Last week I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Costa Rica for 5 days, to experience life off the beaten path, quite literally. Two things came to mind, the quote above by John Muir, and the Road Less Traveled by Robert Frost.
From entering the town on a complete dirt road, to seeing more horses and scooters than cars, I felt like I had gone back in time. Losing (almost all) wifi for an entire week was the scariest + most exhilarating feeling, and it gave me an opportunity to connect with nature and myself on an entirely new level. The road that people tend to turn away from is the road where all the hidden gems lie. Sometimes, getting past that bumpy road yields a traveler, but embracing this journey only proved the ending is worth the wait.
My mornings and nights were spent at the Majestic Lodge in a little village called El Castillo. It's about 40 minutes (25 km) outside of La Fortuna. Life in this village shed a new light to what it means to be holistic and live in complete harmony with nature. This lodge has an indescribable view of the Arenal Volcano/Lake Arenal and is buried far enough away from the town, but close enough to all of the activities in the jungle - a win-win.
My trip was packed with all kinds of adventures: Hiking through the jungle in rain, zip-lining across canopy's, crawling through caves and horseback riding. The ticos (what they call the people of CR) are all so connected with their animals and nature that it blew me away. They knew names of every plant and species and pointed out the smallest creatures in the jungle. One of my favorite adventures, right behind zip-lining, was visiting Rancho Margot, a almost fully sustainable eco-lodge that is the ultimate experience of farm to table dining and a self-sufficient lifestyle. From growing all of the fruits, veggies and herbs, to using compost as heat and making their own steel and ceramics, this place is the perfect example of the full circle of life. It really made me reconsider the things we do in America that are so harmful to our bodies - but that's a rant for another day.
The energy was vibrant, yet peaceful and karaoke night at Howlers Bar & Grill was the cherry on top. The ticos taught me how to use better 'slang' Spanish, how to relax and that Pura Vida is the beginning and end of every conversation. This mindset alone completely shifted how I approached situations and taught me a ton of patience. Overall, I realized that sometimes, I really need to s l o w d o w n and appreciate the simple things that surround me each day.
Although I could ramble on all day about incredible this trip was, these photos basically tell the story for me. Here's a glimpse of Costa Rica from my eyes.
I could not be more thankful for this experience, the people who I was able to meet and connect with, and know that it came at just the right time in my life. If you want more information about the Majestic Lodge and this little town, don't hesitate to ask and I'll give you as many details as I can! I have a feeling I'll be back many, many times.