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A Whimsical Afternoon at Mystica Lodge in Costa Rica

Posted on Dec 18, 2012 by in International, Travel | 5 comments

Mystica Lodge Costa Rica

Pathway leading to Mystica Lodge

“There is a sacred and delicious way of living life on this crazy, beautiful planet, a way of life that is full of joy, expansive in life and characterized by deep peace.”
Lori Myles-Carullo

There are places that draw you in despite your best efforts to resist them. Mystica Lodge in Costa Rica is one of those special places.

I still remember receiving my friend Merlinda’s exquisitely crafted Costa Rica itinerary in my inbox weeks before our trip and noting that she had scheduled two different yoga sessions on two separate days. Merlinda is a yoga enthusiast, but certainly not a yoga junkie and her inclusion of so much yoga on our short trip piqued my curiosity. In the back of my mind, I thought, we could pick one and save the other yoga experience for another visit.  After all, outdoor yoga in paradise is pretty much the same wherever you practice, right?

And so it was that we found ourselves on the morning of our last full day in Costa Rica, having decided to spurn the idea of an early wake-up and heavily scheduled itinerary in favor of a lazy day with open options for play. Mr. Travelbypoints was quick to call shot-gun on excursions and placed a special request – a zip-line tour of the Arenal rainforests in the afternoon. Other than that, our day was wide open.

Given that our morning was free, Merlinda suggested that we head over to Mystica Lodge, the site she had originally suggested for a 2nd yoga session (one we had just missed out on by deliberately sleeping in). After all, she said, it was not too far from the zip-lining center and served a great lunch to boot. It didn’t take much convincing to get us all on board and packed into the SUV for the short 20-minute drive to Merlinda’s favorite yoga place.

The Vortex at Mystica

The moment you arrive at Mystica, you realize that you’re in a place unlike any other. If places could speak, surely this one would say, “Linger a while and I’ll tell you some secrets…”

The energy hits you almost when you least expect it as you step off the red lacquer back porch onto a lush  green lawn with an expansive view of the Arenal Volcano in the far distance. And it continues to draw you in as you wander deeper into the grounds, past melodic fountains tucked behind a wall of green foilage, and rows of trees that seem to bow in greeting as you traipse past. My eyes widened and my heart grew fuller as my feet carried me along a well worn trail that ended at an open-air wooden platform nestled deep in the middle of a towering forest. In the far corner of the platform, three empty hammocks could be seen hanging in series against a backdrop of tropical evergreens.

I turned to Merlinda and she nodded with glee in wordless anticipation of my unspoken question – “Is this place for real?”


Exploring the grounds at Mystica


Yoga platform by the river


View from open-air platform


The surrounding forest

A Tree Top Massage

What had originally been planned as a whirwind visit – stop, see, smell, eat and onward to the next destination of the day – turned into a desire to linger a bit longer. Automatically, the wheels in my head started churning out ways (and excuses) to extend the visit. My brain tried to reason that logistically it made better sense to carry on with our original plans (to save time and back-tracking), but my heart covered her ears.  

I was not ready to leave.

With Merlinda as my one-person cheer squad (much to Mr. Travelbypoints‘ chargrin), I nixed plans to go zip-lining and instead opted to remain at Mystica for an extended afternoon of quiet meditation and massage. A chance meeting with Lori, the beautiful and gracious co-owner of the lodge, sealed the deal when she led us up to her rustic tree house which doubles as her meditation and healing room. Upon learning that this gentle spirit specializes in Reiki massage, my mouth, in deep cahoots with my heart, blurted out suddenly, “Do you have any openings for this afternoon?”


Aptly named “Arbol del Vida” or “Tree of Life”

The healing session with Lori was divine.

Although petite, she is a master of her craft and under her skillful hands, the tension in my body that had built up over months of relentless travel and work slowly melted away. Afterwards, she would tell me about the specific blockages in my body that she could sense as she did her healing work and recommended specific breathing exercises to further open up those areas.

To this day I still find myself continuing to surrender into my breath and working with the full three chambers of my lungs. Thank you, Lori!

Following the Whimsy

Travel has taught me many things over the years, but one of the most important is that there is a certain magic that happens when we deviate from the well-traveled path and best-laid plans. Whether it’s booking a weekend road trip on a whim or changing plans at the last minute to embrace a new opportunity, heeding the siren song of an experience that calls out to you could possibly be the best decision you ever make.  

This certainly was the case for me that one magical afternoon in paradise.

“Whatever is beautiful.  Whatever is meaningful.  Whatever brings happiness….

May it be yours.”

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  • Mertica8

    Love this blog post. Love, love Mystica! Love, love, love TravelWhimsy!!! You really captured the pura vida spirit of Mystica. Namaste.

    • You are full of love! It was a true honor and privilege to visit Mystica and the other natural wonders of Costa Rica.  Just the thought of it brings a goofy smile to my face.  Thank you!

  • Amelia

    Could wait to read your new post!

    • Thanks, Amelia! I appreciate the hint and nudge 🙂

  • kissingtour

    Amazing post! Seeing these photos brought back such amazing memories of our visit to Mystica with you know who 🙂 Keep up the wonderful work and “trippin'” life!