Like a lot of athletes, yogis and surfers talk about “getting into the zone,” that magical mental space where everything seems to flow along in perfect rhythm. Sometimes, getting to that place is a challenge; it requires overcoming the chaos of our surroundings — say, navigating traffic, or tromping through snow — or just generally cordoning off the mind from the busy-ness of everyday life.
Other times, however, our surroundings do the work for us. Such was the case when my husband and I visited the surfing and yoga mecca of Santa Teresa, in the Mal Pais region of Costa Rica. We installed ourselves at the Horizon hotel and yoga center, owned by Israeli ex-pats and made up of villas built into the hillside with expansive views of the Pacific. Here, we had no need to force our minds to be still — the gorgeous vistas and tropical air took care of that for us. We were energized and yet relaxed at the same time.
My husband, Erik, spent his days on the water, catching waves at the beach down the hill, Playa El Carmen, which is known for its consistent, long breaks. Meanwhile, I indulged in “basic” yoga classes that were tougher than any advanced ones I’d taken back home. Perched at the highest point of the hotel’s property, the yoga deck supplies warm breezes, open air, and clear minds.
To eat, we’d simply step down a few stairs to the hotel’s organic, vegetarian restaurant or take a short stroll to one of Saint Teresa’s many restaurants. Everywhere the food was fresh, simple, and delicious, and augmented by a cold beer or fruity cocktail. This is the luxury of Santa Teresa: It is easy and casual and gratifying. Frilly sheets and fancy ballrooms are in short supply; those would be distractions here. Instead, satisfaction is derived from life’s simple pleasures. And for visitors to this seaside town, these are in abundance.
Photos by Maaike Bernstrom Photography