What It’s Like To Go To An All Girls Surf Retreat in Nicaragua
First of all, it’s awesome. But you probably already guessed that.
The retreat? CHICABRAVA Surf Retreat in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.
The participants? Everyone! Well, almost everyone, it’s a girls-only retreat. I joined as a late twenties adventure traveler looking for a unique and empowering experience. But it’s true, really anyone can do it – moms, septuagenarian (yes, really! And they have.), celebrities (cough, Margot Robbie, cough), business owners, college students and gap year travelers are just a few of the other chicas who call themselves alumna.
What to expect? Well, there are two different experiences, both seven nights long, so let me break them out to explain each of them fully.
The Cloud Farm Experience ($1,900 person)
This is the experience I opted for. For seven nights I stayed in a shared room with another chica in a hillside house 1,200 feet above sea level complete with an infinity pool, house staff, stocked fridge and three served meals a day. My experience at the Cloud Farm was great, but it did take me a day to adjust the Nicaraguan way of life – no air conditioning, open rooms and howler monkeys!
The Surf House Experience ($1,290 person)
The Surf House is located right in San Juan del Sur and is definitely where you want to stay if you’re looking for a more immersive local experience instead of a more relaxing one. Breakfast is included when you stay in the Surf House (lunch and dinner are cheap and easy to find right outside the front door since you’re in a central location right in town) and the rooms here have air conditioning!
Included in Both
Both experiences include six days of surfing. CHICABRAVA provides each chica with their own surf board and the instructor to student ratio is usually 2:1. Surf theory is taught each morning so that chicas don’t just learn how to surf, they learn about surf culture and surf etiquette. Chicas are also filmed daily so that the instructors can go over their progress and give constructive criticism each morning after to help each chica progress throughout the week. Two guided nights out on the town (woo!), daily transportation, three yoga sessions and one 1-hour massage are also included with each experience.
Things I Accomplished After Just Six Days Surfing
I couldn’t believe how easy the instructors made it to pick up surfing. Don’t be fooled, surfing itself is extremely difficult – and exhausting – but the girls made the process so simple that I stood up on my first wave. Yes, my very first wave!
They eased me into doing things like paddling by myself (until then they were pushing me into the wave), learning how to watch and judge the waves, surf etiquette and how to ride a wave from “the outside.” Basically they taught me everything that I would need to come back to the U.S. and go surf on my own. Something I’m completely eager to do now that I’m back.
All in all the experience is completely empowering, a great workout and a place where I met some amazing chicas that I now consider friends for life.
Photo Credit: Michelle Norris
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