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!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Exploring Montezuma, Costa Rica Part 1

With excitement of Christmas coming to an end, I thought I would catch everyone up on a couple things before everyone got here… Enjoy!

What a day!

I feel like we lived three days in the past 12 hours, Montezuma just has so much to offer

If you’ve read my Must Sees post, you know I’m a gal who loves her waterfalls, and Montezuma has one that they are known for! Shaun, and I planned on getting up bright and early (not uncommon for us), and hiking out to see it. We ended up dilly-dallying, and left the hostel around 7:45.

The trail head was about a 5-10 minute walk from our hostel, just at the bridge you go over to enter Montezuma. There is lots of parking, and often guides waiting to try and sell you on a tour. Luckily, being early has it’s advantages, and no one was there to bother us.

That being said, Shaun, and I only planned on going to to the lower waterfall. There are two other levels to the Montezuma waterfall, and apparently the trails can be a little dicey, and hard to find. It’s highly suggested that if you are going on the big adventure, to hire a guide.

The sign at the trailhead should probably be taken seriously.

The sign at the trailhead should probably be taken seriously.

The hike, is just that, a hike. You’ll climb rocks, navigate through tree roots, and even cross a river. It’s highly advisable to wear water shoes or running shoes, or something with a little more grip, as the rocks can get slippery.

The path is marked with yellow paint, so just keep your eyes out. It’s pretty self explanatory. It reminded me a lot of the harder parts of the Mt. Finlayson climb, in Victoria!

This doesn't even begin to do it justice!

This doesn’t even begin to do it justice!

Iphone is broken so we are learning master the selfie on an old school camera

Iphone is broken so we are learning master the selfie on an old school camera

After about 15 to 20 minutes of hiking, we made it. Piece of Cake! And let me tell you, it was GORGEOUS. My biggest suggestion is to get there early. We got there around 8:15, and had the place to ourselves for about 20 minutes or so. After that, it just got busier, and busier. Having those moments to enjoy it all to ourselves was such a beautiful way to start the morning, and a moment that seems rare given the popularity of the attraction.

We stayed for over an hour, taking pictures, and watching a group of people dive off the cliffs. Oh, that’s another thing. If you are looking at this majestic waterfall, and the first thing you think of is, “oh man, how great would it be to jump off that thing” think again. No one has ever jumped and survived. The fall looks straight down, but when you look at it from the side, you realize it juts out juts out quite far. If you are looking for places to jump in, just watch the locals. They know the places that are deep enough, and sage enough to jump in from.

A guy pre-belly flop

A guy pre-belly flopside,

After a short time, we started the hike back. We had brought plastic bags to put our shoes in, but had managed to navigate the slippery river rocks without getting them wet…that is, until Kate, the clutsy wonder, misjudged a step, and plunged both feet into the river. Sigh….of course. Luckily Shaun was there to catch me. No harm done, just bruised my pride. Despite walking home in squishy shoes, it was a morning full of memories that will stay with me for a lifetime.

We did a lot more exploring that day, but I’m going to break it up into two posts. Mainly because I think we are going back to keep exploring mid January. So I’m going to have even more to talk about!!

My early morning zen moment.

My early morning zen moment.

What’s the most amazing waterfall you’ve ever seen?

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress.

Hotel La Aurora- Montezuma, Costa Rica

I feel like shouting from the hilltops..


After 9 days in Santa Teresa, Shaun and I were itching to explore a new area. We hopped in a taxi, and headed off on the 25min drive to Montezuma. I’m consistently amazed at how these gigantic taxi vans can navigate the rough Costa Rican terrain. We crossed rivers, climbed mountains and flew down steep hills, all while the driver was texting. Amazing, isn’t it!

The entrance to La Aurora

The entrance to La Aurora

We finally arrived at our hostel, which is gorgeous. Hotel La Aurora is perfectly located right in the middle of the little town.

As we explored the hotel, we realized that it is deceivingly large. Everywhere you turn is a new hallway full of rooms.

Our room

Our room

Our room has a double, and single bed, and our own bathroom. There is a communal kitchen, but each room has its own fridge. There is coffee every morning in the kitchen, and wifi in the outdoor reception area from 6am-10pm.

Lots of books and hammocks are scattered around, so there are lots of places to lounge around and relax.

The view outside our room.

The view outside our room.

Our room is located right in the centre of one of the big communal areas, but luckily the shut down at 10pm so noise isn’t an issue.

Shaun was pretty darn excited to see P1010101the view from our room. A pool table! Epic. It didn’t take us long after checking in to partake in a game or two. (Although, let’s be honest, I was just in it for the “lessons” from an attractive husband).

So the rooms, and entertainment are great. The kitchen is small with basic amenities. I couldn’t see myself using it long term.

The resident cat. Of course we make furry friends wherever we go!

The resident cat. Of course we make furry friends wherever we go!

Despite the small kitchen, this place is fabulous. Apparently this hotel was one of the very first hotels in Montezuma. The owner was an artist, and there is incredible artwork hanging all throughout the building.  The onsite staff are wonderful, and you can book all your tours, and shuttles through them for cheap.

We were only in Montezuma for 2 nights, but have already decided that we will be back, and when we do we will be staying at Hotel Aurora.

Have you every stumbled across somewhere and thought, Oh my gosh, this is my place! If so, where?

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Our “Must Sees” in Costa Rica

Although Shaun and I have visited Costa Rica before, we’ve only seen a small fraction of what it has to offer. Our previous vacations were short, sweet, and full of beer. That didn’t leave a whole lot of time for sightseeing. With five months ahead of us, there will be plenty of time to see it all. Here is a small sample of what we’re looking forward to seeing!  (honesty check: Shaun hasn’t seen this list, nor will he probably look at it until we’re on the plane, but I assure you, he’s excited and just doesn’t know it!)

Manual Antoniophoto 5

Manual Antonio is one of those places that I can only describe as paradise. I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon there during our last trip, and couldn’t get over it. White sand, blue water, palm trees, and SLOTHS!

 Yes that’s right, there are sloths! Part of the wonder of Manual Antonio is their national park. During our visit we saw so much wildlife including: sloths, toucans, monkeys, iguanas, frogs, and coatamundi’s! Since Shaun has never seen it, I can’t wait for us to experience it together.

Caliches Wishbone, Jacophoto 4

Shaun and I have been to Jaco, in fact we got engaged there. It wasn’t one of our favourite places, but we will go back for some Wishbone!

Wishbone is a local restaurant that we went to several times throughout our stay (including the night of our engagement), and let me tell you, it was the nachos that kept us coming back for more.We have spent the past two years trying to recreate Wishbone nachos, and we just can’t get it right. Something about the bean mixture they put on the bottom of it? I don’t know, it’s all just a foggy nacho laden memory now. You can be assured there will be a post about it when we make it there! Oh, and just a note on this photo. Shaun has full right of veto on all photo’s, and as I was snapping this shot, he was asking me if he was allowed to eat yet. The resulting expression on his face was priceless, yet not shareable.

Arenal Volcanoarenal-volcano

Well not just Arenal, but all volcano’s in general! I apparently have developed a bit of an obsession about seeing volcano’s. Not sure why, probably because I have never seen one before, and they’re AWESOME! Last time I checked, Costa Rica has  67 volcano’s, six of which are active. Think we can see them all?!? (I can hear Shaun’s eyes rolling as I write this)

Anyways, Arenal is one of Costa Rica’s most famous volcano’s. It’s apparently quite active and last erupted in 2010. All the activity makes it a prime spot for hot springs! I can’t wait!

Dinosaurs always come with Volcano’s…right?

Mandarina photo 2

To me, Mandarina is the Starbucks of Costa Rica (or at least the towns we’ve visited in the past!)

These cute little smoothie shacks can be found all around popular tourist towns. I’ve seen a bunch in both Tamarindo, and Jaco.

They make smoothies using fresh fruit of your choice. You can get yours custom made too. I learnt very early that they are often made with milk and lots of added sugar (we’re talking multiple heaping table spoons of white sugar!). It’s okay to ask for agua instead of leche, no sucre, and always add passion fruit! Super delicious! 

Santa Teresa/Mal Pais santa-teresa-banner-1920-1024x446

Santa Teresa has been recommended to us by a number of people. We’re lucky enough to be staying there fairly early on in our trip. It’s located in the southern region of the Nicoya Peninsula, and according to our research, is a surfers paradise. I am sure that Shaun will be in his happy place here! Although I’m not an avid surfer (yet), Mal Pais and Santa Teresa beaches are supposed to be some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, and there is also little bustling town! 

Drake Bay wide-1000-drake-1-151

Drake Bay is located on the northern side of the Osa Pennisula, and it sounds pretty rustic. It’s touted as a place where people go to”get away from it all”.

Numerous people have mentioned it to us, so it’s now on the must see list. Although we don’t know much about it yet, we’re looking forward to adding it to our adventure!

Montezuma montezuma

Everytime I look up information for Montezuma, I come across another picture of an absurdly gorgeous waterfall. I feel the same way about the waterfalls as I do about the volcano’s. Can we just see them all?!?(poor Shaun).

Montezuma is in the same general area as Santa Teres. Recently I heard someone describe as “off-beat” and “bohemian”. Hmmm, we will see how we fit in!!

So that is just a small sample of the many places we are looking forward to visiting. Can’t wait to tell you all about them!

Have you ever been to Costa Rica? If so, what are you must sees? If not, what are you most excited for me to post about?

Pura Vida!