The Retreat: A Women’s Wellness Adventure in Costa Rica

My fellow co-host on this spectacular women’s retreat in Costa Rica was my long time colleague and friend, Monica Pla. Monica and I first met 25 years ago when we opened The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, the first luxury hotel to debut in Latin America. Fast forward through 25 years of luxury hospitality experience and world travels, both Monica and I have found a mutual zest and desire to make wellness and balance a central part of our active careers and lifestyles and hence, have joined forces on offering curated Retreats for women with a focus on well-being. Our debut event was a resounding success and we can’t wait to share more of our journeys with you!


The Retreat is an adults-only wellness resort that imbues tranquility and harmony intimately perched on 50 acres overlooking the majestic Quartz Mountain with distant views of the Pacific Ocean above the seasonal clouds. Just a forty-minute drive from the San José International Airport, The Retreat is located just outside the charming town of Atenas in Alajuela, a central valley region considered to have “One of the best Climates in the World” by the National Geographic Society.

This modern wellness sanctuary features 13 unique, elegant rooms, a world-class Healing Center and Spa, two farm-to-table restaurants, an organic coffee plantation, two saltwater pools, jungle and river paths, and an unstoppable view of the Gulf of Nicoya. This peaceful setting immerses you into Costa Rica’s exotic rainforest where you can feel the refreshing mountain air and hear the soothing soundtrack of calls from unique birds such as the Golden-hooded Tanager, Great-tailed Grackle, Crested Guan, and Rufous-tailed Hummingbird to name a few. Their beautiful resident peacocks, Tarzana, and Jane await to greet guests.

Taking over the Retreat on a private basis for our group of 20 ladies made for the perfect way to truly take advantage of all of the property’s wonderful nooks and crannies for relaxation, self-care, and to connect with other awesome women.


The Retreat features visiting Yoga instructors offering a variety of yoga and meditation to the guests. We started with a guided meditation to embody peace, calmness and reconnection to self. Bringing this into yoga asana and pranayama practices to move into a more nuanced body-breath-mind connection. Finding a balance of the physical, mental to awaken and energize the Body while linking breath with movement. Being energized with moving through sun salutations breaking down postures and working on correct alignment.

Catching the awe-inspiring sunset after a yoga session was mesmerizing.

Sound Healing

Sound Healing is a treatment where musical and vibratory instruments work on the energy fields of the physical raising their vibration and restoring health. The vibration of the Tibetan bowls attracts the original harmonic frequency and stimulates the body to get in tune with the frequency of the bowl uniting the body to the vibrational wives. This therapy facilitates states of deep relaxation by bringing the mind to keep calm. This was the perfect compliment to end the trip on a high and set our minds at rest before the journey home.


Hiking in Costa Rica invigorates your senses, ignites physical, mental, and spiritual well-being while enjoying the surrounding beautiful landscapes. The 5k walk is a journey down the slopes of the Retreat’s crystal mountain which has a palpable energetic impulse.

We walked through organic coffee plantations, over the mountain pathways with vast views of the ocean and peninsula, into the jungle, and down to the river where wooden swings hang from giant trees. Our guide pointed out flora and fauna, a family of white-faced monkeys, and a few sloths along the way. Costa Rica is a treasure trove of indigenous plants and trees and numerous species of birds that adorned the valley as we hiked.

The impossibly steep driveway to enter the Retreat is not for the faint of heart but a great morning climb!


The Vida Mia Healing Center and Spa is the heart of this healing oasis. Designed to nourish and renew your mind, body, and soul, this impressive 8,000 square foot world-class spa offers holistic healing practices and treatments and a high vibration crystal lobby. Adjacent to the main house of the retreat, the spa offers seven treatment rooms with its own unique view of Quartz Mountain. The treatments and tireless service by the spa team were amazing and will impress even those most avid world spa enthusiasts!

The spa is helmed by Dr. Vinod Balakrishnan, an Ayurvedic doctor and holistic healer formerly with Taj Hotels. Dr. Balakrishnan spent years living in the high Himalayas, where he studied yoga and spiritual sciences. Now, he brings his integrative medicine concept, rooted in Ayurvedic science, yoga, naturopathy, and conventional medicine, to craft custom wellness programs that detox, destress, and rejuvenate. Each spacious treatment room is designed to connect you to nature with vast views all around. Find serenity in the Yoga and Meditation Temple, Ayurvedic treatments, Outdoor Forest Bathing, and Reflexology to name a few.

Enjoying the calmness of the spa facilities.

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Coffee Farm Tour

Some of us ventured out to a local organic small-batch coffee farm to learn about the process and importance of sustainable and fair trade coffee production.

Salsa Class

We got moving and embraced the Latin rhythms while learning Salsa with the terrific and cute instructor brought in to teach us. These popular Latin dance steps are a must-learn for anyone wanting to show off their fancy footwork on the dance floor back home – and our private teacher made us look like pros with our newfound dance moves. This was a favorite for our group and absolute every one of us left our ego behind and boldly showed a little vulnerability as we found our inner-Shakira!

Healthful Organic Cuisine

The kitchen team was the resort’s true MVPs! Wow, wow, wow!

The Retreat is the passion project of founder and owner Diana Stobo, who is an award-winning author, celebrity chef, and heal and wellness life coach. Diana has helped thousands of people heal through her simple wellness principles. Their wellness program follows these principles and designs as an environment for healing offering an anti-inflammatory diet of delicious locally sourced gourmet food that is plant-based, gentile movement with just enough challenge for most fitness levels, mental and emotional support, human connection, cultural involvement, education, empowerment in a fun and relaxing environment. For those who focus on nutrition, meals are designed as Chef’s Choice based on seasonally fresh and sustainably sourced ingredients that are grain-free and dairy free (with occasional goat yogurt and cheese) without the use of refined sweeteners. Vegan options are available. With its open kitchen concept, guests can see how their meals are prepared and offer cooking classes. In the evenings, enjoy the picturesque sunsets over Quartz Mountain at the Organic Tea and Wine Bar or sipping one of their refreshing signature cocktails at the Garden Cocktail Bar.

I can say with all confidence that the absolute highlight of the retreat was the absolutely spectacular, creative, and colorful healthful plant-centric cuisine. Each and every meal deserves an academy award!

Cooking Class

Education is a key to long-lasting health! Our wellness cooking classes are taught by our chefs and inspired by our owner, award-winning celebrity Chef Diana Stobo who is also a French-trained, raw food expert and healing foods advocate. This activity gives us the opportunity to teach many aspects of organic lifestyles in an exquisite setting. Classes in raw food preparations, herbal medicine making, fermenting, and sprouting is a few offerings of the curriculum which can be customized to maximize your experience here.  

From the farm to the table, the foods that we eat and prepare can easily be found in your backyard garden, local markets, and exotic food stores. However, the technique is key to delicious meals, desserts, appetizers, and even cocktails. From choosing the proper foods to artistic plating, The Retreat teaches all aspects of preparing amazing foods that make you feel good

The Ladies

The very best part of the Retreat however was spending quality, unfiltered time with 20 beautiful, brilliant, vibrant, giving, and caring women – each different, each special – but together a force!

At Retreats by Resort to Laura Madrid, you can expect a potpourri of wellness, relaxation, fitness, gastronomy, digital detox, adventure, and cultural immersion.

Laura has built her reputation on hand-selecting the most wonderful private homes, unique hotels and resorts, engaging exceptional guides, with a focus on local, delicious and creative cuisine. Your custom itinerary may include spa, cooking, healthy eating, wine, walking, hiking, cycling, pilates, meditation, yoga, tennis, golf, adventure, culture, shopping, philanthropic work, laughter, and plenty of time for restorative sleep and relaxation! You may join a group of cool women, but the retreat is about you, and you will ultimately customize the journey that is most meaningful to you. Check out our future retreats or put your name on the INTEREST list to be the first in the know!

Hasta Luego, Costa Rica, never good-bye!

Pura Vida, Senoritas bellas!

Check out a very special Women’s Retreat to Sri Lanka in 2023. 
Please click below to read more and express interest!

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