7 Peaceful Yoga Escapes in Costa Rica
I’m back, and happy to say that my grandmother is coming along nicely. She pulled through the surgery well, and her healing has been remarkable.
This experience has proved to be an exercise in patience for my grandmother. Her whole life, she has been busy, self-reliant, efficient, and very independent, and her surgery has really forced her to slow down and take some time for herself. She is having to relearn how to do things, and while some of the worst bits are over, there are things that she may never be able to do on her own again, like driving. Time will tell.
Maybe we could all use a good dose of patience after a dizzyingly hectic holiday season, and the pressure so many of us put on ourselves trying to keep up with our New Years resolutions. It wouldn’t kill any of us to take a breath, so if you’re stuck inside, and your body and mind are craving some sort of sweet release, consider a visit to a tranquil yoga retreat amid lush Costa Rican paradise. Read on to check out my top seven.
Location: At the southern end of Playa Guiones, atop a hillside that overlooks the three-mile stretch of white sand beach.
What’s on Offer: Winner of Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence in 2013, Blue Spirit offers yoga retreats and teacher trainings year-round, with the styles of yoga practiced varying depending on the retreat host. Vinyasa flow seems to be a popular favorite. Guests rave about the unique environment at Blue Spirit–it is peaceful and remote, while still being accessible.
Complementary WiFi is available to keep you connected, while Blue Spirit’s saltwater infinity pool and spa give guests a chance to decompress and relax. In addition to regular spa services, there are a number of holistic, therapeutic treatments worth taking a look at. Guests at Blue Spirit get three delicious vegetarian meals a day, with food sourced locally and organically when possible. Snacks and treats are also available at Blue Spirit Café onsite. Local excursions and activities that can be enjoyed in the area are diverse: from jungle hikes and canopy tours to see wildlife to kayaking, surfing, horseback rides along the beach. Also available to guests are fair priced shuttles to take them to and from both international airports in Costa Rica (LIR & SJO).
Accommodation: There are a number of different options for accommodation, ranging from ocean-view rooms to eco-cottages and platform tents. Some rooms offer air conditioning, while others do not. All rooms except for the tents have safe boxes. Tent guests are encouraged to leave their valuables at the reception desk, where they will be locked up at no charge.
Photos from: Leslie Waugh
Pranamar Villas & Yoga Retreat
Location: In a prime beachfront location, facing onto the world famous Playa Santa Teresa, and minutes away from Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve.
What’s on Offer: Another winner of Tripadvisor’s 2013 Certificate of Excellence, Pranamar Villas & Yoga Retreat is well suited to yogis and yoginis seeking a luxurious experience. Pranamar hosts yoga retreats year round, ranging from 3 days to a week in duration. With world class surfing close by, Pranamar caters especially to yoga and surf retreats, though they also offer honeymoon and wedding packages. Pranamar’s refreshing saltwater pool is surrounded by lounge chairs, and hammocks hang under the palm trees to afford guests the opportunity for a beachside afternoon siesta. An onsite spa offers typical spa and bodywork treatments, done with 100% organic and local ingredients.
Nearby Santa Teresa is known for being a hip, upbeat place to visit, attracting surfers and other visitors from around the world. Area adventures include snorkeling, horseback rides, hiking, canopy tours, and several boat tours that depart from in and around Santa Teresa. Rainsong Animal Rescue Center is a popular tour choice.
Meals are included in most yoga retreats, though you should check the specific one you are interested in to be sure. Meals are provided Pranamar’s beautiful Buddha Eyes Restaurant, which specializes in delectably simple, locally sourced food—mainly vegetarian and seafood dishes. Buddha Eyes is open to the public as well, three meals a day, seven days a week.
Accommodation: Built using Costa Rican hardwoods and bamboo, Pranamar’s villas are sophisticated and luxe, while still retaining a tropical heartbeat. Guests can relax on an expansive veranda, or enjoy a soak outdoors surrounded by greenery in the open-air bathrooms. Each villa also has its own ocean view, a full kitchen, air conditioned bedrooms, mini bar fridge, and room safe. Complimentary WiFi can be accessed throughout the property. Pranamar also offers bungalows with air conditioning, security safes, and coffee makers for a lower price. Groups should check out Kula House.
Photos from: Pranamar Villas & Yoga Retreat
Location: Facing onto remote Playa Tamales in the Osa Peninsula, Blue Osa is steps away from world class surfing, and a stunning beach perfect for sunbathing and swimming. Nearby Corcovado National Park is a steamy jungle paradise, affording guests the potential for eco-adventures galore.
What’s on Offer: Blue Osa is a relatively new construction, popping up within the last few years. It is a luxurious full-service resort, providing guests with three full meals per day, focusing on gourmet farm-to-table vegetarian fare, though they serve meat at the evening meal.
As well as offering an extensive list of year-round yoga retreats featuring varied styles of yoga, and yoga teacher trainings, individuals and families are very much welcome at Blue Osa. Blue Osa offers individuals the opportunity to personalize their stay. One of their most unique opportunities, different from other yoga experiences in Costa Rica, is the opportunity to volunteer with the Osa Conservation Center to help conserve Olive Ridley and Pacific Green turtles.
Blue Osa’s Eco-spa uses ingredients from the surrounding rainforest and local environment in their treatments, ranging from acupuncture, to skin care, to body wraps, and reflexology.
A large lap pool, surrounded by deck chairs to relax and unwind is at the heart of the resort, and the nearby hardwood-floored yoga pavilion is accessible to all guests.
The Osa Peninsula is a prime location for adventure tours, and guests can partake in excursions ranging from a 70 foot climb up a giant Strangler Fig in the rainforest, to a heartwarming visit to the OSA Wildlife Sanctuary, located across the Golfo Dulce, where guests can take a guided tour of the grounds where founder Carol Patrick and her monkey Sweetie rehabilitate sloths, monkeys, birds, and many other types of wildlife.
Accommodation: Blue Osa is self-sustaining, and runs on solar power, so there is no air conditioning offered at the resort. Guests are also unable to use hair dryers, though charging cameras and other small devices is okay. Rooms are cleanly furnished, with mosquito nets draped above the beds, equipped with ceiling fans, reading lamps, room safes, and complimentary WiFi. Guests may also request a transfer from Puerto Jimenez, for a fee.
Photos from: Blue Osa Yoga Retreat & Spa
Pura Vida R&R Resorts
Location: Situated in the mountains above Alajuela, with a stunning view of the Central Valley, Pura Vida R&R Resorts feels like a world all its own.
What’s on Offer: Pura Vida offers retreats specializing in yoga, life management, meditation, alternative medicine, and personal growth, throughout the year, as well as regularly offering teacher trainings, and anytime three-night, five-night, and seven-night packages that includes spa treatments, daily yoga classes, meals, and accommodation. Pura Vida’s Pure Life Cleanse is a seven-night guided cleanse, complete with yoga classes, healing spa therapies, and supplements to help guests rebalance their lives, and bodies.
The peaceful location above Costa Rica’s Central Valley affords stunning day and night views of the valley below and of Irazu Volcano to the south. Pura Vida’s four yoga halls can accommodate groups up to eighty attendees. The onsite spa specializes in holistic and clinical bodywork, with other regular spa fare and healing treatments also available on the menu.
The resort’s centralized location is great for those guests wishing to do day trips. Nearby Volcan Poas is a beauty, with a milky turquoise pool to be seen at its summit. Close by coffee plantations also host tours, and the hot springs at Arenal are just a two and a half hour commute to visit.
Accommodation: Pura Vida’s accommodations vary from eco-friendly “tentalows”, set in the gardens of the resort, to standard rooms, and the elegant Lila and Pagoda suites. Bottled water is available in rooms, and at the bar, and free WiFi can be accessed throughout the property.
Photos from: Pura Vida R&R Resorts
Location: Off the beaten path, way out in the jungle, in the middle of a blissful, peaceful, no-man’s-land, right next door to a world renowned site for spotting wildlife, Corcovado National Park.
What’s on Offer: Luna Lodge’s location, set amongst lush rainforest, high in the mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean, gives guests an opportunity to wake up with the birds, and the sunrise. Here, howler monkeys are your morning alarm. A hardwood yoga deck overlooks thick vegetation, and further off in the distance, the ocean. Guests can practice yoga in the glow of the sunset, and really have the opportunity to realign with nature. Owner Lana has a number of sustainable initiatives that can be found on Luna Lodge’s website, along with a year-round retreat schedule.
Ideally situated for guests to explore the rainforest around them, guests can explore the trails on the grounds, visit a nearby waterfall, or hike into Corcovado to a nature-lovers dream location, La Sirena ranger station. Also available are surfing lessons, horseback rides along the beach and through the rainforest, and gold panning tours with a seasoned guide.
Luna Lodge’s has a natural rock pool, and a large restaurant, El Eclipse Total, that features exotic dishes, prepared from natural local ingredients. The spa has a wide range of treatments available, and Luna Lodge even offers Latin dance classes for anyone interested.
Accommodation: With three options for guests to choose from, tents, standard hacienda style rooms, and the upscale thatched-palm roof bungalows, there is something for every guest here. Up in the mountains, air conditioning is not required. All rooms except the tents have private baths.
Pavones Yoga Center
Location: In Pavones, on the southern Pacific Coast, with an expansive view across the Golfo Dulce, and just a short ride away from world class surfing in Pavones.
What’s on Offer: Pavones Yoga Center offers public classes, as well as private teachings and retreats. Yoga styles offered are mainly variations of Vinyasa, with one slow class, and one mantra class, offered per week. They also offer a 200-hour yoga teacher training program.
Many guests choose to partake in surfing lessons in town, and the onsite spa is a fantastic place to relax.
Accommodation: Villas are elegant and beautiful, with large balconies boasting incredible views, and an open air living room where guests can sit and enjoy their environment.
Photos from: Leslie Waugh
Hacienda del Sol
Location: Between the beautiful Northern Pacific beaches of Nosara and San Juanillo, on the Nicoya Peninsula.
What’s on Offer: Hacienda del Sol offers a variety of detox, cleansing, and wellness retreats, ranging in length from 7 to 21 nights long. Set in the heart of the tropical dry forest, this is a wellness center—no smoking or alcohol is permitted on the premises. The closest town with a beach bar is a forty minute drive away.
Hacienda del Sol offers guest the opportunity to give their body and soul an overhaul. Their three room wellness spa has a variety of treatments to choose from, and a stay at the hotel entitles guests to wellness activities including yoga, meditation, and hikes. A large chemical-free saltwater pool gives guests a chance to relax, and complimentary Wi-Fi is available in common areas.
The open air restaurant serves up a delicious a la carte vegan menu made with fresh local ingredients, and brimming with nutrients, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. The menu varies depending on each guest’s specific wellness program and goals.
Nearby tours that guests can sign up for include surf lessons, horseback riding, turtle viewing, and kayaking expeditions.
Accommodation: Casitas are simple but nicely appointed, with screened windows, ceiling fans, opean air baths complete with environmentally friendly shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and cream, and private decks with hammocks.
Photos from: Hacienda del Sol