Here are 5 ways to heal your mind, body and soul in the happiest place on earth.
Posted in , Jul 14, 2015
Wouldn’t you like to visit the Happiest Place in the World?
Just last year Costa Rica nabbed that coveted title based on its ability to deliver long, happy and sustainable lives to its residents. With high life-expectancy rates and low cancer rates, the people of Costa Rica, also known as Ticos, enjoy plenty of sun in one of the most diverse and beautiful places on the globe. Determined to protect and promote peaceful living in Costa Rica, the country abolished its military in 1948, has outlawed all hunting of wildlife and has preserved much of its lush land as national parks for all to enjoy. It’s no wonder that Costa Rica’s most popular catch phrase is “pura vida”—live a full life.
As if the country’s pristine white- and black-sand beaches, dense rainforests and intriguing dry forests weren’t enough, Costa Rica also boasts a noted blue zone (a geographic region where residents live to be 90+) in the Nicoya Peninsula. Less than three hours away in Rincón de la Vieja, there’s an amazing hot spring. This entire northwest region of Costa Rica, known as Guanacaste, is well-known for its healing properties.
Here are 5 ways to heal your mind, body and soul in Guanacaste, Costa Rica:
1) Drink the water.
The Nicoya Peninsula of Guanacaste, Costa Rica is labeled a blue zone. Stretching about 80 miles long and 30 miles wide, its residents have been known to live exceptionally long lives, some over 110 years old. While much of that life expectancy is attributed to the residents’ plant-based diet, family-oriented living, healthy sun exposure and low-impact farming activities, much can be said about the region’s fresh water. Packed with calcium and magnesium, the pure spring water is great for strengthening bones and muscles.
While staying at the brand-new eco-boutique hotel El Rancho Humo in Nicoya, I guzzled bottles full of the delicious water straight out of the tap in my bathroom. Knowing that the people who drink it live long enough to join the centenarian club is certainly one way to make sure you get the 8 glasses of water a day your body needs to function well.
2) Enjoy the Wildlife.
When the country outlaws hunting wildlife, that means you get to experience them everywhere—sometimes even in your hotel room! So you might as well enjoy them.
From coatis and anteaters to spider monkeys and three-toed sloths, Costa Rica is rife with incredible wildlife for you to enjoy, whether you’re hiking through national parks or snorkeling along the coast. So take advantage! Appreciate the wildlife, great and small, and gain new meaning and perspective on your own.
See these adorable animal pictures from Brooke's trip to Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
In a country as diverse in its beauty as Costa Rica, the calming and introspective impact of meditation is even more enhanced. While stand-up paddle boarding with Andaz Papagayo resort on the Papagayo Peninsula in Guanacaste, I gave my arms and legs a break by lying down on my board, looking up at the sky and meditating on how great, and beautiful and endless God is. With the beach far off to my right and green mountains far off to my left, I was enveloped in peace and gratitude for the gift of those perfect moments of silence and splendor, and every negative feeling and thought just melted away.
4) Dip in the Hot Springs.
While there are many hot springs in Costa Rica, there’s one near the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano at the Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín that comes with volcanic mud. After a 5-minute soak in the hot spring (there are pools with various temperatures for your comfort), you paint your entire body with the mud (paintbrushes provided). Once the mud dries, brush it off with your hands, then shower under the cool faucet on site, or dip in the cool stream that runs alongside the hot springs pools, then get right back in the hot springs. The mud in conjunction with the hot and cold water will help with blood circulation and removing toxins from the body to leave you and your incredibly smooth skin feeling totally refreshed and relaxed.
5) Venture outdoors.
Besides the wonderful, happy people, the Great Outdoors is the main draw of Costa Rica. And while you’ll definitely enjoy the outdoor shower in your suite and the amazing spa at Andaz Papagayo, you absolutely must get out of your room and into nature to experience all that Costa Rica can do to lift your spirits.
Take the wildlife cruise down the Río Tempisque and explore the private wetlands at El Rancho Humo’s nature conservancy. Zipline through Guachipelín’s breath-taking canopy course, hike to the fumaroles and steam pots in the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, go mountain tubing down the Río Negro, ride horseback through the dry forest, and swim in a fresh waterhole under a spectacular waterfall. Capture the joy of living pura vida and incorporate that full-life spirit into your daily routine when you get back home.
Senior Digital Editor Brooke Obie visited Costa Rica courtesy of the Costa Rica Tourism Board. The experiences mentioned above were her favorites from the trip.