The Retreat Costa Rica

Finding my Inner Child at The Retreat
As someone who visits hotels frequently, I'm used to the website photos not fully representing the 'real' thing. In most cases, the photos are more glamorous than what you see upon arrival. At The Retreat, however, I found the complete opposite to be true. The photos on their website, while beautiful, do not fully express how special this place is—and the 'shift' you'll feel after leaving. More on that later.

The first thing to know about The Retreat is that it's convenient for international travelers, especially those coming from bustling cities like New York, who need a quiet reprieve in the middle of nature. It's located in Atenas, which is around an hour's drive from the San Jose Airport.

Despite its proximity to SJO, The Retreat feels worlds apart. I wanted the whole experience here, and that's exactly what I got—delicious food throughout the day, Yoga classes twice daily, an indulgent spa treatment, jacuzzi and pool time and of course, ample time to take in the stunning valley view from my casita.

Having lived in several 'foodie' cities around the world, I have high expectations when it comes to food. After dinner my first night, I knew I was in for a real treat...in this case, literally. All the recipes are made with organic ingredients, the majority of which are grown on their on-site garden.

Everything is dairy-free, gluten-free, chemical-free and wholesome. There are also vegan and raw options for those on a stricter diet. While I try to keep a fairly healthy diet when I’m home in New York, I’m usually all over the place when I travel. So, getting to eat flavorful dishes every few hours was such a treat. After night four, I felt lighter, less bloated and so full of energy. I actually asked them to pack me a lunch-to-go on my last day because I wanted one last healthy meal for the road.

I was lucky to meet the owner of The Retreat, Diana Stobo, whose own trip coincided with mine. She’s the brains behind the whole food concept here, and also regularly leads themed wellness trips throughout the year. Even if you don’t attend one of these retreats, guests are able to choose a package that fits their goals, whether it be to detox, renew or completely transform.

In terms of activities, I went to the twice-daily offered Yoga classes. The mornings classes were more active while the evening classes were restorative (my favorite). I even got to try an Aerial Yoga class for the first time. This is something I've always wanted to do, but have been too shy to sign up for a class at home. I was the only one in class that day so I got a private lesson where my teacher walked me through the movements every step of the way. It's definitely a lot harder than it looks but I felt very accomplished after I got the hang of it—no pun intended.

It was during this Yoga class that I completely let go; not of the silks, but of my fears. As I swing upside down, I felt like a little kid—weightless and without worry. After a fairly stressful year personally, this was the release I needed. That same childlike joy stayed with me for the rest of my time at The Retreat...and I like to think afterward, too.

Another highlight for me was splurging on a spa treatment. I opted for their signature "Heaven on Earth" 90-minute massage. My therapist had really good energy and I felt this transferred to me during the treatment. She even incorporated some Eastern medicine, like relieving pressure points, throughout my body. I decided to not shower that night, so that the coconut oil could continue moisturizing my body.

Between Yoga, the spa and steam room, the pool and jacuzzi and of course, my casita, there are plenty of opportunities to reflect on why you're here. For me, I was pondering my next life decisions while also wanting to feel more alive. I feel that The Retreat helped me on this journey.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
Barrio Jesús de Atenas, Alajuela, Atenas, Costa Rica
+506 8947 0707
Sun - Sat 6am - 10pm