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Monday, 2 March 2015

Top 10 Reasons I Love Costa Rica!


The Top 10 reasons Why I Love Costa Rica!

Have you ever went out to start your car in -30 degree weather to head to a job you don't even like and think to yourself...why do I live here?  Why do I live in the freezing cold when I could literally be on a beach somewhere? I did. I thought about that a lot...and the longer you eat a fruit based diet, the more your body craves the tropics. I decided to move to Costa Rica for three months this year and escape the winter - the really cold nasty part from January to April. I have been living in the sunshine for two months now, up in the mountains in the thick of the jungle, surrounded by lush green tropical plants, fruit trees, fresh air and bright blue skies. I am so grateful that my partner Chris Kendall shared this place with me last year. I love so much about this country that I was inspired to write and share all my favorite things with you.   

1. The Sun!
My sun-kissed skin is happy and glowing. I’m from Saskatchewan Canada, and used to experiencing 7 months of winter, so I’ve really come to appreciate the sun and it’s warm, healing rays. It’s good for your health to get a daily dose of sunbeams… and I get to tan naked! No neighbors to worry about like in the city. All the beautiful parts of my body get the healing benefits of the sun when I’m out here. I look and feel healthier. The sun is very powerful in many ways including cleaning your blood and lymph. It is also the best source of vitamin D, an essential vitamin that many are lacking living in cold climates.

2. The Fruit!
Costa Rica is a fruit lover’s paradise! Have you been following my Instagram? (@missnaturallyashley) If you have you will have seen all the amazing fruit photos I’ve been posting.  From biriba to sapodilla and jackfruit, they have such a variety of delicious tropical fruits. Some taste like key lime pie, lemon meringue pie, chocolate pudding, brown sugar, and marshmallows. So far I have been enjoying biriba, the best mangos, cherimoya, jackfruit, the sweetest pineapples, 7 different varieties of bananas, passion fruit, star fruit, star apples, papaya, mamey, mora berries, oranges, watermelons, gaia melons, cantaloupe, guanabana, and tons of coconuts! Talk about fruit heaven!

3. The Water!
Whether I’m playing in the ocean or in a fresh water spring, there’s plenty of ways to connect with water and refresh after a day in the sun. Costa Rica has some of the most beautiful beaches and breathtaking waterfalls… Nauyaca being one of my favorites.  I am also a bit of a water snob and love that you can drink the tap water in Costa Rica. It’s not like it’s neighboring countries where you have to be careful and stock up on bottled water. They are very eco-friendly and take great pride in keeping their environment clean and natural.

4. The Market!
Being a raw foodie, I really look forward to market days where I can go buy 6 pineapples for $2 and stock up on the essentials for the week, spending way less money and getting higher quality fruits and veggies than at home. We really enjoy the local Tinamastes Organic market on Tuesdays. That’s where we get a lot of the tropical fruits like jackfruit and biriba from local fruit farms. The big market in San Isidro is on Thursdays and that where we stock up on organic greens, mangos, tomatoes, pineapples and much, much more. We need a truck to get all our food home! The market is also a social thing…you run into so many people you know from the community and it can be hard to leave.

5. The Green-ness! 
Get out of the city and into the jungle, where wifi boxes and EMF’s do not surround you. Breathe in the clean fresh air and enjoy connecting with nature, walking barefoot and feeling the earth between your toes. Everywhere I look is green, vibrant and alive…very healing and opening for the heart chakra.

6. The Clouds!
We live in the Diamante Valley and spend most of our time here in the mountains. It’s nice and cool in the evenings and we are only 30 minutes from Dominical – a surfer beach town. We get the best of both worlds. The most beautiful part about where we live is in the evenings the clouds roll in while the sun is setting and the mountains just glow. It’s like a scene from the movie Avatar. Pure magic! This really is a photographer's dream...bring your camera!  

7. Sloths, Monkeys and Bugs, Birds and Butterflies!
I love all the wildlife here in Costa Rica. Each morning I wake up and hear the howler monkeys in the trees and after the sunrises, the hummingbirds come to say hello with their song and vibration that warms my heart. Beautiful butterflies, caterpillars, the odd lizard and lots of froggies overtake our yard and bless us with their presence. We also see plenty of bugs, moths, spiders, and creatures that I’ve never even imagined. All the bugs freaked me out at first, but I am living in their home and have found peace with them, even have grown to love them with a certain fascination. Every new bug is a new discovery! If you want to see the adorable sloths and white-faced monkeys head to Manuel Antonio’s National Park. It’s worth it to go see the beautiful beaches…and you might even see a crocodile too!

8. Cheap Travel!
They have a pretty great bus system here and you can travel across the country for $8! We hop on a bus to the city for $1 and they are nice buses..not like the ones I've been on in Mexico. The only downside is that the roads are up and down and curvy… not the best for people that get carsick like I do! We also have had great luck with hitchhiking and do it often to get to the beach or to the market. And for accomodations, you can find inexpensive places to stay. Tenting and hostels as cheap as $10-$20 a night. Or do what Chris and I did and rent a house. We have a really nice place for $500/month for the two of us. It includes all bills and internet and we pay an additional $25 a month to have cell service to make calls and have unlimited data (to post photos to Instagram of course!) You can follow more of our travels at @missnaturallyashley and @therawadvantage on Instagram! 

9. The Community! 
I have met the most warm hearted, friendly, loving people here in Costa Rica; both the locals (Ticos) and the people who migrate here. And there's a lot of fruit lovers too! I will leave here with so many new friends that are near and dear to my heart. Everyone seems to have the same conscious vibe, whether you are into raw/whole foods, yoga, meditation, spiritual journeys, permaculture or natural living in general. I also feel completely safe where we live to walk around at night and we never lock the doors.

10. Pura Vida!
This expression, which means ‘Pure Life’ is used as a greeting, a farewell, a way to say thanks or express ‘things are great’ and sums up Costa Rica’s positive vibes about living life healthily, slowly, and peacefully.  If I could sum up this country in a word I’d describe it as peaceful. This country has no army and is very friendly with a low crime rate. It’s a great place to be!

Ashley Clark
Holistic Health Coach
Naturally Ashley Nutrition

Ashley Clark is a Holistic Health Coach, Artist, Photographer and the owner/operator of Naturally Ashley Nutrition. This prairie girl from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan loves to nourish her body with positive thoughts and ripe seasonal fruits. She is happiest being creative and loves to share healthy recipes, taking lots of photos of her colorful, fruity creations. Ashley wants to share everything she knows about holistic living to inspire and support others on their journey to create happy, healthy lifestyles, naturally.

Ashley received holistic health coach training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She began her health journey after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2007, trying many different diets to find out what works best for her. Ashley has been following a low-fat, raw vegan diet since May 2012, inspired by Dr. Doug Graham’s book The 80-10-10 Diet. She has overcome several health issues including Candida, gall bladder inflammation, chronic UTI’s, chronic hives, allergies and sinus problems, and now has more energy, a clearer mind and feels more vibrant than ever!

Connect with Ashley:

Follow Naturally Ashley for lots of recipes, tips and inspiration!
Instagram - @missnaturallyashley
Twitter - @MissNaturalAsh


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