My husband and I went to Costa Rica 3 times before we decided to take a group of friends there. The first time, it was an all-inclusive resort. We loved everything! However, we realized it was not a real experience, and didn’t give us a real feel of the country, even though we did take couple of excursions. The second and third time, we went on our own: rented a condo, lived among locals, went shopping, made friends. We also rented a car and drove across the country. We loved it even more! We got so excited, that we decided not just to invite a couple of friends to join us, but to do an entire healthy retreat there instead.
Costa Rica is one of the cleanest countries: they almost don’t use pesticides on their produce, and their cows are grass-fed. It is also very safe. Seems like a pretty great place for a retreat! So how did it go? Well, we did the trip, and here’s what went smoothly, as well as what we’d like to improve: Overall, it was a great experience! We learned a whole lot about our business, about our friends, and of course about Costa Rica.
The good stuff:
Assuming it was our first trial run, it all went absolutely smoothly. Everyone from the group was able to make it. The pickup bus met us at the airport, our rooms were ready for us. We took somewhat of a risk coming in May, considering it was the beginning of the rainy season, however the weather turned out to be just great! Delicious fruits and veggies in-season were available for us at the local markets. We were buying fresh, just-caught fish from the local fisheries. We had healthy breakfast and lunches together that were fresh and delicious. Our group was very friendly and supportive, and we had a great time together. We had sport sessions every morning; a sunset photo session, and belly dancing sessions. And we had a very romantic sunset boat trip to nearby islands!
What we could improve:
We could have used some help during the day to add variety to our meals. We would have liked to have had a dedicated travel agent, or someone responsible for food. Both of us were too busy organizing everything, and there was limited time for the nutrition sessions I had planned. It would have been beneficial for my husband and I to have come at least 3 days before the group to ensure that everything is ready. Even though we were not responsible for the day trips, we could have checked better as to which group came most recommended. One of the important trips that was supposed to capture many of the country’s attractions turned out to be a disaster. There was no dedicated tour guide. The bus driver was neither a good tour guide, nor a good driver. The drive was rough and the bus was old. Interesting that we took this same trip two years ago, and it was the best trip ever! Keeping the experience consistently good is a priority of ours moving forward. Yet it was a great experience – take a look at the evidence below.
Would we do it again?
Absolutely, and taking great care in choosing a good tour guide, as we can then concentrate on the actual retreat, and put our hard work toward making the experience top notch!
How does the saying go? One picture worth thousand words? How about video then?