“Pura Vida”-pure life. It is a phrase that is repeated by Ticos and ex-pats alike many times during the course of a day. This idea-of a clearer, uncluttered way of living and experiencing all the world can offer has found a particular resonance in Costa Rica. The New Economics Foundation, in its 2012 Happy Planet Index listed Costa Rica as #1 worldwide. The index is a global measure of “experienced well-being, life expectancy and Ecological Footprint revealing which countries are most efficient at producing long, happy lives for their inhabitants…” (taken from the Executive Summary of HPI found at www.neweconomics.com).

It is not surprising that many centers of mediation and alternative healing practices have opened throughout the country. With an emphasis on methods of treating physical and emotional issues beyond the traditional scope of modern medicine, these new approaches to human health are grounded in multi-cultural disciplines brought to Costa Rica by ex-pats seeking the essence of the pure life and enhanced by the natural beauty and resources found throughout the region.

One of the most popular approaches to alternative health have been the Yoga retreats and spas that have opened in recent years. Nosara Costa Rica, one of the oldest ex-pat communities, has become a center for alternative health tourism. Located on the Nicoya peninsula, this community strives to keep the harmony between humans and nature. The Nosara Yoga Institute, founded in 1994 is known world-wide as a premier yoga training center. One of the graduates of the Institute went on to found the Nosara Wellness Center in 1999. The Center focuses on various modalities and a type of yoga-massage called pranassage as well as acupuncture and other alternative methods.

The Yoga Farm, located in Punta Banco, south of Golfrito Costa Rica, has been ranked by The Guardian as one of the world’s best Yoga retreats for 2012. Combining yoga with a thriving sustainable living environment supporting a healthy and more relaxed life style, the Yoga Farm has been come a unique paradise to renew and revitalize body, mind and spirit. The Luna Lodge, located in Carate on the Osa Penninsula has been featured in many publications including the New York Times and USA Today in 2012.

Yoga is by no means the only alternative health discipline that can be found in Costa Rica. The Durika Foundation, just outside of Buenos Aires, combines a biological reserve and eco-tourism with a naturopathy center that utilizes holistic modalities such as clay therapy, manual therapy (massage) and neural therapy for such chronic conditions as rheumatoid arthritis is just one example. There are a growing number of wellness clinics that are also offering different approaches to healing as opposed to chemical, surgical or other traditional procedures.

Having a choice between quality traditional medical services and unique alternative therapies is just another facet of Costa Rica that is making it a destination for medical tourism and relocation for those who want to immerse themselves in what truly is the essence of Pura Vida.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose Costa Rica