Archive for volunteers blog


Bicycle Surfboard Racks Costa Rica

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Moe, Jed, Drew(2 guests here at Shaka), and I traveled to the hardware store yesterday to buy PVC pipe to create homemade surfboard racks for our bicycles. We got enough supplies for three racks (plus some extras) and the cost was around $15 per rack. The racks only took about 20 minutes to make and are expected to withstand the rain and mud from the rainy season. I would reccomend checking out this website for easy, step-by-step instructions! .


Great Times At Shaka Costa Rica

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Helllooooooo! It’s Brian, the new volunteer At Shaka Costa Rica

Well…. I’m on my 5th day here at Shaka Surf Camp and i couldn’t be more impressed with the waves, hospitality and presence of nature. On my first day, Chris and i surfed for a couple hours, (great waves, with not a soul in sight) walked up to our beautiful camp and were suddenly surprised by a 5.1 earthquake!!! It was my first encounter with an earthquake, so i didn’t realize exactly what had just happened! i looked around to see the expression of Chris’ face. He knew right away what was going on. We came to the realization that no tsunami was on the way and carried on our day as if nothing happened. We later took a ride to Cobano, which reminded me of Orlando or some other busy city. i couldn’t wait to  get back to Shaka, where time slows and we are surrounded by the peaceful sound of the ocean.

As of day five, i have been able to get in the ‘GROOVE’ of things and i couldn’t be happier!!! In my opinion, pure joy is listening to great music, catching great waves with a good friend, great comida (pizza), and just existing. I really enjoy the vibe that Shaka emits. Its a vibe of simplicity and can only be experienced by actually coming and realizing that life is much more simple than we are all  conditioned to think so!

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Exciting Update from Shaka!!

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I have been pretty busy here at Shaka:  getting ready for the invasion of Ocean Healing Group, doing laundry, and pumping our camp dog, Lady up for her new wheelchair!

For those of you don’t know, Lady is our camp dog.  She adopted us years ago and is the queen of our Rancho here at camp.  A few months ago some guests found Lady laying on the path to the beach crying and within 30 minutes of them finding here she was paralyzed from the waist down.  No one really knows what happened but she has a lesion on her spine that prevents her from using her back legs. 

Lucky for Lady, Shaka is the best place in possibly the world for this to happen!!  Our friend, Judy Fridono and the amazing people at Eddie’s Wheels, donated a wheelchair that was custom made for Lady!! 

With the invasion of Ocean Healing Group, a non-profit that brings disabled individuals and their families to Shaka for an adaptive surfing camp, came Lady’s wheelchair!!

Lady is being cheered on by the crowd here at Shaka!!

I am happy to report that Lady is adjusting well to her new mobility!  I have gotten to know Lady very well over the past year as a guest at Shaka and a volunteer for OHG.  The first three weeks of my visit were a little tough in regard to Lady.  It was so sad to see this once energetic, fully mobile, quad chasing puppy just laying around the Rancho–moving a little as possible.

Finally…. Lady is improving her quality of life.  Her back is straigtening out and she is getting stronger every time we put her in her new chair!  We are currently  building up her endurance, leaving her in the chair for slightly longer periods of time through out the day.  

Welike to bribe Lady with food to get her moving!!

Lady is getting her GROOVE back on!! 

That’s all for now!  Just a little update for you Life at the Shaka Front followers about little Lady Bird.  Time to get breakfast ready for our guests and hit the beach!

I want to leave you with the best image I’ve seen in weeks… the happiest Little Lady Bird I think I’ve ever seen….

Can't beat this smile!!!!

Pura Vida my friends,


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Habla Espanol?

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I will be the first person to admit:  My Spanish is no bueno.  In most cases and situations, I am able to get by with my fabulous “Spanglish” but that’s just not good enough for me anymore.  So, my newest mission is to work on my Spanish, while I’m volunteering at Shaka Beach Retreat!

Here at Shaka and in many parts of Costa Rica, a lot of people do speak English so i am not forced to learn the language.  I can follow along with  conversations but can’t fully participate because unfortunately, I can HEAR Spanish much better than I can speak it.  This leaves me looking like a total creeper at parties where I just stare at people and try to understand what they are saying…. I’m a conversation lurker. 

So, I’ve made the difficult decision to put my ego aside and make a full effort in learning to speak Spanish.  I had an impromptu lesson yesterday when , Adalayda, out cook stopped by for an hour and a half.  She speaks very little English and well, you already know about my Spanish, so we sat with my Spanish/English dictionary and talked for the whole time she was here.  If she didn’t know a word in English, she would look it up and point to it in the dictionary.  I would say the English word and she would repeat it and vise/versa.  We actually learned a lot about each other and about each others language!

With the help of the locals, Mo’e, and Krista I am hoping my Spanish will improve tremendously by the time I leave.  Wish me luck let’s hope I just don’t offend anyone while I practice!!

For now— Voy a la playa con tabla de surf!

Hasta Luego y Pura Vida,


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Brainstorming in the Rancho!

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Pura Vida!!  It’s an amazing day here at Shaka!  The sky is clear, the sun is shining, a gentle breeze is blowing, and it is muy tranquilo. 

In between surf sessions and quad expeditions, Krista, Mo’e and I have been busy brainstorming and tossing around new ideas for vacation packages to offer on Shaka Beach Retreat Website!  Inspired by an old friend, Mo’e, a certified personal trainer, is totally stoked on the idea of putting together a Fitness Adventure package.  it’s going to be amazing: early morning yoga on the beach, beach boot camps, hiking and zip-line tours in Montezuma, surf lessons, healthy meals, and so much more!  It’s going to be killer and designed for the vacationers who are interested in getting in shape while enjoying all of the adventure that the Nicoya Peninsula has to offer.

In addition, I’m working on writing a biography for our camp dog, Lady, that we will have posted on the website and a write up to submit to Zoom! Nicoya Peninsula- a local magazine with news and tourist information.  It’s a pretty exciting time here.

I’m totally excited and working ferociously to get camp ready for 2 weeks of adaptive surf camps with Ocean Healing Group!!  It’s going to be great to see all of my old friends, meet some new people, and bring some excitement to our injured campers.  Ahhh…  it makes my heart feel so good when the camps are here.  The experience of being involved with OHG camps is hard to put into words:  emotional, inspiring, soul-soothing, and magical.  I have met some of the most incredible people in my life here at Shaka!!

Mo’e will be here soon to take me out for an instructional surf session…  I’m stoked!  Gotta go wax my board, liberally apply that sunscreen, and hit the beach!

Keep checking back for more news, updates, and stories about my volunteer  experience on The Shaka Front!



Get me out the back!!

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Another day is coming to an end here at Shaka.  I’ve got the Ipod set to ‘Shuffle” and streaming through the speakers and in the background I can hear the howler monkeys and the waves crashing.  

Mo’e got down to camp nice ‘n’ early so we got in a good morning session in our front yard, Playa Hermosa.  The wind was blowing onshore and made the inside pretty choppy and unlike Mo’e, I unfortunately, did not make it out the back.  I got tossed around a lot and I mean A LOT but I loved every minute of it!!  Like I said, I’m pretty new to the surfing scene so I’m just happy to get out in the beautiful green/blue Pacific Ocean here in Costa Rica and tomorrow is a new day and I WILL get out the back!!

(Here’s a little picture of me surfing from last summer on my first trip to Shaka)

There are a lot of cool things about being a volunteer here at Shaka.  You get to meet tons of crazy cool people from all over the world, you get immersed in the culture of Costa Rica, you make some awesome friends, and you can work on your surfing skills (or just kick it with the big boys if your that good).  Not to mention you get to work on your tan  🙂

Well, I’m off!!  Have a great day and check back soon for new updates!!

Pura Vida,


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New blogger in town!

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Hey there all you Shaka lovers, I’m Katie, the newest volunteer at Shaka, here in beautiful Santa Teresa, Costa Rica!!  I’m taking over for Emma until later in August and am so stoked to be here.  I might be the NEW volunteer but this is my third time here at Shaka.  I love it so much, I just can’t stay away.

Everything is calm and quiet right now on the Shaka Front: lots of time to relax, read a book, and most important- get in some good surfing.  I’m pretty new to the surfing scene so everyday is kind of like Christmas to me: wake up, throw on my suit and rashguard, slather on some SPF 50, wax my board, and hit the beach running!!  Life can’t get much better than that for girl from 20 Miles west of Philadelphia, Norristown, PA.

Well, that’s all for now.  Just wanted to take a minute and introduce the new blogger in town!  Stay tuned for updates from me and Life at the Shaka Front.  Pura Vida.

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Big News! FUEL for Life Retreat!

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Shaka is pleased to announced a really exciting event at the end of August! Life coach Jacob Cherrington is hosting a weeklong workshop here in Playa Hermosa!

Las Vegas-based Jacob was a life coach for the Anthony Robbins Organization for over ten years and through working with people from all walks of life to define and achieve their goals, he developed his own system (called F.U.E.L for Life) which helps people clearly define their goals and develop a clear plan to accomplish them.

I’ve read a little Anthony Robbins stuff, and it’s really interesting. But reading about something is a little different than actually putting it into practice, digging in, and getting to know yourself a little better.

Just talking to Jacob, I can feel his enthusiasm about this event–and frankly, it’s contagious.

So I feel lucky that I get the opportunity to help out with what is sure to be a very exciting week where I’ll learn a lot about myself and how I can make the most positive changes in my life (although, what can be more positive than living near the beach and surfing every day? Ha ha ha—I’m excited to find out!)

For more information about Jacob, check out his website at

For more information about this event, go to our New Ideas section!


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