When discussing yoga retreats in Costa Rica, everyone is always looking for the next hot spot. So many people from around the world visit Costa Rica for a yoga retreat or yoga teacher training – in places like Nosara, Tamarindo, and Puerto Viejo. For a while now, we have been hearing that Santa Teresa is the next trending destination for yogis. We thought we would sit down with one of our own WeTravel yoga retreat leaders, Lauren Rudick, who calls Santa Teresa home, to ask her some questions about what makes Santa Teresa so special.
What has your journey with Santa Teresa been like?
I’d never heard of Santa Teresa, but when I was traveling in Nicaragua people were talking about it. When I got to Costa Rica, I took the bus as far south as I could. I ended up in Samara, but I was stuck there for the night. While in Samara, I overheard some people talking about Santa Teresa, and they agreed to give me a lift there. It was a crazy drive, through rivers, up mountains. Sometimes we had to walk through rivers to check for crocodiles or to check the depth to see if the car could get through.
Once we got to Santa Teresa, I loved it. The people were so nice. I decided to stay in Santa Teresa because I wanted to miss winter in Montreal, where I’m from. I tried to find a place to stay, but there was a housing shortage. Someone told me to try a woman named Melissa’s house. When I asked her if she had a room for rent she said, “maybe — I don’t know.” I started walking away, but Melissa stopped me and said, “I may as well show it to you.” She showed me in and immediately fell to her knees crying. I gave her a hug, and she started crying more. I didn’t know what to do – she said, “thank you so much.” She told me that it had been her father’s apartment who had recently passed. She hadn’t been there since he died. Then she told me she wanted me to live there.
She ended up re-doing the entire apartment. She and her husband Antonio took good care of me. I started staying there on a month to month basis. A week or two into my time in Santa Teresa, I was walking down to the beach to go surf. In wax, I drew an ‘OM’ on the surfboard. Where I was staying happened to be next to a yoga studio. On my way to the beach, I passed the owner of the yoga studio. She turned and noticed my surfboard, and asked if I was a yoga teacher. She asked me to teach a class that night because one of their yoga teachers couldn’t get back into the country.
And so I started teaching yoga in Santa Teresa and leading fully-booked yoga retreats. Being here has allowed my business to grow. Space and time to dream and discover. When I began leading yoga teacher trainings, I could have led them anywhere in the world. I chose to lead them in Santa Teresa because I had great contacts here and they were easy to set up.
What makes Santa Teresa special?
The nature is overwhelmingly beautiful. Every night there’s a perfect sunset. You can walk the coastline for hours and it never ends. It’s actually illegal to build anything within 150 meters of high tide, so it’s all jungle on the beach. You can look left towards the horizon, or right towards the jungle. Everything here is boutique. There are no chains or Starbucks. Every business is individually owned and unique to this place.
There are a lot of artists, live music, and art around. It’s a very international community, largely Argentinian, Israeli, Belgian, and American, so 4 or 5 languages are spoken. People from all different areas of the world come together because they love this place.
There’s a lot of space and it’s magical. The ocean is warm and inviting. It’s comfortable here. You have time to yourself. It’s easy to find private spaces in nature. I haven’t experienced anything like this elsewhere. The beaches have no road access, so you’re sometimes the only person on a beach that stretches for miles. However, because the community is so international, there is a diversity of exceptional food. The food is also super fresh and local.
Do you have any tips for people when they visit?
It’s a one dirt road town, very quaint. Don’t bring your nice footwear, because it’s dusty in the summer and muddy in the winter. Likewise, don’t pack too much white.
Enjoy it, take it all in. Eat everything everywhere. Make friends with locals. Learn to surf. Smile at everyone.
Enjoy the surf, yoga, and good food.
How would you compare Santa Teresa to your hometown of Montreal?
The weather and lifestyle are opposites, which is one of the reasons I love my life in Santa Teresa. In Montreal the culture is eating and drinking – on girls night out you go for a nice dinner have a nice drink. That also exists in Santa Teresa, because of the diversity of food. People love to eat and drink here. It’s just that after work drinks in Montreal have been swapped for sunset drinks in Santa Teresa. The biggest difference is that I used to live indoors for 6 months of the year. Now I live outside. I work outside. I get to be outside almost all day. There aren’t even real windows in my home!
You can also live off the land, here. It would be easy to live here if you had to survive, because stuff grows naturally. Fruit and fish are everywhere. There’s so much freedom and open space!
What makes Santa Teresa such a great place for a yoga retreat or yoga teacher training?
The abundance of nature. On my yoga retreats, we always watch the sunset every night, and meditate on the beach every morning. It’s peaceful. Just steps away from where you’re staying, there is pristine, untouched natural beauty. The town is accommodating to all types of food preferences, so it’s easy to be here if you’re vegan or vegetarian.
It’s also hard to get to. You have to go on a journey to get here. You feel like you’re at the end of the world.
People call Santa Teresa Magic-Manifesting Mountain. The rocks on the beach are made of moonstone and rose quartz. The beach is magnetized with moonstone, which balances energy and emotions.
Thank you, Lauren, for sharing the beautiful Santa Teresa with us. If you would like to experience the magic of Santa Teresa for yourself, Lauren is leading a Yoga Teacher Training this upcoming June 4th-July 2nd, 2017. For more information, including how to sign up, check it out below:
For more information about Lauren Rudick, check out her website.