Finding Pura Vida in Costa Rica

Photos By: Christoph Benfey

Costa Rica is becoming a hotspot for music festivals. This past February we were able to visit two back to back. Bamboo Bass took place in the jungles of Jaco February 16th-18th and Envision took place the following weekend just minutes from the beach in Uvita. Both provided a majestic experience but were also very exhausting and full of constant movement. With all the noise and excitement it was also hard to take a moment to stop and truly realize the Costa Rican way of life, or what they call Pura Vida.

This is not only a phrase that the natives use to say hello, goodbye, everything is great, and many sayings in between, it is a way of life for them. Similar to Hakuna Matata, it essentially means no worries. It is a lifestyle choice that focuses on the positive, being thankful for what you have, and not to dwelling on the negative. While I had many wonderful experiences my first few weeks in Costa Rica, I had very limited time to reflect and truly embrace the Pura Vida lifestyle.

So after Envision, I took a trip up to the mountains to decompress and reflect on the truly transformational time I had the past few weeks. Vida Mountain, an idyllic resort set amongst the mountains of San Ramon in Costa Rica. For three days I attended a post-Envision Festival retreat. As soon as I arrived, I knew I was in for a treat. On one side there are rolling green hills, and on the other side is a misty view of the Pacific Ocean. It was here that I was able to truly understand and embody Pura Vida.

The entire property features breathtaking views of the natural beauty all around. Sleeping arrangements include cabins, apartments, poolside villas, and even full homes that can be rented out. There are countless amenities like an infinity pool, a full-service spa, an immaculate onsite dining facility, a picturesque tea room, a vegetable garden, and many activities available in the surrounding area. Whether you want to decompress after a long few days of festing or simply want to extend your Costa Rican vacation a little longer, Vida Mountain resort is the perfect place for you.

Heal Your Body

Need to relax? You can take a dip in the infinity pool while you sip on a coconut. Take in the gorgeous view and a few sun rays by grabbing a chair or sitting on one of the outdoor couches poolside. There are tons of places to relax. Read a book in their tea room which has panoramic views of the mountains and shoreline. Get your nails done in their spa after you take a nice session in their steam room. Muscles ache? The resort can even set up a therapeutic ice bath for you. There is a full range of treatments and spa amenities that can be arranged to help whatever ails you.

Feed Your Soul

The best part of this retreat? The food was included! No worrying about cooking or choosing where to eat. Everything was made fresh in their onsite kitchen using local organic ingredients. The last night they even transformed the tea room with a long table and cushions for an extra special dining experience. From nutritious smoothie bowls in the morning to hearty shrimp curry for dinner, the food here will fill your stomach and feed your soul. GreenHut Whole Foods Eatery made sure our plates were filled with delicious and savory ingredients. They also provided a plethora of snacks like fresh fruit and nuts throughout the day. All three days our bellies were full of delicious and restorative meals.

Find Your Balance

Yoga is at the heart and soul of this place. They have a state of the art studio with all the equipment you could think of. During the retreat, we practiced twice a day. While I was there we completed chakra yoga, which involved opening up your seven different charkas from the root to the crown. The exercise was a great opportunity to stretch my muscles and begin to restore my body from days of dancing and sleeping on the jungle floor. After each yoga session, we ended with a twenty-minute meditation. This gave me to time to truly be calm and retrospect on my journey through the jungle. 

We even took time at the end of one session to work on our headstands. While I have not quite mastered this pose yet, this retreat provided me with useful exercises to get that much closer to achieving a headstand, considered the king of yoga poses.

Free Your Mind

Just outside the yoga studio is a grassy knoll perfect for taking a moment of relaxation. On the final day of the retreat, we all shared in a meditation circle at sunset. As the sky fell, brilliant pinks, oranges, and purples filled the sky around us. The area is perched on a hill that overlooks the ocean. On a clear day, you can see the blue coastline of the Pacific. Sitting upon the mountain with nothing but nature surrounding us gave us the ultimate moment of reflection. I was able to breathe in all the positive and out the negative during this quiet time as the natural beauty encompassed us.

Once we finished, a fire dancer entered our circle, but this was no typical fire show. By the end we were all dancing amongst the flames, chanting, and letting our animalistic side out. It was an incredibly freeing experience that I won’t soon forget. The sky is truly the limit with what you can see or experience at Vida Mountain.

Keep your calendar marked for the Vida Mountain post-Envision retreat next February. In the meantime, you can see what events and retreats they have coming up or even plan a vacation of your own by checking out their website.

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