The Ultimate Guide to Costa Rica’s Best Yoga Destinations
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Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful places on earth, with an all-year-round gentle weather, amazing sights and a stunning richness of wildlife. As soon as you set foot in this Central American country, you’ll feel as if you’ve arrived in paradise.
Naturally, this makes it an ideal yoga destination, since splendid and tranquil surroundings can help you advance your practice goals tremendously.
To help you get the best of what the country has to offer during a vacation that combines yoga practice with sightseeing, we’ve condensed everything there is to know. Here’s the scoop on the best yoga destinations in Costa Rica and how to experience this beautiful place beyond the regular tourist go-tos.
Costa Rica at a Glance
View of the San Jose city center
Costa Rica is located in Central America, having both a Caribbean and a Pacific coast. The richness of the beaches spread out across the country’s shoreline makes it a paradise for beach and watersports lovers, surfing in Costa Rica being among the chief tourist traffic sources. In addition, the yoga community in Costa Rica is also growing steadily, as the popularity of yoga practice is rising worldwide.
More and more yoga travelers make their way towards Costa Rica to be able to fully absorb its local charm. Besides the bounty of beaches, there are plenty of other things not be missed while traveling here. First of all, Costa Rica boasts a rich pre-Colombian ancestry and well-preserved cultural artifacts and sights.
The capital, San Jose, is an interesting mélange of old and new. You have Spanish colonial architecture to admire, along with pre-colonial ruins, as well as hyper-modern buildings and hubs bursting with life. The Metropolitan Park with its impressive gardens, the National Theater building, the Pre-Colombian Gold Museum and the Museum of Innovation are a few must-sees you should plan ahead for.
A keel-billed Toucan in Costa Rica, just one of the country’s amazing wildlife species
Besides the capital and any of the numerous beaches littering the Costa Rican coastline, you should also make time for the rich wildlife you can admire here. An amazing biodiversity can be found throughout this territory, 25% of which consists of protected jungle area. You’ll be able to admire various species of monkey playing (including the extra-cute spider monkeys), as well as the fascinating quetzal birds.
The Best Destinations for yoga retreats in Costa Rica
As for the best places in Costa Rica for a yoga vacation that nourishes your body and your mind, if I’d have to narrow them down to just five (which is quite the challenge!), here’s how my list would look.
This charming little town to the south of the Nicoya Peninsula is home to one of the most spectacular beaches in Costa Rica, Playa Montezuma. The stunning white sand is scattered along a wide stretch of land, creating a dream-like effect.
Another remarkable beach in Montezuma is Playa Grande, highly popular for surfers and paddleboard enthusiasts thanks to its constant swells. There is also a hiking trail through the jungle that starts in the north of the town, and while exploring you should make sure you also get to admire the waterfall and the turtle sanctuary and hatchery.
All in all, Montezuma is a great place for practicing yoga and replenishing your energy, regardless of whether you prefer the beach or the jungle sites as a setting for your asanas.
#2 Santa Teresa
Another coastal village along the Nicoya Peninsula, Santa Teresa is a charming former fishing community that was transformed into a top destination for yogis and surfers. Littered with great beaches that are just perfect for a sun salutation or a relaxing yoga session on the paddleboard, Santa Teresa can make for the retreat of a lifetime.
In spite of its amazing charm and appealing sights, the village is also praised for its remoteness and relative isolation, making it ideal for those looking to avoid the tourist crowds.
#3 Lake Arenal
The area around Lake Arenal is one of the most attractive regions you can visit in Costa Rica, and its natural beauty also makes it a great destination for yogis. The Arenal Volcano National Park hosts an amazing biodiversity, stunning views (especially around the volcano) and refreshing patches of jungle and mountain habitats.
While in the Lake Arenal region, you should also visit the Mistico Hanging Bridges, the Kalambu Hot Springs or the La Fortuna Waterfall. A yoga vacation in any area around Lake Arenal will have you come back refreshed and relaxed as you haven’t felt in years.
The city of Puntarenas in Costa Rica is ideal for a yoga vacation and as the starting point of an adventure travel itinerary. Traditionally a port town in the Gulf of Nicoya, Puntarenas is both a cultural center with lots of interesting things to visit and a strong yoga and surf destination, as well.
Take a stroll along its boulevards and admire the Spanish colonial architecture or the numerous shops and cafes. Sample the local cuisine for amazingly low prices, too. The fresh seafood is not to be missed!
Admire the surfers and yogis on the famous Playa Dona Ana, and join them against the view of the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever admired. If you’re a wildlife lover, visit the aquarium and the center for the rescue of seahorses, crocodiles, and turtles.
The jewel of the Guanacaste Province, Tamarindo is the perfect yoga and surf destination for all beach and wildlife lovers who are looking for relaxation and fun. It’s littered with beaches that are ideal for sunbathing, yoga and watersports, and it is also a major nesting site for the beautiful leatherback turtles. The estuary in the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge is also not to be missed, as it is home to stunning rows of mangroves, howler monkeys and crocodiles.
Costa Rica and Yoga
As an exotic destination that is suitable for a warm vacation year-round, Costa Rica is a popular yoga destination. During the Northern Hemisphere winter, Costa Rica is a preferred vacation spot for yoga enthusiasts worldwide.
Combining yoga and surfing in Costa Rica is a common way of enjoying the best that the country can offer its visitors. Beach yoga sessions (including Sun Salutations) and SUP yoga that blends asanas with the thrill of water sports have become increasingly popular.
Rest assured that, even if you’re not into the idea of surfing (though you should at least give it a try), you can still practice yoga to your heart’s content while exploring the beautiful Costa Rican sights.
5 Yoga Holidays in Costa Rica
If I had to choose just five yoga retreats in Costa Rica that everyone should see at least once in a lifetime, these would be my top choices:
- Skill level: All levels
- Availability: All year round
- Price: From US$1,788 per person for 8 days/7 nights
- Yoga styles: Hatha
In a secluded destination, where the jungle meets the sea, this yoga retreat offers an authentic Costa Rican experience. Stay in an eco-lodge in the heart of Leatherback Sea Turtle Park Natural Reserve in Playa Grande, with all the amenities you could wish for. Besides daily yoga sessions, you can also enjoy surfing, since daily surfboard rental is included in the package.
This yoga retreat is available year-round and is especially appealing if you’re longing to get away from the dullness of winter in your home area. There are sunny vibes to be enjoyed in Costa Rica instead of the gloom at home!
- Skill level: Beginners and intermediates
- Availability: November till May
- Price: From US$799 per person for 5 days/4 nights
- Yoga styles: Hatha, Power, Vinyasa, Yin, Restorative, Ashtanga
If you like the idea of combining your passion for yoga with a bit of adventure, then look no further. On this 5-day yoga retreat in Costa Rica, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse in three nature-based activities of your choosing. You can go surfing, SUP-ing, hiking, horse riding, mountain biking, snorkeling, or ziplining.
Located in the jungle of Playa Negra, this retreat offers the perfect setting to discover inner and outer peace. Besides the daily yoga sessions and adventure activities, you’ll have plenty of time to relax, reset, and explore.
- Skill level: All levels
- Availability: December till August
- Price: From US$590 per person for 7 days/6 nights
- Yoga styles: Vinyasa, Yin
If you value the beauty of a more secluded location but still want to enjoy the whole range of what Costa Rica and Montezuma have to offer, this is the ideal yoga vacation for you. The retreat is situated in the midst of an eco-conscious community and away from the buzz of the most intensely developed real estate regions. At the same time, you’re close to the center of Montezuma, with its tempting array of nightlife, shops, and restaurants.
The hotel where you’ll be staying is the stuff of dreams: bungalows located in a mango orchard overlooking the ocean. You can also watch the monkeys playing, or hike to the waterfalls in your spare time. The retreat includes a snorkeling trip to the Isle of Tortuga (sounds exciting and pirate-y, right?), a delicious daily breakfast, a therapeutic massage and daily yoga classes. It’s one of the most popular yoga vacations Costa Rica has to offer and a great choice for women traveling solo.
- Skill level: All levels
- Availability: November & January
- Price: From US$400 per person for 3 days/2 nights
- Yoga styles: Vinyasa
If you don’t have time for a full week yoga retreat in Costa Rica, this weekend yoga holiday in Puntarenas is just the thing you need. You’ll get to practice yoga and get tips from a great teacher, while also getting a taste of what Costa Rica has to offer.
You’ll relax on the beach, admire the local surf competition, practice yoga, take a hike in the jungle, get a massage and much more, all just in the course of 3 days.
- Skill level: All levels
- Availability: November till August
- Price: From US$798 per person for 7 days/6 nights
- Yoga styles: Vinyasa, Yin
Besides enjoying several types of yoga classes (suitable for beginners and all levels), this yoga holiday in Lake Arenal will allow you to explore one of Costa Rica’s most fascinating areas. Hiking in the jungle, admiring the rainforest waterfalls and the wildlife, enjoying the sunset views of the Arenal Volcano and many more thrilling activities await.
The retreat also focuses on rejuvenating activities, which means you’ll get to enjoy massages, hydrotherapy (personalized) and Reiki sessions. Naturopathic teas, delicious daily meals and a trip to the hot thermal springs are also on the house.
2 Yoga Teacher Training Programs in Costa Rica
Ready to take your passion for yoga to the next level and get certified as a yoga teacher? These two training opportunities allow you to do so, as well as enjoy the beauty of Costa Rica.
- Availability: January till July
- Price: From US$2,999 per person for 17 days/16 nights
- Yoga styles: Hatha, Iyengar, Kundalini, Vinyasa, Yin, Acro, Nidra, Ashtanga
Learn how to perfect your yoga practice, first for yourself, and, afterward, so you are also able to touch the lives of others. Practice self-love and love towards the entire world around you, with introspection, meditation, and tours to admire the stunning wildlife around. The program also includes exciting opportunities for surfing, whale-watching and local trips in the magical rainforest.
- Availability: Jan, Feb, Apr, Jun, Jul, Aug
- Price: From US$3,299 per person for 21 days/20 nights
- Yoga styles: Vinyasa
Embark on the yoga adventure of a lifetime! This transformative yoga teacher training program in Montezuma is infused with Vinyasa, meditation, mantra, ritual, Ayurveda, and dance.
Each day will start with a two-hour asana practice. There will be over 200 contact hours.
Throughout your stay, you’ll have access to a nature preserve with tropical gardens, jungle trails, waterfalls, and a swimming pool. Unlimited high-vibration mountain spring water, Costa Rican coffee, and an assortment of teas are included in the package. Three organic vegetarian gourmet meals, as well as fresh fruits, are also included.
Yearning for more opportunities to visit Costa Rica while enjoying a yoga break? Take a look at hundreds of yoga holidays in Costa Rica and find the perfect one for you!