tie so we gave out two boards but everyone had a great day with a fun friendly competitive spirit.
Watch the video below: