Yoga and Costa Rica go hand and hand these days. Many of its growing towns are now hot spots for tourists, volunteers, and yoga enthusiasts alike. If you’re head over heels for yoga and all of the wonderful benefits of the practice like we are, then Costa Rica is the place for you.
Like yoga, Costa Rica provides many different flavors when it comes to yoga experiences. From the hippy to the urban soul, Costa Rica has it all.
Check out some awesome spaces we discovered while driving around Costa Rica for two weeks while interviewing various studios from the Pacific to the Caribbean Coast.
West of San Jose | AmaTierra
Nestled on the side of a mountain roughly an hour drive down highway 27 west of San Jose you will find AmaTierra, the home of Bob and Jill Ruttenberg. Jill herself is a clinical herbalist, yoga instructor and massage therapist. Practicing since the 90’s, she says her passion has always been to help others. achieve balance, good health and achieve a sense of being part of the great mystery and beautiful miracle of life.
Between their yoga classes, massage sessions and herbal remedies anyone seeking a place to heal their body, mind and soul can find solace at AmaTierra. The guests come from around the world not only to practice yoga but experience a connection with nature and the rural Tico life.
Looking for meditation? Take a walk on one of the nature trails mapped out towards the bottom of the property. Any activity you choose is sure to bring a greater state of peace and relaxation to any visitor.
Puerto Viejo | Hidden Garden
Hidden Garden is a special place buried in the trees down an unmarked road. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, like my ragtag group, you’ll think you’ve run into someone’s home, but the circular housing of Hidden Garden is unmistakable. Rachel Thomas, who runs the wellness center is a woman of many talents. She is a Holistic Health Counselor, certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, has an honors degree from Brown University and 20 years of experience with alternative therapies.
Hidden Garden offers holistic counselling, botanical therapies and therapeutic bodywork. Rachel is extremely passionate about traditional Latino Medicine and actively works to preserve the ancestral knowledge of nature, plants and healthy living.
If you are looking to learn and go outside of the box to heal yourself, you’ve come to the right place.
Santa Juana | Santa Juana Lodge
One would never know that Santa Juana Lodge even exists if you didn’t know someone who went or perhaps have stayed in another one of Jim Damalas’ famous Greentique Hotels. Greentique Hotels are special in Costa Rica because they are committed to sustaining the environment and towns that surround their lodges. Their specific mission for Santa Juana is to protect native biodiversity through conservation and stewardship, promote sustainable practices in hotel and tour operations, create local employment, combine nature-based adventure with rural culture in guest engagements and responsibly expand rural/agro tourism to support local micro-enterprises.
If you are driving to Santa Juana you’ll blink and miss the town but before you even get there you’ll cross questionable bridges, friendly locals working on tree farms and a few rivers which you have to power through.
All of this adds up to make Santa Juana, in my opinion, one of the more spiritual places that we visited. You create your own practice here. Completely secluded from city life, you become one with the clouds and the sky. The decks overlook the entire landscape from Quepos, Manuel Antonio, and out to the Pacific Ocean. Meditation also becomes somewhat easier here as the rain, birds, and sunshine are your main distractions.
Jaco | Room2Board
Jaco…is an interesting town. If you want to be transported to a foreign city with many of the amenities of the USA, this town will deliver. It is one long road of shops, chain and local restaurants, bars, clubs, casinos, massage clinics and the occasional yoga spot sprinkled in.
Room2Board is a relatively new hostel created by Brian and designed by Lori, an Italian architect that provides a safe accommodation for young and social travellers alike. Be prepared, the bar is hopping most nights as there is a pool a few steps away and a plethora of space for drinking games. Although when you do wake up, hungover or not, Room2Board has yoga classes every day, sometimes even twice a day. Their rooftop area includes spaces for yoga classes equipped with views of the ocean, sunrise and sunset.
San Jose | Downtown Yoga
As the name hints, Downtown Yoga is located in downtown San Jose. Give yourself some time to find this studio as it is tucked away a bit; picture a mini New York and I swear to you it feels that way. Hole in the wall restaurants, bars and studios.
Downtown Yoga is special in many ways as it employees all Tico teachers who teach in Spanish, and the studio itself is located in one of the oldest buildings in San Jose. You can still see where children used to draw on the walls several layers of paint.
The studio also supports the local community by hosting group activities for students such as day hikes, bike rides and even art shows.
Manuel Antonio| Spa Holis
Another urban soul option is Manuel Antonio. Situated on top of a hill the town overlooks the Pacific Ocean, white sand beaches and it just so happens to be home to an incredibly urbanized but healing yoga studio, Spa Holis.
Spa Holis has anything an urban yogi could ever want from new age classes such as aerial and barre yoga to the more traditional vinyasa and hatha classes.
Need a bit more help reaching your full relaxation potential? Spa Holis is equipped with a full spa and also offers holistic and occupation therapy. Make sure to book ahead though as these appointments fill up fast!
Puerto Viejo |OM Yoga
The Caribbean side of Costa Rica is a whole different world. With its afro-Caribbean background and affinity for reggae music, you’re sure to see your fair share of dreadlocks, surfers and live music in this small beach town. It also lends itself to those who enjoy biking as the entire town extends along one straight road and several gorgeous beaches.
OM Yoga, owned by Avani Gilbert Ramirez, is a catch-all for wandering travellers looking to get their Zen on between hitchhiking and partying the night away. They offer a variety of classes including, restorative, yin, hatha, vinyasa and more.
Playa Tamales | Blue Osa
Blue Osa is the perfect blend of nature and comfort. Located 20 minutes or so away from the tiny town of Puerto Jimenez and backing up to the Gulfo Dulce, guests can choose between beach, pool or jungle to occupy their stay.
The open air yoga deck looks out towards the water while the howler monkeys and macaws serenade you from the jungle to the rear.
I think the best part about this resort is the energy of acceptance and tranquillity that any guest will tell you is palpable from the grounds to the staff. Also, if you are looking for jungle adventures they have tours ranging from morning nature hikes, waterfall rappelling, cacao tours and more.
El Castillo |Essence
This El Castillo hostel is definitely off the beaten path and a complete gem. They hold yoga each morning at 6:30 AM on their yoga deck that overlooks the forest and provides a humbling view of the Arenal Volcano.
Guests stay in regular rooms or standard tents with bunks in them, but you won’t be spending much time in them as there are so many hiking trails and things to see. At Essence alone you can walk a few different trails down to a river, up to the farm and pool or even further up the hill to get an even better view of the volcano and lake on a clear day.
There are also a number of tours that the staff can organize for you and your group including zip lining, canoeing, eco zoo tour, white water rafting and more.
When you’re ready to chill out, each evening the kitchen staff demos their vegetarian cooking prowess and invites guests to participate in food preparation.
San Ramon | Villa Blanca
Situated along a long and winding road that only leads to the resort, Villa Blanca offers the solitude most are looking for when it comes to a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation, but what Villa Blanca has to offer includes fine dining, spa services, numerous nature walks, yoga and a rich history. Perfect for the busy baby boomer or entrepreneurial millennial that has the money and time to disappear into the serenity of the cloud forest.
A BIG THANK YOU!
We would like to extend a big thank you to each of the facilities who allowed us to stay the night with them for this article.
About the Author
Sarah Barnes is a level 200 Registered Yoga Teacher, photographer, writer/blogger, communications professional, and owner of Modern Warrior Yoga. Sarah is an alumnus of Texas Tech University, where she graduated with an International Business and a Photo Communications degree. She recently left her job as the lead spokesperson for Sherwin Alumina Company to explore the world and is currently volunteering at Blue Osa as a blogger, photographer, and yoga instructor.