Costa Rica’s affordable cost of living, scenic beaches with an abundance of surf, and lush natural landscapes are what initially drew me to this tropical paradise. The friendly nature of the locals, lots of of fresh fruit and vegetables, and relaxed lifestyle are what’s keeping me here indefinitely.
The first four months I lived in Costa Rica, my rent cost a mere $300 per month (including utilities). My 900-square-foot bungalow lay just steps from a pristine, secluded beach in the North Pacific province of Guanacaste.
Because there were few restaurants and no grocery stores in my small beach neighborhood of Playa Avellanas, most of my food was purchased at farmers’ markets at very low prices, keeping my cost of living to less than $600 per month.
I have since moved to the equally affordable, sleepy beachside town of Dominical in Southern Pacific Costa Rica—where surfing, kayaking, horseback riding, and hiking to waterfalls are the main attractions for travelers.
Dominical has three small supermarkets, a fruit stand, and a variety of dining choices—from upscale restaurants at beachfront hotels to local mom and pop restaurants. There are also several options for organic smoothies, coffee, and vegetarian fare.
One of the primary reasons I moved to Dominical was to work at a local yoga studio. Costa Rica has become an increasingly popular yoga and destination—for retreats, trainings, or simply taking classes while on vacation. Costa Rica is an ideal locale for yoga and wellness retreats due to the beauty and tranquility of its natural environment.
Dominical is home to Bamboo YogaPlay, a zen-like healing arts sanctuary boasting a gorgeous yoga studio, eclectic boutique, and comfortable eco-accommodations.
Shortly after I began work at the boutique (in exchange for yoga classes), it was announced that a 200-hour yoga teacher training would be offered at the studio. Because teaching yoga has been a dream of mine for years now, I jumped at the chance to become a certified yoga instructor. The training was sponsored by the School Yoga Institute, and is one of the most affordable teacher trainings available.
I now teach regular classes here and love it. Helping others realize their potential by becoming more flexible, strong, balanced, and calm makes for an extremely rewarding job.
The owner of “BYP,” Sofiah Thom, is also an expat. Born in England and having lived and traveled the world, she moved from California to Dominical three years ago and opened the business with her husband. Their vision is to offer a space where people can come for healing, self-renewal, and self-expression in a fun and adventurous environment.
In addition to offering classes and massages, BYP hosts a variety of trainings and workshops—offering the opportunity to study yoga, dance, danyasa (a fusion of yoga and dance), and other healing modalities for days, weeks, or months at a time.
BYP is currently looking for partners as they expand to include an organic restaurant, additional eco-accommodations, and a larger, bamboo studio. If you’re interested visit – danyasa.com.
While BYP is a full-time, year-round yoga studio, there is a trend for hotels, villas, and eco-lodges to offer periodic yoga and wellness retreats. For example, expat Harlow “Salvador” Newton, owner of Buenaventura, offers businesses and individuals the opportunity to host private yoga, wellness, and other group retreats at his mountainous rainforest property in the Savegre River Valley.
Harlow bought his 160-acre paradise 10 years ago, and now boasts an eco-adventure lodge, riverfront eco-village, eco-educational farm camp, yoga and wellness retreat center, and private wildlife reserve.
The beachside town of Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsua is known for its vibrant yoga community, in part because it is home to the Nosara School of Yoga Institute.
Yet other areas in Costa Rica are lacking established yoga communities. While the town of Quepos in Southern Puntarenas and its neighboring national park, Manuel Antonio, are incredibly popular with visitors to Costa Rica, this area has very few yoga options—making it a potential new region to target for retreats and studios.
So whether you are a yoga enthusiast looking for a yoga retreat, training, or classes while on vacation; or an investor looking for up and coming business opportunities, Costa Rica is ripe with opportunity.
Story from 2016