Guest post by Renee Tay
I’ve had the privilege of traveling to several countries around the world, but had never been to Central America. That is until I connected with Sedona Alvarez, Adzenture Retreats, and this great opportunity to arrive alone - but meet a group on a yoga retreat.
The organizers over at Adzenture Retreats do a great job of getting everyone prepared in advance of the retreat by creating a private Facebook group. A space where all the attendees are able to get to know one another prior to the trip, and discuss travel details. Through the Facebook group, two of the other attendees and I decided to arrive in Costa Rica a few days early (pro tip: airfare was actually more affordable arriving three days earlier, including the cost of our Airbnb accommodations, plus we had the pleasure of perusing the beautiful City of San José).
Upon arriving in San José, I was immediately struck by the warm and welcoming nature of Costa Ricans. From the airport staff, to our Uber driver - every person was inviting, courteous and extremely friendly.
Our Airbnb was centrally located in Barrio Escalante; a neighborhood known for its scenic boulevards and gastronomic offerings. We spent the next three days taking in the beautiful architecture of downtown San José, eating at delicious bistros and cute coffee shops, visiting Poás Volcano National Park, and touring a scenic coffee farm in Alajuela, just outside of the City of San José.
On the third day we united with the rest of the group and made the four-hour car trek to The Goddess Garden, a retreat center nestled on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica, arriving late into the evening.
In the morning we awoke to the unique serenade of howler monkeys, an appropriate soundtrack to the luscious jungle paradise that we would call home for the next six days. We gathered by the pool for coffee or tea, before our first yoga session at 8 am, in what became our morning routine for the week.
Our morning yoga took place in the yoga Shala; a breathtaking room with high ceilings, wrapped with windows that provided ample light and beautiful views of the Rainforest that surrounded us.
After morning yoga, we were able to nourish our bodies with a delicious breakfast of fresh tropical fruits and satisfying vegetarian options (as a carnivore, I must admit I never missed animal protein as the meals prepared for us by Chef Uens were incredible).
Throughout the week, Adzenture created a perfect balance of planned activities and flexible free time.
We had the honor of getting to visit the Bribri tribe, an indigenous tribe who call the Cordillera de Talamanca Limon home. We spent the entire day immersing ourselves in their culture, hiking their cacao plantation, and learning their traditional methods of chocolate production.
After our visit to the Bribri tribe, we took a mini hike to a secret waterfall. There are few experiences that compare to chasing waterfalls - practicing yoga at the foot of one, and taking a dip in a pool of cool, crystal-clear water afterwards to soothe your aching muscles, took that experience to a whole new level.
After all of the peaceful meditation and mindful yoga sessions, why not get the adrenaline pumping? On the fifth day of our retreat, we took a short trip to a zip-line track that cuts through the thick Costa Rican Rainforest. The only word I can find to describe that experience is EXHILARATING!
We ended our retreat with a final session of our intention setting workshop, followed by a
traditional cacao ceremony. The experience was truly remarkable.
I never thought a group of strangers could become bonded as quickly and strongly as our group did.
The peace and clarity that occurs when you are able to practice yoga, meditate and center your energy with a group of amazing individuals cannot be translated into words. Do yourself a favor and venture out and experience it for yourself.
Renee Tay is a photographer based out of Kansas City, Missouri. She specializes in family & children portraits, weddings, and travel!