A Surfer’s Pura Vida at Villa Manzu
June 3, 2020 by Hidden Doorways
Villa Manzu, is a soulful private 30,000 sq ft. villa estate perched on the cliffs of Costa Rica’s Peninsula Papagayo in the northwest province of Guanacaste set along the country’s north Pacific Coast. As Manzu means friends in the native Chorotegan language, this luxurious 8-suite villa is a perfect option for a take-over or celebrating a special occasion. With its close proximity, guests at Villa Manzu can enjoy direct access to the Papagayo Marina for sailing or tee-off at the expansive 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed golf course with ocean views. It’s not uncommon to hear the soundtrack of howler monkeys and white-faced capuchins calling each other.
This property is tailored to the ultimate all-inclusive five-star experience with a personal chef, dedicated staff and panoramic direct sea views, a beach just steps away and the world’s best breaks for surfing.
We caught up with Chris, Villa Manzu’s Pro Surf, to share tips and his thoughts on how unique the surfing experience is at Villa Manzu.
What is your background and favorite place to surf? How long have you been a surf pro with Villa Manzu?
I grew up in Southern California surfing and fishing as much as I could. I moved to Costa Rica and started a boat charter for both sports in the early 90’s and still do both as much as I can. I have been with Villa Manzu since it’s inception which is a little more than seven years.
What is the guest experience like for surfers at Villa Manzu? We’ve heard about Villa Manzu’s 1,400 hp boat, Nimbu, is quite spectacular. Can you describe the guest experience aboard Nimbu and how unique it is? How long is the journey to reach these breaks?
Guests enjoy the same tailored service on the water as on land. Typically we surf from our 42’ boat called the Nimbu, powered by four 350hp engines she cruises at 45 miles per hour and we can reach the world famous surf spots of witches rock (20 min) and Ollies point (35min). The Nimbu makes quick work of both trips which gives guests more time with their friends and families.
What makes breaks at Witch’s Rock and Ollie’s Point so special?
Both breaks have sand bottoms and are user friendly. We have offshore winds every morning and all summer long which allows us to surf in clean conditions for most of the day.
How does it compare to other breaks worldwide?
85 degree water and clean conditions are hard to beat. Costa Rica tends to have accessible waves for most beginner and intermediate surfers.
Which type of boards do you recommend? Does Villa Manzu provide these?
We have a huge variety of beginner through advanced boards that guests can use. If we don’t have a size or style of board a guest prefers we can normally source it here locally.
Is there a particular part of year that you recommend surfing in Costa Rica?
April through September is our prime window for waves. Generally you can surf year around.
Any surfing tips for newcomers?
Be patient with yourself there is a lot to learn. Swim laps before a surf trip and smile!
What is your ideal post-surf meal?
Nothing beats fresh pineapple when you get out of the water….the sweet acidic blend of a golden pineapple (that you only get in the tropics) and the saltwater is incredible.
Villa Manzu is known for their tailored dining experience. After a day at sea surfing and enjoying other activities, Chef Mariano and his team are here to refuel guests. He shares some of his favorite meals to prepare for guests and preparation to create memorable meals.
What is your background? How long have you been a Chef at Villa Manzu?
I am originally from Argentina but my father was Spanish, which makes for many of my childhood food memories. While in Argentina, I’ve trained at IAG and worked for renowned chefs in the area. I have lived and worked in New Orleans, Boston, Spain and England. In Costa Rica for almost 7 years, 6 of them at Manzu, I have kept myself updated with stages at Michelin restaurants (Atellier, Crenn, L’Enclume, Spruce).
Can you walk us through how unique the dining experience is at Villa Manzu?
Costa Rica does not count with a world renowned culinary culture, but it doesn’t lack the ingredients or historical culture. Being able to explore and expand that culture and surprise our guests with the unexpected is truly gratifying. A sense of anticipation to your expectations and even to discover new cravings you didn’t know you could have, would describe the unique experience of Villa Manzu, at a level of service where perfection is taken for granted.
What is your favorite meal to prepare?
Tasting menus are my favorite. It allows us to showcase the local product while flexing our creativity muscle. Also as Argentinian, anything where grilling is involved.
Which types of local ingredients do you use?
Local fruit and fish are as good as it gets. But I also like to achieve flavors that can be identifiable to the local culture. For this I use products like plantain leaves, sugar cane and heart of palm, for example.
Do you offer vegan options?
Yes, we do. In fact, I used to be a sous chef at a vegetarian restaurant while in London. As I mentioned before, we customize our menus in order with our clients preferences. This could be vegan, gluten free, paleo, etc. Just let us know and we take care!
How do you prepare for a guest’s arrival? Can guests customize their meal requests once they arrive?
We communicate in advance with our clients, allowing us to customize each menu. Even after arrival, we keep constant communication to ensure any preference or simply cravings are satisfied.
How many people are on your team?
We are a small crew, 2 taking care of breakfast service and 4 of us for the rest of the meals.
How is your culinary team adapting your F&B offerings to meet the new social distancing/ Covid-19 guidelines?
We have always catered too exclusive, individual groups. That allows us to have a personalized service. Table lay outs and serving style are customized to each client. The kitchen is open but it has clear division to keep be able to keep distance from the clients. You can see how we work with the products and yet keep a safe distance. As I mentioned before, we are a small crew, in a big, dreamy kitchen. You would not find chefs crowding the kitchens at Villa Manzu. Working with social distancing is a luxury we have. Of course we are very diligent as always is sanitation and hygiene protocols with all of our tools and clothes being stored on site at Villa Manzu. We have procedures for changing any pedestrian ware before our shifts at the Villa. Villa Manzu also provides private transportation for all employees.
Telephone: +011 949 200 8086