When recently exploring the incredible plants of Costa Rica, we stayed at the magical retreat center Amatierra. It’s a hidden secret that is not only beautiful but also very nourishing as well.
When we first arrived and climbed down the stairs to the main building and dining terrace, I was immediately struck by the stunning view. It overlooks a lush mountain region of hills and valleys bordered by pau d’arco trees and wild yam plants. To the side are gracious casitas, or small bungalows housing two people each with private bath. On the other side hidden behind plentiful ginger, turmeric plants and allspice trees (and the chicken coop!) are an open-air yoga studio atop a healing spa.
Jill and Bob Ruttenberg established Amatierra around 2005 when they decided to leave Arizona and live in another country. One of their daughters was to attend a college in Costa Rica, so they explored this area for their new home. Bob was leaving a 40-year career in the CD music business as digital music distribution came to the fore. Jill was a practicing herbalist (registered with the AHG) and colleague of Dr. Andrew Weil. When they found this site they immediately fell in love with it. They eventually named it Ama-Tierra after their two daughters’ combined names (Amanda and Tara), although it also means “beloved earth.” Amatierra is truly a celebration of just that.
Healing Therapies and Nutritious Food
Mornings began with yoga. It wasn’t hard rising early to join class since we faced the gorgeous mountain valley view while stretching through multiple asanas. This nourished my spirit and mind as well as my body so I often lingered after class to absorb the view.
Breakfast followed with multiple choices. Imagine starting every morning with fresh mango, papaya, pineapple and other local fruits – all that and much more we enjoyed. Frankly, all the meals were stunning – just the right portions of balanced whole foods that were also beautifully presented. Watermelon ceviche, chicken with carrot sauce, white bean and artichoke soup and more graced our palates. These incredible meals are served three times daily and always included fruit, veggies, protein, and grains prepared using luscious unique recipes. And the plantains – don’t get me started. Obviously, we loved the food!
The spa offers massage, body work, detox programs, and herbal therapies along with a gym and swimming pool. Of course I had to climb into the hammock hanging in the yoga studio above so I could enjoy the view while reading my book. There are also multiple trails and we hiked them all. Some passed through surrounding lush mountain forest, some to a pond or stream. Other trails took us through a unique forest of prickly-barked pochoti trees with an ocean view.
Adventures All Around
Speaking of the ocean, the Pacific is only an hour away with ziplining and other adventures to be experienced there. A bit farther away you can visit the famous La Pax waterfall and newly opened Poaz volcano area. Of course you can just hang by the pool, get a massage, do a detox program, or play an instrument. You can visit with other guests, or just rest in your own quiet casita. You can go sloth or toucan viewing or observe the white-faced monkeys play in the trees. Or, you can watch the many varieties of iguana sun themselves around the grounds and listen to the periodic song of the cicadas at night.
Whatever you choose, I highly recommend that when you visit Costa Rica you use Amatierra as your base. It’s located less than an hour southwest from the San Jose airport – very convenient indeed. An amazing retreat center, you will leave nourished, rejuvenated, and filled with beauty on all levels.