After exploring the Latin lands and waters of Costa Rica, it is an empirical fact in my synopsis that this wondrous country is perhaps the most proficient, both economically and socially, when it comes to the newfound movement of sustainability. Whether it is the auto industry attempting to reduce atmospheric toxicity from emissions, or health food practitioners championing organic vegetation and meats, the message is inherently clear that change towards the self-preservation of the planet and all things natural has to be constant and Pura Vida.
You smell that? Yes, I do and it’s called life. I live for every moment of it due to the fact that my consciousness represents an insatiable desire for escape from the telematics of today’s busy world. Smart phones, WiFi, iPads, gaming, music devices and more have captured more of our time and is keeping most of us from instilling daily thought with visions of freedom, succulent aromas and unique animal life such as the humming birds that I watched intently as they sucked the nectar from the red flowers beyond my Villa’s Veranda at Latitude 10. Or perhaps it was the monkeys that played in trees above while eating lunch at The Bakery Café in Montezuma. So, why not refocus a small percentage of one’s daily routine on life as it was in the beginning. Endeavor to find the most creative conscious awareness and head for Costa Rica.
The 4-day escape to the Latin country began as an 8-year anniversary celebration for my wife and I. Costa Rica was always on our agenda, so the elements were finally put in place to manifest the journey. And though the romantic time together was purposeful and endearing, we found ourselves engaged more in the sustainability, conservation, and green living characteristics of the country, which became our transcendent and newfound mission. To be more specific, sustainability as defined by Latitude 10 is described as “the ability to provide for the needs of the world’s current population without damaging the ability of future generations to provide for themselves. When a process is sustainable, it can be carried out over and over without negative environmental effects or impossibly high costs for anyone involved.” Latitude 10 is one of a small number of eco-lodges, sustainable resorts and green hotels in Latin America managed by Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality. All of their properties, including Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn is either certified, or in the process of being certified for their nature conservation, sustainable efforts and the improvement of the local communities’ quality of life.
Landing in San José, Costa Rica on a United Airlines flight from Washington, D.C., the plan was to stay on the Pacific side of the country to enjoy the serene beaches and then finish off in the countryside. We rented a small Suzuki 4×4 for $125 a day from National and immediately began our journey. First however, was the task to find a healthy lunch since my wife and I are vegans which we believe accounts 100% as a key component to the sustainability of our bodies as well as the earth by avoiding any contribution to the green gases emitted, and wasted waters from the slaughter of animals as a food source. We found a splendid vegan cafe only eight miles from the airport called The Loving Hut and enjoyed spring wraps, a veggie burger, falafel, veggie soup, non-dairy Pesto pasta with vegetables, and a mocha soy frappe. Talk about satisfaction, and all for less than $25 U.S. dollars.
Next we drove two hours west on Costa Rica’s new Lindora Highway 27 to the small town of Puntarenas, where the wife and I overnighted. We awoke at 5am the next morning and went for a run. There is nothing liking greeting the morning sun with fresh, deep breaths. Following our jog, a short 20-minute drive led us to the Ferry for a 1.5-hour cruise through the Golf of Nicoya to Paquera. From there we drove another hour and a half from Tambor to Cobano; then another half hour from Cobano to Malpais. Finally, we were at the enchanting Latitude 10 Exclusive Beach Resort in Santa Teresa, formerly a small fishermen’s village and now home to surfers, nomads and couples seeking spiritual enlightenment. The last leg of the refreshing trip featured an all-gravel road which proved to be harsh on both the car and passengers. One thing to keep in mind, Costa Rica is not for people who are in a rush to get somewhere. It is a place of remarkable beauty and requires great patience to drive through.
Entering the resort’s tall wooden gates, we were greeted by splendor beyond imagination. Rick and Bob, the two owners of Latitude 10, aspired to build a secret hideaway in a sustainable habitat without cutting down any trees or creatng any imperfections upon the landscape. Consequently, a canopy hovers over the property. Cobblestone paths intersect through the micro rain forest that connect each of the five private Casitas and the main clubhouse. The luxury tree house resting between your very own private beach and the garden is an enchanting setting for anyone searching for peace and clarity in their lives. Keep in mind the beach is rocky and not suitable for swimming. Fit for Pharaohs and Queens, the all-natural almond wood structure is reminiscent of Japanese temples, with movable walls and doors that expand for Zen types to become one with nature. The Queen bed is covered by a canopy, and offers a powerful view of the trees and plants circumventing the room. The resort houses no more than 15 guests at a time, and is completely available for occupation by an extended family.
Latitude 10 was gracious enough to settle us in one of the two master suites which housed a bathroom that was entrancing in its own right. Showers allow gazing at the open skies, while geckos camouflage themselves in the trees that surround the shower, and colorful hermit crabs play hide and seek. I couldn’t think of a more peaceful manner to begin the morning or to end the evening. Sunrise in particular is meditational. It begins with a wake-up call at 5am from the howler monkeys. Then comes a deep spiritual awakening from the sea which is only footsteps away from the villa. After pondering the day ahead, you slowly crawl from the canopy to open the soft shades hanging on the glassless windows one by one to let in fresh air and light from the recently risen sun. Either a jog on the beach or yoga and a massage at MERIDIAN, Latitude 10’s open-air wellness studio is available to energize one’s mind, body and spirit.
Aesthetically, the bungalow was carved with curiosity in mind, featuring local artworks and handicrafts. In place of rugs were bamboo mats and wire hangers were substituted by sculptured wood. A hammock and reclining lounge chairs garnish a full wrap-around terrace. Rounding out the decor are two relaxation couches on both ends of the room, a dinner table with four chairs, two ceiling fans perched from the high ceilings, and lanterns in place of lights. This helps to preserve energy and peace of mind since Costa Rican electricity is generated by its waters. Modern civilization was left behind as there are no phones, TV, or AC in the room. Internet can be found in the clubhouse, but we only used it to check on the kids back home. After all, we didn’t travel all this way to check work email!
The Clubhouse is where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served and embraces you aquatically with its quaint, chemical-free infinity pool. While sunbathing, strange insects, exotic birds and iguanas keep you company. Our breakfast (complimentary to all guests) of choice was fruit, granola, whole wheat toast, and a medley of tomatoes, avocado, brown rice and beans. We always ordered a fruit smoothie when venturing outside the property gates. Dinner was prepared by the property’s personal chef who had no problem preparing a vegan meal, which consisted of a mango salad and Thai curry with rice (no brown rice). It was ok and was the last dinner we ordered.
Obviously Costa Rica is full of adventurous activities such as ATV riding, surfing, ziplining, sport fishing, horseback riding, scuba diving and much more. Yet, there is a wealth of life’s ecological balance and culture to explore in Costa Rica. So the decision was made to visit the beaches, bird watch, hike and search for natural food restaurants and shops that Costa Rica impressively caters to. Wildlife included herons, raccoons, woodpeckers, anteaters, opossum, iguanas, armadillos, crocodiles, turtles, whales, and more. For our first quick journey we ventured off into the charming beach town of Montezuma to feast on veggie Thai curry and real fruit smoothies at the aforementioned The Bakery Café. After lunch we walked down to the beach and enjoyed big waves and the simple pleasures of the Pacific.
Each day mirrored the next. We relaxed and read books, ate well, exercised our bodies, and fully appreciated the land that has been in existence for many years. Planning is already underway for anniversary number 9 in Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. For more information visit www.latitude10resort.com.