Ahoy there to all you devotees of enlightenment & followers of freedom!
Welcome to the Travel section of this truly lovely and enlightening ‘Easy Breezy Way’ Lifestyle magazine.
This is your travel guru Jordi Levinrad coming to you live from a high-soaring aircraft bound for Maui Hawaii. This month we are talking about ‘Mindfulness’, and how to fully latch onto that which is already inside you: Achieving a more enlightened, destressed and peaceful mind, body and spirit. A mind that focusses on the elements of positivity around you instead of that dark stifling negativity. A body that you work hard to keep in shape so that it, in-turn, looks after you, and a spirit that embraces faith in the Universe in order to starve its fears. These are within absolute reach of every one of us. They’re totally attainable if you so decide.
In one’s attempt to “cleanse” oneself, if you will, one may remain in the comfort of one’s own home and do some yoga, meditate, stretch, read, train, rest, and so on. However, the ability to disconnect from your daily life’s distractions will be hard-pressed and limited. Alternatively, and of course more favorably in my opinion, is that many of us have realized the value in taking classes abroad. A trip away. A journey to a foreign place. A horizon broadening adventure complete with everything one needs to truly escape, switch off, and reconnect with oneself. I have decided to discuss the gorgeous country of ‘Costa Rica’ and 2 very special even Utopian Yoga Retreats there with exemplary ratings and competitive prices that I know can provide that escape.
Why do I pick Costa Rica? There are wonderful retreats on American soil and countries like Mexico, etc... Well, for starters there’s the expression: “PURA VIDA MAI”. This is the staple Costa Rican expression similar to the Hawaiian “Mahalo” because, like this term, it is used broadly and frequently. Literally translated it means “Pure Life”, attributed to the fantastically positive, warm and hospitable local’s ability to live life purely and to the fullest degree. Enjoy Pure Life. It’s a wonderful expression and you will receive plenty love from the locals when you say it to them. Costa Rica is a severely underrated land of delicious food, howling monkeys, great surf, and top-notch accommodation, and it is my pleasure to recommend it for your introspective getaway.
I’ve had the extreme pleasure of visiting Costa Rica twice and both times I managed to extend my trip after the work was done and stay in an incredible little surfing village called ‘Tamarindo’ on the West coast. Each evening everyone along the beach stops what they’re doing and stares for a while at the utterly mesmerizing sunset before carrying on with their lives.
To get to Tamarindo, logistically, you would fly into Liberia Airport, NOT San Jose. Landing there means you’ll avoid a very long bus ride to get to Tamarindo (applause please). Around 1-hour instead 5 or 6 hours in length from the San Jose Airport. Tamarindo is pretty popular amongst international visitors and with that comes the higher prevalence of English speaking people available to help you find your way if needed.
Do what I did and go to the beach, find a restaurant called ‘Latitude Blue’ and order a deliciously cold cocktail/beer, slide your toes into the sand, and when your freshly prepared lemon-drenched ceviche arrives, look out onto the water and let the sound of the waves pull you in. Once the night arrives, you can ask any local where the party is because in Tamarindo each night of the week kinda belongs to a specific venue that has their /busy night party. I had an amazing night there at a nightclub/bar called ‘El Garito’ where a superb percussionist played his heart out alongside a groovy DJ spinning scintillating electronic house music. What a night indeed! Checkout the venue’s Facebook group for their gig guide.
Tamarindo’s surfing is also amazing so take a class, or book a gorgeous sunset Catamaran Cruise with an open bar and sip your adult beverage while your eyes water at the sublime scenery surrounding you.
Accommodation is not expensive with the US Dollar either. I like to stay in very economic places after leaving the luxury of the hotels that I am often stationed at. I have stayed at hostels all over the world using booking.com or hostelworld.com and Costa Rica is no different. I found a safe and comfortable hostel there for as little as $30 per night! These are nice because you share dorms and meet other travelers instead of being cooped up in a private hotel room – perfect for those socially inclined like myself. There are obviously also fantastic beachside hotels if you want those… otherwise try Airbnb.com for some truly local flavor. When I stayed at my hostel, I met about 6 other single travelers and we all went to the beach together the next day and partied the night away under the unpolluted starry night-sky.
You can most certainly achieve some exceptional escapism by going to ‘Tamarindo’ and having an adventure there, but where pure soul-enchantment is achieved is when you go to a Yoga Retreat.
The ‘Panacea de la Montana’ in Tamarindo is reviewed on Tripadvisor so positively that 95% of the reviews are 5-star. In English, ‘Panacea de la Montana’ means “a remedy for all ills. A cure-all. A solution for all life’s difficulties”. You may come solo, with a partner, or in a group. Situated close to the beach but far from the vibey town center, this Yoga Retreat will delight your senses and free your mind.
You may come for just a day and enjoy the amenities the property offers such as soul-quenching yoga classes, or stay for the 4-day or even 7-day visit. The 4-day trip starts at around $780 and includes daily yoga classes, 3 daily meals, and shuttle rides to the beach. The 7-day starts at $1300 and includes the aforementioned as well as 1 volcanic mud treatment and a healing reflexology session. The beauty of this retreat is its accessibility. It’s a simple 1-hr bus ride from Liberia International airport and right in Tamarindo, so I’d recommend staying in a hostel/hotel after or before your retreat experience to acclimate (or should I say Acclimatize). Checkout their website here.
Another stunning retreat with rave reviews is the ‘Anamaya Resort’ in Montezuma. Its tucked away and quite the mission to get to, but the staff there are extremely good at booking transport for you and there is in-depth advice on their website.
This place seems to have everything from Jacuzzi’s and night-time beach-bonfires, to ATV riding and an infinity pool. Enjoy an invigorating candle-lit yoga class on the famous yoga deck built on a cliff-edge which overlooks the ocean, and then enjoy a perfectly chef-cooked dinner for good measure. All of the food made there is extremely healthy because you can’t have a healthy mind if it’s enclosed within a body filled with fried food. Anamaya’s visitors are recorded on their website, some of them bursting into tears, about how many friends they made, and how they were able to reconnect with themselves in ways they never thought possible. The 7-day package starts at around $1000 but this excludes alcoholic beverages and the yoga classes.
I’ve been to Costa Rica on 2 separate visits but it only takes a minute to feel the genuine warmth and hospitality on all the faces I saw. It was inspiring and gives that land so much comfort, magic and appeal. Costa Rica also carries an unmistakable air of carefree happiness which drastically heightens one’s quest for mindfulness and reconnection with their mind, body and spirit, whether visiting a retreat or not.
So I hope you appreciated this piece on Costa Rica. Please reach out to me directly for personalized travel advice and tips on other stunning destinations.
This is your favorite South African saying thanks and stay “lekker”…
Your Easy Breezy Way Travel Guru, Jordi