Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

Spa and Wellness Experiences in Nature: The Cure for a Complicated Year


Simbiosis Spa and the Rio Negro hot springs are the perfect setting for wellness experiences at Hacienda Guachipelin. Forest bathing, earthing, and wellness services are being offered for your health at our amazing natural environments at Hacienda Guachipelin.

Humans have long known that the natural world is important to our health. Today, it is especially important for us to remember that nature is our primary antidote to the burnout we all feel from consuming so much technology. Everywhere we turn, there is another screen and another button beckoning for our attention. 

The currency of wellness is connection. Stressors get in the way of connection by triggering our ‘fight or flight’ response. Our new realities of COVID-19 and social distancing are challenging for many of us. We are used to physical contact and since we cannot do that for now, we must change our core interactions with each other and our environment. Taking an exotic retreat and setting good intentions for our health, even in these times of crisis, can make us more compassionate citizens.

Nature also serves another important but seldom thought of purpose today, which is to inspire us to reconnect with and protect our natural environments. Hacienda Guachipelin is located in a pristine environment that allows you to regenerate in a natural way. This is a sacred region that is known for indigenous medicine and holistic healing. 

Rincón de la Vieja means “Corner of the Old Woman,” and local legends tell of an ancient indigenous princess, Curubandá, daughter of the Curubandé tribe chieftain, who fell in love with Prince Mixcoac, the son of an enemy chief. Curubandá’s father ended her forbidden lover’s life by throwing him into the live volcano crater. Devastated, Curubandá became a recluse, living the rest of her life high on the volcano’s slope. She learned natural medicines from the volcano and developed mystical healing powers. People seeking medicinal cures were told to go to “the corner of the old woman” by the volcano. And thus, the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano received its name.

Since Hacienda Guachipelin is located in the valley of this sacred volcano, we feel that it is our obligation to share in the healing powers that make this region famous worldwide. As a tribute to this special site, we offer an immaculate and as-close-to-untouched environment to host powerful wellness events like forest bathing, earthing, yoga, and natural spa sessions.

Why choose Hacienda Guachipelin for wellness

a man standing next to a tree in a forest


Wellness is more than being free from sickness, illness, and various health conditions. It is a process of change and growth. The global rise of medical costs and healthcare expenses makes the cheapness of fast food seem less valuable. The U.S. is one of the most unhealthy countries to live because of poor daily habits. We changed from cattle raisers, farmers and homemakers to being fixated on fast, cheap, and easy. So many of us are failing our potential for longevity and at Hacienda Guachipelin, you have that chance to give yourself a much needed break. 

Wellness activities are not just fitness trends. What we offer at Hacienda Guachipelin is ecotherapy. Researchers have been studying the physiological benefits of connecting with nature for almost 30 years and have come to the conclusion that time spent immersed in nature is good for us. The wellness practices offered at Hacienda Guachipelin involve entering our life-filled, natural environments and consciously connecting with what’s around you. Our trained guides and practitioners offer assisted ecotherapy excursions that will leave you feeling enlivened, focused, and at peace.

Our daily wellness program at Hacienda Guachipelin is loaded with options. You can do them all or simply pick and choose your favorites. Here are the four main categories and a little bit about what you can expect to experience during these exceptional activities.

Forest bathing

Bring to your mind a time when you were in the forest and feel in your body how you felt at that time. As vivid, rich, and wonderful as your memory may be, our forest bathing experience at Hacienda Guachipelin will bring to your life a whole new level of joy and meaningful connection with nature.

Forest bathing is a practice that involves the latest in medical research and ancient traditions of mindfulness and wellness. The term ‘forest bathing’ originated in Japan in the 1980s to describe a physiological and psychological exercise that is a version of a walk in the woods, although it is more about mindful travel than it is about distance traveled. It is a meditative stroll that is led by a trained guide who encourages you to commune with nature in a deep way. They gently point out enchanting things about the trees, the earth, and all life that lives in the forest — how it is all connected, including to us. 

The science behind forest bathing is encouraging, even to the skeptic. Forest bathing can lower cortisol levels, a marker of stress, better than taking part in other relaxation activities, a review of 30 studies found. Forest therapy appears to lower depression levels in adults according to a review of 28 studies. And forest bathing is also found to boost the activity of natural killer cells that help fight off infections and cancer.

a man standing next to a tree

Speaking more esoterically, forest bathing helps people get into the theta state, which is the transitional state when we are awake and completely at peace. This is because our cells have environmental feelers and when our environment is great, our cells vibrate. If something is harsh, our cells retract. We first begin to shut down in our cells and then stress symptoms travel to other parts of the body. But in a forest environment, our cells feel open, peaceful, welcomed. This is our natural state of being when we are in nature.

Trees talk to each other. We can see from the outside that they have rugged stems and beautiful crowns. But underground there is another world of infinite biological pathways that connect the trees and allow them to communicate as though the forest is a single intelligence. And trees communicate with us, too, by releasing a high concentration of phytoncides, which are airborne essential oils that provide a natural immunity boost. The health benefits of a phytoncide immersion can last for weeks.

Nearly half of Costa Rica is covered by forests that house almost 6% of the earth’s total biodiversity. At Hacienda Guachipelin, our region’s tropical dry forest is a unique ecosystem in Costa Rica that is magical to behold. Succulents and epiphytes are prevalent in this fascinating environment that is naturally dry for more than half the year. Cacti, orchids, and bromeliads are also common species found here, creating a colorful environment even amidst all of the green.

The quiet and cohesive ways of the woods make it easy for our forest bathing guides at Hacienda Guachipelin to inspire curiosity about the forest and our connection to it. Forest therapy is an open-ended practice with no prescription for what a person should experience or the benefits that will be received. It is a practice of reciprocity in which the forest and the forest-bather work together to support the wellness of each other. There is a clearly defined structure to the experience with room for creativity and serendipity. As you walk further into the forest, the atmosphere changes. Sounds are much more still away from the buzz of humanity. Instead, the silence of the forest is punctuated by a cacophony of birds, insects, animal-life scurrying around, and the wind rustling the trees. You leave the ‘monkey mind’ behind and get into spaces in the mind that you can’t when you are on the cellphone or in traffic.


Grounding, also known as earthing, involves performing activities that electrically reconnect us with the earth. The simplest form of this activity is walking barefoot on the earth. We have blocked ourselves from this most natural connection between our feed and the earth with rubber and other thick synthetic soles. The benefits of this activity can be most readily felt when we go to the beach where most people feel comfortable taking off their shoes or laying down fully in the sand with our bodies unimpeded in our connection with the earth.

Submersing ourselves in water is another way to ground our energy. Water is an amazing conductor and is a perfect medium for us to exchange energy with our environment. In our crystal clean, mountain spring-fed rivers and waterfalls, Hacienda Guachipelin offers a sensational environment for grounding. You can use the sound of the moving water to really dial in your mind to connect with the surrounding environment. Or dunk your body in our clean, natural hot spring fed thermal pools at Rio Negro Hot Springs deep in the pristine forest. Follow the well maintained trails and hanging bridges that take you to our purpose built hot springs that hang over the powerful Rio Negro. The air is electric in this environment and this relaxation activity is a revolutionarily peaceful experience for anyone–young or old.


The benefits of grounding are still mostly anecdotal. Many people report an improvement in energy levels and a suppression of chronic pain. Grounding is also used to treat anxiety, depression and sleep disturbances. It can be a supplemental treatment for cardiovascular disease and reducing blood pressure levels.


a statue of a man and a woman sitting on a table

Yoga is another wellness activity offered at Hacienda Guachipelin that promotes human development from a holistic perspective. The word ‘yoga’ in Sanskrit means ‘union’ and the practice of yoga serves to strengthen the physical, energetic, emotional, psychic and spiritual dimensions of the practitioner through deep stretching, balance, posture, and breathwork.

a woman sitting on a bench in a forest

There are many variations of how guests can practice yoga at Hacienda Guachipelin. Therapeutic and restorative yoga is about breathing and relaxation. Our trained yogis take participants to one of many beautiful locations in the forest or in a meadow for an outdoor practice in communion with nature. The breathing techniques they teach serve to relieve mental fluctuations and revitalize the body.

We offer yoga classes for children up to 12 years old with games and more free-form body expression. Exercises are carried out in groups or pairs, fostering teamwork and collaboration. Yoga helps children develop creativity and cognitive processes, stimulating concentration, optimizing the immune system, and stabilizing emotions.

Sonotherapy is also offered alongside our yogic experiences at Hacienda Guachipelin. Tibetan bowls made of a mixture of metals as well as other musical instruments are used to promote a state of deep relaxation through resonance. Harmonies from the bowls and instruments stimulate atoms and particles in our bodies, balancing our energy vortices, called chakras. The sound and vibration generate feelings of deep relief in pain levels, discomfort, contractures, physical injuries, and stress.

Simbiosis Spa at Hacienda Guachipelin

a man standing in front of a tree

After a year of non-stop health worries, it is time for all of us to take a health retreat. At Hacienda Guachipelin, we place a strong emphasis on healthy eating, physical activity, adequate rest, education, and relaxation. These are the foundations for delivering a memorable and sometimes even life-changing experience, which is what we aim to deliver.

Hacienda Guachipelin is home to one of Costa Rica’s best loved eco-spas. At Simbiosis Spa, our holistic health manager works to achieve a thorough wellness experience through a holistic approach to mind, body, spirit, environment, and community. People who visit our spa come here to disconnect and recharge in a top eco-spa design. We match sumptuous natural materials with a sensational environment for a perfect ‘me-time’ escape. The minimal design here lets nature take center stage.

a close up of a person holding a cell phone

Our spa and all of its diverse wellness experiences are about embracing nature while relaxing and detoxifying. We use the thermal waters endemic to this volcanic region for our unique body treatments. Each of our signature treatments are designed to renew, detoxify, hydrate, and infuse your body with antioxidants through the essential nutrients given by the mineral-rich waters. We use only local ingredients in our spa experiences to maximize your connection with your surroundings. Locally-grown fruits, herbs, essential oils, and mineral-rich clays are used in our traditional soothing and healing techniques for massage, reflexology, infusions, and exfoliation.