If you follow us on Instagram, you know that this March we ended up with taking a spontaneous but very much needed trip to the eco-friendly and wellness heaven, Costa Rica. We know that it sucks for the environment to fly and have big goals of stepping down, but we still recognize the value of traveling and the fact that health always comes first. You can read more in this post why we felt the need to go on a trip for the body and mind. Luckily, we are able to combine work and personal purposes – and visit this eco-conscious country with a heart beating for sustainability. We visited two towns – Santa Teresa and Nosara – both were super charming in their way. We truly fell in love with the Pura Vida lifestyle.
[Post includes sponsored accomodation]
The Costa Ricans are known for being among the happiest and healthiest in the world, and the Nicoya Peninsula, where we were, is a famous Blue Zone – one of five spots in the world where people live the longest and healthiest.
It’s a long trip from Europe, and you will probably have to stay overnight near the airport in San José if your flight doesn’t match the ferry. To get all the way to Santa Teresa you need either another (mini)plane or a shuttle, a ferry and then another shuttle – which is why the town isn’t overcrowded with tourists.
88% of Costa Rica’s energy supply is from renewables
Santa Teresa is a very special town – basically a long dirt-road with lots of traffic, but once you get to know the small shops, restaurants, places and the beach it becomes more and more beautiful. It’s an amazing place for surfing, yoga, wellness and good food. You can tell that most of the people coming here are in for the wellness game, and it’s still not very touristic, which is so good. Most of the people we met were from the States.
NB! There are only two ATMs located at the far end of the dirt road, and there are a lot of spots that don’t accept cards – such as most accommodations and restaurants.
Lua Villas is a new, super charming and luxurious resort built into nature – which is really the style here. It’s located in Playa Hermosa, about 20 minutes’ drive from Santa Teresa. It’s right on the beach, and the best spot for surfing for beginners. They also have surfboards if you want to rent. You will stay in amazing small apartments with a fully equipped kitchen, a bathroom that has plants growing through an open roof, and wonderful beds. There is a big pool to cool off in, and the service is great – we had the manager on WhatsApp and he accommodated things like booking a taxi or getting information about what’s happening in town. Highly recommend this place if you want to stay a bit outside the city center, surf, and chill, but you will need to get a taxi, hire an ATV or hike to do things in Santa Teresa.
Yoga @ Nautilus Boutique Hotel
Nautilus hotel offers the best yoga in town with different teachers every morning and evening. We tried kundalini, vinyasa, and hatha, and the teachers are super talented. It’s such a good combination with surfing and will give you a good sweat in the jungle deck (with a fan). Tammy, the kundalini teacher offers a super spiritual class where you learn how to connect with your breath, and she designs each class based on what day it is on the Mayan calendar. We had yoga on earth day where we meditated for prosperity, and on wind day where the focus was to connect with spirit. Below the jungle deck, you find the most wonderful plant-based café, Olam.
Olam Pure Foods
Olam is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day except Sunday. They have lots of exotic smoothie options and are very accommodating of allergies such as gluten. We tried the vegan and gluten-free Olam Pizza, the Power of Cacao smoothie, the Jungle Monster smoothie, coconut water and the Hippy Pancakes. They also serve local kombucha for around 3 dollars. What a gem!
Johanna Van Parijs’s art studio and massage
We stumbled upon Johanna’s art studio when we were strolling in town and were drawn into her little shop full of malas, handmade clothing, jewelry, natural fragrance sprays, and a sign that said, “crystal healing and massage”. We were quick to book after the shopkeeper explained that Johanna heals people through using crystals, and that she can pick up people’s issues and what they need to work on through a treatment. What an experience! She is super intuitive and designs each massage specifically for your needs. She places crystals different places on your body and uses a lot of incenses (?) to awaken all your senses. After the thorough massage, she tells you everything she has experienced with your body and soul and gives you truly life-changing advice. Make sure to book her if you’re in town and know that she is super popular!
Adi Mayer’s cleanse
We were recommended Adi’s cleanse by Johanna Van Parijs and met her for an explanation of her 3-5 day cleanse with Costa Rican medicinal plants. Since she was 14, she has had a love for plants and herbs, and their healing effect and she has seen so many people work their way through health struggles by beginning with a cleanse and then following up with her 28-day meal plan. Her food philosophy is in line with Medical Medium (google him), which is basically that fruits and vegetables have powerful healing techniques because they are alive. We did a five-day cleanse, which you can read more about in a post coming soon. She definitely helped us renew our relationship with food, to value each and every single ingredient in the cleanse, and to have a look at whether or not the things we were currently eating were good for our bodies. We will make a whole post dedicated to the cleanse for those interested. Luckily for us, she also guides cleanses long-distance.
Nosara is a village further north, and Playa Guiones where we stayed, is smaller, more luxurious, secluded and equally as wellness oriented as Santa Teresa. It’s also located on the Nicoya Peninsula and is a 6-hour drive from Santa Teresa. Apparently, its considered the Beverly Hills of Costa Rica.
The town is very eco-conscious and we didn’t see a single plastic straw, but it’s definitely not perfect. There is a lot of trash along the roads, and they are struggling with managing to recycle. Please remember your influence as a tourist – there is SO much we can do like always making your choices based on what’s best for the locals, bringing a tote bag to the store, buy water in big quantities, doing a beach cleanup, hiking or driving in groups instead of getting a car, recycling and choosing to spend your money at eco-friendly places.
We are so impressed by Olas Verdes’ (green waves in English) investments in the environment. They strive to be a zero-waste hotel and are powered by almost 100% renewable energy. They are proud to be one of the most sustainable hotels in Central America, and the first LEED Platinum certified hotel in Central Amerika, which you can read more about here. Olas Verdes is all about protecting the local economy, and take a stance by only employing locals, only sourcing local materials for the building and decor. We were able to use the tap water in the hotel due to the rinsing system they have installed and were met with refillable bottles as a gift in our room. The only thing we missed was proper recycling in the room – currently, there was no separate bin for plastic and paper. Anyways, a smiling and super kind staff helped us with anything we needed, and it’s worth a visit for sure! See more here.
Safari Surf School
Safari Surf School truly strives to be the most sustainable surf school in the world, a practice they incorporated since the very beginning when they collected used frying oil from restaurants to fuel their surf-van. Today, you can donate school supplies to the local schools through the surf school, they are proudly STOKE Certified, support Nosara Wildlife Refuge, and the local environmental protection program Costas Verdes. Such kind, inspiring and amazing people who proudly committ to important social and environmental matters. And most importantly – we actually had the best surf lesson of our entire lives with Dani!
Others worth visiting in Santa Teresa:
- Café Social
- Green World
- The bakery
Others worth visiting in Nosara:
- Nosara Organics
- Robins Café – good food but to be honest service was really disappointing
- Living Hotel (restaurant)