Santa Elena, Costa Rica

Photo: Kinkára Luxury Retreat

Sweat it out. That’s right, just allow the last few months drip away. Let the anger, the fear, and the worry dissipate. It’s going to take time. There’s a lot to process. But you can finally relax.

You’re standing around hot volcanic rocks in a dark sweat lodge. You don’t know the people around you. They don’t know your exact story either. You’re bonded by the pandemic that stopped the world, though. So, over the next few hours, you’ll stand side by side. You’ll take part in a ceremony, complete with songs and herb-scented steam, as Mexicans have done for centuries. Plus you’ll put your skeptical self in the hands of a shaman.

This temazcal-inspired ceremony is taking place in the foothills of Mount Chirripó. The highest peak in Costa Rica is part of the vast Chirripó National Park and the undeveloped Southern Zone. It’s on the outskirts of Santa Elena. The Tico village sits high enough above sea level that it’s part of the cloud forest. It’s also at Kinkára. The luxury retreat, built for private groups, just opened to the public last year. Perfect timing.

Photo: Kinkára Luxury Retreat

Kinkára is the place to go when you need to unplug and refresh. The immersive eco-resort sits on 800 acres that include rolling hills and farms, creeks and waterfalls. Between the Food Forest, which features 10,000 fruit trees, and the Mandala Garden, which has 100 vegetable beds, the family-style meals are as earth-to-table as you can get.

Those meals are served in a huge, undulating tent. Solar-lit pathways lead down to a fire pit surrounded by wooden stumps and imposing rocks. Craft beer and organic wine are available in Casa Bulu, a lounge with a clubhouse vibe. While El Morén—an open-air pavilion for music, meditation, and yoga—is considered the heart of the property.

There’s one more major piece of Kinkára. It’s the accommodations, of course. Thirty-one Lotus Belle tents stand along the edge of the garden. Signature tents are large enough for two people. Deluxe tents can hold four. They all have jute carpets, handcrafted hardwood furniture, and netted windows. Reading lights are solar-powered. USB charging pods keep you connected. Plus citronella essential oil repellent keeps the bugs away. The only things the tents don’t have are bathrooms. Those are in the spa-like Bath Houses, whose rainfall showers have incredible views. It’ll be your first stop at the end of the sweat ceremony. Your renewal will be complete.

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