SENSORIA COSTA RICA–THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
Tales of the Fountain of Youth have been recounted across the world for thousands of years. It first appeared in writings by Herodotus in the 5th century BC; then again in the 3rd century AD in the Alexander Romance, an account of Alexander the Great. It can be found in the Prester John stories of the early Crusades of the 11th and 12th centuries AD; and was very prominent among the indigenous people of the Caribbean during the early 16th century, who spoke of the magical powers of the water in the mythical land of Bimini. The famous Ponce de Leon, the first Governor of Puerto Rico, traveled to Florida in 1513 specifically to locate and claim it, as legend says it could restore youth to anyone. Unfortunately, he was mortally wounded by an Indian arrow before any discovery could be made, and the mystical baths were never located or revealed. So, you just knew, that on my birthday, as Father Time continues to chase me, I would be the one who finds it, beating hundreds of Explorers to the prize.
Now don’t get me wrong, I can still party like a Rockstar, outlasting the best of them, but every once in a while, you just have to give your body a little regeneration sometimes. I have always had a Sixth Sense, being able to just feel or know things, that I cannot explain. It was those signs that brought me to Costa Rica in the first place, and I have always been very good at paying attention to subtle hints and following them to see where they led. So, as I was Googling ideas of where to go and celebrate my big 54, this little pop up on the bottom of the screen caught my eye. SENSORIA COSTA RICA BY RESERVATION ONLY. I never make reservations, ever. I just fly by the seat of my pants, and that has always made it that more much exciting. But when I clicked on the link, my mind was completely blown away. “How have I never seen this before?” I thought to myself. I have been here a long time.
Blue is their color, it said. Wild Orchids are their smell. Rain evaporating from the soil; while waterfalls drumming was the main music event, with the everlasting song of the cicadas (crickets). A smooth river stone and warm volcanic spring water is the touch, while reconnecting with nature is the taste. Warm thermal water, gurgles out of jungle crevices, under the watchful eye of centennial trees; while creeks dance over stones, racing to the finish line; joining one another in a dance as they leap into the brightest blue water imaginable; Hypnotic Blue it said. I called the number and made a reservation for 4 immediately.
Considering how hard we celebrated the night before, I needed to restore my senses. I woke up just a tad hungover; phasers on stun; at 5:15 am as I always do. I zombie walked through my dog hike; looking forward to starting that pot of Java; and truthfully, the thought of a hike through the bush almost made me want to just climb back into my cave, and spend my birthday huddled in the dark. But as I always do, I powered through and the buzz from the Café Don Pupo brought me back to life.
We piled in my truck and headed towards Liberia. After a quick stop for breakfast, we veered North and proceeded towards our adventure. After about 20 minutes, we turned off the Pan American Highway, and the scenery changes very quickly. The farm lands of Guanacaste begin to disappear, and the tropical rainforest north of Rincon de La Vieja volcano starts to take its place. The views are incredible, as this massive, powerful beast of a mountain, stares you down. The greenery gets thicker and thicker, and signs of human life disappears. The dry sunny morning, turns to a misty humid day; the nicely paved road, very quickly becomes a third world mud hole, and I am thankful for 4-wheel drive; Costa Rican back massage, they call it. There are these towering wind mills, roller-coasting over the hill tops, three humongous arms, spinning at improbable speeds; just a small portion of the 99.2% renewable and sustainable energy created here in Costa Rica. We are the greenest country in the world, and you really see it, as you forge on to your destination. Finally, two hours after we started, at exactly 930, we roll through the gate.
SENSORIA COSTA RICA. The land of Senses.
We enter the welcome center, and are immediately handed a glass of fresh juice. We change out of our flip flops and into our walking shoes, and our bilingual guide comes over to greet us. He asks us if we want rain ponchos. There is a steady drizzle, and the temperature is warm, so the thought of a big plastic bag over our bodies does not sound enjoyable. We decline; we came to the rain forest to experience it firsthand.
We set out down this path, and within a matter of seconds, we are literally in the middle of the jungle. In every direction is flora. It is so thick that you cannot see more than 20 or 30 meters and it just becomes a blur of lush. “Can you imagine being the first person to explore this place? The fear that the original explorers must have felt, as they sliced and chopped their way through these plants and trees?” I say to my friends. Our guide was awesome. He proceeded to explain to us, why and how the rainforest exists in this part of the world. It has to do with the Tradewinds, that blow over the Continental divide, that keep the rain on this side of the volcano, while the drier weather of the beaches stays on the other. As if on cue, the rain picked up, and it went from a misty morning, to a full-blown downpour. Maybe we should have taken those ponchos after all. We were drenched, we were soaked, but we kept on trucking. He pointed to a tree about 5 meters away, with this tiny green blob, sitting on the branch. It was an eyelash pit viper, one of the more venomous snakes you can run into. Fortunately, it was sleeping, and they are not very aggressive he said, but he did remind us to stay on the path.
The hike continued for about 30 minutes, and it was definitely a work out. Some areas were very steep, but they had handrails or ropes to help you if you needed it. They call this Forest Therapy. As you stroll through the labyrinth, your senses are alive! I found myself buzzing with awareness, like I had never experienced before. All this oxygen, was just captivating my mind, and that Sixth Sense kicked in. I would stop and look around, and the natural sounds were overwhelming. There was so much energy in this place, you could feel it pulsating through your body. The wind blowing; the leaves rustling; the sound of monkeys howling and birds talking; insects buzzing and all the shapes of the chaparral, was captivating. It was so quiet, that it was loud. You start to unwind and smell the scents and fragrances of the forest. The beauty of the moment was the only thing on my mind. As we came over this last hill, there was this magical roar of power: we had finally arrived at the Buenos Aires Waterfall.
We took off our shoes and shirts, and waded into the lagoon. This MASSIVE flow of agua, comes shooting out the top of the mountain, like someone had just turned on a fire hose. As we got closer to the point of impact, you could feel the pressure of the falls. The mist was spectacular and so welcoming; It was cold, and much desired, after the humidity had consumed us from the hike. Our guide pointed out this gigantic ravine that the river ran through; you could see marks on the rock much higher than our heads. He told us that this particular course started many miles up the mountain, and was the discharge from all the rain at the top of the volcano. He said that it is very common for the river to turn deadly, in a matter of seconds, from a flash flood far away. He made it very clear to us, that if the water turned color; from its crystal-clear blue to murky and muddy; we were to immediately get out from under the fall, and run up the hill to safety; you could be swept down the mountain, never to be seen again. Fortunately, the tsunami never came and we enjoyed ourselves in the cool, clear pool. We dressed, and set out back up the trail, to continue the journey through Sensoria Costa Rica.
As you walk through the jungle, you find yourself at peace. Whatever stress, or personal issues are going on in your life, seem to melt away with the energy. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on my life; this day being my birthday, we tend to do that. I have made some serious changes recently, as some of my lazy habits caught up to me. Years of drinking beer, every afternoon, and basically eating whatever I wanted, I woke up a few months back, realizing I was overweight. I was never “The Fat Guy” and yet here I was; beer belly and all. I didn’t like it, but I had no idea how to change. My friends Dan and Michael, had both started an eating plan, called KETO, and had incredible success, so I reached out to them for advice. I decided I was going to get serious about changing my diet, lowering my carbs and sugar, and get myself back to the weight I needed to be. It was challenging, but worth every minute of it. I lost 23 pounds in 34 days, and I have never felt better. It is a wonderful feeling, when you run into people in public and the first thing, they comment on is how thin I was. “You look GREAT” I have heard dozens of times, and it really gives you a rush of self-confidence. Much nicer than the comments I used to hear; “when is the baby due Mike?” I am not a health nut but any means. I have been kicking my own ass for 54 years. But I just wasn’t happy with what I had become, and wanted to get my mojo back. As my buddy David Lee always said, “it doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you look good doing it.”
All of a sudden, dozens of people are calling me and emailing me, asking for advice. What is your secret? I found myself spending a tremendous amount of time, trying to help others understand how it works. So, I figured the least I could do, was to give a presentation and video it, so that others could learn from my success. Here it is, I hope it makes a difference for you too.
In the last couple months, I have watched about 25 of my friends lose weight and get in better shape. One of my oldest friends John came to visit me from San Antonio Texas. He went home determined to change his life, and lost over 20 pounds. I didn’t plan on being a guru but it is nice to see so many people losing weight; but if you call me Richard Simmons, I’ll pop you in the mouth.
“How do you find the time to do all of this?” a buddy of mine asked. You always have a client in your car; you are everywhere selling Tank Tops Flip Flops Shirts for charity; you rescue dogs left and right; and now you are teaching a KETO class? When you enjoy what you do and it makes you happy, you want to help other people, and it isn’t work. It is a huge reward seeing so many people whose lives are better because of coming to Costa Rica. It is super fulfilling to help all these organizations in the community, and everyone knows my love for dogs. And now, having people come up and hug me in a bar, thanking me; telling me they lost 10 or 20 pounds is just unbelievable. It seems that the older I get, the better my life has become.
I LOVE IT.
We had arrived at the second stop; Aguilar. At this particular pool, you could actually swim under the falls, flopping around on your back, feeling the force of nature. This waterfall is rich in silicon, a mineral that dresses the river stones in a smooth white sheet. This causes the reflection of UV rays from the sun to produce the most magical blue, fluorescent color. It was hypnotic.
As we set out again, the rain had stopped. Within seconds, the clouds parted and the sun burst and beamed down. It was welcoming, and we dried off very quickly. A nice breeze came through, and the sound of the trees swishing was truly enchanting. The rain drops that had collected on the leaves, sprinkled down on your face. Glad we didn’t bring those ponchos after all. It is not a difficult hike by any means, but you are exerting yourself. You must climb up and down, over boulders and through the trail, many times stepping over an obstacle that is in your way. One time, as I stopped to catch my breath, I noticed this monstrous tree that had fallen across the path. They had come and cut the tree, so that the groups could get through, and pushed it to either side of the trail. You were literally standing in the middle or inside of this tree. You cannot imagine how big this puppy was. It must have been 10 feet in Diameter. Our guide explained that this was a Pilon tree, and they live to be up to 500 years old; the roots can go out in 50 meters in every direction. Due to the amount of rain that the forest gets, the ground can become very soft, causing these old sleeping beauties to just fall over and die. Glad I wasn’t here when it did.
Each pool and waterfall that we visited, had a completely different vibe. They were all stupendous. They call it Forest Bathing, and there is not a better place on earth to do it, than here at Sensoria Costa Rica. You completely unwind and find a special relationship with nature; enjoying all the beauty of the moment. It is said to have a series of proven health benefits, such as lowering your blood pressure, increasing your immune system and cancelling out your stress hormones. On a mental level, it increases focus and creativity up to 50%. I am telling you; I have never felt more ALIVE in my entire life.
Jicara: A magnificent spot named after a very special tree; Jicaro de Danto (Parmentiera varelii). This tree is unique, and specifically located in the Tilaran mountain ranges of Guanacaste, so this is the only place in the world where you can find it. It looms over you as you submerge yourself in the water; impressive.
Dantas: This is a favorite watering hole for the Tapirs, we were told, an animal very common in this area. It is an excellent indicator of the health of an ecosystem because their habitat requirements include a continuous source of water. You can sit on a rock, directly under the falls, as the pulsating flow, relaxes your shoulder muscles; delirious.
Pilon Thermal Pool; The last stop. Each lagoon we entered; the water was warmer than the last. This final spot, was a natural hot spring that is said to rejuvenate and cure. As I soaked up the moment, I truly felt young again. It is so nice to relax on my birthday and reflect on all the amazing friendships I have made in my life. You could lean against the natural dam, looking out into the distance; the scene was surreal; mesmerizing.
At this moment, I realized that I had found the long-lost Fountain of Youth. It is not a particular place, but a way of life; it is not the mineral water, but the mentality; a mindset. I am not nostalgic. I do not soak in wonderful thoughts of the past. I remember them, of course. But I have always been a firm believer that today is marvelous, much better than yesterday; live it! Tomorrow is going to be even better; plan on it. Always push on. Enjoy the moment, soak it up, but don’t get too attached, because the next adventure will be even better. I have learned to appreciate every second of each moment, person and activity, to its fullest. As I was sitting there, I felt refreshed; reinvigorated; revitalized; my youth was restored. My life is so complete. I love what I do, and the people I get to meet every single day. I get so much joy, out of selling and being with clients. It keeps me young.
I might be 54 but I feel 35. Enjoy the day.
Find out what makes you happy and you will find success
We returned to the main house for a fresh, tasty meal. We were treated to a video presentation, explaining the story behind Sensoria Costa Rica, this inconceivable place. It is Costa Rican family owned, and completely self-contained. Only 1% of it is used for tourism; the rest stays protected and untouched. It is a jaguar sanctuary and it is adjacent to the huge Guanacaste Conservation Area (Area de Conservacion Guanacaste), and has a massive number of animals that inhabit the land. They have cameras throughout the project, that run 24 hours a day, filming the local Fauna in their natural habitat and they share this information with other databases throughout Costa Rica to get a better understanding of the strength of their numbers.
Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter edition no. 141
White Lipped Peccary.
White tailed deer.
This is truly one of the most astonishing places I have ever visited. I will definitely be back.
Get out of your comfort zone.
Hope to see you soon.
Come on down baby!