Beyond Ordinary

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Welcome to Beyond Ordinary Guides, where we curate gorgeous imagery, locally cherished spots, and accessible stories.  We hope you enjoy!

5 Places to Surf in 2017

5 Places to Surf in 2017

We are by no means professional surfers, but the mind/body workout that is surfing has recently peaked our interest.  Here are five places we recommend if you have the same inclination to fall on your face many times in the hope of achieving that brief oneness with the ocean.

Hammocks on your private patio | Photo Courtesy of Harmony Hotel

Hammocks on your private patio | Photo Courtesy of Harmony Hotel

Nosara, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is having a surf moment and the more you learn about it, the easier it is to see why.  With accommodations ranging from $20/night to $400/night, guests of all budgets have their pick of accommodation and surfing is viable year round.  The jungle sanctuary of Nosara is home to a mixture of expats, yoga enthusiasts, and bohemian surfers.  It's the less crowded southern neighbor of Tamarindo which means you won't have to fight for a break.  Buzzfeed co-founder John Johnson owns Harmony Hotel in Playa Guiones and it's the perfect place to find your middle day zen between surf sessions. Harmony Hotel | www.harmonynosara.com | Guinoes Beach, Nosara 5233, Costa Rica | +506 2682-4114 

Todos Santos, Mexico

Think dirt roads and cardon cacti contrasted with royal blue water and you've got a pretty good idea of Mexico's Baja California coastal landscape.  Unlike most surf destinations, Todos Santos is in the desert, making for beautiful contrasts between land and sea.  We recommend surfing Cerritos and Shipwreck beaches before they are overrun with big resorts; both currently have construction of large hotels underway. 

La Bohemia | www.labohemiabaja.com | Calle Rangel 108, Todos Santos, B.C.S. Mexico | 1 (805) 430-5260

Photo Courtesy of La Bohemia Baja

Photo Courtesy of La Bohemia Baja

Sri Lanka

The people of Sri Lanka have been through a lot.  It's been over eleven years since the Boxing Day tsunami devastated their island and a mere seven since a 26 year civil war ended.  And yet, when you arrive here, the locals genuinely welcome you, kind and happy, ready to introduce you to their country.

The best surf lies on the east coast of the island around the fishing village of Arugam Bay.  It's best in July, when a sculpted sandbar creates long barrels.  Don't have time to drive 9 hours to Arugam Bay?  Arrange a stay (and airport transfer) through Talalla Retreat, a yoga and surf camp, a mere 3 hours from Colombo airport.  The staff will arrange trips to different waves based on your skill level and you can compliment your surfing with daily yoga classes.  The surf on the southwestern coast (home of Talalla Retreat) is best November to April.  Take a day off to explore the tea plantations or the 18th century Star Fort. Bonus: the stray dogs are adorable and the nicest we've ever met.  Talalla Retreat | www.talallaretreat.com | A2, Talalla, Sri Lanka | +94 41 2 259171

Open air living (and sleeping) at Talalla Retreat in Sri Lanka | Photo Courtesy of Talalla Retreat

Open air living (and sleeping) at Talalla Retreat in Sri Lanka | Photo Courtesy of Talalla Retreat

Varkala, India

Only recently known as a surfing destination, Varkala is more well known for the dramatic red clay cliffs that drop into the Arabian Sea along its shores.  The water is surprisingly clean and warm and the breaks enjoyable for beginners and experienced surfers alike.  Just make sure that if you're not with one of the local surf camps, you strike your own deal with the local fisherman.  They'll let you surf "their" beaches if you help them bring their boats in at the end of the day.  It's well worth the trade!  Soul & Surf | www.soulandsurf.com | South Cliff, Janardhanapuram, Varkala, 695141, Kerala, India | +44 (0) 1273 931 282

Soul & Surf | Image courtesy of Family Surf Travel

Soul & Surf | Image courtesy of Family Surf Travel

Sayulita, Mexico

Photo Courtesy of Made with Map

Photo Courtesy of Made with Map

Puerto Vallarta's hippy, laid back sister Sayulita is easily accessible via international flights and yet still keeps it's surfer town vibe.  Here you can drink tequila from barrels on the beach and rent a four wheeler without signing any paperwork.  Basically, the kind of relaxed attitude you'd expect from a surfer town.  Don't want to worry about planning your stress free Sayulita holiday?  Book a trip with Coast to Costa.  You'll stay on a private beach with other like minded travelers, take a private snorkeling boat trip to Isla Marietas, eat delicious Mexican fare, and surf until your heart's content.  Coast to Costa | www.coasttocosta.com/sayulita | @coasttocosta | #livelikealocal

The Flancesca Chronicles Part IX | Tanzania

The Flancesca Chronicles Part VIII | Tanzania