Searching for Wellness in one of the world’s greenest and happiest countries

In the 1950’s, the concept of wellness was defined as the correct functioning of the human body and the capacity to work and achieve self-fulfillment.  It is the lifestyle through which our potential, as human beings, is taken to its maximum, physically, mentally and spiritually. The wellbeing of people has to go further than the actual idea of health that our world has.

Costa Rica is the ideal destination for wellness: with untouched lush nature in abundance and easy access to such, it is very easy to disconnect from a stressful lifestyle in many different parts of the country. From spa centers and thermal waters to wellness-oriented hotels, the options are many. There are also wellness packages offered as weekend escapes or as health programs focused on improving life quality. Wellness tourism is a preventive aid to relieve work stress, which according to the World Health Organization, is a global epidemic.

At the end of the article we list recommended travel agencies, among which Ara Tours, Swiss Travel and Tam Travel offer complete wellness packages that include nature, yoga, thermal waters, spa treatments, healthy home-made meals and meditation areas.  

Imagine a walk through the rainforest: surrounded by ever extending shades of green, treetops that seem to grow as you go, aromas of flowers and freshly rained earth, the sound of a few bird calls and way back, you hear the flow of water on rocks. As you immerse yourself, the heat rises, and you can really feel the jungle. After a while of being in nature, perhaps having already spotted a small mammal or a few monkeys, the sound of falling water increases.

You arrive at an opening and there it is: a waterfall! Water is splashing and flowing in many directions. The energy it provides is positive. Your tired hot body does not even question jumping into the small pool where the water gathers. Dipping in cold freshness, your temperature immediately changes. The vasodilation of the skin reverses and your circulation redirects to internal organs. Just like in a sauna, the benefits of a walk in the forest and a dip in a river or waterfall pond are many. Such experiences will focus your mind’s awareness towards your natural surroundings, work and then relax your muscles, and revitalize your spirit!

There is a meditative aspect in the way that water falls through the air, ending in a dispersive splash at the bottom of some rocks or more water. The infinite flow of movement invites our eyes and mind to zone out. With just a glance to this fluidity and textures, our bodies already enter a relaxation and a return to our roots.

In Costa Rica there is an abundance of waterfalls and rivers. Amongst the popular ones we have: La Fortuna, La Paz, San Gerardo, Nauyaca, del Ángel, and San Fernando. All have accessible trails and can guarantee a healthy and refreshing adventure. There are many smaller creeks and falls, it is just a matter of exploring. In any jungle or beach the possibility of finding a fresh water source always exists.

Meditating is simple, being close to a waterfall. By finding a comfortable place, closing your eyelids and focusing on your breathing, you can absorb the positive energy of such magical places. There is no correct way of meditating, it is a matter of letting go, which tends to be easier for the mind when surrounded by nature. The benefits of meditation are many: it enhances memory, develops emotional intelligence and empathy, alleviates stress and anxiety, reduces blood pressure, and increases happiness. Meditation by the water can be purifying and can help liberate stress. It is not exclusive to waterfalls; any body of water can increase mental, physical and spiritual balance and wellbeing.

Rainforest Adventures Costa Rica is a tour operator we recommend that can easily help you find wellness among their tours in the rainforest.

Costa Rica has amazing mountain locations with unique views, nature immersion experiences and diverse spa treatments for guests: Hacienda AltaGracia  Auberge Resorts Collection  in Pérez Zeledón, Buena Vista Lodge in Rincón de la Vieja, Casa Turire in Turrialba, Hotel Los Héroes in Arenal Lake and Río Celeste Hideaway Hotel. Many of these are close to rivers, lakes and waterfalls. Do not hesitate in exploring and finding these venues that can enhance your meditation and wellness during your visit.

Close to the beach we have Hotel Cristal Ballena in Uvita Beach and Karahé in Manuel Antonio beach, both of which have pools, spa services, healthy restaurants and are close to the ocean. Capitán Suizo receives an honorable mention, being one of the first boutique hotels in Tamarindo located in front of the bay.

The healing power of the ocean cannot be ignored: one look at the big blue and you can already breathe deeper and feel calmer. In Costa Rica we are blessed with endless miles of coast, most accessible and with pleasant water temperature. Although a few have more limited access, wild animals, rocks, and other dangers, there are many parts of the ocean that you should go swim and enjoy. A dip in the sea will benefit you: saltwater heals skin wounds and it also contains magnesium, which relaxes blood vessels and reduces inflammation.

There are also several wellness-oriented options in capital city San José: Apartotel Villas del Río, Barceló San José and Palma Real. The majority of these hotels have restaurants with healthy menus, pools, saunas, and gyms. They all have options that focus on beauty and health. Wyndham Garden Escazú, in the heart of San José, has an indoor pool, fitness center, and plenty amenities that will enable guests to have a relaxing and nourishing visit to the city. San José has also spa centers, nearby mountain hikes, and parks where visitors can enjoy urban nature.

On the other hand, we also offer yoga, usually associated with a more physical practice, but just like meditation, it focuses on reflection and contemplation.  Again, both are generally done in natural surroundings. Yoga tones the body, creates endurance and flexibility, reduces stress, brings calm, peace, and emotional stability, amongst many other advantages.

Imagine a wooden deck that extends over a lake, the calls of frogs, green and yellow palm trees, the sweet aroma of flowers, and a sense of tranquility that can be felt immediately as you enter this space. Zen arrives. Costa Rica provides such elements that are necessary to create this atmosphere that will take visitors to more meditative, relaxed mindsets. In the mountain as well as the coasts, there are a variety of yoga studios and classes that will definitely complement your experience.

For those seeking to combine their wellness trip with some adventure and sports, we recommend Místico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park. With birdwatching tours, nightwalks, volcano expeditions, and hanging bridge visits, your visit will be exciting, and you will be experiencing different aspects of nature.

 The best option to find all these wellness spots and relaxation areas is self-driving. Amongst the options we also have at the end of the article, we recommend Europcar and Solid Car Rental, so that your adventure and search for wellness is more comfortable and entertaining. There is nothing better than exploring this beautiful country at your own pace, with your own playlist on the speakers and the privacy of your own vehicle.

Among our affiliates, there are several travel agencies that can help you with your quest in finding wellness: Amadeus Travel Agency, Cast Costa Rica, Costa Rica for All, Discovery Travel, Just Costa Rica Travel and Vacation City.

A visit to CR can be a mix of experiences which will leave you happy, relaxed, and invigorated. Considering everyone is different, and having so many options, the trip can be personalized. Of course, the common theme of nature and relaxation are present, but tailoring your visit to your own interests is important. Meditating or practicing yoga in the mountain versus the beach will nonetheless bring health to your mind and body. Take your time to choose where and how to relax, but make sure you immerse yourself in Costa Rica’s nature!