10 Things to Do in the Matapalo Area // Osa Peninsula // Costa Rica

Even though I did say once I didn’t want anyone to go to Matapalo 😉 I created this blog post with all my favorite things to do in the area for those who have asked.  Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Charles Knox

1. Hit The Beach

Some of the best things in life and simple and free. The Matapalo area has three main beaches that offer three levels of swimmability and perks.

PAN DULCE: The fist one you’ll come up to from the main road is Pan Dulce, the safest for swimming, the one where you will surf  beginner waves, SUP and kayak. It has a little parking, lots of shade, perfect for reading a book and bringing kids.

BACKWASH: The second one coming up (also with a tiny “parking lot”) is Backwash beach, my personal favorite. The water on this beach tends to be more turquoise than the other beaches, and with the right tide (high) and (small) swell you can have a great swim. On high tide you won’t have much room to lay out through.  Keep in mind the name backwash implies that the waves suck you in right at the ear of the water (like- take-your-bikini bottoms-off-type-of-backwash), so pay attention when navigating the entrance and exit from the water and go with the waves rather than against. Swim is safest near the rocks on the opposite side of Pan Dulce (so towards Matapalo). If you’ve gone past the steep hill on the road, you’ve passed backwash beach.

MATAPALO: The third beach you’ll find, where the road basically dead ends is Matapalo. There is no safe swimming here, but sunsets are best and also it’s where the action is if you want to watch surfers. 

***Tidepools: since the Matapalo area is not so swimmer friendly you can intelligently take advantage of the low tide and find tidepools to soak in. Between Pan Dulce and Backwash there are some tide pools and in Matapalo, right in front of the beach also.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo
Photo Credit: Charles Knox

2. Surf And Get Active In The Water

If  you’re at the beach and craving more action ,surfing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding are right at your fingers tips. Please be respectful of other surfers in the water. While the locals are friendly and laid back, they don’t tolerate a group of foreigners coming in and dropping in on everyone. Be humble, know your etiquette and share the waves. 

For more information on surfing see my comprehensive surfing guide.

Photo Credit: Charles Knox

Contact Aaron for lessons and tours.

Email him at: aaronjg91@gmail.com

Check out his Instagram: https://instagram.com/aaronmatapalo/


Photo Credit: Charles Knox


3. Hike Boque Del Cabo

If you are into hiking, nature, solitude and peace Bosque del Cabo is right for you. You can hike from Matapalo to Bosque up the mountain on a trail called Gulfo Dulce, or drive up to Bosque and hike the Pacific Trail for breathtaking views of cliffs over the ocean, the Zaino trail to see the real jungle. Don’t forget to try the refreshing ginger lemonade at the Boa Bar and take a walk on the suspension bridge.

Keep in mind Bosque’s trails and technically private so it would be best to consume something or purchase one of their services to feel legitimate on their property.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo

4.  Lunch at Lapa Rios

Lapa Rios  offers breathtaking views and a delicious, affordable lunch menu. The fish tacos are excellent, so is the burger and the pulled pork sandwich. Buen provecho! After lunch you may take a short hike to the waterfall and take  a dip if you wish. 


Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo

5. Treat Yourself to Yoga or Massage at Encanta La Vida

Encanta la Vida is your casual and fun hang out spot, where you can have a great smoothie by the pool or drop-in as a guest for a yoga class or massage. Inquire at the reception for their yoga schedule or at least take a walk to the beautiful yoga deck that extends over Pad Dulce beach. Ask for Lynn or Kate for divine massages


6. Horse Back Ride

From expert to beginner, you can horseback ride on the beach, or up a mountain to (another) waterfall. Contact Rancho Tropical to see about their tours and enjoy a visit to an old-school ranch with lots of (angry) cattle.

Photo Credit: Maria Hillier

7. Tree Climbing & Waterfall Rappelling

For some real jungle action rappel a 45 feet and a 100 feet waterfall and then get roped to  an enormous strangler fig tree (Matapalo) and freefall back down attached to ropes. Contact Everyday Adventures with Andy to schedule your tour.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo

Photo Credit: Maria Hillier

8. Martina’s On Fridays

Martina’s is the little restaurant will see before crossing the bigger river. An adorable locale with  jungle flare, brightly colored walls and  pirate vibes. On Friday night you can go there early to check out the farmer’s market, sample the incredible Osa Natural organic beauty products, eat Barbara’s home made ice cream, and then dance your head off starting 9pm into the night.

They also claim to have beer colder than you ex’s heart 😉

Photo Credit: Charles Knox

10. Drive to Carate

Driving to Carate is always fascinating because you venture into a less travelled, more hidden and completely different Osa Peninsula. The drive alone will  take you through thick greenery, buffalo ranches and pastures. You’ll end up at Carate beach and from there can check out Luna Lodge, nestled on a hilltop with a killer view. (ps: the driveway is also killer).

Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo

9. Corcovado National Park

For the intrepid at heart and the real adventurers  you will love this trip deep into one of the most bio-diverse and ecologically intense places on Earth. If crossing rivers Indiana Jones style, hiking Kilometers on beaches and spotting tapirs sounds fun to you then contact Corcovado Hiking Tours with Rodolfo, one of the best guides in the area for a customized tour.




***Bonus: Look Up! Look Down!

Anywhere in the Matapalo area whether you see it or not, you are surrounded by wildlife. Walking is by far the best way to spot moneys, sloths, toucans, frogs, snakes, birds, armadillos and the likes. 🙂

Photo Credit: Charles Knox










Traveling to Costa Rica Without a Yellow Fever Vaccine Valentina and Aaron in Punta Hermosa Lima Peru

Traveling to Costa Rica Without a Yellow Fever Vaccine

I recently traveled to Peru for a week’s vacation and upon returning was not let into Costa Rica because I did not have a yellow fever vaccine.

 There is a surprisingly little amount of information on the web about this particular topic. Because yellow fever is not a disease risk in Costa Rica, the government requires travelers arriving from countries where yellow fever is a risk to present proof of yellow fever vaccination so that yellow fever won’t be brought into Costa Rica.

Most places in Africa and South America (except Argentina) are considered at risk.

The vaccine has to have been administered AT LEAST 10 DAYS prior to you entering the country at risk.

If you are coming from one of risk countries (Peru was one of them) and do not have a current vaccination certificate, two things can happen:

  •  you will be denied boarding on flights to Costa Rica from your airport of origin – so for me, would have been Lima, Peru.
  • you might make it all the way to Costa Rica like I did and then be turned away

Note that the restriction doesn’t just apply to extensive travel in the risk countries, but also if traveling through them for longer than 12 hours.


Click HERE for the full list of countries as risk.


Traveling to Costa Rica Without a Yellow Fever Vaccine Valentina and Aaron in Punta Hermosa Lima Peru

All photos taken by Miguel Irurita

The Details

The safest way to avoid complications if you are traveling to most of the countries in South America and Africa is probably to get the vaccine and carry proof with you (it lasts 10 years).

The yellow fever vaccine booklet is very unique in that it is yellow and internationally recognized, so there’s no way around it. My medical card is in Italy, and I perhaps even already have the shot even though I don’t remember ( I travelled to Africa a bunch as a kid). I offered to have my medical record scanned and emailed, but to no avail.

If you don’t have proof of YF vaccine , you will NOT be let into Costa Rica and you will be forced to exit the country. They might also threaten to send you back on the same flight you just came from as they did to me.

At that point it’s super important to keep in mind you are not being detained (even though it feels like it) and are able to CHOOSE where you will go when you leave their country. You are not obligated to board the plane back to where you came from. ( hopefully you have enough saved up for an impromptu flight).


Traveling to Costa Rica Without a Yellow Fever Vaccine Valentina Rose Blog in Punta Hermosa Lima Peru


My Story

Upon finding out that the Costa Rican officers were being serious about not letting in the country, I chose to book a flight to Miami because it’s a short and relatively cheap.

For all of 20 hours I was held in the airport for the Miami flight with a security guard by my side. The security guard confiscated my passport and kept track of my every move, including bathroom trips. 

While hanging in the grey zone of the airport, you are a responsibility -and a liability- of the airline which flew you (for me it was Avianca). They are the ones who “mistakenly” brought you over so now they have to deal with you.  My security guard (appointed by airport) was working with Avianca airlines to manage me until I would leave the country.(not a pleasant experience, believe me).

Avianca handed me a few food coupons but other than that there weren’t any other niceties. I paid for the VIP room one-day-pass myself ($28).

In retrospect, I could have tried asking Avianca to cover my Costa Rica exit ticket, but I ended up using my JetBlue miles to fly to Miami instead. I have a feeling that they would only boarded back to Peru free of charge.

Note that even if you are stuck at the airport in Costa Rica your passport will not get stamped, because in theory you never entered the country of Costa Rica.


Traveling to Costa Rica Without a Yellow Fever Vaccine Valentina Rose Blog Aaron Garcia looking at waves in Punta Hermosa Lima Peru


If You Are A Costa Rica Citizen

If you are a Costa Rica resident or citizen you will not have any problem entering the country if don’t have the vaccine. This is because per law Costa Rica cannot turn away their own citizens.

Which makes zero sense since being a citizen does not make you immune to yellow fever.

On the other hand, I hear that the yellow fever vaccine requirement becomes very strict especially when it comes to US passport holders (not sure why).

What If

As fate wants it, my stars that day were not aligned.

If someone had caught the non-vaccine issue in Lima, I would have had 4 hours to deal with it before boarding.

If I had entered Costa Rica with my Italian passport, maybe it would have been different.

If the woman at the passport check point hadn’t been such a ranging b***, maybe they would have let me in.

I have no idea.

When dealing with immigration you have to remember you are at the complete mercy of your “official”. Maybe he’s having a bad day and you end up paying the consequences.  It’s all very random and unforeseeable.


Traveling to Costa Rica Without a Yellow Fever Vaccine Valentina Rose Blog Beach Sunset in Punta Hermosa Lima Peru


Slipping Through The Cracks

As I said before you will normally be turned away when departing  Peru, or countries such as  Colombia, Brazil, if you can’t provide proof of vaccination before boarding the plane to Costa Rica.

I’ve heard many stories of people frantically looking for a clinic nearby or even inside their  airport where they could get the shot, pay a little more to have it backdated by a few years, or pay even more to have a straight-out fake one made. I wish I could have taken that route.

But because I did online check in and didn’t check a luggage I slipped through the cracks. No one in Lima  seemed to care even to do as little as check my boarding pass.

So there I was, in Costa Rica, ready to head to the hotel in San Jose for the night after a long two days of travel, and unable to do so because of a stupid vaccine.

The Catch

The alternative to having the vaccine done is to wait to enter Costa Rica for six days or more. You can do so in a country that is not considered at risk, such as Panama, U.S. and most countries in the Northern Hemisphere and Europe.

I happen to be one of the people who would rather wait it out rather than get the vaccine. (one of the reasons: the cost of vaccine in U.S. ranges anywhere between $100 and $250).

Technically  you need to wait AT LEAST 6 days (the amount of time yellow fever would require to manifest) and then you can be let back in Costa Rica.

I waited eight days in Miami before going back and attempting to re-enter Costa Rica.  Even this time I was questioned a bunch and almost thought I wouldn’t be let in.

The immigration officer at the booth could see that I had attempted to enter Costa Rica recently and was turned away for lack of the yellow fever vaccine. He was insisting I show proof of vaccination but I explained to him that the law requires you to wait six days or longer and then I would be in the clear.

So he let me in, but not for what seemed interminable minutes of reading something on his screen and flipping though my passport.


Traveling to Costa Rica Without a Yellow Fever Vaccine Valentina Rose Blog Pizzeria on the Beach in Punta Hermosa Lima Peru


The Bottom Line

The yellow fever vaccine requirement should be clearly stated on the ticket issued by the airlines.

But, for the time being, don’t make the same mistake as me and be informed before you go.

To be clear, you are not required to have a yellow fever vaccine to enter Costa Rica from the U.S., Canada or Europe. You only need the vaccine IF you have visited countries at risk PRIOR TO entering Costa Rica.

The thing is, some countries that have cases of yellow fever will let you enter without the vaccination, but then the next country you travel to will require the vaccination as a result of your previous destination. For example, I didn’t need proof of yellow fever vaccination to enter Peru, but I couldn’t travel  to Costa Rica without it after leaving Peru.








Travel, Yoga Retreats

What To Pack For Your Costa Rica Yoga Retreat

Keep in mind that Costa Rican life lends itself to a simple life. The most famous expression in Costa Rica is “Pura Vida” which translates to “Pure Life”. Pura Vida reminds us to remain simple and light in life. The weight of life can be cumbersome and drag us down.


For this reason, the list of things you need to bring to Costa Rica to enjoy your vacation is small and light.


Traveling light allows you more freedom to move from place to place more effortlessly without the mental burden of worrying about your stuff on your journey.





1. Passport – This might be obvious, but make sure your passport is current and up to date. Your passport must have at least 6 months validity. (There is NO visa required to travel to Costa Rica.)

If you are entering Costa Rica from South America, you will be required to show proof of having a yellow fever vaccination.


2. Money – bringing some cash is great, but you can use your credit cards at Blue Osa Yoga Retreat + Spa (they accept Visa, Mastercard, and Discover).

Keep in mind you do NOT need to exchange currency when you get to the airport. American dollar is widely used in Costa Rica and the airport exchange fees are not favorable.

We recommend bringing about $500 or less and bringing lots of small bills for easier currency exchange and small store change. You will need cash when taking taxis around San Jose, buying from local markets, tipping tour guides, eating out.

Keep in mind you do NOT need to exchange currency when you get to the airport. American dollar is widely used in Costa Rica and the airport exchange fees are not favorable.


3. Tooth brush and toothpaste –  if you forget yours of these items can be easily purchased anywhere. Body wash will be provided.




4. Yoga mat – we suggest your bring your yoga mat but if you can’t because you want to travel light you may rent one at Blue Osa for $30 for the week. 100% of the proceeds for yoga mats go to Blue Osa’s community outreach projects.


5. Clothing  – 2 or 3 pairs of shorts/ yoga leggings, 3 or 4 tank tops. Favor light and breezy clothing, things you would be okay getting wet.


6. Shoes  – Sandals/flips flops, and a pair of old sneakers – you do not need a lot of footwear.  Old sneakers are for hiking in waterfalls and in the jungle. Expect for your shoes to get wet and not dry fully before you departure. Sturdy shoes are essential for any adventures. High heels are not recommended.





7. Warmer clothing – bring a pair of long pants and a long sleeve shirt to wear on your flight to San Jose, Costa Rica. At certain times of the year, the nights in San Jose can get quite cool. Also, if you plan to take a side trip to the mountains before or after your yoga retreat or go horse back riding, you will definitely want some more coverage.


8. Journal and pen – optional.  A powerful practice in yoga is to take the time to journal your thoughts, ideas, dreams and goals.  You will receive invaluable insights from this practice.


9. Bathing suit – essential for the beach.





10. You DO NOT need to bring a beach towel. Blue Osa Yoga Retreat + Spa, as well as most hotels, provide these.


11. A camera/binoculars – you never know what whales might be breaching in the distance, monkeys might be swinging from the trees, or interesting birds you might want to capture.


12. Underwear and socks – pack as as much as you think you need, then return 75% back to the sock/underwear drawer.


13. Flashlight –  an essential part of your vacation to Costa Rica. Blue Osa is an eco-resort, and as such has low lighting at night. Having a flashlight ensures that you will be able to find your way around without stepping on any creatures that may be on the path.




14. Sunscreen – Another essential item for your vacation to the tropics. Sunscreen is readily available in most stores in Costa Rica, as well as the Blue Osa boutique.


15. Water bottle – to stay hydrated during yoga, at the pool, and anywhere you go. We recommend stainless steel water bottles like Klean Kanteen or Swell.


16. Bug spray – For dusk mostly, the time when mosquitoes tend to come out, you want to preferably have some natural bug repellent.


17. Sunglasses and hat – to protect you from the sun. if you have expensive sunglasses you might want to opt for something a little cheaper that won’t get ruined. Same thing goes for watches and jewelry.


18. Books  Once settled in the resort you’ll find it is really enjoyable to lay on a hammock or by the pool pavilion and immerse yourself in a great novel. Blue Osa also has a small shelf of book trades in case you finish your reads and want to keep going.




19. Spare the makeup – you’ll rarely enjoy wearing makeup in Costa Rica. The humid and warmer climates can make it uncomfortable and literally melt it off your face.


20. Leave your blow dryers at home – most hotels and resorts provide hair dyers, however, those types of electronics are NOT allowed at Blue Osa because the solar generated power system cannot handle the voltage.


21. Electronics and chargers  outlets in Costa Rica look the same as the ones in the U.S. You will be able to change your phones/tablets/cameras in your rooms at Blue Osa. Please note that Wifi is provided in the lobby area but not through the whole property.



Valentina Rose Blog Costa Rica Osa Peninsula Matapalo Life in the Jungle in Rainy Season

A Day In Matapalo, Costa Rica in the Rainy Season (the Real Deal)

Vacationing on the Osa Peninsula In Costa Rica is a fantastic idea. Staying in a resort such as Blue Osa guarantees idyllic experiences all around. Living in the jungle on your own on the other hand, is a little tougher, although still rewarding.

But let’s face it, when trying to make a living in Matapalo on my own I’m left to deal with certain aspects of life that you don’t concern with at a resort.

Here’s my typical day so far since I’ve gotten here.


Valentina Rose Blog Costa Rica Osa Peninsula Matapalo Life in the Jungle in Rainy Season
Photo Credit: Charles Knox Photography


Keep in mind October is one of the rainier months here in Costa Rica. Tourism tends to be slower which means less jobs,marvelously empty beaches and roads, lush and green vegetation, and it does rain more often (daily).


5am Wake up by howler monkeys from nearby tree and by noise of something being thrown on the roof (metal roof=noise amplified by 80%).


5.30am Stumble out of bed,  look outside the bedroom deck (no walls), notice the rain has ended and take a deep, humid breath. Monkey poop. That’s what was being thrown on the roof. And pieces of branches and leaves too.


Costa Rica Monkeys Valentina Rose Blog
Can you spot the three monkeys?


5:45am Notice some exotic turkey-look alike birds taking over the yard. Find out they are called curaçao.


6am Wipe the kitchen counters to clean gekko poops before breakfast. Sweep the floors covered in leaves from previous night’s wind and heavy rain. Prep juicy papaya, plain white yogurt, honey and granola.  Turn on wifi, send emails and read the news from La Stampa  before the rest of Costa Rica tries to do the same.


Costa Rica Yogurt and Granola



7am Loding….loading……connection lost.


7:15am Brush my teeth in the kitchen sink because bathroom sink is broken.


7.30am Check clothes hanging to dry from the night before. They are still wet. Poufy clouds of mold are starting to grow on the wetter spots. Landry desperately needed.


7.45am Trouble shoot one of the following:


a) I forgot bananas outside the pantry last night and the fruit bats feasted on them leaving even more poop and scraps all over the kitchen.

b) We ran out of gas for the stove or gas for the fridge (separte units)

c)  Water isn’t running because the big generator (not the small one, which is charged by the big one, but only sometimes, even though the small one can’t run the water) hasn’t been turned on in days.

d) We ran out of gasoline for the small generator so we have to call Jose’s cousin’s brother’s nephew who we heard in 2 days (which will be more like 6 days) is making his way here from Puerto Jimenez and see if he can bring us a tank.


8am Brief cold shower (chilly!), open luggage where clothes are stored to protect from humidity and sacrifice an item of clothing knowing that after the mud, the rain and humidity it will never look the same. Shake it for scorpions, re-close luggage. Empty rain boots, one more scorpion/cockroach check, head out the door.


9am Get on bike and head towards Blue Osa. (Soon I will be heading to teach yoga lessons, but for now I still have more free time since It’s low season). Cross the river(s) that have formed overnight and prey I won’t get water in my boots. I get water in my boots. Cows watch unimpressed. Ride on the most beautiful, empty, lush, green dirt road. Smell the fragrant scent of llang llang and forget about all my worries.



Life in the jungle Valentina Rose Blog Costa Rica Matapalo Osa Peninsula


Baby Cow Costa Rica Osa Peninsula
Photo taken by Jonathan Hokklo in Matapalo during previous yoga retreats



9:45am Arrive at Blue Osa. Enter paradise. Dry rainboots in sun. Greet smiling faces, enjoy the best internet connection in the area, eat healthy food made with care, laugh with staff,  pet puppies and kittens.



Blue Osa vegetarian Food Costa Rica



Dogs Of Blue Osa Costa Rica



12pm Head back to Matapalo. It’s high tide. Make my way to the beach for a paddle boarding session. The water is crystalline clear, I’m swimming like a dolphin, there’s hardly anyone in the water and I see a flock of turtles passing by.


Costa Rican Beach Matapalo Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog



12.30pm Spy a fat coati climb a tree. Notice the dog wants to fight it and remember coatis are vicious even though they look like teddybears. Prey the dog doesn’t die. Find out from locals that grilled coati is delicious.



Coati Costa Rica Jungle



12:35pm The dog spots a lora  on a branch (green exotic parrot) and jumps for it. It grabs the squawing parrot in its mouth and walks away with it. Upon intervention the bird is freed and the dog is sent home in punishment. (Okay this happened only once, but the dog tries to do it every day).



Lora bird Costa Rica


Costa Rican Beach Matapalo Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog Dog



1pm  Snack. Avocado toast. Toast bread in a pan (no toaster), add avocado. Clean up immediately to prevent ant invasion. I hear the generator is on. Rush to charge phone, computer and electric toothbrush (yes, I know, I know)


2pm Collect laundry,(washing machine is broken), shove in backpack, get on motorcycle, head to friend’s solar powered house that does not need generator. Wash clothes, lay them on grass to dry and pray for sun. Stop by neighbor and be offered coffee and sweet bread.


Costa Rica Motorcycle



3pm Time for a run or yoga. Either one or the other. No time for both as I have one and a half hour before dark. I opt for a run today. Dog in tow and bug spray abounds. Sweat starts dribbling before I get out the door. Tip toe fearfully by mean cows (bulls?), and wave to the cheerful Costa Rican workers who, piled in a truck heading home from work, are whistling and calling. Hear a toucan and observe several macaw parrots argue on the almendra tree.

Tucan Costa Rica Matapalo
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo


Macaw Parrot Costa Rica Osa Peninsula
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo


Matapalo Osa Peninsula Road Valentina Rose Blog Costa Rica



3:45pm Come home and find the cat sleeping on the table on my Trader Joe’s San Francisco bag.  He’s looking guilty as charged. Something smells funny in the house and vultures are circling nearby. Señor cat probably left a little gift somewhere, but I’ll worry about that later.



Costa Rican Jugle Cat Valentina Rose Blog



4pm Notice a spider monkey with its baby right in front of me on the deck. The mom is picking fleas off the baby and then patting the baby on its head and belly. They see me stare and reply back with mocking faces before they leave swingingly on branches.


Baby Money Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo


4.30pm Almost sunset. Head to the beach for a quick surf-watch session.  Read a story from my current book,  Mujeres de Ojos Grandes by Angeles Mastretta. Admire sunset, if I’m lucky get handed a coconut to sip by my jungle boyfriend.


Sunset Watch Matapalo Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo


5pm Head back, jump in the pool. Do crunches off the side of the pool, (50 straight, 50 sideways) relax. It’s starting to dribble.


5.15pm Collect shower items and head to the warm shower on nearby property. Gloriously shower outdoors under the rain.


5.30pm Rush back (watch for snakes) before it’s pitch dark and organize all my clothes. Protect everything from the rain. Postpone turning on the lights to avoid potential bug attack.


5:45pm Feed the dog and elevate the bowl so the giant toads who roam the night don’t go sitting in his food.


6pm Dinner prep. Wipe the kitchen counters again. Sweep the floor again. Cook rice, lentils and patacones. Drink juice or water. Live in fear of cicada, grasshopper, or cockroaches invading my personal space or even worse my plate. (no walls in the house means endless attack possibilities). Watch a gekko devour a dragonfly on the ceiling.


7pm Unsuccessfully try to connect to wifi and text my friends who I miss like crazy and wish I could just call.


7:15pm Sending, sending…unable to send.


7.30pm Get ready for bed by use of flashlight only (the more lights, the more bugs). Apply lavender lotion for better sleep and thyme for good dreams. Shake sheets and blankets for scorpion check.


8pm Rain has gotten loud; it’s impossible to hear. It’s chilly outside (which also means inside) and perfect to get wrapped in a cozy blanket. Time for bed, good night!


Costa Rican Sunset Osa Peninsula



Zucchini Flan Blue Osa Costa Rica Yoga
Travel, Yoga Retreats

For Foodies Only: Blue Osa’s Seven Best

One of the aspects that makes your Blue Osa experience divine is the gourmet food made with love.


Blue Osa 6 foods that will have you rave Costa Rica Yoga


Here are the six best Blue Osa foods that will have you rave for days.  Ranging from savory to tangy, exotic and subtly sweet, these flavors are bound to blow your mind.


1. Zucchini Flan


Zucchini Flan Blue Osa Costa Rica Yoga


This is one of my personal favorites. Often served for lunch alongside a refreshing salad and some other veggie dishes, this fluffy flan is always perfectly executed and emanates pure summertime sweetness.


2+3. Coconut-Encrusted Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa


Mahi Mahi Coconut Encrusted With Mango Salsa Blue Osa Yoga Costa Rica


Mango Salsa Blue Osa Costa Rica Yoga


If you are a lover of coconut and a lover of fish you will adore this entree. The finely chopped mango salsa freshens the crisp Mahi Mahi texture for a combo made in heaven.


4. Fresh Guacamole With Patacones


Guacamole with Patacones Blue Osa Yoga Costa Rica


Guacamole Extra Blue Osa Costa Rica Yoga


This is a Costa Rican classic. Smooth and velvety avocado served with the crunchy, salty plantains and a dash of lime. It’s a party in your mouth!


5. Blue Osa’s Star Fruit Crumble with Fresh Vanilla Whip Cream

Star-Fruit-Crisp-Costa-Rica-Blue-Osa-Dinner-Valentina Rose Blog


Healthy and decadent, this dessert is a Blue Osa original. The warm, slow cooked star fruit is topped by a sweet crumble with a dash of soft whip cream on top to finish it off.


6. Piña Colada


Pina Colada Blue Osa Costa Rica Yoga


When in the tropics, a Piña Colada is a must! You just can’t go wrong with this tropical and luxurious cocktail involving fresh pineapple and coconut milk. Sweet and inviting from start to finish, with a tad of rum that will pleasantly relax your night away.


7. Passion Fruit Cocktail


Passion Fruit Cocktail Blue Osa Costa Rica Yoga


With tangy notes and a kick this elegant passion fruit cocktail will surprise your taste buds. Enjoy the passion fruit’s crunchy bits a the bottom!


10 Places to See Before Your Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog
Travel, Yoga Retreats

10 Places To See Before Your New Year’s Eve Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica

Here’ s a list of places you might like to consider before or after our Happy New You! yoga retreat in Costa Rica.

The one thing we are not going in depth about in this post is that San Jose, the capital, has great museums, restaurants and sightseeing to offer.

But, if you were to wander outside of the city, this list is for you. Note that we are mentioning places that are conveniently located on the way or near Blue Osa, where the retreat will take place. The list goes from North to South. Enjoy!

10 Places to See Before Your Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog

1.Volcan Arenal

Volcan Arenal Costa Rica Valentina Rose Travel Blog

About three hours North of  San Jose.  Positioned within Costa Rica’s fertile northern lowlands, the Arenal Volcano is tall, imposing and has a reputation that precedes itself. Arenal’s perfectly symmetrical shape and abundance of outdoor activities make it a sightseer’s dream.

Thanks to geothermal activity beneath Arenal, the area surrounding the volcano is home to a number of hot springs. There are springs for every budget and style, and many serve up unobstructed views of the volcano.

2. Volcan Poas, La Fortuna Hot Springs, Rio Celeste

Volcan Poas Costa Rica Valentina Rose Travel Blog

Located about 1½ hours from San Jose, Volcan Poas is a very popular day trip. Poás Volcano is one of the major attractions in the Central Valley region and one of the most visited national parks in all of Costa Rica. Considered by most to be one of the most breathtaking sites in the entire country, the Poas Volcano sits high above 14,000 acres (5,666 ha) of various habitats and life zones.

Hot spring like the ones at La Fortuna are popular locales offering a relaxing spa-like experience among rainforest-inspired settings.

The Río Celeste is one of Costa Rica’s most spectacular rivers.  This river’s light blue color – the result of sulphur and calcium carbonate mixing – has earned it a unique place in Costa Rica.

3. Playa Hermosa-Jaco

Playa Hermosa Jaco Costa Rica ValentinA Rose Blog

An easy hour and a half drive from San Jose, on your way South is Playa Hermosa ( a few Km down the road from Jaco) offers an excellent vibe with chilled out surfers and pretty beach sunsets. Be aware that while Jaco offers great beginner waves, Playa Hermosa can pump monster swells. Still, even if you’re not a pro, you can sit back and watch!

4. Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio National Park Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog Travel
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo

Manuel Antonio National Park, on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, encompasses rugged rainforest, white-sand beaches and coral reefs. Manuel Antonio is one of only two locations in Costa Rica where you can see all four types of monkey; spider, howler, white faced and the endangered squirrel monkey, many of which can be visible from your hotel window. The area is also a prime destination for spotting sloths, both in and outside of the national park.

Between the main town and the national park there are several world-class beaches in the area. Here, you can swim, hike the park, or simply relax. Plus, available are all the amenities you would come to expect as well as a jumping nightlife.

5. Catarata Nahuyaca

Catarata Nahuyaca Valentina Rose Blog Costa Rica Travel

The Nauyaca Waterfalls are one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica’s South Pacific.

One of the falls is forty-five meters high and the other twenty meters high. There are also other smaller natural pools where tourists can walk, swim, climb, jump, take photographs and spend a marvelous day in the warm waters of Rio Barucito, enjoying one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica’s South Pacific.

6. Dominical, Uvita, Parque Marino Ballena

Dominical Uvita Parque Marino Ballena Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog

Dominical remains the sort of place where it’s best to just slow down, unwind and take things as they come.

Dominical offers sweet barrels, motley crew of surfers, backpackers and affable do-nothings alike. Dominical has no significant cultural sights, no paved roads and no chain restaurants, and if you’re not here to learn to surf or swing in a hammock it might not be the place for you. Pacific Edge is highly recommended as a hotel for a more pampered stay.

Uvita is a tiny town further South that is best known for its National Park, Parque Marino Ballena. At low tide, you will be able to see the mystical wale tail shape where the two beaches connect. It’s worth it!

7. Drake Bay

Drake Bay Cano Island Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog Travel

Resting on the northern side of the Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay (Bahía Drake) is an adventure-seekers paradise. It is named after Sir Francis Drake who is believed to have ventured here in the late 16 century. With scattered hotels and lodges, Drake Bay is the ideal vacation spot for those wishing to relax and escape from it all. While Drake is best known for scuba diving and snorkeling on Cano Island, other activities include  swimming, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking (Corcovado National Park), sport fishing, bird-watching or exploring the miles of deserted picturesque coastline.

8. Playa Zancudo

Playa Zancudo Zancudo Lodge Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog

A long stretch of black sand backed by coconut palms and almond trees forms the idyllic setting for Playa Zancudo. Located along the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica in the Golfo Dulce, Playa Zancudo is a beautiful and untouched area that sees significantly fewer tourists than other parts of the country. The atmosphere here is laid-back, and if you are into fishing, this is the place to be. 

9. Pavones

Pavones Costa Rica Valentina Rose Blog

Pavones  is a small town located in the southern Pacific Zone about 1 1/2 hour drive from Golfito. The little pueblo exists almost entirely for surf tourists who make the journey for the left point break that runs the entire length of the village of Pavones.  Pavones is definitely at the end of the road and a little out of the way. However for the opportunity to catch rides that will make your legs ache it is well worth the journey. There you can also find the Yoga Farm Pavones at Punta Banco, a rustic yoga center and sustainable living project centre.

10. Finca Bella Vista, Piedras Blancas

Finca Bella Vista Costa Rica Golfito Valentina Rose Travel Blog

Finca Bellavista is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.  Finca Bellavista is a residential treehouse community located in the south Pacific coastal region of Costa Rica. They are a rustic, yet comfortable, private retreat off the beaten path where owners and limited numbers of guests can explore the natural wonders of the rainforest canopy.

They are located in a relatively untouched portion of Costa Rica that is removed from many of the influences of the outside world. Their neighbors and friends are indigenous families and hard-working farmers. No souvenir shops, no mini-malls, and no rowdy bars.

Near Finca Bellavista is Piedras Blancas National Park.  The Piedras Blancas National Park, located along Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast just outside the town of Golfito, protects over 34,595 acres (14,000 hectares) of evergreen primary forest and a great number of indigenous plants and wildlife.  Today, the park offers visitors the chance to explore its thriving rainforests and immaculate beaches, winding rivers and powerful waterfalls

For the Adventurous at Heart

Cerro Chiripo’

Cerro Chiripo' Costa Rica Travel Valentina Rose Blog

Mt. Chirripó, the highest mountain in Costa Rica (and second highest in Central America) stands tall at 3,820 m (12,532 ft.). Climbing 19 km up Chirripó is one of the best ways to experience the beauty of Costa Rica. Monkeys roam the forests; the terrain continues to change every hour; the flowers come in every color. But the most motivating reason hikers put themselves through this rigorous trek is its collection of amazing views, one of which includes a view of both the Pacific and Caribbean Oceans from the summit.

Carara National Park

carara National Park Costa Rica Travel Valentina Rose Blog

Carara National Park is located just 9.3 miles (15 km) north of Jaco and about an hour from San Jose. Several miles of hiking trails are open for visitors. Early morning, or around sunset is often the best time to see the wealth of birds living in the park, especially scarlet macaws. due to its close proximity to the capital city, however, if you can beat the crowds, the experience and wildlife which runs rampant throughout the park will impress any nature enthusiast.

The Tarcoles River, which borders the park and flows into the Pacific Ocean, is an amazing place to witness the American crocodile close up. Boat tours are available to see them, as they can be up to several meters in length!

This is just a little glimpse of all that the beautiful and diverse country of Costa Rica can offer. Make the most of Costa Rica while you’re at it! 🙂

Urban Yoga in Costa Rica at the bomba in Puerto Jimenez, Osa Peninsula while I was staying at Blue Osa
Blog, Travel

I Need to Travel: Here’s Why

In my world, travel is a need rather than a privilege.

When your life is routine based it can become monotonous. You’ll have to do something to stir it up, like Bob Marley said. (I used to listen to a ton of Bob in high school).

Urban Yoga in Costa Rica at the bomba in Puerto Jimenez, Osa Peninsula while I was staying at Blue Osa
Having fun exploring the town of Puerto Jimenez

And when you start to become ritualistic on your morning baguette with marmalade , get sad at the thought of spending a night away from your cozy blanket and you get OCD over the colors of your laundry, it’s time to take a trip.

Book a flight.

No excuses.

Don’t have enough money?

Make the trip as cheap as you can.

Not enough time?

Find a holiday weekend, swap shifts with your cousin or call in sick.

Not enough guts?

I guarantee it will be worth it.


Besides all the superficial Club Med benefits, travel offers something so much more profound than a pretty beach to relax and let loose. It provides perspective and breaks you free of your routine and mental patters. When you come back to your life after taking a travel break, everything will be different. All of a sudden you’ll be having fruit for breakfast, want to organize a camping trip and do all your laundry mixed together.

Travel reminds you that there is something else out there in the world far more exciting than getting territorial over your Whole Foods parking spot and far more interesting than getting annoyed at the same lady in yoga class who always lays her mat too close to yours.
I am a big advocate of travel as a learning tool and a mean of self discovery. I’ve noticed some cultures encourage travel much more than others. I can’t really say travel is engrained in the Italian culture, but somehow there are a lot of Italians living abroad. But I digress. For as much as my Italian clan thinks of me as someone who simply vacations too much, I can’t stress enough how important travel is to me.

Valentina Rose I need To Travel to Costa Rica right Now
One of the best part about travel: impromptu friend and puppy beach hang out

It has helped me figured out who I am, prove to myself that I can be independent beyond my own belief, it has provided some of the most romantic times of my life and also broken my heart, it has tested my social abilities, forced me to be more social when I didn’t want to and never regret it. It has helped me understand how simply and much more happily some people can live, how not everyone does everything the same way. How it’s not okay to laugh at other cultures’ habits because to them my habits are just as ridiculous. How even though authentic Italian food is great not everyone cooks Italian in the same way. It has made me appreciate the comforts of my home, miss my family , made me realize my frustrations seem so minuscule compared to real problems, and I’ve always come back centered, inspired, appreciative and feeling more alive than ever.

If you’re someone who has not experienced much travel before for one reason or the other, or is considering a trip but is on the fence, I hope this will encourage you to embark on a journey. Any journey, even a roadtrip outside of town.

Hiking in Point Reys- Tomales Point Trail
Life, Travel

What Should I Do with My Life? Update

Some of you have been asking about my plans, where i’m headed, and for how long.

I have to admit, although flattering that ya’ll are interested in my life and travels I don’t always love being greeted by “What are you doing here? I thought you left for good?” upon entering the yoga studio.

What am I even supposed to answer to that? :”Good to see you too?” And then the questions begin:” I thought you were in Costa Rica, how long will you be there for, and then are you coming back to California, and when, and for how long”

I get it, you want to know. And I want to know too. But the truth is that I don’t know what my plans are yet.

And I am not in a rush to figure them out either.

Hiking in Point Reys- Tomales Bay
Pierce Point Ranch in Point Reyes

In the past I used to freak out when I didn’t know what I was doing and spend all my free time being anxious because I didn’t know what would be next. Now I don’t anymore, because I have learned to value those few quiet moments of transition, when you still don’t know…and it’s okay.

This doesn’t mean that I am not hard working. When the momentum comes, I am usually on the go, taking every opportunity to work, to make money, to travel, to move. But when I get an opportunity to be quiet, alone and still….I take it! Those are few and far between.

So here I am in Marin County, housesitting, teaching yoga still, about five classes a week, and the rest of my time is being used with sleeping plenty (what a luxury!), reading books, doing my own yoga practice, gardening, hiking, suntanning, cooking ,playing with tiny white dogs and hanging out with few select friends.

And I am throughly enjoying it.

I am okay with not having more work because I am intentionally making room for something new to come. I am thinking about which direction I want my life to go.

Hiking in Point Reys- Tomales Point Trail
The stunning views from Tomales Point trail in Point Reyes, West Marin

For the past three years that I have been leading a more erratic lifestyle, with lots of travel and moving around.  I really enjoy the freedom of being rent free and having no long term commitments. I can be anywhere I want at any given time.

But there are downsides to the lifestyle too.

For example, I do miss out on professional opportunities a lot. Usually when I just about settled enough in a place to work my way into better gigs, like start teaching at this great studio, or get promoted, I am about ready to leave.

So I take my precious experiences with me, pack my things, and say goodbye.

With less work opportunities comes less financial opportunity as well, and more uncertainty in general.

But I have found that what I miss the most about not being settled in one place is a sense of community.

In Miami Beach I felt that I got to tap into a great community of young, fun, likeminded individuals, and I really enjoyed it.

Ever since then I have met extraordinary people, but in more fleeting ways. And at other times I have not felt ready or willing to delve into the local community because I knew I was going to leave soon anyways.

In order to build community, one has to be in the same place for a prolonged period of time. But It’s not enough to just be in one place. One has to be willing to build connections, reach out and participate.

Hiking in Point Reys- Tomales Point Trail
Tamales Point trail takes you to the very edge of the north stretch of coast. Worth the 9 miles hike! (round trip)

So I am debating wether or not I am ready to settle more permanently somewhere for the sake of building that community feeling around me and  for more financial stability, for the opportunity to save money rather than just get by every month.

But, where? It would have to be somewhere warm year round and that provides plenty of quiet and nature but work opportunities as well.

California is cold but has nature, Miami’s weather is perfect but lacks nature, Costa Rica has nature, warm weather but not as easy of work opportunities.  No place is perfect!

Or do I want to make it a point to travel as much as I still can BEFORE I settle somewhere more permanently?

I could try and work remotely so that I can still take advantage of my current lifestyle. Spend half the year in Costa Rica, some time in California, some time in Europe?

That actually sounds perfect to me, but on the flip side I am absolutely done volunteering abroad, work-trading, or just generally hassling to travel cheaply. I want to be retributed for my skills and live a comfortable lifestyle (to be precise- I don’t need AC or TV, but I don’t want to travel in chicken buses either if you know what I mean). So because of those new boundaries I’ve set I am narrowing my options of things I can do, which means I’ll have to look harder and find more quality opportunities.

These are all the various options I am considering at this moment. This is an exciting opportunity I have and I am looking forward to the possibilities.

What about you? Have you ever been at a similar crossroad?

Any advice is appreciated! 🙂

Hiking in Point Reys- Tomales Point Trail
The view from the old stables in Pierce Point Ranch
Retreat in Paradise 5 reasons you should go on this yoga retreat
Blog, Travel, Yoga Retreats

5 Reasons You Should Go on The Blue Wave Yoga Retreat

Are you on the fence about booking your plane tickets? Maybe wondering if this is really the vacation for you? Never been on the Blue Wave Surf & Yoga Retreat before? Here are five reasons you should commit and book- no regrets!

Retreat in Paradise 5 reasons you should go on this yoga retreat

1. To vacation without the stress of vacationing

With this yoga retreat, you get to see a new place without having to hassle to figure out all the details. You will get to experience new landscapes and adventures without having to do insane amounts of research on your Lonely Planet. We have it all figured out for you! Just book a flight ticket and we got the rest covered 🙂

Practcing yoga

2. To experience yoga in a whole new way

Have you ever had that feeling that an hour of yoga doesn’t give you enough time to really unwind? Or you have all those questions about a certain pose that you never get a chance to ask? Driving to class and rushing into class has you feeling a little stressed? This yoga retreat is for you. Yoga classes will take place conveniently near your doorsteps, and in front of the ocean. And several times a day. Need we say more?

*Not as into yoga? Not a problem. There will be plenty of opportunities to surf, on the Boca Sombrero break right in front of the resort.


3. To meet cool people

The great thing about the Blue Wave yoga retreat is that everyone who attends is awesome. You will find yourself connecting with people from all walks all life, from different countries and of all different personalities. You will be pleasantly surprised.

4. To leave with a lighter load

Whether you are seeking resolution or not, it is guaranteed that you will emerge from this yoga retreat with new perspectives. Many times we need to walk away from our daily routine, our problem, stress and frustrations so that we can distract ourselves and then come back with a clearer outlook on life. Or maybe. after you take some time “off”, the problems you had before don’t seem as challenging anymore 🙂


5. To establish healthier habits

We want you to be healthy, and we want you to know how that feels so you can continue doing it back at home. We have gourmet healthy meals prepared for you. We want you to know what it feels like to get restful sleep. To unplug. To have the opportunity to read a book in peace. To hear the sounds of the jungle. And to be inspired to seek those quality lifestyle adjustments once you return home. Click here for a typical day on the yoga retreat.

Got more questions?

Contact bluedreamyogaretreat@gmail.com

BDYR studio group shot

Surfing the Osa Costa Rica
Blog, Travel, Yoga Retreats

Surfing the Matapalo // Osa Peninsula //- A Guide

The Osa peninsula is known for many things, and among them, some world class waves. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or a beginner wanting to learn, you will find just what you need in the Osa.

Note that all the surf spots in Matapalo are point breaks.

Aaron surfing pan dulce Blue Osa Costa Rica

 Surfing the Osa

Pandulce 1

Location: Cabo Mata Palo. Drive past the little jungle bar of Martinas, cross the river and take the first left into the road that takes to Cabo Matapalo. Pass casa Bambu, Casa Pina and Casa Dulce on your left and then turn left on a little road that will take you to a tiny parking lot. Lock your vehicles and keep all valuables with you!

Difficulty level: easy. This is a forgiving wave and the best one to learn surfing on.  (this spot is also known by the locals as “Pussy Point”, because it’s one the most beginner surf spots in the area.

Wave direction: Right

Barrels?  Yes, usually smaller ones.

Best part about it: this spot has a fun right wave with a good speed which can make for fun sessions.

Good to surf during: low tide

Crowded? Yes

Watch out for:  When you go in at low tide you will need to walk on some flat rock as you enter the water, which can be a bit slippery. Also sting rays sometimes hang out in the sandy bottoms, so shuffle your feet as you walk in.

Pandulce 2

Location: Cabo Mata Palo. This spot is still Pan Dulce, but a bit further down on the Matapalo road. You can enter from a few different points. You can get to it by walking on a little trail from PanDulce 1 at low tide on your right. You can also go from the Encanta la Vida yoga deck and then take a right on the trail. You’ll see a few benches.

Difficulty level: intermediate

Wave direction: Right

Barrels? yes

Best part about it: all the waves here are great for ripping

Good to surf during: When there’s a big swell you can surf both tides, the high and low, but when the waves are small you want to surf at high tide.

Crowded? Usually yes

Watch out for: rocks

Surfing the Osa Costa Rica


Location: Cabo Mata Palo. Once again take the main Matapalo road and continue until you get to the Backwash parking lot right before a little river. If you passed a steep hill you’ve gone too far.

Difficulty Level: fairly Difficult. Definitely for people who can already surf, not for beginners.

Wave direction: Both rights and lefts

Barrels? yes

Best part about it: All the waves there are good, there’s a good drop and good sections for its airs and maneuvers!

Good to surf during: low tide

Crowded? sometimes

Watch out for: Water currents and rocks. The rocks that divide Backwash from PanDulce 2 are surrounded by strong currents, so make sure you don’t go in/get out from there.


Location: Cabo Mata Palo. Drive all the way to end of the Matapalo road. The beach will be right in front of you.

Difficulty Level: difficult. Experienced surfers only.

Wave direction: right

Barrels? yes. Good barrels

Best part about it: the drop

Good to surf during: low/medium tide

Crowded? it depends on the swell and the season. During the low season you could find only locals surfing there.

Watch out for: rocks underwater and currents during big swells that push towards the rocks. Go in front the right side, not from dead center.

Sunset Watch Matapalo Costa Rica
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo

The rest of the beaches below are NOT located in Cabo Matapalo, but rather in the surrounding area.

 Germany Beach

Location: playa sombrero, right in front of Boca Sombrero. It’s a beach break.

Difficulty level: easy wave

Wave direction: both lefts and rights

Barrels? yes, small ones

Best part about it: it’s a short break, close to the beach. good sessions for barrels

Good to surf during: high tide

Crowded? no

Watch out for: rocks

Playa Tamales

Location: before Blue Osa, while you are driving from Puerto Jimenez. It’s right in front of the  river mouth

Difficulty level: intermediate

Wave direction: left

Barrels? yes

Good to surf during: high tide

Crowded? no

Watch out for: crocodiles and sometimes sharks


Location: Playa Carate. Instead of driving towards Matapalo keep going towards Park Corcovado.

Difficulty level: Not recommended for surfing

Wave direction: both left and right

Barrels? yes

Crowded? no

Watch out for: dangerous currents, crocodiles and sharks.

Surf Lessons

Aaron Garcia lezcano Surf Costa Rica Osa Peninsula

For surf lessons or a private surf guide contact Aaron Garcia, local pro surfer.

Email him at: aaronjg91@gmail.com

Check out his Instagram: https://instagram.com/aaronmatapalo/