Planning a Retreat? Here’s Why You Should Consider Costa Rica
If you’re a travel planner responsible for organizing workshops, seminars, symposiums, or executive retreats, there are lots of considerations to keep in mind, and the location you choose can have a major impact on the success of your program. The purpose of your event, the size of your group, and your potential audience are all factors in selecting a venue, but ultimately the idea is to temporarily disconnect from daily life in order to pursue your objectives. Whether your event focuses on personal development, wellness, creative pursuits, or professional development, if you haven’t yet considered Costa Rica, here’s why you should give this versatile country a second look.
Find inspiration in nature
Costa Rica is well-known for its biodiversity and commitment to conservation. More than two dozen national parks and many more private reserves protect a broad spectrum of ecosystems; hundreds of birds, mammals, amphibians, and other wildlife flourish here, set against a stunning backdrop of thousands of plant species. Writers, photographers, and other artists are sure to find their muse in the colorful flora and fauna.
“I love color. I love color and I like ‘bold,’ and so I find that the tropics has these big, bold things,” says artist Mindy Lighthipe, who has led multiple artist workshops in Costa Rica. “In Costa Rica, it is so diverse that I always see new bugs, I always see new animals, I always see new flowers or plants that I have never seen before. I find that anything that I’m able to experience personally puts a lot into what I paint.”
The country’s natural resources are also perfect for professional development, where educators will find abundant topics for study, and where they can bring back what they’ve learned to enrich their students.
“[The chocolate tour] was a really excellent addition to my adventure and I can't wait to make cocoa for my students and first graders’ parents,” says teacher Pam Strollo, who traveled to Costa Rica as part of a National Middle Level Science Teachers Association. After her trip, she said she also planned to share with her students the pictures and videos she took of Costa Rican biodiversity.
Find inspiration in the “pura vida”
Costa Rica has undoubtedly established itself as a destination for those seeking wellness. Its residents frequently rate among the happiest people in the world. The Nicoya Peninsula on the country’s Pacific coast is recognized as a “Blue Zone” – one of five regions worldwide notable for the longevity of their residents. With no standing army and a non-interventionist foreign policy, it is also considered one of the most peaceful countries in the world.
Here, “pura vida” is more than just a ubiquitous refrain; it’s a way of life. The phrase, which translates literally to “pure life,” can be used as a greeting, a farewell, in gratitude, or to express contentment, and it reflects the easygoing attitude of the ticos.
With that in mind, Costa Rica is an ideal spot for those seeking to relax and immerse themselves in nature. Away from the distractions of everyday life—whether as part of a yoga workshop, a leadership retreat, or a writer’s seminar, for example—group travel planners find that their participants can more easily focus and achieve their aims. Many lodges feature amenities to support your objectives, like on-site yoga studios or meeting spaces, world-class spas, and health-conscious menu options.
Options for more aerobic exercise, like surfing or kayaking, or fun activities, like zip lining or whitewater rafting, can also be added to an itinerary to build camaraderie and vary the pace of the program.
An Existing Infrastructure That Benefits Travel Planners
Costa Rica is well-known as a destination for both nature and wellness, and that name recognition will work to your advantage in recruiting travelers. If your workshop or seminar will be open for anyone to join, people may already be searching for Costa Rican retreats and may find your program organically.
The country’s abundance of retreat centers and accommodations will also work to your benefit. Depending on what you’re looking for and what your goals are, you’re likely to find the perfect venue, whether you’re organizing a trip for educators who want a hands-on immersive experience in the rainforest or for yoga practitioners who seek the ocean breeze.
Lastly, Costa Rica is accessible and ecofriendly. A direct flight to San José is less than three hours from Miami, and travelers need only a passport (not a visa) to enter. The country is a world leader in environmental conservation, and its Certification for Sustainable Tourism program (CST) helps travelers make responsible choices by evaluating businesses in the tourism industry for their natural, cultural, and social resource management.
Selva Verde Lodge in Costa Rica
Holbrook’s Selva Verde Lodge and Private Reserve provides an exceptional backdrop to explore topics of natural history or to use the surrounding environment as part of your leadership training or personal development.
As part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, the lodge provides an exceptional backdrop to explore topics of natural history or to use the surrounding environment as part of your event teachings. The site is equipped with classrooms, dormitory accommodation, Wi-Fi, and a basic wet lab facility.