"Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Founder and lead guide at TuCamino, Nena Belen Ocampo has a long history with both Mexico and Costa Rica. Originally from Texas, Nena has always been proud of her Mexican-American heritage. Her father is from the state of Guanajuato, Mexico and much of Nena's extended family still lives there. It wasn't until the age of 23, though, that Nena was able to travel to Mexico to meet them, and ultimately, connect with her culture and heritage.
While in Mexico, Nena visited the town of Sayulita and fell instantly in love. What was originally to be a four-day stay turned into two weeks, and later, three months. Nena loves Sayulita, and the SayuVida as she calls it, particularly for its strong sense of tradition. Everything from the food to the language to the music and dress is rich in traditional Mexican culture. In addition, Sayulita is a popular destination for yoga and surf, two passions of Nena's.
At 18, Nena studied abroad and fell in love with Costa Rica, which has been her home for the past two years. It is there, in the Caribbean of Costa Rica that she first discovered surfing and fell in love with the water. Costa Rica introduced her to the concept of pura vida, "the pure life," and she found that it was the perfect place to connect with nature and escape from the hectic lifestyle she was accustomed to in the US.
Be it in Mexico or Costa Rica, Nena is truly at home in Central America and loves sharing these magical places with new travelers. Her experiences and the memories she has created in both countries were the inspiration for TuCamino, and she can't wait to guide you on your own adventures!
"Water does not resist. Water flows...Remember, you are half water.
If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does."
-Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad
Alia Kahan is a cook, but not a kook. She makes healthy, simple, tropical meals — based on what's available locally and seasonally — that give you the energy and power necessary to spend all day in the surf. Alia believes that natural food is the easiest choice and designs meals that do no harm to body, community, or environment. She's been surfing and traveling the Americas for three years and counting.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
Zaida was born 26 December 1991 as a slightly late Christmas present for her parents in Tepic, Nayarit-- a region on the western coast of Mexico, where the Huichol community hails from. At the age of four, Zaida moved to Guadalajara, where she lived until she turned 20.
After many major life changes, she decided to study Civil Engineering at ITESM University. Having loved water since childhood, she decided to specialize in water construction. In order to complete program requirements, Zaida spent a year abroad in The Netherlands were she minored in Water Management and worked for the national government designing rivers and dikes.
After her time abroad, she returned to Guadalajara for six months, then moved to Culiacan in the north of Mexico, where she learned a a great deal about cooking and northern Mexican culture in general.
Currently, Zaida resides in Sayulita, Nayarit. Since moving to Sayulita eight months ago, she has learned a lot about herself, her Heuichol heritage and small town life, and how to surf.
She wishes to continue in her journey of self discovery, while remaining creative and curious.
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"When the power of love overcomes the love of power that's when the world will find peace."
Hannah McVay is a self-described "simple girl from Texas," who loves the outdoors, painting, people, and all things chill. One of her favorite sayings comes from philosopher and anthropologist Loren Eiseley, who said, "If there is any magic on this planet, it is contained in water." Hannah couldn't agree more.
One of the reasons she loves Costa Rica so much, and the Caribbean coast in particular, is because of its magic. It can cure stress, give you a thrill, and help find yourself, Hannah says. The sea is what set off her love affair with Costa Rica.
Hannah is excited to be a part of the TuCamino family, and can't wait to guide her groups through a soul searching, relaxing, and exciting experience through the jungles and beach-sides of Puerto Viejo.
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Dex is from Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. He is head tour guide at the Jaguar Rescue Center and has over 5 years working there. His experience and work with the center and animals has landed him numerous interviews and features. He has over 11 years surfing and many years of experience coaching surf as well. His knowledge allowshim to get anyone up and riding on a wave---all while having fun! Regardless of your level, he is here to make your experience "pura vida"!
Danielle is the founder and director of Elevation Studio since 2005. She creatively and classically teaches both pilates and yoga. She received pilates certification from The Physical Mind Institute for both mat (1999) and apparatus(2011). Registered with Yoga Alliance, Danielle completed both her vinyasa and yin yoga certifications in NYC. She believes a blend of both pilates and yoga is a beautiful and essential combination to one's life, at any level. Combining yin(connective tissue strengthening) with yang(muscle strengthening) for a more balanced body approach is also necessary in today's modern culture and lifestyle. Core strength, flexibility, fun, and mindfulness are all elements present in her teaching. She is a resident of Block Island, and spends her winters in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. Danielle (DJ Libre) can also be found djing around the island each summer...as music is life and celebration.