Reflections: Nicaragua NYE

reflections

When people ask what is “SurfYogaBeer” I typically say exactly that - you surf, do yoga, and party it up. But SYB is so much more than that. It is connection, lifelong friendships, play, camaraderie, adrenaline, and adventure. 

As an adult, it can be hard to find your tribe. The people that inspire you, build you up, and share common interests and outlooks on life. What SYB has given me is a community of people who prioritize health, fitness, travel, and an openness to embrace the unknown. 

I went on SYB’s NYE Nicaragua trip and it was nothing short of spectacular. Over 60 people traveled from all over the world to the quaint and stunning surf town of Maderas to ring in the new year. 

The trip kicked off the first night with an opening ceremony where we were introduced to our trip leaders. SYB brings in the best of the best fitness instructors from Soul Cycle, CorePower, and Barry’s to ensure that participants can maximize and push themselves with the fitness aspects of the trip. Renowned photographers and videographers are part of the staff to capture every burpee, ICE, fist bump, laugh, twerk, and emotional embrace so that you can be off your phone and enjoy the present moment. To round out the SYB team, our in-house DJ is there to keep the party going all night long. 

Wake-up Calls

The days begin bright and early in the best possible way. Expect to have a few hollering leaders break into your room at 6AM with a boombox and killer dance moves to get you out of bed. Don’t bother locking the door, and maybe wear some PJs because they will get in. The best part is that even if you aren’t a morning person, you’ll want to be up for the full day of activities. 

Beach Workouts

With this being SYB biggest trip yet, they reserved the entire Villas Playas Maderas overlooking the ocean and a large and beautiful hostel called Selina down the road. ATVs and your running shoes are the primary modes of transport, and everyone meets nice and early on the beach. From there, the group begins with pushups, sit-ups, bear crawls, burpees, squats, and a high knee run through the ocean waves. 

There is something magical about this group exercise and why even self-proclaimed couch potatoes can enjoy these trips. You are motivated and pushed by a group of strangers that are quickly becoming friends. Running through ocean waves alone sounds difficult and a bit silly. Running with dozens of other people feels like an army, a band, a powerful squad creating waves of our own. Beach games like relay races and capture the flag bring out the playful and competitive kid in you that has been desperately suppressed behind a desk.

Surf

Then we kick off into the first letter of the name, Surf. Playa Maderas boasts some of the best surfing near San Juan Del Sur, and we are set up with skilled and masterful instructors. There are plenty of waves for everyone, regardless of level. Throughout the week, the SYB group has plenty of reserved slots with instructors to ride as much as you want. For those taking a break or simply wanting to sunbathe in paradise, the quaint but bustling beach bars serve fresh and delicious food, every tropical drink possible, and great spectating from their open-air patios or from the beach. 

Yoga

Whether your yoga practice consists of advanced poses like handstands or the basics like child’s pose and savasana only, SYB brings in elite instructors to lead sunset yoga. Our dedicated yoga deck overlooks the ocean with astounding views of the ocean, hillside, and of course, the sun setting over the horizon. 

If you want to feel connected to those around you, yourself, and the beauty surrounding you, don’t skimp on the yoga sessions. Sarah (@thecoastalyogi) and Juliana (@juliana.jpg) don’t just teach yoga; they take you on a yoga journey. They do a beautiful job of leading a practice that is enjoyable for all levels with many options to move into more challenging poses. Throughout the practice, they use encouraging words and anecdotes to make you feel like you can take on the world and give you the power to realize that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. 

Ending each practice in a collective savasana as the sun and moon switch places in the sky is unforgettable and one of the daily highlights.

Beer

After getting all zen from yoga, it’s time to crank the energy level all the way to the right. Group happy hours and dinners are perfect to laugh over memories made from the day and gear up for nights of dancing and drinking. Whether you are a professional beer chugger, like cocktails only on vacation, or simply don’t drink at all - these nights are for you. I personally don’t drink, and you can find me twerking in front of the DJ booth every night. All lifestyle choices are welcome, and fun is guaranteed. 

Every night is a little different and brings you closer and closer to the group and your new friends. A nighttime highlight from this trip was Disco Night. Everyone came prepared with their best disco gear, and we boogied down all night both at Selina and later at a local pizza joint. Between the afros, bell-bottoms, sequin skirts, fake mustaches, the whole crew looked fuego and brought the moves all night. Theme nights are always a must!

Boat Day

It wouldn’t be an SYB trip without Mother F*cking Boat Day!! After beach workouts, games, and an extra hardy breakfast, we bussed down to the San Juan del Sur marina to embark on two catamarans. We sailed for hours with the tunes cranked up high and the drinks flowing until we dropped anchor at a secluded beach. That’s when the party really began with backflips off the bow, dancing on every surface, massive floaty rafts between the boats, and plenty of shots. The journey back involves watching the crazy beautiful sunset, snuggling with friends that you now can’t imagine your life without, and deeper and quieter conversations. 

New Years Eve

What makes this particular trip so special is that it falls over New Years. The day kicked off with an optional but highly encouraged jungle run. Half the group did a solid 3 miles, while the other half ended 2021 with an impressive half marathon. There were, of course, people that opted to sleep in or chill by the pool - gotta love balance. The crew spent the day down at the beach surfing and playing games before the All White NYE Party. 

SYB rented out one of the beach bars and had it decked out for one hell of a party full of sunset photos, killer beats from our in-house DJ, and an epic bonfire to close out the year. You’d think the party would end there, but in true SYB fashion, it kept going back at Selina with more music, drinking, swimming fully clothed in the pool, and New Years kisses. 

As I reflect on my trip to Nicaragua with SYB, I am truly grateful for the experience. SYB trips are the perfect balance of fitness, reflection, and adventure with a heavy dose of fun - all with strangers that turn into dear and lifelong friends. 

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