10 Takeaways from Four Days at The Retreat Costa Rica

Last updated April 8, 2024

Working remotely can cause moments of isolation, self-care neglect and lack of exposure to new experiences. We all deserve a moment to heal and feel deeper either solo or with a travel partner. 

Our regular contributor Emily Hill recounts ten key takeaways from her recent transformational wellness retreat experience at The Retreat Costa Rica in Atenas, Costa Rica. 

More than a retreat center, The Retreat Costa Rica is a transformational resort and spa nestled on a quartz mountain with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. The brainchild of wellness coach, chef and best-selling author Diana Stobo, The Retreat offers an intimate space where guests can escape the chaos of everyday life to still the mind and inspire the soul. 

The Retreat offers several packages that give visitors transformative personal, spiritual and physical experiences. Below, Emily summarizes her ten key takeaways from her custom 4-day wellness retreat at this magical resort and spa. 

1. Develop a deeper sense of self and community

My whole life, I have always cared for other people or things. Even during vacations, I felt like I was the one that had to plan and coordinate to feel safe and in control. The Retreat Costa Rica alleviated all of these fears and took care of everything for me, as if I was family. From airport transportation, to 24/7 WhatsApp communication and concierge service and daily printed itineraries—the property and its staff made me feel cared about. 

As a solo traveler, I anticipated being apprehensive when it came to engaging with other guests. Before I knew it, strangers became friends, in an environment of complete inclusivity and belonging. I dined, hiked and drank coffee with people who came from different backgrounds and had different reasons for their stay here.

Whether a couple’s retreat, childhood best friend reunion, work sabbatical or personal escape—we could share stories the  deep, meaningful experience together. Regardless of where we all came from, we shared one commonality: wellness as the number one priority. 

2. Nourish my body with locally-sourced nutritionally-balanced meals and fresh juices

As a naturally health-conscious eater, I was blown away by the personalized daily menus that featured two- and three-course meals with options for all dietary restrictions. The menus are versatile with plant-based or local, sustainably-raised fish and meat options. All of the homemade breads and crackers are gluten-free and plant-based, in substitute of typical flour-based starches.

The meals all incorporated herbs and produce grown on the property’s garden directly off the kitchen’s terrace. One of my favorite details was that the turndown service was accompanied by healthy chocolate-chip oat cookie bites that I enjoyed with my tea and a bubble bath overlooking the stars. 

An example of what I ate in a day:

7:00 am: Wake up to coffee (grown on the property) or tea and a Truth bar (pre/probiotic bar sold on property)

9:00 am: Freshly squeezed juice trio, chia pudding, homemade granola, eggs + greens, banana bread

2:00 am: Fresh multi-layered juice, organically-grown salad, plant-based tacos, mint tea

7:00 pm: Sangria or mocktail, plant-based soup with flaxseed crackers, sea bass and fresh vegetables, cacao cauliflower flan

9:00 pm: Lavender tea and chocolate-chip oat cookie bite

3. Hike well-marked trails that lead to a waterfall, river swings and organic coffee plantations

The resort is lined with well-marked, versatile hiking trails. The concierge provided me with a map that highlighted each trail and where different paths diverged. I chose to venture solo the first day and then do a group-guided hike the second day. 

We learned all about the local plants, insects, birds and the history of Costa Rica from crystal butterflies with transparent wings, to citronella plants that are a natural bug repellent. We visited Costa Rican coffee plantations which are the same beans roasted in our daily morning coffee! Yet another garden-to-table experience at The Retreat Costa Rica. 

Each hiker gets the chance to search for their own crystal quartz to bring home from the quartz mountain. Crystal quartz are known to be the gemstone of healing, strength and clarity, getting rid of emotional blockages, and shielding against physical and emotional negativity. This is something I felt so strongly during my stay. 

4. Surrender to unique spa experiences centered around self-love and healing

The Retreat Costa Rica offers daily restorative rituals, but to further elevate the experience they offer one-of-a-kind spa and healing experiences at Vida Mía Spa. The extensive list of services cater to each individual’s preferences and needs in private, quiet rooms that look out at the Costa Rican forests.

I participated in the Self-Love Treatment, which is a two-part spa experience. I entered a steam room with ceiling showers hovering over an elevated bed. This is both a massage and exfoliating experience—releasing toxins and cleansing my being from the inside out.

The Retreat cultivates its own medicinal herbs and makes scrubs, tinctures, oil infusions and creams for all of the therapeutic and pampering beauty treatments. The exfoliation is followed by a massage in a private room with a view of the mountains. The massage ends with micro-sized crystals spread across my body to seal the treatments with the healing energy. I awoke to the cool clouds rolling in for an afternoon shower. 

Vida Mía also  offers acupuncture, reiki, detoxifying lymphatic drainage massage and dosha-balancing massage performed by the in-house Ayurvedic doctor. 

5. Savor 24/7 sweeping and vibrant mountain and ocean views

I got to sleep, shower, bathe and swing with mountain views. Each of the 19 guest rooms has a unique view of the mountains, coffee plantations or Pacific Ocean. The room I stayed in had a canopy swing that let you peacefully drift into a state of zen as you overlooked the mountains at sunrise or sunset. 

Everyday I would shower or bathe overlooking the mountains—feeling like I was the only person in the world. The bedding is plush and the amenities are organic, natural and branded to The Retreat. All of the rooms are also named after the plants and superfoods grown on the property, which lends a personable, interconnected touch. 

6. Recharge your vibrational energy and soul with healing quartz crystal

Throughout the property you’ll find countless white crystals, but it’s more likely that you’ll feel them just by being there. I knew the moment I stepped into the front entrance that something special was happening at this place. 

White crystals are known to purify the mind, body and soul. Since the property is located on a quartz mountain, they incorporated crystals in everything. My spa treatment closed with micro-crystal dust spanning across my body, our hiking guide gave us the opportunity to look for crystal quartz that could be found along the pathway and the rooms had crystals hanging on the walls.

Crystals are a constant reminder that healing is accessible to you wherever you are. 

7. Flow with daily vinyasa and restorative yoga classes

As a seasoned yogi, I looked forward to the daily vinyasa and restorative flow classes. It’s the perfect way to start and end my day feeling centered and well-stretched. The Retreat Costa Rica provides mats, blankets and blocks in a yoga studio looking out onto a beautiful mountain-view deck with natural sunlight and wind breezes.

The Retreat has certified yoga instructors from around the world instructing the flows. The classes empowered all levels of yogis to move their bodies to music and meditate with a welcoming community. 

8. Shop at the curated boutique 

All of The Retreat Costa Rica guests wanted to bring home the experience for family, friends or personal sentiment. The boutique is filled with jewelry, crystals, clothing and other momentos. I bought my own crystal to remember the mountain and channel the same healing energy I felt here back home. 

9. Swim in the saltwater pool and soak in the hot tub

Beside the dining room is a saltwater pool and hot tub that you could use day and night. I enjoyed some happy hour sangria poolside one evening while admiring the views.

Another day, I brought a book to sit beside the pool and read after my swim. The property has a library with a wide selection of books to choose from if you didn’t bring one from home. 

10. Marvel at the property’s pet peacocks

Aside from the crystals, the property had what I like to think of as their mascot—the peacocks! They have a fully grown male and female peacock with babies. These beautiful creatures are something out of a movie and always spark so much joy and curiosity. 

The Retreat Costa Rica offers several short and long-term packages for guests to find balance and peace of mind. Diana Stobo’s integrative recipes and remedies offer all guests the opportunity to truly reset, relax and rejuvenate. 

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