Globe Trotting: Pura Vida Vacay


This was the year.

We were going to break the bank on an over-the-top vacation before college breaks and new jobs would reduce the family vacation to nothing. Australia, Galapagos Islands and Africa were on the radar, but as borders were slow to open and travel advisories changed daily, it was time to enlist a heavy.

The Costa Rican term Pura Vida (Pure Earth) will forever be etched into my psyche as all the nuances of external devices, COVID, a crazy world, and unhealthy food were replaced by fresh air, water, faith, and an ethereal experience I had no idea I needed.

With the airport behind us, our driver pointed out the Four Seasons and another grand hotel along our route. We trekked onward to be met by someone who opened a cattle gate when I was reminded of a plane-side conversation.

“Where are you staying?”
“Kasiiya Papagayo,” I say.
“Never heard of the place.”

We continued down a dusty road with steep ravine walls with the once black SUV now brown. Arbid, a local whom we come to know well, is waiting on us at the path’s end.

“How was your travel?” he says, as our weariness reveals a three- hour car ride and hassle with customs.

He offers us a handwashing. Yes, there is a sink among the forest as we note the exotic birds and howler and white-faced monkeys. We are led down a wooden path to an open-air, waterside seating area.

“Are you hungry?” “Why, yes!”

Then he summons kitchen staff to whip us up a snack. Are we the only guests as there are no other guests to be seen?

The ocean breeze, food and drink revive us. “Are you ready to see your suites?”
Arbid leads us along more wooden paths to a hidden canvas tent among the trees. Mahogany floors and walls, white draping, and Pacific Ocean views offer the wow factor. Strangely, it’s the bath facilities ith outdoor showers partitioned with bamboo walls that offer an experience. Our suite has a copper tub overlooking the Pacific and there is still not a person in sight.
We are shown all the property watersport amenities and introduced to a naturalist who guides us on a seven-mile hike revealing another private beach.

Each night, we are shuttled to the clifftop for dinner where we meet other guests. Kasiiya only has seven suites on the property, so it’s informal and quaint. The 360º view spoils us as we sip refreshing cocktails, enjoy a sunset show, and dine alfresco.

“Are you going to visit the healer?” another guest asks.

My yogi daughters perk up to hear more. The guest reveals the healer is the real deal, citing many of the Hollywood elite he’s served. My daughters meet him for chakra readings, and he offers to do meditation as a courtesy – obviously sensing their passion for his practice.
It was my turn next. Entrance to the spa is found after walking along a suspended wooden bridge overtop a stream. It’s an open-air spa, located in the tree canopy. Literally, I’m looking for the movie cameras because the setting is so surreal. I got more than I bargained for when the healer was waiting for me. He read my chakras, poured oil over my scalp, and instructed me to bask in the ocean. He told me things about myself a stranger could not have known – even citing my faith in God. We ended our week deep in the rainforest at Nayara at a tented camp equally as stunning as the first. We enjoyed a Planet Earth-like tour, seeing wildlife such as tarantulas and vipers closer than I dare. This resort was over-the-top with our suites having their own mineral spring-fed pools, overlooking Arenal volcano, but it was Kasiiya that
ultimately won us over.

The experience was indescribable and is why I love travel. As a result, I will forever be a fan of Costa Rica