I recently celebrated a BIG birthday and thought Costa Rica – with it’s hot weather, beautiful beaches, yoga-centric hotels, and flight accessibility (5 hour direct flight from NYC) – was a perfect fit.
Costa Rica has two main airports, but I opted to fly into Liberia (vs San Jose) since it was closer to my two destinations: Tamarindo and Nosara. There are multiple direct flights offered, and I am a big fan of the JetBlue options. While Costa Rica is still developing, it has long been a popular destination with Europeans and North Americans, and prices are on the rise. Products – from restaurants to the grocery store to airport transportation (consider renting a car instead) – will still cost you just like any other vacation destination, so be ready for that (some people are surprised by this as you can see on various travel forums). You can pay in either US or local currency, bank machines are accessible. You also have a lot of choice on accommodation from hotels, house rentals, yoga retreats…one quick look at Trip Advisor will have you rich with options! There are also an abundance of activities that literally can be arranged anywhere from surfing, yoga, horseback riding, ATVing, hiking, zip lining, jungle exploration, and more, so get ready to get your adventure on and embrace the Pura Vida lifestyle.
Tamarindo: Popular tourist town closest to LIR airport, but still about an hour drive. There are an abundance of hotels in or around the area, as well as restaurants and shops in town (which is very safe). Some of the giants are near here – like the Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton – but since they are a bit further away, it’s really resort based and you might like to be closer to the action. I enjoyed the smaller Cala Luna Boutique hotel, which is small, chic and 5 minutes out of town so you can easily walk or bike there. It’s nothing over the top, but offers lovely accommodation, pool & ocean access, yoga, and good dining.
Pit stop: I made a one night stop at the Azul Ocean Club located on a remote beach, located in between Tamarindo and Nosara, but it was really nice to have some time away from everything, and the food was delicious. The houses were great too, prefect for families, but some may find it too remote.
Nosara: Finally…Yoga time! This area, while still touristy, is less crowded and offers some of the best beaches in Costa Rica, like Playa Guiones, and is also a haven for many renowned yoga retreats. (Nearby Samara is supposed to be gorgeous too!) My two picks for yoga are:
Blue Spirit: Study yoga, meditation or yoga teacher training while perched on a hilltop that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and a three-mile long white sand beach that is protected as a turtle refuge. Blue Spirit is located in one of the world’s Blue Zones© which inspired the name Blue Spirit. Retreats run throughout the year with instructors from around the World, so visit their website for upcoming events.
Bodhi Tree Resort: Located in the foothills of Nosara and is a short walk from the world class surfing beaches of Guiones. Offering world class yoga and pilates studios, dining, gym, spa, juice bar and boutique. Retreats updated monthly.