“Wellness is used to mean a healthy balance of mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being.” This is the definition Wikipedia offers. Many destinations promote wellness, wellbeing, happiness... Does it mean to exercise daily, to be fit? Does it mean to meditate, do yoga? These terms have as many definitions as there are human beings on earth. Costa Rica is a place where you can help you learn about yourself and discover what wellness really means to you.
Dr. Bill Hettler, the co-founder of the National Wellness Institute based in Wisconsin, developed a wellness paradigm that encompasses six dimensions: Physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, environmental and social. He theorizes that if one of these aspects of your life is thrown off balance it affects the others. This means it is an active continuous process where we are conscious about our choices and how they affect all dimensions.
To support the physical aspects of wellness, there are properties in Costa Rica that offer yoga retreats, such as Bahia del Sol Beachfront Boutique Hotel, located in the Northern Pacific Area of Guanacaste. Another property with its own Yoga Studio is Hotel Belmar, nestled in Monteverde, Costa Rican cloud forest. Practice yoga, do surfing lessons or relax on the beach at the intimate Tropico Latino, in Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula.
Yoga Spa at Belmar Hotel, photo credit hotelbelmar
Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, in the Golfo Dulce, in Southern Costa Rica, is a place where you can disconnect from technology, cleanse your lungs, pick your own food from their tropical garden, practice yoga while surrounded by Nature, in summary, fulfilling pretty much all wellness dimensions put forth by Dr. Hettler.
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin in the northern Guanacaste region, is very close to the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. This is a unique property, where you can see how Costa Rican cowboys live. The 3,400 acre ranch boasts its own archaeological sites, coffee tour, waterfalls, hot springs, horseback riding and more.
Volcanic Mud and Springs at Hacienda Guachipelin, photo credit valwyss
There are many environmentally friendly hotels in Costa Rica, where you can rest assured that your stay’s footprint will be offset by the property’s management. One of these is Capitan Suizo Boutique Beachfront Hotel in Tamarindo, Northern Pacific Costa Rica. They also work towards fulfilling the social aspect of wellness, by working directly with the community to provide work for local residents. La Cusinga Lodge in the Southern Osa Peninsula is committed to sustainability and is a wonderful location from where to do bird watching and paddle boarding.
Tabacon Grand Thermal Resort, located in the La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano Area, is well known for its mineral rich thermal waters known to have healing and relaxation properties. The Springs Resort and Spa, also in this area, apart from having access to natural hot springs as well, has a 14,000 square foot Spa and Fitness Center, where you can invest some time seeing to the physical aspects of wellness.
Wedding at Villa Caletas, photo credit madisonbaltodanophotography
Will tying the knot with your significant help balance your emotional wellness dimension? There are many properties in Costa Rica that can assist with the perfect tropical destination wedding. Villa Caletas in the Central Pacific Coast region boasts magnificent views and luxury accommodations, for the perfect wedding and or honeymoon. Aninga Lodge in Tortuguero, on the Caribbean coast, is a unique property where you can explore the canals, enjoy birdwatching, kayaking or see turtles nesting when in season.
If you are staying in San José and would like a relaxing massage before or after your adventure begins, Kuö Spa, at the Marriott Costa Rica hotel is located close to the airport, and offers a wide range of facials and massages.
So visit Costa Rica and work on your physical, emotional, spiritual, intelectual, environmental and social wellness dimensions, and have a blast doing it!
Article by Katie Widdowson