Sunday, November 28, 2010

Costa Rica - Tips and Treasures

Our View
Hola!  I've been out of the blogging space for a bit as I was giving thanks and celebrating life in Costa Rica.  What a beautiful country.  This was my second trip to this eco-conscious, splendid gem in Central America.  As always, Costa Rica has left me breathless and taught me some wonderful life lessons.  As many of my readers know, I am constantly in a tug-of-war with my life's balance between what I do for a living and what I hold true as my core beliefs.  Visiting Costa Rica not only provided me with a relaxing vacation but a time to reflect on what is important and where my future should be.  Who wouldn't be able to find clarity and focus when this was the view every evening? More on my developing future in coming blogs...........How's that for a cliff hanger?
As I mentioned, Costa Rica is a special place so I wanted to take this blog and dedicate it to some of the wonderful business and people that you may be interested in should you decide to visit. The eco consciousness of the country is remarkable - recycling bins are common at bus stops and other areas of the cities where you would normally just see a trash can. The beaches are clean, the air is fresh, and their is a true respect for nature that can be felt by the locals.

I like to stay in the Guanacaste area on the Pacific side of the country.  We stay in Playa Hermosa which is a great little beach town offering good scuba diving but my future ventures will definitely settle further south into the Nicoya peninsula.  We travelled by car over many miles on unpaved roads down what would be equivalent to California's Pacific Coast Highway.  In between dodging cows, horses, and holes we were treated to unbelievable views of the Pacific Ocean.

As I grew up on the west coast I have
Nature, Pure, Untouched
seen the Pacific is all her glory from many great vantage points but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw in Costa Rica - unspoiled, uncrowded, natural, and pristine.

Urban Eclectic

We travelled down to Tamarindo. Tamarindo is a surfer, tourist town.  For travellers who don't want to be too remote, Tamarindo offers great restaurants, surf camps, and tons of shopping. In fact I came across a wonderful jewelry artist named Tricia.   A Los Angeles transplant, she creates really unique pieces that are one of a kind.  You can check out her stuff at   I wanted to buy everything in her store!

I was right at home with all the Californians in Tamarindo.  We had some great Cali-Rican food at Eat at Joe's.  Joe is a real guy who runs Witch's Rock Surf Camp. A common theme among the transplanted people I met all over Costa Rica, Joe came down to Costa Rica ten years ago, fell in love with it and move down from Cali.  They have the only surf camp in Tamarindo with accommodations on the beach.  I knew I was suppose to "Eat at Joes" when I saw that "parking was reserved for Chargers fans"!

We continued our drive from Tamarindo to Nosara to visit my friend Joy, her hunny Marco, and their beautiful new baby girl.  I met Joy when she was hosting a yoga/raw food retreat.  Her company, Inward Bound, is dedicated to providing retreats focusing on yoga, food, and awareness.  Whether you are looking for yoga, yoga/surf, yoga/surf/raw, raw cleanse, or any other combination of retreat look no further than Inward Bound.  Joy, true to her name, is a joyful yoga instructor and a wealth of knowledge in terms of nutrition, raw and otherwise.  Once you attend one of her retreats you will be spoiled for all others!!!  Joy has a wonderful way of sharing her gifts through yoga. It's hard to describe but she has such a calming and welcoming nature that is contagious. You'll feel like your are doing yoga and learning about raw food with friends rather than feeling the structure of a typical retreat.  When passing through Costa Rica also be sure to check out The Yoga House which Joy is involved in.  And, if you are looking to improve your espanol definitely check Nosara Spanish Institute run by our friend Marco.  Believe me, after visiting the Nosara area you will want to move so you'll need to know your Spanish!

Don't let anyone find out that the surf is off the chain in Playa Guiones!
Playa Guiones is one of the most gorgeous beaches and villages in the Nosara area. I hesitate to even advertise how great it is because I never want it to become crowded!!  A true raw paradise I was overwhelmed at the amount of raw offering in the area.  As we drove through, people were walking around with their yoga mats and sipping juice.  The whole village looked like a self contained retreat center!  One really cool place we ate at was The Harmony Hotel.  What a sacred space - from the restaurant to the gardens this place exhumed the definition of peacefulness. They offer more than just a hotel room. The boast a full menu of healing services including spa, massage, yoga, and more in an eco-friendly environment.

Heather conquering Rio Colorado
For adventure, we took part in white water kayaking on the Rio Colorado.  This was our second trip on the river and both times we use the outfitters through Haciendda Guachipeli.  There are amazing views all up and down the river.  It's hard to paddle because the scenery is so great you just want to look around!  The scuba diving is best if you are an experienced diver and can go out to some of the "rougher" seas to witness the whale sharks and the manta rays (who have a wing span of 20 feet!!).  My oldest daughter was diving with us so we chose shallower reef dives as this was her first big ocean dive experience.  Still beautiful we saw moray eels, eagle rays, tropical fish, lobsters, sea urchins, and lots of needle fish!

As our Costa Rica adventure came to an end we were sad to be leaving this incredible place and already formulating our plans to return and possibly buy a home there so we can go back whenever we need the renewing and healing power that CR offers. Pura Vida!

Heather diving at Los Meadows