Transformational travel in Costa Rica

Tuning into Transformational Travel

Transformational Travel. What is it? It’s a term that’s relatively new but the concept has been long adapted by travelers across the globe, and it's definitely something that happens when you solo travel. 

According to the Transformational Travel Council (an organization dedicated to supporting both travelers and the travel industry in transforming lives and changing the world through more mindful and intentional travel experiences) transformational travel is any travel experience that empowers people to make meaningful, lasting changes in their life.

Girl About the Globe was invited on a press trip to explore and experience the meaning of transformational travel through a multitude of activities and experiences in Costa Rica. Having visited Costa Rica in the recent past on a quick weekend trip when life was becoming a little too much to handle, I was curious to experience more of what the country had to offer in terms of transformation.

Transformational travel in Costa Rica

As I started this experience, the biggest challenge was to unplug. We arrived at the first location, Rancho Margot. I soon realized that unplugging was going to be such an easy task. Located in the middle of the rainforest, cell phone service was non-existent and the wifi was only accessible around the reception area.

Given these circumstances, I really had no choice but to connect with the people around me, nature, and most importantly, myself. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing!

Transformational travel in Costa Rica

Rancho Margot is a sustainable living farm built on 400 acres of land about 35km away from La Fortuna, and it’s quite impressive. Walking through the property with the owner Juan Sostheim was such an eye-opening experience. Nearly everything is grown on-site and waste is composted or bio-digested.

During the tour of the property, I was able to see how the ranch maintained it’s sustainability, and I was even able to create my own soap, made from recycled cooking oil from the kitchen. With it’s impressive on-site food production and energy production, Rancho Margot is the perfect place to have a transformational experience within yourself and the environment.

Transformational travel in Costa Rica

Next up on this experience, facing your fears. Desafio Adventures took us out for some serious fun at Gravity Falls. Unless you’re an adventure junkie, waterfall jumping and rappelling might be an experience that you normally would not partake in and would require “jumping” out of your comfort zone. I jumped off and rappelled down a series of waterfalls and cliffs, putting all of my trust and faith into our guides.

I personally found this challenging due to a prior experience falling off a cliff and sustaining some serious injuries while waterfall jumping. But the bond that immediately formed that day within the group as we all faced our fears was one that created a sense of community and support to help transform us in one way or another.

Transformational travel in Costa Rica

To come down from the adrenaline rush after waterfall jumping, an evening at Paradise Hot Springs was exactly what we all needed. Costa Rica is known for it’s hot springs that are created from the Arenal Volcano. The hydrotherapy and crenotherapy elements found here are the result of the sodium chloride, magnesium, and sulfates found in the water.

These minerals have such a great amount of healing properties. As I dipped in each thermal pool, I gained a new sense of calmness, relaxation, and mental and physical healing. The sound of the waterfalls around the property was the ultimate zen experience.

I had a clear mind that evening, and I remember being in a meditative and reflective state of mind. This was certainly one experience I wanted to continue having even after coming back home.

Transformational travel in Costa Rica

We got to experience Costa Rican culture first hand during this press trip as Independence Day was celebrated. We watched a local parade with traditional Costa Rican dress and music. We also set out for a day to meet with program leaders and members of Asociacion Crear.

The organization provides innovative programs to the rural beach communities around Playa Samara and focuses on creative and artistic expression, English language development, socio-cultural responsibility, and women’s empowerment.

A few children in the program walked to the beach with us and we painted signs to help keep the beach clean. It was so much fun working with the children and connecting with them through art and the environment.

Transformational travel in Costa Rica

Throughout the trip, we also had a yoga session with Toby Israel, meditation session, storytelling workshop, trauma healing experience, and a cacao ceremony.

I personally had a tough time having any sort of transformational experience during these particular activities. And I think it was purely because of the limited time we had during the trip and these types of experiences require some time and multiple sessions.

But I can say that Costa Rica certainly provides the ultimate landscape and options to have a transformational experience, whether solo or in a small group.

Nathalie's trip to Costa Rica was on “Tuning into Transformational Travel: Costa Rica Unplugged,” in collaboration with the ICT (Instituto Costarricense de Turismo), and Toby Israel.  Upcoming retreats include “Yoga and The Art of Listening” in Finca La Flor, and “Find Your Flow Balance Your World” – a yoga and nature retreat in Samara.

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