El Coquito, Matapalo, Costa Rica

Sometimes life lands you in magical places, and you just have to take a moment to be thankful.

This is the state of mind we have been living in during our time in Matapalo.

The paragraph in our guide book on Matapalo is just that, a paragraph. A small excerpt describing a remote village, with few amenities, good surf, and a gigantic beach.

We were intrigued, and although it was challenging, I managed to track down a place to stay, El Coquito. The website didn’t really work, but after a couple of emails back, and forth, we had secured a place to stay. Our expectations were low, but we figured it would be an adventure.

As the days leading up to Matapalo neared, we began wondering what we had got ourselves into. Although Matapalo is located only 32km from Quepos, many cab drivers had no idea where it was. We eventually managed to track down a driver, and with the help of our map, and guidebook were on our way.

El coquito's little restaurant

El coquito’s little restaurant

Our ride was an adventure, with the driver stopping to ask directions whenever he saw someone. Eventually, we pulled into a dirt road, and saw a small grocery store, and a sign for El Coquito. We had arrived. I think the driver was just as relived as we were.

We headed up to the small outdoor restaurant where we were greeted by Enrique, and Mariella, likely two of the most amazing people we have met on this trip. Enrique is from Matapalo, but, after spending time in California, speaks perfect English. Although he worked primarily for a bank here in Costa Rica, he developed a passion for cooking while living in the states.

A view from the beach

A view from the beach

Now retired, he helps run El Coquito, and puts his love of cooking to good use. This would certainly work out in our benefit. Especially when Enrique informed us that the owner had called him earlier that day to tell him to provide us with free breakfast every morning. Bonus!

We were checked into our room which had a double bed, single bed, and a set of bunk beds. We had the pick of the litter for pillows and blankets, and even played a round of “the floor is

Our Cabina

Our Cabina

lava.” Although there are several  cabinas, on the property, we soon realized that we were the only guests.

We dropped our stuff, and decided to check out the beach. The first thing we were struck by was our proximity to the beach, it was literally our front yard. Shaun could lay in bed, look out the window, and check the surf. The second thing we noticed was the size. The beach was HUGE. Playa Matapalo spans 12km, and is virtually empty. We arrived on a Sunday, and there were a few locals camping on the beach, but after that we barely saw

The beach is our front yard!

The beach is our front yard!

anyone. 12km worth of beach to ourselves, sure, why not?!

I spent my morning running on the beach, while Shaun surfed. Then we would reconvene in the restaurant where Enrique would make us an amazing breakfast. The rest of our day would be spent going for long beach walks, and lounging in the sun on the beach or by the pool. By the end of our stay, we were so relaxed, and wished we could stay forever.

I find it surreal that I'm actually writing this post in this photo

I find it surreal that I’m actually writing this post in this photo

Shaun, and I talked alot about whether we were even going to write this post. Playa Matapalo is an untouched gem nestled between the touristy cities of Quespos, and Dominical. That level of seclusion is part of what makes it so magical.
The decision to write about it ultimately stems from our wish to bring business to El Coquito.

Enrique and Mariella put their heart, and soul into this place. Enrique’s passion for the food he cooks is contagious. He says his goal is to make people happy through his food, and with the amazing food that he cooks, it is impossible not to end each meal with a huge smile. Although Mariella spoke no English, she was always smiling, and teaching us new words in Spanish.

Sunset on the beautiful beach of Playa Matapalo

Sunset on the beautiful beach of Playa Matapalo

They provided us with so many little touches that made our stay so special. One day, I asked if they ever drink the coconut water from the trees lining the property, and from then on, I had a pipa every morning with breakfast. Every night they would give us a router to bring back to our room so we could get good WiFi reception. On the final evening they had several people coming to eat at the restaurant, but spent the time to make sure we were served first, and that we could sit at our favourite table.

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Shaun’s typical morning

Matapalo is not for everyone. There is nothing within walking distance, aside from a small grocery store. But, If you are looking to get off the beaten path, have great surf all to yourself, and get away from the tourist scene, then I would highly suggest El Coquito. If you are lucky, Enrique will make you tuna for dinner, and rice pudding for dessert. If that is the case though, you may never leave.

Pura Vida!
Kate
Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Our Favourite Places in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Although most people go to Manuel Antonio just to see the National Park, we decided to spend an extra day poking around, and exploring everything the little town had to offer.

Our adventure was well worth it, the town is full of great restaurants, coffee shops, and hidden beaches. Plus, with the hilly terrain, there are breathtaking views at every turn. So without further ado, here are our favourite places in Manuel Antonio

The entrance to Emilio's. You can see the view from the front door!

The entrance to Emilio’s. You can see the view from the front door!

Emilio’s Cafe– One of the first things I asked David when we checked into our hostel was, “where is the best place for coffee?” My stomach was finally feeling better, and I was ready to jump back on the coffee band wagon. He recommended Emilio’s, which was only about a 7 minute walk from our hostel.
Emilio’s is, just off the main road to Manuel Antonio near the Falafel Bar. It is an open concept coffee shop/restaurant which means when you peer through the door from the road, you can already see that the view is breathtaking.

The view from Emilio's. This was the perfect incentive to make it a two coffee day!

The view from Emilio’s. This was the perfect incentive to make it a two coffee day!

Shaun, and I popped in here one morning after a beach walk.  As we sat outside, looking out over the National Park, sipping a Cappuccino and a Gingerale, and listening to Jack Johnson, I knew I would be writing about this place. Luckily for me, I hadn’t brought my camera, so I had the perfect excuse to come back later in the afternoon for another coffee,  to snap some photo’s, and use their free WiFi to catch up on some blogging.
Emilio’s offers a small, but delicious looking menu. The morning we were there, the special was a French Toast with pineapple, and ginger syrup. Holy yum! Their dessert display was even more tempting. I was astounded by the sheer physics of their Mississippi Mud Pie. A towering pie of whipped cream, and chocolate that seemed beyond belief. My Cappuccino had the most beautiful coffee art on the top, something that I’ve always taken for granted at home, but so appreciate when I find it here.
Although it is only about 3km from the bustling tourist hub near the park, the chilled out atmosphere makes Emilio’s feel like a different world. If you are looking to relax, have coffee, enjoy some amazing food, and enjoy a view that will take your breath away, Emilio’s Cafe is the place to be.

Can you spot the plane?

Can you spot the plane?

El Avion: This restaurant seems to be a rite of passage for guests visiting Manuel Antonio, and rightly so. It’s not everyday that you come across a restaurant inside a green cargo plane that is perched precariously on the top of a hill. Since you have to pass it on your way to the park, many tourists get curious, and stop either on their way to the park, or on their way back.
The story about how this plane ended up on the side of the road in Manuel Antonio is full of mystery, corruption, and scandal. You can read all about it here.

I had visited the restaurant three years ago on a previous visit, but Shaun had never seen it. We made a point to stop in for a happy hour to check out both the feat of engineering, and the breathtaking view.

Impressive eh!

Impressive eh!

If you are eating, make sure you keep an eye out when your food arrives. The kitchen is below, and food is delivered fuselage dumbwaiter!

If you visit, make sure you check out the bar inside the plane. It is open during the day, but at night converts into a night club. You can go right in, and sit in the cockpit!

Shaun rocking the tourist shot!

Shaun rocking the tourist shot!

If you are leaving Manuel Antonio after a big day at the park, I highly suggest making a pit stop at El Avion. Don’t worry if you are sweaty, sandy or wet, they are used to it. It’s a great place for a meal, snack, beverage or final photo op before making your way back home.

The farmer's market in Quepos

The farmer’s market in Quepos

Raw Food Express– Okay, so this one is a little bit of a cheat, as it’s actually located in Quespos, a town located about 6km from Manuel Antonio.

We were lucky enough to be in the area over the weekend, which meant the farmer’s market was open on the boardwalk in Quespos. So, we hopped on the bus to check it out.

Nuts, seeds, cookies, cocoa butter.  A little bit of everything!

Nuts, seeds, cookies, cocoa butter. A little bit of everything!

The market was lovely. It was mostly vendors selling fresh vegetables, fruits, and of course Pipas. There were a few artisans selling jewellery, soaps, and clothes, but one vendor in particular caught my eye.

The table for Raw Food Express was covered in all sorts of amazing raw food items.  As many of you know, I’m always on the look out for unique healthy options while travelling here, so I had to stop and take a look.

My beloved kale chips

My beloved kale chips

I met Debbie, and Gabrielle whose passion for raw healthy food was evident.I scanned their many products, and was impressed by the diversity, and uniqueness of their merchandise. There were so many items that I hadn’t seen in Costa Rica before like: raw cookies, coconut milk, raw crackers, Spirulina, and even my beloved peanut butter.

I could have bought it all, but when my eyes fell upon Kale chips, I knew there would be a sale. Our next stop on our trip was to a remote town, and we didn’t have a fridge. I had been trying to figure out how I was going to get my vegetables in while we were there. Kale chips were the perfect solution. I opted for two bags, one honey mustard, and one herb flavoured.  I am eating them as we speak, and they are so delicious.

Raw Food Express also makes food that you can pre order, and pick up at the market. Everything from raw lasagne with zucchini noodles, to mango sushi. A great option for those interested in raw food, but unsure how to get started.

If you are into raw food, or just looking for some healthy alternatives while travelling in Manuel Antonio, I would definitely look up Raw Food Express. Try the honey mustard kale chips, you won’t be disappointed!

So there you have it, our favourite places in Manuel Antonio. There are lots more where that came from, so if you are looking for more recommendations, drop me a line!
Pura Vida!
Kate
Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Manuel Antonio National Park Part 2

I know you are just waiting on the edge of your seat after yesterday’s post, so here ya go!

When we left off, Shaun and I had decided to hike the Punta Cathedral Trail. This outcrop of land was once an island, but over time silt has built up, and connected it to the land. It’s created a perfect little loop for a trail that boasts amazing views of both of the major beaches in the park.

As we left for the hike, the park had started to fill up, but people were mostly milling around the beach. The hiking trail was the perfect way to get away from the crowds. Now to say this was a rustic hiking trail is a little bit of a stretch. It was an amazingly maintained gravel walkway with stairs, and bridges. Very unusual for Costa Rica, but I wasn’t complaining. We wandered deeper into the trail, being as quiet as possible. Every time we heard something we would stop, and peer into the jungle, hoping to sneak a peak at some sort of fantastic creature.

Shaun hiking up the very well maintained trail

Shaun hiking up the very well maintained trail

We didn’t have to go far before we saw our first little animal, but we had no idea what they were called. They were small little rodents, with hind legs like a rabbit. We looked at the map we had been given at the entrance, and noticed a picture of one, but the caption just said Costa Rica. So, we just called them Costa Rica’s from there on out. We ended up seeing them all over during our hike. (I literally just spent 10 minutes trying to figure out what they are called, turns out, they are Agouti’s! Knowledge is Power!)

Our "Costa Rica" or Agouti.

Our “Costa Rica” or Agouti.

About 25 minutes in, we noticed a couple stopped ahead of us looking into the trees. It didn’t take long to realize what they were looking at, a family of about six monkeys were playing around in the trees right about them. We crept towards them, and started snapping photos.

I swear I probably stood there in awe for over 15 minutes. These monkeys just went about their business, completely unperturbed by our presence. They wandered around like we weren’t even there. It was totally one of those surreal moments that I’ll never forget. I later told Shaun, that no longer how long we are in this country, I will always turn into the biggest “tourista” whenever I see monkeys. I can’t not take a zillion photos of them. They are so fascinating! As a result of this affliction, you will now be subjected to the best monkey photo’s we took. I probably have 60 more on my camera, I have no shame.

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After tearing myself away from my Monkey friends, we carried along the trail, stopping at the viewpoints along the way to look out over the cliffs. The views were insane. Huge ocean, huge beach, so much tropical beauty

As we continued along, I snapped photo’s of some of the crazy trees that I saw. I was mesmerized by how they twist, and grow around each other. Everywhere I turned there were feats of nature that I didn’t know where possible. As a result, you will not be subjected to numerous photos of foliage of trees. At least I know my Mom will appreciate these!

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Shaun also laughed as I stopped, and desperately tried to take a good photo of a raccoon. Obviously, I could just go outside at home, and find those everywhere, but this one had red in its tail, and they probably speak Spanish. Totally different!

See the tail! Different then at home!

See the tail! Different then at home!

Although the terrain was easy, there were lots of stairs, and we had both worked up a good jungle sweat by the end. Once we got to the end of the trail, it was deemed that a dip in the ocean was extremely necessary. We set up our stuff, and took turns jumping in. Although the beach is relatively safe to leave your stuff on, we had lots of camera stuff with us, and didn’t want to risk it. Plus, you have to be really careful with the bold wildlife. By the time the hike was over, the monkeys and raccoons were out in full force. They will blatently walk right up to your bag, open the zipper, and take out your food. Shaun just wasn’t willing to risk having his PB&J’s swiped, so we played it safe.

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After a couple swimming sessions, and some lounging in the sun, we decided to call it a day. It was lunchtime, and I was also itching for a coffee. We left the park, making a quick pit stop just outside the gates for a Pipa.

It was a great day, and I certainly felt like we got our money’s worth. If you are visiting the park, make sure to bring lots of water, and food as there is nowhere to buy anything once you are inside. The park does have bathrooms and showers though, so you could easily spend the entire day there if you wanted.

All in all, a raging success, and a must visit for anyone visiting Costa Rica!

Have you ever seen a Monkey?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Manuel Antonio National Park Part 1

Today we got another of our “Must Sees” checked off our list! Our visit to the National Park in Manuel Antonio is complete, and was a huge success.

Touristy Photos!

Touristy Photos!

Our morning started bright and early. The park opens at 7, so we wanted to beat the rush. This is actually a good tactic for several reasons. One, the park only admits a certain number of people per day. In high season, going later in the afternoon could result in being turned away. Two, it is way cooler. There is a 25 minute hike into the park, and the combination of sun, and jungle can make it a scorcher.

We took the local bus to the park entrance. It costs us a little over a dollar for the two of us. A steal if you ask me! The bus runs every 15 minutes so no matter where you are staying in Manuel Antonio it is a great way to get around. The roads are very hilly, windy, and without sidewalks, not the safest for strolling!

The bus drops you off in front of Playa Espedilla, on the main drag in town. It’s about a 5 minute walk around the back of the town to the park entrance. Along the way there are lots and lots of people trying to sell you tours in the park. Now, it’s my personal opinion that these tours aren’t worth it. With all the wildlife roaming around the park, you’re going to see lots of exciting things without having someone point it out to you. I also like the challenge of creeping around slowly, and stopping to look around whenever I hear something.

That being said, if you are dying to see every piece of flora and fauna Manual Antonio has to offer, then by all means hire away! Just make sure your guide has a certified park badge so you know they are the real deal. Most guides I saw were charging about $25.

Shaun, and I each paid our 10 dollar entrance fee, and started our guideless hike. I did creep on a couple tours just to see if they were pointing out sloths, those things are impossible to spot on your own!

Although we didn’t see sloths, we did see tons of gigantic butterflies on the way. These things were the size of a saucer, and super colourful. They reminded me of the butterflies on wires that you would see on the Muppet show. They would slowly flop around the trail, heading straight for you. I may have squealed a couple times. Here are my three best attempts at trying to capture them!

First attempt!

First attempt!

Second Attempt

Second Attempt

Third Attempt

Third Attempt

Prior to entering the park, the ranger had told us the first beach was closed because there was a crocodile. When we arrived at the beach, people were taking photos. We hung back, and decided to just head straight to the second beach. There was just too many people, and we knew the beach was closed. We started down the trail, and took a moment to stop and look at the first beach one last time. I snapped a photo, and we were just about to leave when Shaun noticed the actual reason for beach closure. It wasn’t a crocodile warning; it was a gigantic crocodile lounging in the sun right in the middle of the beach. Pretty good reason to close the beach if you ask me!

Shaun going in for a closer look. Makes me nervous just looking at this photo!

Shaun going in for a closer look. Makes me nervous just looking at this photo!

I took a couple pictures from the trail, and Shaun asked if he should get in there for perspective. We were pretty far away, so I figured he would just walk in front of the camera, but no. He marched right towards the ole croc. He kept looking back at me, and I kept motioning for him to stop, but he went a little closer anyways. I nervously snapped some photo’s, and motioned to him to make the ole croc jaw motion with his hands. Anything for a cheesy photo op. I was so thankful when he started heading back in my direction.

Ah tourists....

Ah tourists….

We think we're so funny...

We think we’re so funny…

Of course, he wanted to take a look at the photos right away, and deemed them way too far away. So, he grabbed the camera, and headed out again. I could barely watch. At this point there were a couple other tourists starting to get a little braver, and getting closer for photos. I was pleased to see Shaun didn’t get as close to the rest of the people. He snapped a couple of amazing photo’s and headed back.

Working on his tan lines

Working on his tan lines

From this angle, I can totally see why Croc's are often mistaken for sea monsters!

From this angle, I can totally see why Croc’s are often mistaken for sea monsters!

I think that is one really important thing to keep in mind about Manual Antonio Park. You are literally surrounded by wild animals, and you need to remember that you are in their home. Keeping a safe distance, and avoiding direct contact is really important, and a rule that many tourists seem to forget. I’ve read a lot of blog posts that talk about how much of a problem it is becoming. It’s something to keep in mind if you ever visit the park yourself.

But I digress…With our infamous croc photos, we headed to the second beach to check out the water. There were no monkeys out, which seemed odd, because last time I visited the park there were monkeys everywhere. I chalked it up to the fact that it was only 8am, and they were all still asleep., Since it was still fairly cool, Shaun and I decided to go on one of the short hike’s the park has to offer. I was on a hunt to find me some monkeys.

And so you might ask…did we find the monkeys I so desperately wanted to see?

You’ll just have to wait to find out. Tomorrow on Hostels and Hot Rollers- Manuel Antonio Part 2

Same blog time, same blog channel (sorry, but I felt an old school Batman reference was needed).

What do you think about allowing tourists to interact with wild animals? Any family out there want to share their thoughts with Shaun about his love of being close to crocs 😉

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

El Baile de la Iguana, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Ding Ding Ding, we have a winner! Baile De La Iguana in Manuel Antonio is officially our favourite place we’ve stayed so far!

We actually had a really hard time decided where to stay in Manuel Antonio. We knew we wanted to be close to the National Park, but it seemed like everywhere we looked had either really bad reviews, or was way above our price range.

The view from our room. Epic!

The view from our room. Epic!

We ended up opting for Baile De La Iguana (yes, that means dancing with the Iguana!), which is located 3km away from the park entrance. From the entrance, this “aparthotel” is pretty unassuming. It isn’t until you enter the property, and walk up the steep steps that you realize the hotel is located on the side of a hill, and has a view that will take your breath away. The property has a pool that looks out onto the bay, and there are tropical fruit trees all around. We have a starfruit tree right outside our room!

The pool, right outside our door.

The pool, right outside our door.

The hostel offers both private rooms, and hostel rooms. They have a communal living space at the bottom of the property (where the hostel rooms are) that has free WiFi, and kitchen.

We booked a private room with ensuite, but got WAY more than we expected. We had a

Our apartment!

Our apartment!

full on apartment, near the top of the property, right next to pool, with huge windows that look right out over the bay. We had full cable, a fridge, kitchen, stove, oven….wait sorry, my little backpackers head was about to explode for a second! It was a quality of life we hadn’t seen for quite a while.

Baille de la Iguana is run by David, whose goal is to truly make your experience to Manuel Antonio the best ever. He has a vast knowledge of the area, and can recommend all sorts of things to make your stay truly memorable.

The stairs, and this is the just the first level!

The stairs, and this is the just the first level!

 

Be prepared for stairs when you visit. Since the hostel is located on the edge of a hill, daily hikes up the stairs have become a ritual for us. Come to El Baile de la Iguana for the view, and stay for the tight buns!

If you are on a budget, and are looking for a place to stay that has all the amneties, a little character, and a great view, I highly recommend Baille de la Iguana!

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Bonus Picture: Our Starfruit tree! I had never seen one, and my mom requests a snapshot. Here ya go Mom!

Our starfruit tree

Our starfruit tree

Hotel Kangaroo, Jaco, Costa Rica

Although we were only in Jaco for one full day, and two nights, our hostel was just too cool not to write about.

The entrance way. That hammock is the best spot for WiFi!

The entrance way. That hammock is the best spot for WiFi!

Hotel Kangaroo is located at the far end of Jaco beach, about a 15-20 minute walk from the main drag. This was one of the primary reasons we chose this hostel. Not only was it out of the crazyness of the centre of Jaco, but it was also very close to the spot on the beach where we got engaged.

Hotel Kangaroo offers hostel style dorms, and private rooms with ensuite bathrooms. There is a communal kitchen with basic amenities, and amazingly enough, a pool. There are many communal living spaces scattered around the property with hammocks, tables, and other relaxing places to lounge or socialize. They provide free WiFi in the main communal space, a bar that serves beverages in the evening, games, a book exchange, and all the

The main communal area with the bar, pool is just off to your left.

The main communal area with the bar, pool is just off to your left.

information you need to know about having a great time in Jaco. Did I mention the beach is only about a 1 minute walk from the front door?

Since we were fresh off the early boat from Montezuma, we arrived well before check in time. We were greeted warmly by Francesca, and her many dogs. She was busy getting all the rooms ready, but made us feel right at home showing us around, and explaining her three passions.

The upstairs, our room is the first room with Shaun's leg making a guest appearance.

The upstairs, our room is the first room with Shaun’s leg making a guest appearance.

Her first passion, her dogs. She is very clear right off the bat, if you don’t like dogs, she can find you somewhere else very nice to stay. With almost half a dozen dogs milling around, there is always someone who wants a pat or a cuddle. Most of her dogs are strays that she has adopted off the streets, which means each one has that look in their eyes that says “love me!”

Her second passion is her pool. It’s a rarity to find a hostel at such a low price point that has a really nice pool, and Francesca prides herself in keeping it clean. The sand at Jaco beach is dark, and sticky, so, there is a shower all set up at the entrance to the hostel for everyone to rinse off their feet before diving in!

One of the upstairs living spaces

One of the upstairs living spaces

Her third and final passion, noise. Hotel Kangaroo has a little bar that opens in the evening, but after midnight, the party should move to downtown Jaco. Francesca is very aware that avid surfers want to get up early to catch the good waves.

Defining Francesca’s passions help paint the picture of what Hotel Kanagroo is all about, care. Francesca goes way above the call of duty to take care of her guests, property, and animals. She is constantly calling people cabs, organizing surf lessons, cleaning up, and making sure everyone is taken care of. She even walks people to the bus stop, and waits with them to make sure they get on.

Introducing Oscar. This is a seriously awesome cat!

Introducing Oscar. This is a seriously awesome cat!

Her passion for her people, property, and pets helps to create an atmosphere that is both warm, and inclusive.

If you are looking for a reasonably priced place to stay in Jaco that has a nice mix of party, and relaxation, I would highly suggest Hotel Kangaroo. If you go, you must say hi to Oscar, and epic Hostel cat that really knows how to pose for a picture.

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Travel Workouts Week 7- Montezuma Yoga

NB: I was invited by Montezuma Yoga to attend this class as a guest, and review it on the blog, yet all opinions enclosed are my own.

In Costa Rica, Yoga studios are like Starbucks, there is one on every corner.

That is why I find it amazing that it took me over 6 weeks to finally try one.

P1010851I had the pleasure of being invited to attend Montezuma Yoga’s special Sunday night, candlelight yoga session with live music. I felt especially lucky as this class only occurs every two weeks. It was simply meant to be.

Montezuma Yoga is nestled amongst the jungle in the back of the Los Mangos hotel. It is about a 2 minute walk from the waterfall, which makes it both a great place to practice, and stay. The yoga space is located on the uppermost portion of the property, overlooking the pool, and ocean.

Montezuma Yoga is a one stop shop for all your yoga needs. They offer public, and private

The yoga studio

The yoga studio

classes, as well as a multitude of retreats. Whether you are looking to drop into a one class, take a week of yoga classes, or immerse yourself in a combination of yoga, surf, and Spanish, Montezuma Yoga can meet all your needs.

The candlelight yoga class I attended was taught by Dagmar Spremberg, the founder of the yoga institute. Originally from Germany, Dagmar has been teaching yoga with Los Mangos since 2001.

Setting up the studio

Setting up the studio

The class itself was beyond memorable. The class began at 6, just as the sun was setting. The studio is wooden, circular room, with an open concept. As the sun set, the only light came from long tapered candles held in vases of sand, and coloured paper lanterns strung above the ceiling. As I laid in Shavasna waiting for the class to start my senses were overwhelmed. The sound of the waves crashing blended perfectly with the crickets chirping. The small of candles burning contrasted with the Ylang Ylang trees outside. The breeze from the ocean flowed through the studio, washing away the heat of the day. It entire moment was hypnotic.

The class began, and Dagmar introduced the instrument that would be played throughout our practice, a Hang. I’ve thought a lot about how I would put this instrument into words, and the best I can do is, it is shaped like a metal UFO, and sounds like a combination of a metallic xylophone, and a harp. It was beautiful.

The class was wonderful. Dagmar provided clear, and thoughtful instruction, and balanced

My last photo before I settled in to my practice.

My last photo before I settled in to my practice.

the needs of both the beginers, and the advanced. The class had more flow sequences then Yoga I have taken back home, which was a nice change. I worked out muscles that I hadn’t used in quite a while, and was actually sore the next day. Likely a combination of being out of practice, and lugging a backpack around for 6 weeks.

Throughout the practice, Dagmar asked us to take the practice slow, and soft. It is taking moments to be soft, that allows us to grow stronger. A sentiment that I loved, and has resentated with me.

If you are in Montezuma I would highly suggest seeking out Montezuma Yoga’s Candlight Yoga with Live Music. It is a once in a life time experience. Even if you are in Santa Teresa/Mal Pais, you can easily make it there.

What do you think about the sentiment “you need moments to be soft to help you grow stronger?”

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress