ellie and Lowrie poolside Blue Osa
Blog, Yoga Retreats

Who Goes on Yoga Retreats?

Many of you have asked “What kind of people do you want on your yoga retreat? “What is the age range”? “Will I fit in?”

Those are legitimate question to ask when you want to make sure that you will socialize and connect with the rest of the group.

Our answer is: we are not concerned with your age, what we care about is that you are an easygoing, fun, and inspiring individual; basically, that you are a cool human being.

That is the only requirement to be part of one of our yoga retreats.

As yoga retreat leaders, both Ewa and I have found ourselves wishing we could coordinate the participants in the retreat; for example we both wish our friends/sisters/cousins could be there or we make conjectures on how we think so-and-so from NY would really along with our other friend from Los Angeles and “oh wouldn’t it be so cool to have them both there” because it brings us so much happiness to think of having you all there with us.

But for as much as we get excited into plotting the shape the retreat, we have learned to sit back and not manipulate it, because we realize that the group that will form will be perfect and balanced just as it is.

Last year we were lucky enough to have some of our best friends make the retreat, but then we also met a number of people whom we had never met before, which allowed us to expand our own social circles.

ellie and Lowrie poolside Blue Osa

Age Range

There is no age restriction, and we can’t stress it enough. We don’t care about the birth year on your passport. We want you because you are fun to be around. Last year we had a mother and teenage daughter come to the retreat, and it was such a blast to have their energy around and watch them interact.

For last year’s retreat, we would say the average age range was between 20-something to 45 something years old.

Given the interest that we have had from people lately, we expect this year’s retreats to be even more broad in terms of the age range.

Will I Fit In?

Yes. Everything will fall into place and you will make everlasting friendships with people you never expected. Some of them will live nearby you, some far away (which will give you an excuse to visit!). Some people last year came on their own and by end of the retreat they were inseparable with their new friends.

Ewa and I were so ecstatic to find out that people from last year’s retreat are now friends and see each other on a regular basis.

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Are all the People on the Retreat Yogis?

You’d assume that everyone who comes to the yoga retreat is a dedicated yogi who wants to practice four hours a day. Not true. Last year, we had our two friends Johnathan (s), who were much more interested in surfing than they were in yoga. They took the occasional class a few times that week but the rest of the time they were out and about surfing and being jungle boys with their 4 wheel drive rental car.

Also, last year our friend Christina came to the retreat despite having an injured foot in a cast. She joined in for the meditation part of yoga, and chilled the rest of the time.

And while there are plenty of people who want to practice long and hard, you do not need to be obsessed with yoga to come to a yoga retreat. The retreat is an all encompassing experience that includes much more than yoga.

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What If I want to Deepen My Yoga Practice But Haven’t Practiced in a While?

Not a problem. We will offer plenty of slower, alignment based classes where you will be able to get your practice going at a more accessible pace. There will be something for everyone.

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The Osa
Blog, Yoga Retreats

Getting to the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica

Location

The Osa Peninsula (Spanish: Península de Osa) is a peninsula located in southwestern Costa Rica, in the Puntarenas Province, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Golfo Dulce to the east.

The peninsula is home to at least half of all species living in Costa Rica. The main town on the peninsula is Puerto Jimenez, which has its own airport and provides access to Corcovado National Park as well as the coastal villages of Cabo Matapalo and Carate.

Osa Peninsula Costa Rica Map

Before You Travel

Passport

A visa to travel for Costa Rica is not required unless you are planning to stay longer than three months. All Canadian, US and EU citizens who travel to Costa Rica for tourism and pleasure purposes need a valid passport. Make sure your passport is at least 6 months valid from the time you enter Costa Rica.

Departure Tax

When you leave Costa Rica you will have to pay a departure tax of $29 USD. It must be paid at Juan Santamaria International Airport before goin through airport security. The tax is payable in either colones, U.S. dollars, or with Visa/Mastercard.

Vaccinations

You do not need any shots or vaccines before visiting Costa Rica.

Return Flight

Costa Rican customs and immigrations requires you to show proof of return as you enter Costa Rica. You will most likely be asked to show your return flight ticket, or some kind of outward bound ticket what shows you have plans to exit the country.

Customs and Immigration

When arriving in Costa Rica, you will have to clear Customs and Immigration and will be required to fill out separate forms which are generally given to you on your plane. You will be asked where you are staying in Costa Rica.

You are not allowed to bring any fruit or vegetable inside Costa Rica. All your bags will have to go through a scanner at customs, so if you have food plane make sure you consume/dispose of it beforehand.

Transportation

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Flying into Costa Rica

You will need to fly into Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) first.

The average cost for flights from the U.S. is:

Miami-CR $300/$400
Los Angeles-CR $500
San Francisco- CR $700
New York- CR $800

Be sure to check SkyScanner to see all the combinations of flights that are available for you out there.

Besides the more commonly known airlines such as JetBlue, American Airlines, Spirit, Frontier United and Delta, don’t forget to check Avianca, Aeromexico, and Copa Airlines.

*If you are flying from a less travelled place, i.e. North Carolina, Washington State etc. You will most likely have to lay over in Texas, Colorado, California or Florida.

If the flights seem too complicated you might want to consider an overnight layover in one of those cities, but generally speaking flying from Miami, Huston or Los Angeles will always give the best rates.

Flying into the Osa Peninsula

Once you’ve made it to San Jose, the fastest way to the Osa Peninsula is through a “puddle jumper” flight.

A flight from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez takes approximately 45 minutes. The views are stunning and flying the 15 seater plane is nothing short of a thrill. The two main airlines you can fly with are  Nature Air and Sansa Airlines.

Flight cost can vary depending on the season and availability, but they generally range from $80-$180.

Both of these air-carriers offer numerous flights daily from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez, but there are no late afternoon or evening flights with either air-carrier. The last flight into Jimenez is at approximately 3pm in the afternoon in the high season, and in the green season is usually around 12pm.

Visitors arriving in San Jose in the late afternoon or evening should take this into consideration.(see below for SJ reccos)

Luggage: For the smaller planes, there usually is a 25-pound baggage limit (including carry-ons). Baggage over 25 pounds will incur a surcharge, so pack light!

*Note that you might sometimes be able to fly from San Jose to Golfito instead of Puerto Jimenez. Check below for ferry details on how to easily  get over to Puerto Jimenez.

Driving to the Osa Peninsula

Driving to Blue Osa from San Jose is a great way to experience Costa Rica.

Renting 4 wheel drive vehicles is highly recommended when going to the Osa.The drive from San Jose to the Osa is approximately 6-8 hours.

Recommended car rental companies are – Solid Rent a Car and Toyota.

On the drive down, be sure to check the Crocodile Bridge in Jaco, grab lunch at Rustico also in Jeco or stop for a smoothie in Playa Hermosa and then catch a glimpse of the beach in Dominical.

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Bussing to the Osa Peninsula

Traveling by bus is the longer, more adventurous way. It cost about $15 and takes about 8 hours. Buses from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez depart daily  roughly around 6am and 12pm from the San Isidro de El General bus station. Buses from Puerto Jimenez to San Jose leave from the peach colored bus station in town at 4am and 12pm.
The Tracopa Bus 612 from Terminal Alfaro to Golfito can also be taken, which takes about 8 hours and leaves at 7am and 3pm.

Ferry

If you find yourself in Golfito because you got there by bus or plane, you can easlily make your way to Puerto Jimenez by ferry. The ferry from Golfito to Puerto Jimenez takes about an hour and a half and runs twice daily. Schedule is random and subject to change. Price $4.There are also fast ferries available that can do the trip in about 30 minutes, the cost is $6. The schedule can change. More details here.

PUERTO JIMÈNEZ from Golfito by boat – DEPARTURE: Daily, from Municipal Dock (Muelle) at 11:00; RETURN: 6:00; 1:30 hrs. Office tel. 2735-5036.

Whale tail and the long beaches of Uvita, Marino Ballena National Park

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 Currency

Colones are the official currency of Costa Rica, although U.S. dollars are accepted pretty much everywhere. Most businesses happily accept U.S. dollars (however, expect your change to be in colones). The current rate of exchange fluctuates around 500 colones for every 1 US dollar.

Colones money Costa Rica

Where to Stay in San Jose

Hotel Los Volcanes
Located in Alajuela, (which is where the airport is) Is an affordable, cute hotel that is closely located to the airport and offers airport transfers included in the price.

Colours Oasis Resort

San José’s premier full-service boutique hotel, its atmosphere is warm and inviting to everyone.  Strategically located, conveniently less than -15 minutes from San José’s business and cultural districts, airports and other popular neighborhoods on the west side.

Casa Bella Rita Boutique Bed & Breakfast

Located outside the city of San Jose with a little more style offers a tranquil place away from the city.

Melrost Bed & Breakfast

5 minutes from the airport with a free shuttle, wifi, hot water and great service. The owner Omar is from Puerto Jimenez and is available to run errands and help with translations.

Where to Eat in San Jose

ESQUINAS DE BUENAS AIRES

For Argentinian steak, sangria and empanadas.
Calle 11 esquina Avenida 4

TIN JO
Thai and Southeast Asian Cuisine

Calle 11 y Avenidas 6 y 8

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for seafood

Avenida Escazu – Centro Comercial | IMAX theater building, Escazu, Costa Rica

Language

Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica, although English is widely understood.

When to Visit

Costa Rica is a tropical country with twelve micro-climates and three different rainfall regimes.  There are two well defined seasons: the rainy/green season (invierno) and the dry/summer season (verano), with one main difference between them: rainfall averages.

Dry season runs from December to April and the green season from May to November. Come May the temperatures will drop slightly and the nighttimes become much more refreshing.

Rainfall averages for the country may reach the highest point during the months of September and October. As many will attest, the Osa Peninsula is extremely lush and green, and the cooler climate sets it apart from the dryer, dustier rest of Costa Rica (especially the north). So really, every time is a good time to visit.

The Osa

Blog, Life

My Biggest Problem: Procrastination

My Biggest Problem

My biggest problem is that I am the queen of procrastination. Is that I start projects and never end them. Is that I let emails accumulate until I’m too anxious to answer. Is that I cannot focus for my life. Is that my will power is so weak. Is that I get so easily distracted. Is that I always want to have fun and not do all the things I know I should do but don’t. Is that I have a million great ideas and I never bring them to full completion. Is that I stare at my yoga mat instead of practicing on it. Is that I drive to the gym and then sit in the car instead of going in. That I am not disciplined enough. That I am not working on things consistently.

Don't ask
Don’t ask

Has This Ever Happened to You?

 You are in college, and you have a paper due in three weeks. You know you should start early, in fact you really believe you will, and are super motivated  when the professor is explaining why you should, in fact, give yourself plenty of time to write the darn paper. But then you are having fun and doing other things and going out in the sun with your friends and the paper becomes less and less important until….it’s due in four days and you know you have to write it.

There’s no escaping it now. So you go to Trader Joe’s, buy cheese and crackers and apples to last you for days (no time to cook!) and then you drag yourself to the library and stay until the wee hours in full lockdown mode.  You barely sleep.  You go through a phase of panic because you don’t even know where to begin this paper, from which angle to approach it- hell the topic is so insanely broad, how will you ever figure it out.

You think you’re doomed but then you remember you’ve pulled this off before and tell yourself you can do it. So you keep doing research and writing frantically. In the meantime you forget to shower and start noticing dark bags under your eyes. No time to think about that now. You barely make it to your other classes or just downright skip them. You become totally MIA with your friends. And your room becomes a disaster. Dirty clothes everywhere, and no time to pick them off the floor. By now you are using your books as placemats to eat on and there are dirty dishes everywhere that you don’t have time to clean. You even let yourself have a glass of wine late one night to stimulate the creative juices flow while writing.

You de-activated your Facebook account so you won’t be tempted to waste your time on it but every time you hit a hurdle in the writing process you catch yourself instinctively clicking on the Facebook link anyways. You have 8 hours left. You give it all you got.  You are surprised of how well now your brain is trained to focus and work on demand. You finish the paper. You read and it and proof-read it over again with delirious eyes in search of spelling errors and syntactical awkwardnesses. But you are kind of impressed that you pulled it off so well in so little time.

It’s now 6am and you experience the mandatory struggle with the printer, which, after several attempts,  finally manages to spit out a semi-decent printout. You notice the sun rising outside your window, so you throw on a pair of dubiously clean sweatpants, Uggs, tie your hair in a bun, rush to campus, park illegally, and turn the paper in.

By now said paper feel like a child you just birthed, that’s how hard you worked on it. You look like a zombie. And when you finally get home, ready to take the biggest nap of your life, you catch yourself thinking “I wish I had started writing the paper sooner. Post-Colonial Native American Legal Rights are actually really interesting.  And I could have done so much better had I given myself more time!”

STORY. OF. MY. LIFE.

Why are us humans so prone to delaying things we have to do? Is it inherent laziness? Is it our lower chakras lowering us towards living an animal-like life that is restricted to short term gains and tangible needs versus rationality, long term goals and intellect?

I am trying. But it’s not easy.

In other news, It just occurred to me that ever since I graduated college I have bascially stopped taking selfies on The PhotoBooth app. Coincidence? I think not.

I used to spend many hours with a computer in my face back in the day, and I don’t so much anymore.  For all those of you whose emails I still haven’t answered, I am sorry. In the meantime, here are a few good ones from the college days.

Blog, Yoga Retreats

Boca Sombrero Accommodations

Boca Sombrero and its magnificent 20-acre property immediately lured Ewa and I with its lush jungle setting and tranquil vibe.

Here are the types of accommodation where you will be able to stay during the Blue Wave Yoga Retreat.

Boca Sombrero Accommodations

There are three bigger houses total and eight smaller bungalows. Note that the  pool that is in front of Casa Playa Sombrero will be accessible to everyone! Scroll below for rates and descriptions.

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Thatched-Roof Tent Platforms

The eight thatched-roof tent platforms are especially designed for comfort in a tropical climate. The thatched roof will keep you dry and cool, while a transparent material along the roof-line lets in light. The platforms are outfitted with beautiful, screened Moroccan-style tents whose special fabric allows for ventilation. Each bungalow has a cozy porch for relaxing and a private, open-air shower adjacent. Shared bathroom facilities are nearby and conveniently located. This option is great for you if you’re on the adventure and wanting to save.

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tent-platforms at night Boca Sombrero
The moroccan style tent from the inside at night. Super cute!

Casa Playa Sombrero

Casa Playa Sombrero  provides both ocean and lush mountain views. The upstairs room provides two netted, king-sized beds and a balcony with a spectacular view of the Golfo Dulce and has beautiful hardwood floor.  Downstairs has a cozy living space, bathroom and a detached kitchen equipped with professional appliances. Both the living area and kitchen open up to the spacious swimming pool, deck and lounge area. The pool has both deep and shallow areas – perfect for relaxing or swimming.

boca-sombrero Pool picture

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Casa Rio Sombrero

Casa Rio Sombrero is custom-finished with fine hardwoods, an open floor plan and a beautiful thatched roof. Upstairs the house has two bedrooms containing king-sized, netted beds. Downstairs, there is a central, open kitchen designed for gathering at the bar. It is also equipped with modern appliances. There is a comfortable dining area and an artfully designed bathroom, detached from the main structure for privacy. The bathroom area includes a covered dipping pool – a refreshing escape from the midday sun.

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Casa Troya

Casa Troya reflects the typical home design of the Osa Peninsula with its half-height walls and natural, local building materials. It has a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom downstairs and a loft partitioned into two bedrooms upstairs. The overall aesthetic of this home evokes a sense of movement as the lines of the structure resemble a wave, ship or an animal, depending on one’s perspective.

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The Rest of The Property

The houses and tent platforms are just steps away from Playa Sombrero and then the fourth house on the property is the Casa Grande, a spacious home where we gather to enjoy meals. Here our professional kitchen crew prepares and serves delicious food in beautiful surroundings. Casa Grande also offers a comfortable and stylish lounge area for just hanging out and free-wifi is provided.

The yoga deck is a 9- by 13-yard hardwood platform built with bamboo and a thatched roof. It sits in front of the beach and comfortably accommodates 30 people.

Another favorite part of the property is the surf watching station, a little jungle chill area right in front of the beach from where you can take a break between surf sessions or just watch others shred the waves!

Boca Sombrero Yoga Deck Costa Rica jungle

BUNGALOW RATES

*All rates apply to the whole week (7days)

The listed price for the retreat of $975 is for a shared thatched platform tent, so it would be you and one other person that you can either choose or we pair you up with.

“But If I want my own tent-you might ask?

Just add $475 to the  $975 for a total of $1450 to enjoy your own little yoga loft in complete privacy.

HOUSE RATES

If you want to pamper yourself and stay in a house, the house rates are as follows (rates are the same for all three houses)

A)  $2,000 each for 2 people (You pay $975 + an added $1025)

B)  $1,350 each for 3 or more people (You pay $975 + $380)

Whether you choose to stay in the little bungalows or one of the houses, your Costa Rica jungle experience will fabulous, it’s guaranteed! 🙂

For more questions, contact bluedreamyogaretreat@gmail.com

yoga retreat costa rica ewa valentina New Year's Ave Blue Osa Yoga studio Rama Dog Pet Cuddles
Blog, Yoga Retreats

A Typical Day on the Happy New You! Yoga Retreat

In the Blue Wave Yoga Retreat nothing is mandatory, and we want you to experience your vacation as you need it once you arrive at our splendid eco-resort Boca Sombrero.

Ewa and I’s  personalities are easygoing and fun, and so are our yoga retreats. You will enjoy complete freedom while always being included in activities and enjoying a friendly and warm atmosphere.

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Here’s a Typical Day at Our Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica:

5am-7am

The sun rises early in Costa Rica and sets early, by 6pm, so it will feel as if the days take place earlier than usual. First thing in the morning you will probably hear the howler monkeys, and that’s all the alarm you’ll need 🙂 You can choose to ignore the monkeys and cozy up under the covers, or you may catch the sunrise for a swim on the beach, meditate, or enjoy tropical fruit with granola and yogurt for breakfast.

Howler monkey with a baby. Photo cred: Jonathan Hokklo
Howler monkey with a baby. Photo cred: Jonathan Hokklo

Sunrise Costa Rica morning
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9am-11am

We will offer a total of  three classes to choose from daily. In the morning there will most likely be two at different times. One will be a flow taught by Ewa, and the other one will be alignment based yoga taught by Valentina. Both instructors will give hands on adjustments as the class takes place, and there will be meditation and breath work. You can attend both or for example choose to take a class and then surf, or sleep in and then take a class.

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12pm

Enjoy a healthy, nourishing, lunch in good company.

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Lunch Costa Rica Yoga Retreat

12.30pm-2.30pm

It’s you time. Surf, watch someone surf, chill, take a nap, swim in the pool, get a massage, work with our resident acupuncturist Koji, read a book on a hammock, mingle with old and new  friends, or walk on the the beach. Or enjoy one of the guided jungle hikes, waterfall rappel, zip line, go fishing, kayaking and more.

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4pm or so

Depending on the day, you can enjoy another yoga session or workshop. The class can range from yin yoga to restorative, deep stretch, or a slow flow. Or you may decide you’ve had enough yoga for the day and choose another activity.

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gentle yoga

5.30pm

Around sunset the energy will shift. Take one last dip in the ocean, gaze out in the horizon, or enjoy a smoothie or tropical cocktail while socializing before dinner. If you’re in the mood for a jungle bar experience, head on over to Martina’s!

Martina's jungle bar is one of a kind!
Martina’s jungle bar is one of a kind!

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6pm

Dinner. There’s nothing better than a delicious meal cooked with love and enjoyed in good company.

Dinner at Blue Osa

8pm

Post dinner: hang out with people, enjoy a glass of wine, play a group game or cards, cozy in bed, read a book, build a bonfire, play music, listen to music being played, take the occasional restorative class or star gaze on the beach, repeat.

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Just as in life, nothing in our retreat is fixed. We will adapt to what each day brings and the external elements, such as weather, tides, energy level, or anything we feel. 🙂

We look forward to enjoying many days like these with you!

Santa Cruz Purple Skies Natural bridges
Blog, Travel

A Santa Cruz Haiku

small town young at heart

ancient ocean meets purple sky

with sun kissed skin

Sun kissed Skin in Santa Cruz Haiku Inspiration

Santa Cruz Purple Skies Natural bridges

What is Haiku?

• Use exactly 17 syllables • Syllables are arranged in three lines of 5-7-5 • Refers to a season of the year Haiku (俳句 high-koo) is a form of poetry, first made popular in Japan. Haiku are short poems that use sensory language to capture a feeling or image.

They are often inspired by an element of nature, a moment of beauty, or another poignant experience. In Japan these poems are valued for their simplicity, openness, depth and lightness.

What is a Haiku About?

Haiku poems can describe anything, but are never complicated or hard to understand. Almost all Haiku has a dominant impression, or main idea, that appeals strongly to one of the five senses. Haikus are all about the details that the poet uses to describe an event he/she witnessed so others may understand it in some way.

The Seasonal Theme

Each haiku must contain a kigo, a season word, which indicates what season of the year the Haiku is set. In this case, I am conveying that it’s spring time and warm by using the term “sun-kissed skin”.

Haiku Subject Shift

A haiku should contain two juxtaposed ideas. For example, I focused on Santa Cruz being a young town and I then juxtaposed the image of the timeless ocean.  The juxtaposition gives the poem a deeper metaphorical meaning.

 Interesting Haiku Fact

A haiku doesn’t tell the readers what emotions to feel, but rather it lets them feel their own emotions in reaction to the images described. Haiku have been called “unfinished” poetry because they require the readers to finish the poems in their own hearts. A haiku shows the readers something true about the moment’s existence.

viparita karani valentina laying in bed
Blog, Life

There Are So Many Things I Should Be Doing…and Instead I’m Just Laying in Bed

There are so many things I should be doing right now:

practice yoga
hike/run in nature
read more yoga books
claim missing flight miles
read fun books
read the news
clean my room
get gas
clean the bathroom
drink more water
learn watercolor paint
answer a gazillion emails
call grandma
call everybody else
call ATT
call the bank
answer a hundred forgotten Facebook messages
delete thousands of photos from my computer
delete thousands of photos from my phone
take my car to the mechanic
back up my computer
write my journal
floss my teeth
take echinacea supplements
do body scrub
do face masks
paint my nails
practice Spanish
do laundry
meditate
make almond milk
prepare my taxes
plan my future
research the benefits of turmeric

and instead i’m just going lay in bed and eat Nutella.

viparita karani valentina laying in bed
That’s one way to do legs up the wall.