beachwear, lip balm, and bolaño: the essential costa rica packing list

It’s almost here. The annual YOGA | SURF | RETREAT in Nosara, Costa Rica gets me all worked up. Right around this time of year, I realize that in a few short weeks, I get to teach and practice yoga with the nicest people in the best place on the planet. Then I get to surf on the most lovely stretch of beach while the orange sun sinks into the ocean. It’s really incredible, to call this my job, and I’m reminded of the many blessings of having a career that’s all about helping people feel better about themselves on every level. It’s the greatest gift of being a yoga teacher. I’m so grateful. Our week in Costa Rica serves as a gentle reminder of these blessings.

After contemplating gratitude for a bit, it’s time to pack. (Yes, I start packing a tid bit early). And I make lists, because I find list-making to be strangely satisfying and cathartic. This will be my fourth trip to Nosara, so I’ve got the necessities down pat. Here’s what I’ll be taking with me this year…

ethereal: shipley & holmas.

indian floral by AKA.

You can’t have too many of these in Nosara. Words that come to mind: breezy, airy, skin-skimming. Yumi Kim makes some bright, floral-y ones. Choose cotton silk blends for coolness; choose bright, bold colors for fun-ness.


Oh yes, the requisite mani/pedi will happen prior to vacation, that’s an essential. But yoga (rolling over your toes over and over on a sticky mat during vinyasa) and surfing (getting wax stuck to your nails –and in your belly button) both do a number on your polish. That’s why you bring a little bottle in your matching shade to do a touchup, poolside, whenever necessary. Bright shades are best (and will match your dresses): Butter London’s Cheeky Chops and Underground are current beloveds.


And not just ANY yoga clothes. Your thick black Lulu Groove Pants have no place in CR. Too hot. You need light and tight. Electric Yoga makes  cool, sweat-wicking clothes in bright colors (can you tell I’m slightly excited about bright colors?). Short shorts, sporty tanks, easy tops. This hot pink seamless tee also doubles as a rash guard for surfing. Recycling!

The current most important book in my household: 2666 by Roberto BolañoFor one reason or another, all reading projects of late have been huge, epic novels that double as doorstops. This is no exception at 912 pages. But it’s masterful and lovely. Recommend.

silk + beads from bhati beads.

cuzco cuff from maryam nassir zadeh.

You read that right: friendship bracelets are back in, and my fifth grade self could not be more thrilled. Maryam Nassir Zadeh stocks several in various thicknesses that look awesome stacked on your wrist with reckless abandon.

mesh by minimale animale.

Surfer girls: wear string bikinis at your own risk. Minimale Animale makes this totally awesome mesh one-piece. A one-piece is safe, but not too safe (I mean, look how libidinous these suits are). All credit goes to L.A. designer Cassandra Kellogg, who also happens to be a classmate of mine from middle school. Hi, Cassie!


Discovered while living in Italy, impossible to find stateside, always stocking up whenever I’m in a European airport. Goes on silky, moisturizes for hours. The BEST in lip service if you happen to care about lip service.


What else can be said here?




Protect your face and neck and still look chic.


CR is the place that invented surfer girl beach hair, and somehow mine needs a little extra assistance. B&B always does the trick.

Are you going on vacation this spring? What do you bring with you?
Happy travels! xx, S 

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