When festival-goers take to the desert for Coachella or Burning Man, they’re driven by a communal passion for art, whether that’s music or some other form of expression. And when a similar crew flocks to Anamaya, a wellness “body, mind and spirit resort” just up the hill from the boho surfer town of Montezuma in Costa Rica, they’re seeking the same thing. Only here, the art is yoga.
The retreat is housed in a villa that co-owner Geoff McCabe bought to be a private residence, which may be why the whole experience is so cozy and familial. You can stay in summer-camp style dorms that sleep five, or lavish private rooms. Not that you’ll spend much time in either. At Anamaya (Sanskrit for “good health”), life unfolds in the main house, with its dining room, lounge area, yoga deck, saltwater pool, and 270-degree views over the Pacific.
This place is a Burning Man inspired retreat—only here, the art is yoga.
There’s a festival, communal vibe—reinforced by a performance of fire dancers, hoopers, and aerial silks artists who cap off the week. When you’re not in early morning or sunset yoga classes, having a spa treatment, or eating family-style meals, most of the 30 or so guests each week can be found socializing by the pool.
Shoes are optional (and all out banned in the main house), and you just might find someone walking around in yours when they needed them (after all, yoga is all about going with the flow). Lifelong friendships are frequently formed, and nearly everyone cries while saying goodbye.
Here are three healthy highlights of a stay at Anamaya…
1. Eating (deliciously) off the land. In some ways, Anamaya can be a bit of a lovable mess, with meals starting perpetually late. But when they’re served, you might not even mind that you had to wait for them. The portions are plentiful, the menus are varied, and most of the food comes from Anamaya’s organic farm, the aptly named Rancho Delicioso. Fish and chicken are served, but vegan and gluten-free diets are easily accommodated. As a guest, you’re also taken to the farm for a crash course in permaculture and encouraged to consider coming back as a farm volunteer.
2. It’s not just about the yoga. For a slightly higher package price, you can take five surf lessons during their week. The instructors, from a local surf school, are experienced and attentive, and the beginner-friendly break they use is blissfully uncrowded (thanks in part to the 30-minute hike it takes to get there).
3. The views from the yoga decks. A yoga retreat can hinge on the teacher at the helm for your week, and styles run the gamut here, from a physical week of Core Power Yoga to immersions in spiritual practices, meditation, or Ayurveda. If having the right teacher or style will make or break your trip—and your schedule is flexible—it pays to do your research. But no matter who is teaching, it’s impossible not to have a once-in-a-lifetime yoga experience with the views from the yoga deck (pictured) during class. —Ann Abel
From $990 per week (for accommodations in a shared dorm, meals and yoga; private rooms, and additional activities cost more; the surf package adds $300). Anamaya Road, Montezuma, Costa Rica, (866) 412-5350, www.anamayaresort.com