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“Time of my life” 5 of 5 stars
Review of La Escuela Del Sol

La Escuela Del Sol
Frente al parque infantil | Contiguo al puente, Montezuma, Costa Rica
8884-8444
Website
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Ranked #4 of 18 activities in Montezuma
Type: Other
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Combine Spanish, surfing, yoga, fire dancing and scuba certification in any combination for 1-12 weeks in Montezuma, Costa Rica. Programs include accommodations, zip line canopy tours, horseback riding, waterfall hikes, bonfires and a whole lot of fun.
Jersey, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Time of my life”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

Despite hearing about how empty it was at that time of year (October), it turned out to be the perfect time to visit Montezuma as there was just the right amount of tourists before the high season kicked in (though I think we were completely lucky not to have any rain!). The town was adorable and super chilled out, the beaches were beautiful and the people so friendly. What was supposed to be a two week stay at the school ended up being a month, and even after that I was reluctant to leave!

The week of Spanish lessons were so useful, and the teacher Wendy was amazing; the smiliest teacher I've ever had! She gave a great base and easy grasp of the language and I wish I'd taken more lessons, though three courses at once would have been too intense! (Next time!)

The whole aim of the trip was to hone my surfing skills, and I went from playing about in white water to surfing the proper large waves at nearby Santa Teresa. Although the walk to Playa Grande was longer than expected (half an hour), it was a pretty good warm up and took us to a beautiful secluded surf break. The teachers Blue and Pablo were fun, although a few of us may have benefited more from less beginner lessons as sometimes we found ourselves fending for ourselves at the back without instruction as the beginners were taught in the white water. This wasn't always the case as sometimes I even got a private session in the larger waves, which you'd usually pay a fortune for! All in all it was great fun and everyone seemed to have progressed really well, the vibe was usually great and the equipment (boards, wax etc) were excellent (though the van a little rickety!).

Last but not least poi. I didn't expect to learn much in a week but I ended up staying extra long especially so I could perform in the fire show! The reason behind this inspiration was Eli - the local fire spinning/juggling/sticking pro! He was so talented and we had great fun in our small classes. It was so addictive, and the final night performing in the fire show topped off a really special stay.

The main draw to the school has got to be the people - I have made so many friends for life here, including a few who I travelled with afterwards or intend to in the future! There were so many inspirational and lovely people, including the staff at the hotel itself.

Escuela del Sol was an awesome experience, I'd highly recommend it to anyone. Though the price was initially out of my range, it was worth it for the personal teaching approach and great atmosphere, and made a nice change from hostel dorms. It's also perfect for solo travellers, especially those who are a little apprehensive about travelling on their own. The kitchen perhaps could have had better utensils, but it was still usable and the living area was clean and relaxing. The rooms also had A/C (lovely), bathrooms and lockers, and I was lucky enough to have a brilliant room mate.

Make sure to dance at Chico's bar and check out the live music at Organico, nearby waterfalls and the weekly fire show. Hasta Luego, Pura vida :)

Visited October 2012
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Arequipa
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“loved the scuba and poi, surf was disappointing”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

In general a positive experience. I came for 3 weeks and ended up staying 4 because poi was so much fun.

The staff is lovely, the place is safe and clean. Showers are warm, the common area is relaxed. The kitchen could definitally use some extra pots and pans tho, and 2,5 firepits to cook is just really not enough for such an amount of people. I also thought closing the kitchen for yoga in prime cooking time was a bit annoying, but you get used to it. We had a leak in our room and so we got upgraded to this beautiful room, which was cool.

I did the 2 weeks scubacourse, which was fantastic. Miguel and David take great care that you feel comfortable in the water, and they are both just such lovely people. I would reckomend the diving to everyone. You have all the time to feel good in the water, a lot of explanation and interesting stories and good materials. I cant really compare coz this was my first divecourse, but i loved it and felt really safe.

I also did 2 weeks of poi, which was really fun. I think i got a bit addicted to it.The weekly fireshow was inspiring and a great mitivation for the participants. every chance i get i get my socks out :-)

However, the surf (the main reason for my stay at LED) was super disappointing. I did it for 3 weeks; as a 'beginner+' i didnt get any instructions the first week, the second week i was told to lean a bit more backward on my board to prevent nosediving and the last week i was told to lean forward to make more speed. And that was it. I have been out on my own 99% of the time and it left me frustrated and angry. And when it was clear i wasnt enjoying myself, instead of teaching me, the instructor only started to nag i should smile more. At a certain point i just surfed completely by myself, coz one instructor did the beginnergroup and the other one was constantly with another girl ...this has been the worst surfcamp i have been to, and i have been to about 7, so i can compare. Maybe it is fine for beginhers, but if you want to learn a bit more, go some other place.

But, besides the surf, i can say its a nice place to learn new things, meet new people and chill out a bit.

Visited November 2012
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LEDSMontezuma, Owner at La Escuela Del Sol, responded to this review, December 24, 2012
Hey Ooooooooooy,

Thanks for your review. Glad you loved the poi and scuba and so glad you decided to stay longer than your intended program! That's always a good sign. :)

I'm also sorry to hear about that your surfing class didn't meet your expectations. Speaking with our surf instructors, I'm told that from the very start there was a bit of friction when they would instruct you on form and timing and other things, and that you tended to swim away from the group and wouldn't come back when called upon. I guess that explains a bit of what may have happened, but it doesn't mean it's okay.

I always tell people to come to me if there is any problem big or small so we can try to correct it while you're here. These things are almost always fixable if you speak up and you'll find that we can make you much happier (which is our goal) during your stay.

Since you loved poi and scuba so much, if you come back for another stint, we'll be happy to extend you some free surf or yoga classes. We'll work something special out for you. Just let us know.

Pura vida!!

-Jeremy
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Rolette, North Dakota
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Magical”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

I was on LEDS adventure last year and must go back. I spent 2 weeks; took surfing, Spanish and poi lessons and had a blast. I traveled alone and I enjoyed the diverse group with whom I shared the adventure. I made some great friends. The views, the locals, the atmosphere, the lessons, the instructors, party Thursday... I can go on and on, but I would never be able to effectively describe the magical feel of the place. Go, just go, so you too can know the magic.

Visited January 2012
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Westwood Los Angeles County, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“AWESOME experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

Spent 3 weeks at La Escuela del Sol during my 1 year sabbatical and can say that this was my favorite experience out of an already incredible year. The Escuela attracts very cool people from all over the world and of all ages and professions; as I was travelling by myself I really enjoyed having a fun gang to share it all with and have kept some of the friendships made there. I love yoga and have practiced for many years and La Escuela has world class teachers who do an amazing job challenging everyone in class no matter what level they are at. Also got scuba certified with the Escuela and really felt I got the best possible experience anywhere in the scuba world. Michele and David are real pros and gave me a five star experience. I felt so safe and validated, and had so much fun - really recommend it. Also took surfing classes and had an amazing time. The teachers are really experienced and super focused on safety - so if that is at all a concern for you, I guarantee you have nothing to worry about. Learning to surf in Montezuma is also a really rewarding experience because waves are kind enough to the beginner surfer that you can ride your first waves even in your first day. Last but not least took poi classes and LOVED it. Eli is just out of this world and you will enjoy learning from the best.
When you are not busy with classes you can hike, hang out at the beach, go to the many waterfalls or eat at one of the delicious restaurantes in town (my favorite being Cocolores). Reading at the hammock right before yoga was a must for my delightful afternoons. I just can't say enought good things about La Escuela. Highly recommend it and think it would be almost impossible to have a bad time while hanging out there.

Visited July 2012
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New York, United States
1 review
“Already returning to Montezuma!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2012

A friend and I made the somewhat spontaneous decision to attend LEDS based solely on internet research and the reviews from other students here on tripadvisor. We had no idea what we were getting into, but it turned out to be one of the best choices either of us ever made! We stayed for 4 weeks, and could have easily stayed another 4!

Montezuma itself is a beautiful, peaceful and laid back town (with drinks and dancing nightly as well!), full of warm and welcoming people - Locals and travelers alike. El Tajalin, the hotel where LEDS is located, was very clean and secure. The open-air upper level with hammocks is the perfect gathering place for the new friends you will inevitably make, or a place to relax, rest and study on your own.

No matter how amazing a place is, however, it is the people you meet there that really make the experience. I can not say enough about the friends I got to know at LEDS. I was surprised to find that I really didn't encounter Jeremy or talk with him at all in the month that I was there. He was very helpful via email, but I expected him to do more with the students as well. Aside from that, the hotel staff members were extremely friendly and helpful, always ready to help set up an excursion, answer questions, or just relax and chat. Between the two of us, my friend and I took surf, poi, yoga and Spanish. I found all of our teachers to be not only patient & competent instructors, but wonderful people as well. I could not have hand-picked a better crew. It is easy to see that Wendy, Eli and everyone else genuinely care about each of their students. Every day, I did as much laughing as learning! However, the man that deserves the most thanks and the biggest round of applause is Pablo. I guess his official job title is surf instructor and "General Manager," but he is so much more than that! Pablo's smiling face, along with his warm and relaxed energy made us all feel comfortable and welcome when we first met as a group. He was there every day with a laugh, an encouraging word, or a bit of his trademark Pablo wisdom. I did not take surf classes myself, but I was fortunate enough to watch him in action a few times anyway. As a fellow teacher, I can say he does a phenomenal job with that as well. He seems to do it all - always happy as long as his students are happy. Thank you Pablo! The LEDS experience would not have been the same without you!

The month I spent in Montezuma as a student at La Escuela del Sol was the most unique and adventurous, yet tranquil and enlightening experience of my life. I just bought my tickets to return to Montezuma in a few months!

Visited July 2012
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