Located between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, Costa Rica is truly a jewel of Central America. This amazing country captivates you mind, body and spirit several years ago, and each time you visit, you’re in for an amazing adventure.
Welcome to Costa Rica
Flying into San José, the Capital and largest city located in the central region, is just a short 3-1/2 hour plane ride from Houston, five hours from both New York City and Chicago, six hours from Los Angeles, and four hours from Atlanta. Once there, you can take any number of taxi and shuttle options to your destination, including Walter Ramirez of Walter’s Taxi and Tours, a very friendly, cheerful and genuinely warm native who welcomes you to Costa Rica like family.
During the approximately 45 minute drive from the airport, Walter joyfully points out the parks, shops, restaurants, and history of the small towns through which you venture. Added to this is his intimate knowledge of the various trees, fruit, animals, and more that you passed as you gently meandered up the mountain.
Along the way, you’ll enjoy the beautiful, lush, emerald, lime, pea and olive hued foliage lining both sides of the road. This verdant plethora is very typical of the Costa Rican countryside and one of its most captivating aspects.
When it seems as if you’ve ascended as high as the mountain would allow, Walter makes a sharp turn past two massive iron gates. From there it’s a steep, winding descent to one of the most beautiful resorts you may have ever seen – The Retreat at Altos del Monte Costa Rica.
As soon as we stepped out of the van, Heather appeared – a radiant presence with stunning natural auburn hair whose long, thick tresses had been gracefully drawn to one side and cascaded over her left shoulder. Dressed from head to foot in light, flowing, white cotton t-shirt and pants, sans footwear, her only adornment was a striking silver necklace with brightly colored gemstones that punctuated her beautiful broad smile and vivacious spirit.
There is a difference between greeting someone in such a way because you know you should, or have to (for example, because that is standard hospitality industry practice), and allowing your natural authenticity—which cannot be feigned—to shine through.
As the resort’s General Manager, a chef, permiculturalist (someone who cultivates agriculture by relying on self-sustaining ecosystems with renewable resources), and long-time Costa Rican resident (she is American), Heather truly embodies the Costa Rican “Pura Vida” (Pure Life) lifestyle. But it is immediately evident that the rest of the staff (also primarily dressed in white which gave the retreat a heavenly feeling) – male and female, front desk to kitchen, landscaping, housekeeping, spa personnel, and so forth, embody it as well.
From this little introduction alone, it is easy to see why The Retreat is named after its location, “Altos del monte” – the top of the mountain. Once there, get ready to immerse yourself in a little slice of heaven.
Be sure to read the entire feature series:
Part 2 Welcome to Heaven
Part 3 Restorative Health And Wellness—Mind, Body and Spirit
Part 4 Nurture Your Body through Nature