Howler was saddened by the news of Ellen Zoe Golden’s untimely passing on March 10, 2022, in Tamarindo. As a long-time contributor of diverse Surfing CR content, she had a knack for writing that appealed to mainstream readers, along with avid participants and followers of the sport.

In addition to Ellen Zoe’s extensive coverage of local and international surfing events, we were proud to feature her profiles of Costa Rican wave riders — from up-and-coming youth contenders to globally celebrated surfing personalities. 

Ellen Zoe’s vibrant spirit will be profoundly missed in the circles of friends, colleagues, clients and family members whose lives she touched over many years. Condolences pouring in from far and wide span many of her life and career chapters, in the U.S. as well as Costa Rica. Her entertainment industry achievements — notably as a publicist to Billy Idol — are highlighted in this Variety tribute.


We are grateful to Tamarindo’s Teresa Okecki for sharing a blog post about Ellen Zoe, published five years ago when the two worked at Costa Rica Vacations. Excerpts appear below.

Life in Costa Rica

Red haired, surf style, tattoos, fine tan and a pura vida attitude. Few people could guess that Ellen Zoe Golden lived in the Big Apple for 13 years and that she worked in the entertainment industry for stars like Billy Idol. Now, she has her life in Costa Rica, speaks Spanish, eats gallo pinto, surfs and runs.


While Ellen lived in New York, she worked at JLM PR Inc. for clients and campaigns that included groundbreaking music and clothing entrepreneurs like Russell Simmons and his Hip Hop Summit Action Network. She also worked for Billy Idol’s return after a 12-year absence;  Chumbawamba, Violator Management (home to 50 Cent, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, N.O.R.E. and more), NFL Properties, Major League Baseball, United States Tennis Association, Cowboy Mouth, among others.


Some years back, Ellen visited Costa Rica and only after a few weeks she knew this country would be her future home. At the beginning, she still worked from her room and through a dial-up internet connection for some clients in the U.S. But after a few years, the manager of Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas, offered her to be the reservations manager in his hotel. Ellen took the job and had great results.


Since March 2014, Ellen Zoe has been our star sales manager and the one that keeps the entire Costa Rica Vacations team up-to-date with music and the film industry. She is the one who will always ask you how you are doing and be actually interested in your answer. Ellen is constantly looking for new adventures to offer to our clients. 


She knows most of Costa Rica by heart and has a special sense that allows her to know what´s the best plan for every individual customer.  She will be on top of every single detail of your trip and will not rest till she knows you are enjoying your days in this paradise. Ellen has her principles and one of them is to never recommend a place without having a personal experience. If she hasn’t been there, she will definitely tell you.


Yoga, running and surf life in Costa Rica


Ellen, as most of us, had been through tough moments so now you can notice how she embraces life to its fullest. She enjoys having a good lunch catching up with the music industry news in front of her computer, she works harder and harder in our office and she also gives her best at yoga lessons. Late nights are part of her past, now she prefers to go back to her room at Best Western Vista Villas early and watch a movie with her lovely two cats or go out and have dinner with some friends. She may go for a run on Tamarindo Beach at 5.30 a.m. before going to the office. Or if the waves are good, she will surf at Playa Grande or Playa Avellanas.


That is her life now: simple, healthy and genuine. Like most of the lives of the people who chose to live near the ocean, like her life in Costa Rica.

Ellen is also a journalist and has been writing for the Tico Times, Tamarindo News and Howler Magazine.

See this article in the magazine

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