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kelea surf camp

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kelea surf camp

We are planning a surf trip to malpais. One of the camps we are looking at is kelea surf spa which is located in ritmo tropical hotel. Anyone been to either? Do you have any advice on getting there?

New York City, New...
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1. Re: kelea surf camp

I don't know it, but can speak highly of the Mal Pais Surf Camp.

Try posting at the lonelyplanet central america board. More surfer-types there.

Jackson, Wyoming
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2. Re: kelea surf camp

Kelea Surf Spa is a wonderful women's surf camp run by a gal name Ellie. She is such a kind generous person who is so much fun to be around. The surf lessons are almost like private lessons. Her student to instructor ratio is very small. She is an excellent host for the Mal Pais area and will take you to some wonderful restaurants. The Ritmo Tropical is awesome! It is owned by a local Tico family and it is extremely clean. The bungalows are really nice and it has a super pool area. They also have a good restaurant on property. I would highly recommend the Kelea Surf Camp. I was actually taking a surf camp from her husband, Jason Endless Summer Surf Camp-CoEd), which was also FABULOUS! We had a GREAT vacation and we really improved our surfing. We're hooked! Oh, and we took a shuttle from San Jose airport run by a company called Montezuma Expeditions (montezumaexpeditions.com). Have fun!

Yukon
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3. Re: kelea surf camp

I have never surfed with Kelea in Costa Rica but have just returned from a week in Hawaii where i attended kelea spa's women's only week long surfing session. I had a wonderful time surfing but solely because of one instructor by the name of Annie. Our whole group only saw "Ellie" once, and that was on the photo shoot day. The surfing was great however the food and accommodations were extremely, extremely poor. The chef did not seem to care at all about any sort of food allergies or dislikes anyone had and simply laid out the food he made and if one could not eat what was prepared due to food intolerance or preference one did not get anything else to eat, even though there were other foods available that he could have cooked with. For example: one girl in the group did not eat cheese which was discussed on the first day and upon the chef making omelettes he added cheese to ALL of them. When it was pointed out that she could not eat the omelette due to the cheese he said that he forgot and that he could not make another for her. This resulted in her having NO breakfast after a morning session of surfing. How hard is it to make another omelette??, cheap too!! These intolerances and preferences were disclosed ahead of time; upon registration for the session however no one seemed to make any alteration to the menu to accommodate. The guests were also further told that if they did not have enough food that they should simply go an get a burger in town (not exactly what you would expect from an "all-inclusive" set-up). One girl in our group had a gluten intolerance which was disclosed upon her registration and she was given plain salad greens all week for dinner. How hard is it to get some gluten free pasta or to cook rice? She also had to spend extra money over and above already paying for food simply to get enough to eat for the week. Who can live on salad greens all week when they are surfing 1-3 hours a day? It seemed that "Ellie" did not care how her guests were treated once they have already given her their money. The group consensus from that week was that we would never go back to, nor would we recommend Kelea to anyone we knew. In the future we would try to simply get Annie to teach us some more about surfing and fend for ourselves when it came to accomodations and food (as we already had to anyway when it came to getting food). There are many other surf schools out there.

Santa Teresa, Costa...
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4. Re: kelea surf camp

Not more than a month ago, we were having dinner at Ritmo and we spoke to a group of young women who were staying there and were attending a surf camp. They all had a blast and were sad to be heading home.

Ritmo is a nice place, has a pool and is very close to the surf beaches of Santa Teresa. I doubt you would be disappointed.

Canada
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5. Re: kelea surf camp

I have just returned from the Kelea Surf Spa and DO NOT recommend it. It is difficult to know where to begin so I've put together a list of areas for improvement as well as a few things that were good. Here goes:

Check-In: Do not expect the welcome wagon. There was no big welcome and NO FOOD. Thank God we had a car so we could go out and grab a bite.

Accommodations: Bedding and pillows were of poor quality. Our room was very spacious which was nice. Everybody complained about how rattly their doors were in their rooms. The Great room was very nice. The pool and hot tub in the backyard do not work (the heater is broken) and Kelea will not pay to have them fixed. Also many of us were concerned about security .... was somewhat sketchy.

Surfing: Very disappointed with the instruction. We were not taught how to turn our boards around before getting into the water on Day 1. This led to some pretty bad situations in the water in particular on Day 1. After Kelea, I went and did a morning surf lesson on Waikiki Beach and I truly could not believe the difference in the quality of instruction. Much more information before you even set foot in the water. The 1/2 day surfing at Waikiki Beach was 100% better than 5 days at Kelea.

Food: First, we were only given granola bars and/or instant oatmeal in the morning before surfing. Most folks felt this was not enough. The other meals were okay but not great. There were perhaps 2 standout meals all week. The meal schedule was very strange as well: breakfast was served for 10:30 - 11:00am, lunch at 2ish and then a very late dinner which was sometimes not served until after 8:00 pm. BE FOREWARNED: there is no food to eat at Kelea outside of mealtimes. If you need more food, you will have to go the grocery store and buy it. Same is true for drinks .... no juice or bottled water. Only drinks that were provided were with our meals.

YOGA: Was fantastic. The instructor was great. Everybody loved her. Only complaint: was only 3 times during the week and not every day.

SPA Treatments: Were quite good.

Tipping: We were all very surprised that we were expected to tip the housekeeping staff, our surf instructors and the chefs. Most of us only left a tip for one of the instructors (Annie).

Additional Activities: Information for additional activities could have been better laid out.

Canada
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6. Re: kelea surf camp

It's too bad that others have had posted about their negative experiences at Kelea Surf Camp on the North Shore here. I've just returned and had the most wonderful experience and so did the women who were there at the same time.

We all learned how to surf. We all made new friends. We had every comfort of home and all of our needs met. It's obvious that Eli (the owner) cares about her clients and her business and it's a testament to her that it's been ongoing for 9 years.

I had the chance to stay in a beautiful oceanside house in a quiet residential neighbourhood to soak up the true atmosphere of the North Shore(and am not sure when I will get to again!). I got great exercise (which was the reason why I booked) and as a result, I ate like a queen and slept like a log. It was a truly relaxing experience with a positive supportive staff and owner, a great group of participants in the most magical of locations.

The food was excellent and all of my allergies were accomodated at every meal. There was plenty to do - including the massage treatment, yoga, hikes and I had all the time I wanted to do "nothing" like read on the beach or nap on the couch.

This was an amazing experience for women who want both a relaxing holiday and a challenge where they can return with a sense of accomplishment. I feel like a whole new person.

Santa Teresa, Costa...
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7. Re: kelea surf camp

Thank you for the update on the Kelea Surf Camp in Hawaii.

Although the camp in Hawaii is connected to the camp in Costa Rica by name, I doubt there are any other similarities. The original post and question was about the camp in Mal Pais, which is in Costa Rica, this is a Costa Rica forum. So, lets try to stay on topic. If anyone wants information about the Hawaii camp, they can go to the Hawaii forums.

Hopefully, linnieboo, the traveler with the original question was able to get some help on the surf camps in Mal Pais and she was able to make her trip and enjoy her camp.

If linnieboo is reading this post and she decided on a surfing vacation in Costa Rica, maybe she can post a report telling us her experience and where she chose to go.

Pura Vida!

Greensboro, North...
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8. Re: kelea surf camp

I recently attended Kelea Surf Camp in Costa Rica AFTER having a perfectly lovely time at the camp in Hawaii.

My Costa Rica experience was all around wonderful. Our group was 5 women who all came to the camp individually. Three of us were repeat customers! We were each warmly greeted by Annie upon arrival and shown to our bungalows. After settling in, we all gathered in the restaurant, which was the beginning of a week of pure fun!

The bungalows were simple, but comfortable, clean and functional. This location is prime for surfing. You can just grab your board and after a short walk to the beach you are riding sublime waves in warm water! The food was amazing at the hotel and local restaurants, with a multitude of choices. One gal in our group was Vegan and she always had a delicious plate of food at every meal. I personally enjoyed every meal (as I had in Hawaii)!

The staff members were all very skilled and attentive (as they were in HI). Our surf instructors were very good at teaching the beginners and keeping a watchful eye on the experienced surfers as to provide them with ways to improve their surfing experience. A special word about Annie: Her enthusiasm for her work and her obvious love of people is heart-warming. She was ever-present, always on her game, is an excellent surf instructor, and a wonderful host!

As a precursor to my opinion, I have travelled extensively, staying at some of the world's most luxurious places to some of it's less-than-desirable. I am confident that my judgement on the price point for this trip is very fair for all it includes.

On a personal note, I did not get up on my board on my first Kelea experience (in HI). I was horribly out of shape. This did not stop me from having a great time, so when I came home I bought myself a surf board and committed to using my KELEA skills to make it to a respectable level. My mind and body has healed through surfing and it is a sport I adore, thanks very much to all the people who run KELEA. My Costa Rica KELEA experience was the icing on the cake -- just a perfect week.

Santa Teresa, Costa...
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for Mal Pais, Santa Teresa
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9. Re: kelea surf camp

Thank you sooooo much for the post Luv2visit!

It was very informative and answered the original question posted by linnieboo (still would like to hear from her!).

Glad your surf vacation to Mal Pais was a positive experience! Hope you plan a return visit!

10. Re: kelea surf camp

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