My favorite part about traveling is not only meeting new people on the fly – but being connected to people by other people when visiting different places. A colleague and friend of mine, Claire overheard me talking about my trip at the office. She quickly emailed her mother and asked “Are you near Montezuma?”. Lucky for me the answer was yes. Claire asked me if I could bring a care package to her mother and I did with pleasure. Mail is not that reliable in Costa Rica.
The email from Claire’s mother Lynda was simple – “When you get to Montezuma, send me an email and I will show you around the place”. “The place” being the Sanctuary where Lynda now lives full time. She is the Director and Resident Yoga and Meditation Teacher there. After a quick email, Lynda left me a number that I called. “The cell phone is spotty here, but the directions are simple. Drive toward Cabuya, at the 3rd river, there is a bridge with a steel railing. We are the unmarked gate just before that bridge. I will be coming down river to meet you. The river is the Rio Lajas, I will see you soon.
Well I totally flew by the turn and drove a little too long before making my way back and realizing Cabuya was just up the road from Montezuma and on the beach side. As I drove past pristine private coves to my left where people were sunbathing, the bustle of the town was behind me and the light began to change. I have no idea what to expect but I am thinking it is some yoga retreat that is built by a river… no big deal… I even asked a few people if they had ever heard of the place all everyone shrugged their shoulders? Costa did not even know! I barrel down the dirt road and see a woman standing at an unmarked gate just in front of a bridge with a steel rail. This must be it…. so I pull in.
“Lynda? Hi!!!!! Get in!” as I grab her and drive through the gates and through a small herd of cows…. the tour begins!
“I am so happy to see what all this is about! Thanks for inviting me over!” I tell her!
I get out of the car, parcels in hand and we hugged, I immediately give her the packages and I can see she takes a moment to think about her daughter Claire while she looks at the packaging. At that moment, we agree that we felt like we already know each other. “I feel like we have met!” I said to Lynda, “But we haven’t! so weird right?” She seems excited to see me and to know I will return to NY soon to see her Claire. Claire I have a big hug waiting for you when I see you! We started walking down the banks of the river and we start talking about anything and everything.
“The Sanctuary has an atv Rhino and a Mercedez Unimog truck for transporting luggage and supplies to the jungle”. I realize she just read my mind, as I picture sanctuary seekers from the city trying to roll their suitcases up the river. I look behind me as we continue to hike up of the river bank and I see no power lines, no dirt roads, not much of anything man made come to think of it. The light that dances on the river greets you and the babbling of the water calms your nerves immediately. At this point I can’t even imagine what could be ahead. You have to cross the river a few times, I think it was 3 actually, I regret not bringing my five finger shoes.
The Sanctuary at Two Rivers is 7 years in the making and Jeff Gossett and Perrey Reeves are the co-creators. As we leave the river behind and start to climb a hill, a fence line begins and I feel like we might be getting close. At this point I am out of breath but full of energy, we find a trail and notice the butterflies around. Lynda tells me, she definitely picked the right place to live. Jeff and Perrey asked her to join them in Costa Rica to fulfill a dream of a Yoga and Meditation Center in the middle of nature. Lynda came on board leaving all of what she built in Los Angeles behind. She is really happy at her new home. We come up to a building on stilts and I smell something good cooking in the kitchen and I am shocked! “WOW!” a real building with a real kitchen!
This indoor/outdoor building with a kitchen attached is the communal dining area and a few dogs come out to meet me! Jeff sits on his computer, fans above are at full throttle and there is internet! WHAT? How does that work? After a refreshing glass of Lemon Mint Iced Tea, just delicious, I notice Lynda opening up the packages with excitement. Beautiful books and notes from her Claire. Her face was worth the carrying the books on the plane, the getting lost, and the hiking up this mountain side. I feel happy. After our tea, I am ready for my tour of Lynda’s new home! First stop? We walk over to the building that makes it all happen. The solar power station.
Lynda tells me that the Sanctuary opened up officially 2 weeks ago! WHAT? Solamente Stephanie gets the first sneak peak! This is AWESOME! I can’t believe it just opened two weeks ago! HOW COOL IS THAT! Lynda walks me around and I learn that all the buildings are built with eco and local materials, the color palette is based on that of the Costa Rican country side which could be thought of as very humid and just green but there is more! It is full of lavender, pinks, yellows and beiges and is very soothing.
The stone used is local and the wood as well. “How did they get it all up here?” I asked remembering the slippery river rocks…. “Very carefully” replies Lynda. “It took about 7 years to get it all right.” Nothing of nature was really moved or bothered during construction. There are a series of buildings that guests can stay in that replicate the feeling of living in a tree house. The main yoga building is large and airy and reminded me of something you would find in Bali. All building are set on pilings and stilts and the best part? There are NO glass windows anywhere. Screens take the place of the glass or otherwise it is all open. Simply Brilliant! The sound of nature surrounds you, chirps and squeaks while the wind kisses the trees and even more strange? You can almost hear the sunshine. Isn’t that amazing? The Sanctuary is built on a hill – so there are a ton of ups and downs, good for the legs… and I thought – good lessons for life. After all, people will come here to let it all go, and get it all back. What better but to deal with the ups and downs of this amazing hillside to remind us of that. Walking down hill there is a huge building with a pool! Lynda tells me how excited she is to have their first guests arrive and to get started on a retreat with a full curriculum.
One feature that will be offered here are the full moon retreats which will be fantastic. This is the “moon catcher” that they built for the premises for full moons. At just the right moment, the moon is at its center for full effect!
Up to 17 people can live on this property including the residents. Their apartments are integrated between all the various rooms for guests as well as other buildings making for a real homy feel. Still if you are looking to escape you can and will. Before I knew it – I had to leave, but I did not want to. Lynda and I talked about putting together a mother daughter full moon retreat! I promised her I would convince my mother and Claire to come! I knew that I would be back and the sooner the better! Here are a few more pics of the place…
As we start our descent to the river, I say my goodbyes and wish them all luck. I leave them in their isolation here. It will take about 20 minutes or so to get to the car and then another 10 minutes to Montezuma, I wonder if they ever feel lonely and Lynda assures me no. Especially with the anticipation of guests! We expect to be full to capacity after a few months. We say our goodbyes as I turn to the car and watch Lynda walk away into the light beams that come through the canopy, it is a gorgeous scene! I feel envious of her life here with nature… making very little dent on planet earth. I think about the courage it takes to make a move and live in a place like this. Then of course, they have internet and there is always facebook! :).
That night, while I was having dinner in Montezuma, I look over only to see Lynda in town walking down the street with Max and Marcella! LYNDA!!!!! I ask her to join us and I tell her, the only regret I had was that we did not take a picture together at the Sanctuary! Manuel offers to take one right then and there! Claire! this one’s for you! Thanks for connecting us! I am also throwing in a pic with Niko. I thought you would get a kick out of it! Small world as they had already met at your wedding!! Before the group got into the Taxi I asked Lynda! “Lynda! How are you going to get to the Sanctuary?” and she responded with a smile “By taxi and then by a head lamp!”
For more information: please go to http://www.thesanctuarycostarica.com/ or click on this: The Sanctuary at Two Rivers
to email for more information and reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org