The Perfect Place To Stay On Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula: Blue Osa Yoga Retreat
Written by Jaillan Yehia
If there’s one thing I always thought sounded like a great thing to do one day, you know, in the future, it was a yoga retreat. But now that I’ve tried a week-long beach side yoga retreat on Costa Rica’s unspoiled Osa Peninsula, all I can say is don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today…
‘Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes an incredible stroke of luck.’
This lesson from the Dalai Lama is quoted one evening over dinner at Blue Osa – which may make the whole experience of attending a yoga retreat sound every bit as serious as you’d expect it to be – but once you’ve heard these little nuggets of wisdom book-ended by co-owner and experienced yogi Aaron’s wicked laugh (that seems to go on forever and hint at a lifetime of naughtiness) you’ll see that a sense of humour comes as standard with the serenity here, making the vibe fun as well as fulfilling.
Dinner, along with the daily yoga classes of course, turn out to be one of the things I look forward to the most at Blue Osa, interesting when you consider that most of the time what I want for dinner is more along the lines of burgers than beans, and the cuisine here is a bit of a meat-free zone.
So it’s a stroke of luck that I spend the week tucking into an indescribably good feast of mostly vegetarian, gluten-free and super healthy food that tastes ten times better than it has any right to.
I say indescribable but the cute thing about the dinner ritual at this remote retreat is that each and every dish is lovingly explained to the guests before service with real pride by the person who made it, from the most junior staff member to the French-Italian Chef Marie, who masterminds the entire menu.
The food is eaten as it is prepared – en famille – meaning I find myself by turns discussing American politics, European travel and Costa Rican property law with different companions at the dinner table – you could easily be at a supper club in London or New York, such is the atmosphere created by our cultured hosts.
But food aside, what we’re all here for is a healthy dose of yoga, practiced in the sort of calming environment that focuses you’re mind on what you’re trying to achieve, without the usual distractions of everyday life getting in the way, which let’s face it life has a habit of doing when we’re at home, despite our best intentions.
Aaron, the personification of Blue Osa’s yoga philosophy has led 80 retreats around the world and is clearly passionate about what he does, and especially loves doing it right here in his own remote slice of jungle heaven, a bumpy 30-minute ride from the sleepy town of Puerto Jimenez.
In our daily yoga class in the airy purpose-built yoga studio amongst the treetops he’s full of wisdom, whether on the topic of yoga or life, yet wise enough to know when to add a pinch of salt, pre-empting his proclamations with ‘if you take one thing away from this week, apart from everything else I’ve said’…’ Cue that wicked laugh.
I think about everything I’m experiencing at the retreat as I enjoy a facial inside the azure-blue-doored poolside spa one afternoon, but the sounds of the ocean and the droplets of rain on the roof conspire with the dextrous pitter-patter of my therapist’s fingers to wash away every one of my thoughts, my dozing punctuated only by the tropical soundtrack of thunder cracking and scarlet macaws calling.
The colourful birds are just one aspect of the local wildlife which you can see without leaving the comfort of the hotel pool, but even more excitingly on a nearby beach you can get involved with the sea turtle conservation program to aid the survival of this endangered species on the Osa Peninsula (they are actively looking for volunteers; email [email protected]).
More sea life is easy to spot en route to the peninsula’s animal sanctuary, Osa Wildlife, that will have you stroking porcupines, tickling monkeys and eyeing ocelots – but even on the boat trip to the sanctuary’s remote location you’re practically guaranteed to meet, as I did, dolphins, whales and flying fish, who hold their own next to the giant humpbacks; another example of how even the smallest creatures can sometimes be the most fascinating to watch.
Back at Blue Osa there’s even more friendly wildlife in the shape of the three adorable resident dogs – Pete, Steve and Rama – who won’t let you go to the beach without them, and would make excellent guard dogs if there was anything more threatening here than native baby crabs to guard against.
For more information about trying Blue Osa for yourself, on a retreat or at one of their specialist yoga teacher training immersion courses visit their very informative website www.blueosa.com
Getting to Blue Osa is half the fun, and involves flying into the tiny airport at Puerto Jimenez where one of the team will pick you up for the short but wildlife-filled drive into the Costa Rican countryside where the hotel is located.
Internal flights are with Nature Air, typically from 45 minutes San Jose though there are other options.
SavoirThere was a guest of Blue Osa.
Tags: Blue Osa, Costa Rica, Yoga
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