Costa Rica had been on my list of places to travel for quite some time, however, the opportunity to travel there never presented itself. Not until, one of my friends (thanks Meleah) asked me and our other mutual girl friends to join her for a Yoga Retreat. I don’t know if she had me at Costa Rica or Yoga Retreat or the fact that it was an all girls’ trip (something I had not been on in a long while) but it was enough to get me excited. Now, after having traveled to Costa Rica with my three amazing friends- I truly believe that this trip was meant to happen in exactly the way that it did.
El Sabanero Eco Lodge was the setting for our 5 nights and 6 days of simple/pure living or as the locals call it- Pura Vida. The lodge was far away from any city in a small village in Guanacaste, about 20 minutes from Tamarindo beach. Owned by two very sweet Austrian brothers in their 70s (I think), it had all the basic amenities. But along with the amenities and yoga and all the delicious food made by an outstanding in house chef- it also had a lot of wildlife. From bats to iguanas to howler monkeys to things that came on my front porch every night after I went to bed- it was as close to a jungle life as I would want to get. 🙂
Going back to the food though. And by food, I mostly just mean the fruits that were amazing! I distinctly remember my first bite into a banana that first morning that we were there and how incredibly delicious it was- a banana! I was so in awe of it, not to mention all the yummy papayas, pineapples and mangoes we had on this trip as well. We all know how locally sourced produce is so good for you- hence, the farm to table concept. Well, I learned first hand that not only is locally sourced produce good for you, it tastes pretty damn amazing too- the lodge had their own banana trees where these delicious bananas came from, which made total sense after I tasted them.
Aside from the couple of excursions that we took (that somehow led us to poisonous snakes and lightening strikes in the middle of the ocean), we had a schedule that was laid out for us to follow- morning coffee/fruits, Yoga, full breakfast, activity of your choice, evening Yoga, dinner and then retiring to our rooms. Rooms with no phone, no TV or any source of entertainment- just you and your pura vida. We also went on a silent meditation walk into the jungle which was very peaceful until the howler monkeys gave us all a scare with their loud roars.
There were couple of hikes that we did leading to popular waterfalls- one of which left us pretty speechless! We went to a sloth ‘farm’, where we saw baby sloths, we went to a local beach and watched the waves, shopped at cute little local stores, ate at local restaurants and walked a LOT. From the interesting looking Yoga instructor in the morning whose Yoga style was very different than what we were used to to the lovely ladies we met from across the country- this trip was truly unforgettable, in the most amazing way. It taught me to just ride the wave of life. I went in with the expectation of seeing this and doing that but by the end of the trip I was open to ‘whatever’ (thanks Jeka for teaching me the power of whatever :)) I don’t want to call this a once in a lifetime experience because I want to go on a yearly trip with my friends that are more like sisters to me now, to experience life in a little different way.
A few years ago, I had heard a podcast with a Costa Rican surfer who had lost his leg in a surfing accident, talking about his life and all he had accomplished since the accident. Interestingly, this surfer kept using the term ‘pura vida’ after almost every sentence. I didn’t quite understand why he kept using the term over and over again. Not until I got to Costa Rica. I learned that Pura Vida is not just a term for pure life- it is the way of life. It is used for saying ‘all’s well’, ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘good luck’ and for anything & everything in between.
Pura Vida, friends!!!