Costa Rica Fitness Travel Guide

Costa Rica Fitness Travel – Nekaui, Pura Vida In The Fullest

Ask a bunch of people what their ultimate dream is, and we’re sure you’d hear tons of this answer: “I want to travel around the world!” Going out of the country has always been portrayed as the happiest, most relaxing treat ever. Or is it, really?

A usual vacation would involve loads of food and booze, lazy days by the beach, or a staycation in a fancy hotel. In other words, a major sabotage to your fitness goals! Going back home with a grieving wallet and a bloated belly? No thank you.

We always emphasize here on Bodyweight Heaven that being healthy and fit is a daily commitment. Regardless if you’re out for a business or a leisure trip, it’s no excuse to slack off.

Let this guide walk you through the best way to marry vacations with exercise – fitness travels. 

There are tons of countries with irresistible travel destinations, but today we’ll focus on Costa Rica. Whether you’re a thrill seeker or a meditation enthusiast, this paradise has something in store for you. 

Make sure to read ‘til the end and check out our highly recommended spot for surfing and yoga retreats in Costa Rica!

What is Fitness Travel?

With people giving more value to their health and well-being, even travel agencies have adapted by introducing fitness amenities to their packages.

It’s rare to find hotels with complete exercise facilities. Unless you have the budget for a 5-star room, you’re left with two options – pay the daily fee at a local gym or have a cheat week and not train at all. 

A single trip can wreak havoc in your progress, but don’t fret. Shifting to fitness travels can do the trick.

Basically, fitness travel involves planning a trip that’s compatible with your body goals. You can customize your own itinerary, but you can also check out tours offered by agencies specializing in health and wellness travels. 

Curious on what you can do on a fitness trip? Here’s a list of activities you can consider:

  • Weight Loss Retreats – detox, fitness boot camps, and healthy-cooking classes with organic farm visits
  • Wellness and Health Retreats – emotional and spiritual healing, meditation and mindfulness activities, life coaching, and stress management
  • Medical Retreats – post-cancer recovery, anti-aging, sleep enhancement, and intervention for smokers or alcoholics
  • Sports and Adventure Retreats – water sports, jungle gyms, hiking, windsurfing, etc.
  • Yoga Retreats 
  • Spa Retreats

If you’re out for an official business, we know that these retreat ideas might not be compatible with your hustle. However, you can still transform your stay into a fitness-friendly trip by tweaking your daily routine:

  • Walk as much as you could – Skip riding a cab whenever you can. Afterall, walking will give you your daily dose of fresh air, vitamin D from Mr. Sun, and extra calorie burn.
  • Watch what you eat – Trying every local cuisine might be tempting, but don’t use up an entire month’s worth of cheat days! Be mindful of the composition, volume, and timing of your meals even while travelling.
  • Make time for exercise – You don’t need weights or heavy gym equipment to keep your fitness commitment. Maintain your momentum with calisthenics exercises that can be executed even in your hotel room.

Why is Costa Rica a top destination for Fitness Travels?

In an interview, the founder of Health and Fitness Travel agency applauded Costa Rica as a go-to destination for fitness trips. Blessed with stunning coasts, the country is a favorite spot for yoga and surfing enthusiasts. 

Even better, Costa Rica is a global pioneer of eco-friendly tourism. They have stong land conservation and protection laws, a local culture that highly values sustainability, and environmental education sessions for tourists.

We also love how fitness activities are not just a tourism trend in the country, but also a way of life for locals. Take a look at this checklist of must-trys for your next Costa Rica travel:

  • Biking – Costa Rica’s terrains and bike trails are impressively diverse. Long rides to the coasts and even biking races are widely popular.
  • Running – You can join multiple marathons hosted throughout the year. As a refreshing break from the treadmill, you’ll be treated with a stunning view of mountain passes, forests, beaches, and coastlines as you run.
  • CrossFit – From its busy capital San Jose to coastal areas like Playas del Coco, there are tons of CrossFit communities you can train with all over the country.
  • Beach Fitness Classes – With tightly packed down sand in its Pacific coast, Costa Rica’s beaches make beautiful spots for strength building, cardio, stretching, and yoga programs.
  • Watersports – Costa Rica is home to world-famous surfing breaks, including Playa Tamarindo, the Witch’s Rock, and Playa Santa Teresa. The country also has beautiful mangrove forests and bays suitable for paddle boarding.

Choosing a place to stay in a world class tourist destination can be tough, but BWH got you covered. If you’re excited to try yoga and surfing along Costa Rica’s coastal beaches, consider staying with our friends at Nekáui.

Nekáui: Our Favorite Yoga and Surfing site in Costa Rica

Conveniently close to the heart of Santa Teresa, Nekáui (pronounced as Neh-ka-wee) is a beachfront community committed to bring people together with their offered community experiences. 

We’d love to share with you the story behind this stunning complex, so read on to the next section for an exclusive interview with its owner and manager.

Meet the people behind Nekáui!

We got the chance to chat with the core team that runs Nekáui. It was amazing to hear their story straight from Glori, the property manager who ensures that every guest’s stay will be authentic and magical, and from Scott and Kelly, the owners and founders whom haves always been passionate about bringing people together.

Allow us to treat you to an insider scoop about Nekáui’s story.

What makes Santa Teresa, Costa Rica the perfect place for Nekáui?

Scott: “I fell in love with the town – it was love at first sight when I first drove in 14 years ago. I was driving through its quaint sandy beach road, passing by some shops. I noticed that people walking around were barefooted, mostly tanned out and were carrying surfboards. 

Santa Teresa reminded me of Central California at the time when I was just learning to surf in the 1970s. It was filled with people who were just so happy to be there.

I decided then that it was the place where I wanted to have my beach home, and it took 10 years after that first trip before my dream actually happened.

Glori: “There was a time that I was traveling for a year. I quitted my job, and I wanted to figure out where to live  since I’m getting older. I didn’t realize that I’ve been comparing Santa Teresa with other places I’m visiting. I have been into different magical places, but I found this town really cool. There were a lot of different people from all around the world. Its coastal beaches are absolutely beautiful.”

Can you help us imagine what the Nekáui complex looks like?

“Nekáui is a beautiful secluded property located on a hectare of unspoiled tropical white sand beach in the heart of Playa Santa Teresa, on the southwestern tip of the Nicoya

Peninsula on the Pacific Coast. 

We have five rooms which are a mix of tropical villas and suites, giving all guests an access to a beach view pool. These were recently remodeled in 2019. All accommodations offer comfort amenities including fiber optic Wi-Fi, air conditioning, ceiling fans, security safe, fridge, and a lovely Rancho area.

Surrounding these accommodations is a lush tropical vegetation that is home to vast wildlife including howler monkeys, hummingbirds and iguanas. It’s like someone saved you a piece of the jungle in the middle of everything for you to enjoy.

Nekáui actually means “garden” in Chototega, one of Costa Rica’s main aboriginal tribes. We offer much more than a vacation home. This place can awaken a sense of gratitude and happiness through a wonderful experience with nature and the local community. 

How does Nekáui combine relaxation with fitness?

Scott: “I think what makes Santa Teresa and Nekáui the best place for fitness travel is that It’s really focused on a mindful experience. 

Let’s take surfers for example. A lot of people probably got hooked with this sport because you become in touch with the water. You can’t have your phone. You have to be focused on the ocean to be able to catch a wave, to be in tune with how the water moves.

While the town’s culture is really based on surfing, I think what makes it really attractive is its community that values mindfulness. That’s also what makes yoga and meditation retreats popular in Santa Teresa.

All of these people’s energy together, along with their appreciation of just being there, makes Santa Teresa a really amazing place.”

Glori: “I like to think that beautiful places attract beautiful people. Santa Teresa is a town of locals with a super healthy lifestyle. Everyone works out a lot. We also have amazing beach breaks that surfers always go to. 

You’d also experience Costa Rica’s belief in ”pura vida” or “pure life.” Everyone is extremely welcoming, you’d even see strangers greet each other in the streets. There’s a great sense of gratitude that you’d feel if you stay in Nekáui and Santa Teresa. There’s a lifestyle of happiness here.”

What does the Nekáui experience feel like?

“We really love the face of our guests when they arrive. They look like they’ve just landed in heaven! We welcome them with fresh coconuts, and we tell them about all the fun things to do around town.

We’re also proud of a local cocktail that you can only find in Nekáui. It’s made of Cacique, a local spirit distilled from sugar cane that is also called seven sunsets. We serve these customized drinks in the hammocks or on our beachfront so guests can enjoy the sunset or the stars even more. We can even make a bonfire for them upon request!

On their first morning at Nekáui, guests usually have their breakfast in front of the ocean. There are many activities they can schedule for the rest of the day. They can surf with one of our local instructors, have a massage in front of the waves, and enjoy a special lunch prepared by a private chef.

To give guests these experiences, we only work with the best of the best in Santa Teresa.”

Can you tell us one of the most remarkable stories that happened in Nekáui?

“We love how people often choose us to celebrate special moments at the property. Nekáui witnessed unforgettable weddings, sunset marriage proposals, and birthday dinners. 

It’s amazing that people travel from different parts of the world and consider Nekáui their special place to meet as a family. We always do our best and are very proud of having a lot of returning guests.”

What kind of people should plan a trip to Nekáui?

There is something magical about Nekáui and Santa Teresa that makes it a special place for anyone. Glori, Scott and Kelly highly recommends a visit for these people:


“From adventurous dads to curious kids, there is something for everyone. We can arrange a

wide range of activities including hiking in Cabo Blanco National Reserve Park, horseback riding, surfing lessons, massages, sport fishing, snorkeling, diving, canopy tour zip lines, bioluminescence tours, spanish lessons, sunset cocktails and private dinners by the beach.”


“We often have a lot of honeymooners because of all the secret places around. We can

tell you everything about them when you get here. Even in the busiest times of the year

there are a lot of secret tide pools, or hidden places at the beach where you can relax

and unwind.”

Single people or friends

“Santa Teresa is often called the town of the beautiful people. There is always something happening somewhere. Parties with bonfires at the beach. Cocktails with new friends at Nekáui. Beachfront restaurants. Live music. You name it!”

Activities you must try in Nekáui

You’ll know your trip was perfect if it left you feeling like you’ve found a home away from home. This is exactly Nekáui’s specialty!

Together with their local partners, the Nekáui team strive to create impactful memories with these health and wellness experiences. Let’s see what Glori and Scott love the most about these retreats:


“Because Santa Teresa is such an amazing place, we have the blessing to attract the best people from all around the world. Our yoga instructors have wide experience teaching and they normally go once per year to be part of a teaching training in Bali, Italy or India.”


“Santa Teresa is known for its world famous waves, thanks to its many surf spots and beach breaks. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer, or just trying it out for the first time, there’s something for every ability level. Nekáui can help you find the right fit for your surf adventure. Our complex offers miles of empty beach breaks as well as point breaks, tide pools and reefs for exploring.”

Healthy eating

“Santa Teresa’s charm has attracted the unique talents of culinary artists from all over

the world offering everything from French pastries to fine Asian-fusion fare — all within

walking distance of our front door. We love how food is prepare with locally sourced

ingredients, ensuring an unforgettable taste and high quality experience.

We also work with Casa Pampa to learn how to cultivate organic food in our own garden. You can even take fresh produce for your salads if you like!”

Fitness Activities

“Santa Teresa has six beaches, one next to the other. So if you like walking or running by the shore, you will always have a new place to discover. If you like working out, there are

functional training lessons, zumba lessons, pilates, yoga/aerial lessons around town. The closest gym is 100 meters from Nekaui. The community is very healthy here so you will always

find a fun way to exercise.”

Other Adventure Trips

Costa Rica is a favorite spot for yoga, surfing, and diving into the culture of fitness, but it also offers so much more for those looking for a unique adventure. Here’s a quick checklist of activities you can’t miss during your stay in Nekáui:

  • Take a relaxing walk through their nature and mindfulness paths in Nekáui’s corner of the jungle
  • Gather around a private beach bonfire with your loved ones
  • Explore delicious Cacique cocktails based on a local spirit made from sugar cane
  • Try out fresh, organic, and locally-produced goods at the Farmers Market
  • Quality time with animals at Wild Sun, an animal rescue center
  • Take a 10 minute boat ride to Playa Quezera, a small private beach known for its stunning bioluminescent shore and snorkeling spots that will remind you of the movie Avatar

How to get to Nekáui

There are multiple options for travelling to Nekáui, and their team is ready to help you all the way.

The fastest way is to get on a flight from San José, Costa Rica’s capital, or Liberia to the Tambor Airport. Nekáui’s crew can arrange for a taxi or minivan to be ready upon your arrival and take you to their complex. 

Be sure to watch out for the new Manzanillo Airport that will be open for travelers by December 2020. It’s only 20 minutes away from Santa Teresa.

Nekáui can also handle bookings for those who want to come on a private airplane or chopper. The aerial views from your 45 minute flight will be breathtaking!

But if you enjoy longer trips and consider it as an adventure in itself, there’s also an alternative long route. Upon landing in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, you can rent a car and drive for an hour and a half to Puntarenas. You’ll then take the ferry to _____. Scott and Glori highly recommend the 5:00PM ride so you can appreciate the beautiful sunset of the bay, passing by gorgeous small islands. From the port, Santa Teresa is another 1.5 hours drive away.

Final Thoughts

Scott, Kelly and Glori have loved Santa Teresa so much, and it’s not difficult to see why! Impressive accommodations. Rich flora and fauna. Best tasting but healthy food. And above all, a wide option of activities for fitness retreats!

We know many BWH readers also value sustainability, and you’d be amazed to know how spot on Nekáui is as an eco-friendly and impactful community. They support a lot of NGO’s, including: the Water Keepers who are committed to maintaining the beauty of Costa Rican coasts through beach clean ups (you can even join them when you visit!); the L-Eco to whom they send all of their plastic for reusing; and the Santa Teresa and Mal País Development Association that they partner with to feed locals who got unemployed because of COVID-19.

Apart from enjoying a unique fitness travel, you’d also contribute to the wellbeing of an entire community.

Don’t forget to share your stories with us once you visit Nekáui!

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