We heard about Blue Osa by chance.
It was at the Jaguar Rescue Center. Three women in our tour group had recently finished their yoga teacher training, and they couldn’t stop pouring out compliments about the venue where they had studied. They implored us to visit it, whether we intended on practicing yoga or not. The place was, of course, Blue Osa.
Immediately upon the conclusion of the tour, I broke out the iPad to do a bit of research. And as the universe would have it, Blue Osa was just a stone’s throw away from Corcovado National Park—the last destination on our Costa Rica itinerary. We had one week to spare before our departure, and Blue Osa seemed like the perfect piece to the puzzle. We e-mailed Blue Osa to ask if they had any availability in just a few days. They did.
Most veteran travelers will tell you that it’s always the unplanned adventures, the chance encounters, and the spontaneous experiences that turn out to be the most memorable. Well, that’s exactly what Blue Osa was for us—an impromptu stay that turned out to be the highlight of our two months in Costa Rica. We’ve been fortunate enough to lay our heads at many beautiful resorts and hotels around the world, and to meet inspiring and life-changing people along the way; however, Blue Osa will always stand out amongst those other places. That’s because it’s not just a hotel or retreat center, but a total mind-body-soul experience.
The mission of Blue Osa is to provide renewal for each person’s mind, body and spirit through nourishment, care, and a pure form of living.
Adam and Aaron are the two visionaries behind Blue Osa. I would love to rephrase the story of how they came to find the Blue Osa property, but that would be an entire blog post in itself. Also, it has already been so tastefully crafted here. But I encourage you to go read it—not only is it hilarious, it offers a fantastic glimpse into the character of the resort.
There’s no other way to say it—the Blue Osa property is gorgeous. And with Adam’s three decades of experience in residential interior design, it’s no wonder why. The open-air yoga studio looks out to the ocean, providing an unparalleled view of the crashing waves below. The large kitchen and dining area provides a natural communal space. The chic lap pool leads to a comfortable, pillowed pagoda. High, vaulted ceilings keep it cool without the use of air conditioning, and various shades of blue décor provide an instant calm. The retreat center grounds are open and private without feeling isolating. We could go on and on about the attention to detail, but we think you get the idea—it’s an oasis.
While other retreat centers might capitalize on design and comfort at the expense of nature, that’s certainly not the case here. Blue Osa is a completely self-sustaining eco-resort. It’s off the grid, with no external power lines, no sewer system. The boutique resort is small, at maximum capacity only 30 guests and 20 staff members, but what’s even more is that the entire facility uses the same amount of energy as the average household of 4 in the United States—an embarrassing fact about Americans, but an amazing feat for Blue Osa. Other eco-considerations include a rainwater catchment system, the use of chemical-free cleaning agents, and the re-use of gray water.
Adam was honest in telling us that the entire process has been a huge learning curve—with no prior experience in green architecture or eco-resorts, there was a lot to become skilled at. But despite the challenges, Adam and Aaron have done an admirable and successful job of integrating Blue Osa into the surrounding environment. What’s more, the guests clearly feel good about retreating in luxury without sacrificing their conscience in the process.
Blue Osa is a place to rejuvenate. We already talked about the healthy and delicious food the Blue Osa kitchen serves up, but the cuisine is only one aspect of Blue Osa’s commitment to health. To renew your body and spirit, Blue Osa offers a variety of holistic spa treatments, including purifying facials, therapeutic body scrubs, and rejuvenating massages. You’ll also find packages like the Osa Harmony and Balance (with chakra balancing), Yoga and Meditation, and Watsu (body therapy in water). In keeping with its commitment to the environment, many of the products used in the Spa come from Costa Rica and local plants. Since you know about our addiction to massages, it should come as no surprise that we had to try out a few of the treatments for ourselves. I went for the Sweet and Short Facial, a cleansing, refinement and hydration facial. Dan opted for the Miracle Mud Mask, a body wrap using Blue Osa clay, Costa Rican Poas Volcanic Mud, and Coconut Oil. We melted under Marcela’s healing energy, so much so that I couldn’t resist signing up for one of her full-body massages. I had no regrets—Marcela is easily one of the most skilled masseuses I’ve ever had.
For those looking to re-inspire their fitness levels, there are custom, personal training sessions with Rafa. Dan participated in one session, and he left the class not only feeling great, but with multiple exercises he can take on the road. Rafa discusses your fitness history and goals to create the exact regimen you’re after, and he does it on a secluded beach surrounded by the rainforest. (A bit better than the gym, in our opinion.)
Of course, you can’t have a yoga resort without the yoga. Unfortunately we timed our visit to Blue Osa while Aaron was away on a holiday, so we didn’t get to experience any of his classes firsthand. We did however take part in yoga classes led by Laura, and thoroughly enjoyed her calm, relaxing pace. It was a wonderful transition into the morning, and a perfect time to set an intention for the rest of our day.
For those looking for a bit of unconventional exercise, Blue Osa offers numerous adventure activities, including jungle hiking, rappelling, biking, and kayaking. We chose a nature hike with gentle river tracing and plenty of wildlife sightings along the way.
While Blue Osa’s design, amenities, and services are top-notch, they aren’t what make the eco-resort such an irreplaceable destination.
The Blue Osa experience is so remarkable because of the community it has created—and the life-changing differences this community is making for the staff, the guests, the environment, and the surrounding neighborhoods.
It’s a difficult task to try to capture the essence of the community in words. The longer we stayed at Blue Osa, the more enthralled we became with it, and the more we discovered the positive impact that Aaron and Adam are having on the lives around them.
For starters, there is the interaction that Blue Osa cultivates between its guests; in some ways, it is like a luxury summer camp for adults. At dinner each night, guests are ‘mixed up’ to sit with new people. While in other circumstances this could be intimidating, at Blue Osa it feels perfectly natural. In this way, all the guests know and learn from each other. After one dinner, you feel you have been friends for ages. Each night thereafter is just a different dinner party with new friends.
Another nice detail is that there is Wi-Fi in only one, centrally located area. This was a strategic move on the part of Aaron and Adam, again to foster community rather than seclusion. We loved it, especially while sipping on those Spicy Passion-fruit Mojitos and sharing travel stories into the night.
The guests are not the only members of the family; the staff plays an integral part. And that’s truly how they are treated—like family. As a result, the staff doesn’t just put on a smile because you’re paying for good service, but because they genuinely want to ensure you have a great stay at their home. One of my favorite seats was at the bar, where I could easily joke with the staff while admiring the hard work that went on ‘behind the scenes’.
But these are all still somewhat surface interactions, and what Blue Osa is doing goes so much deeper than just smiling faces and nice conversations.
Blue Osa is transforming lives. But like, really transforming lives. Many of the staff members first came to Blue Osa as part of the construction team. After the conclusion of the project, a lot of them were going to be out of a job; that was, until Adam and Aaron decided to keep them on, training them to work in different areas of the resort, like in the kitchen, security, and garden. What’s more, Blue Osa keeps the staff on all year—not just during high season like many of the other resorts and hotels in Costa Rica. Now these men have job security. Jose, the head local chef, started out on the construction team himself. Now he is using his creativity in the kitchen to craft some truly delicious meals, fostering his career and passion as a chef. Oh yea, Adam and Aaron also brought him to Europe for three weeks to further his culinary training. It’s no wonder that when I asked Jose about Blue Osa, he gave me the warmest of smiles, stating with tears in his eyes, “It is a very special place. If I can, I will be here forever.”
While most would think that was already going above and beyond, Blue Osa decided they wanted to do even more to improve the quality of the staff’s lives. So, they are now beginning a local housing program. As it stands, it is very difficult for many locals to amass a large amount of money to go towards owning a home. So Adam and Aaron are financing 10 houses that the staff can choose to rent-to-own. Of course these homes are completely optional, but they offer a way out of high-interest, difficult to obtain loans. It’s an investment in the employees, a way to show that they are valued and integral to the mission of Blue Osa.
All in all, Blue Osa doesn’t just offer yoga classes; it is showing what it’s like to live yoga philosophy in all that you do.
There are numerous ways to experience Blue Osa. For starters, we recommend visiting their website to check out the different packages on offer. If you want to take your yoga practice to the next level, Blue Osa also has an annual yoga teacher-training program. Finally, for adventurous souls who can make a long-term commitment, Blue Osa offers a work exchange program. You can get in touch with Lara of The Barefoot Blogger to hear more about her role as a volunteer at Blue Osa.
We saw and experienced a lot in Costa Rica, but we can confidently say: if you only go one place in the country, make it Blue Osa.
Have you ever stayed somewhere that left a strong impact? Where was it? What do you look for in accommodation during your travels?
We were guests of Blue Osa during our stay. However, we were not asked to write a positive review; all thoughts and opinions remain strictly our own.