This is living!
The Costa Rican national expression “Pura Vida!” denotes a philosophy encompassing the enjoyment of life, celebration of good fortune, and taking nothing for granted.
With this mantra in mind, former Arizona residents Bob and Jill Ruttenberg took their vision for an eco-rustic yoga shala to the beautiful Costa Rican countryside and created the Amatierra Retreat & Wellness Center.
“There is such a need for relaxing and rejuvenating in this stressful world we live in, says Bob. “We have designed Amatierra to awaken your transformative consciousness and breathe vitality into your soul.”
A lifelong music enthusiast, Bob operated record stores and promoted independent artists for more than 40 years. His wife Jill, a registered herbalist and certified massage therapist, worked in the realm of holistic wellness and the natural healing arts.
At Amatierra, Bob’s love of music and business acumen is interwoven with Jill’s wellness practices to produce an intimate, luxurious and yet eco-friendly vacation paradise amidst the lush beauty and adventure of the Costa Rican rainforest.
A 90-minute drive from San Juan, Amatierra’s eight acres at the edge of the Central Valley Mountains provide a pristine backdrop to a variety of relaxation and meditation activities focused on soothing the whole body and spirit.
Group and individual Hatha yoga instruction is provided in an expansive, custom-built hardwood yoga studio. The studio’s open-air design offers fresh mountain breezes and a panoramic view of the Turrubares Valley during sessions.
Trained massage therapists offer services ranging from deep tissue and lymphatic massages to abdominal chi-mover massage. Energy balancing and clay wraps are also available. Jill frequently schedules seminars on holistic wellness, including Chinese and western herbal medicines.
While the setting is rural and rustic, Amatierra provides the contemporary conveniences and luxuries necessary to provide a truly rejuvenating experience. With wi-fi and telephone services available, a well-stocked supply of DVDs, and a variety of off-site excursions, guests can choose the level to which they wish to unplug from the civilized world.
“We have created a place for guests to feel cared for and carefree,” says Bob.
For those wishing to experience more of Costa Rica’s natural beauty, Amatierra can arrange day trips to Manuel Antonio Park, hot springs flowing from the Arenal Volcano, Carara National Park or the La Paz Waterfalls. Turubari Nature and Adventure Park offers zip line canopy tours and an aerial tram. Pacific Coast beaches are only an hour’s drive away.
Get a glimpse of local culture with a tour of organic coffee farms or the shops of indigenous artisans. Visit the cigar factory in Santiago de Puris.
Meals prepared by in-house chef Pablo Mantano Arci are all organic and feature much of the native fruits and vegetables grown in the retreat’s private greenhouse.
“Our food is what separates us from other wellness facilities in Costa Rica,” says Bob.
Guest favorites include the chicken curry, pad Thai and vegetarian lasagna. While the spa serves no red meat or hard liquor, daily menus feature fish and chicken dishes.
“Vegan and vegetarian guests will be happy to discover Pablo’s expertise in creating tofu and quinoa-based entrees,” says Bob. “We also serve non-organic and organic wines from Chile’s Caliterra winery.
The property is not air conditioned, but temperatures at Amatierra fluctuate comfortably between 62 and 84 degrees year-round.
Amatierra is an intimate retreat with lodging provided in one of five reclusive casitas or one of two luxury suites. The suites offer a private terrace and outdoor seating. All accommodations feature hardwood furnishings and teak ceiling fans to carry a sense of the outdoors inside. Ama Tierra cannot accommodate guests under 4 years of age.
Martha Fry is a regular contributor to WEALTH magazine.
Bob and Jill Ruttenberg created The Amatierra Foundation to offer guests the opportunity to experience native Costa Rican culture while leaving a social impact on one of the country’s poorest rural areas. The foundation works with local residents to implement recycling initiatives, expand eco-tourism directives, and support local artisans and craftsmen.