Contrary to popular belief, it is not blistering hot in Costa Rica. As one moves closer to the equator, temperature ranges become less extreme. It is generally between 70-95 F degrees from January – April and 60 – 85 F degrees from May – December . At our elevation, we enjoy cool evenings. During the day, the sun is hot and the shade is just right. Beware, the sun is strong year round since we are only 9 degrees from the equator.
December to April is the dry season with the warmest temperatures and least rainfall. The first and last months of dry season (December and April) are often called the transition months, when the weather does fluctuate some as the season changes.
May - November is rainy season, but there is variety within this season. Mostly, it is a Light Rainy Season, with sunny mornings and afternoon rain showers (or reverse order), plentiful rainbows and stars at night. The occasional storm system comes through, or we watch the lightning strikes far out over the Pacific Ocean. A Little Summer happens sometimes in July.
FOL is closed in May and October, the 2 most difficult months of rainy season.
We are open year round except we are closed the months of May and October.
We are open for holidays.
We host back-to-back retreats from mid-January to May. Retreats have rented out the campus and we are unable to accept individual guest reservations during this time. Retreats are all-inclusive, 7-night intensives filled with yoga, eco-tours, meal catering, education and more. Retreats are held during dry season.
We are open for guest reservations every June-September and Nov-mid-January. These months are the best time for long-term reservations, for family visits and any type of traveller. We offer ALL of our normal hotel, guest and health services and guests opt-into whatever they are interested in. We do not cater meals during regular season - rather, we have a communal kitchen with the option to order dinner.
We are located in the rural mountains at 2,000 feet elevation. We are a 45-minute drive to the nearest beach of Dominical. We take our guest on a beach excursion once a week. Formal retreats sometimes go more than that.
We have WiFi in the Jungle! The Harvest House and every guest room has high speed internet - bring your laptop and plug-in. As of this writing, our download speeds are 4 meg down and upload speeds 2 meg.
Layers of clothing. Light sweaters for the evenings. Yoga attire. Swimwear and quick-dry shorts. A raincoat, poncho or umbrella in the rainy season. Long pants for hiking, horseback riding and to protect your legs from critters in the grass. The best sun protection is long-sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat. This is a farm - your clothes may get dirty and muddy, if not also wet.
Bring appropriate footwear and shoes with excellent traction. Trails often have wet leaves, moss on rocks, slippery red earth and steep slopes. Water-shoes or Vibrams are helpful at the waterfalls. Some guests may want to bring walking sticks. Flip flops and sandals for hanging around the common areas. All of your shoes will get either dusty or muddy depending on whether it is dry or rainy season. Bring walking or all-terrain shoes, but not big hiking boots.
Also, bring: Earplugs, because sound travels on this campus. You don’t need to bring a beach towel – we have some for you to use. Book or Kindle! Flashlight. A non-disposable water bottle (metal or glass recommended) to refill with fresh, filtered Finca water. If you are particular about it, then bring your own wood utensils, glass straws, glass mason jars, etc.
If you are visiting long term, then we suggest you also bring a laptop, ipod, kindle, and memory stick. You do not need to bring health-wise books, we have a large assortment for you to choose from.
We are remotely located, so please bring everything you need, including supplements, feminine products, personal first aid, etc.
Please pack as light as possible. We have laundry services available.
Bring a smile and an attitude of gratitude.
Our kitchen is vegetarian, vegan and raw. Meat and alcohol is not allowed. Eggs and cheese are acceptable.
We stock the communal kitchen with an abundance of local, seasonal and organic fruits and vegetables. You prepare your own meals, smoothies, salads and juices (16 oz per day) using our beautiful kitchen. The nightly rate includes using the communal kitchen and fruits and vegetables.
The kitchen is ultra-convenient for guests to use. It has a refrigerator and stove, and is stocked with kitchenware, dinnerware, cookware, utensils, blenders, juicer, mixer, dehydrator, organic fruits and vegetables from the farm and local area, and a dishwashing station to clean up after yourself.
Likely, you may participate in ceremony during your visit, but there are factors to consider. For instance, which plant medicine, how long are you visiting with us and are you actually ready for it?
Huachuma is cactus medicine with mescaline. Brian leads Huachuma ceremony here at Farm of Life. The cost is $100.
We are not an Ayahuasca center. There are several shamans in our valley who regularly offer ceremonies with the Forest Medicine. We can arrange for your participation with these ceremonies, assuming the dates overlap with the dates of your visit. The cost is $100 plus the cost of transportation. Sometimes the shamans offer ceremony every weekend, and sometimes they are traveling abroad. Only one of them, Sol Circle, keeps on online calendar. Otherwise, these Medicine Men and Women do not give us much more than a few weeks advanced notice on when there is going to be a ceremony nearby. As a generalization, you can expect there to be local ceremonies during solstices, equinoxes and a couple times a month. A few times a year, we host ceremonies here at Farm of Life and certainly during our Into the Light Plant Medicine Retreats.
It is very important to us that our guests have sufficient time to prepare for and integrate from the plant medicine experience. These spirit medicines should not be taken lightly. Long-term visitors have the best opportunity to participate in ceremony and get the most out of it Any visit of less than 7-10-days is really not very sufficient.
If your intention is for plant medicine during your visit, then please indicate so when you book. If you are scheduling a short visit, then recognize your responsibility to prepare for ceremony in advance of arriving at the Farm of Life. Please also read the section called Reasons not to Participate (located in the bottom half of the page).
For the best choice of dates and room selection, we recommend 2 to 3-months in advance.
For peak season (Dec-Jan), we recommend 5 to 6-months in advance.
May-January all reservations are private and all our rooms have private bathrooms.
The only exception is during retreat season Jan-April when guests can select the room-sharing options.
Yes indeed. More often than not, our guests are singles. Our warm communal ambience makes the farm an inviting place for individuals to travel. We eat meals together, take Yoga classes together, go on tours together, etc. You are guaranteed to meet like-minded people and make new friends.
Yes, families are welcome. The Coconut and Monkey houses are family accommodations with 2 queen beds in them and a banister around the balcony.
Children are welcome too. Some, but not all of our rooms, have balconies with banisters for crawling children. The whole country is challenging for young children – it is very hilly and mountainous and tiresome to hike on short legs, the Pacific Ocean has big waves, long drives between destinations, etc. Older children love it here and run around the farm and find ripe fruit for us. We have a swimming pool and friendly dogs, whom the children love. Many of our guests are here for the tranquility of the setting and for deep healing. For this reason, it is important to us that children maintain their disposition.
No. Our neighbor at Jewel of the Sun (La Joya del Sol, Viva La Raw) offers tenting.
We do not offer work-trade for guests.
You may volunteer here. Our program is small, specific, skilled, long-term (3-month minimum) and competitive. We take only 3-4 volunteers at a time, filling the positions of Head Chef, Kitchen Assistant, Yoga Instructor and Greenhouse Guru. Experience is required; you must be in good health.
No. Sorry, we are not a community.
No. While we have our own pets on campus, we do not permit other pets here.
Yes, we have 3 dogs and 1 cat. They do not enter guest rooms (unless you leave your door open, they might wander in). They join us in the dining hall, which is an open-structure with plenty of air flow and few walls, and they are quite cozy on the sofas.
There are far fewer flying, biting insects that you probably imagine. From my experience, mosquitoes were far more troublesome when I lived in Maine and Minnesota than in Costa Rica. But, yes, we do have them. They are worse at the beach and less of a problem at our elevation of 2,000 feet.
During dry season, there are hardly any biting insects because there is no stagnant water for them to reproduce. Also, we live in the mountains where there are no flat lands, hence no stagnant water.
If you are concerned, then please bring your favorite all-natural bug repellent. Our guest rooms have screens on windows and some rooms (Butterfly, Coconut, Monkey) have canopies over the beds.
Zika virus is reported in Costa Rica, but not in our zone of the country - the mountains of the SW zone. If you are pregnant, then we don't recommend you travel to Central America. If you are super concerned, then we recommend you travel during dry season and/or stay in the mountains (not the beach). We, however, think Zika is an inflated media story.
We can’t impress enough the value of arriving prepared. Guests have experienced the full range of either being in a full-blown detox (next to the toilet all day) to feeling vital and invigorated on the tours. We certainly prefer for everyone to feel the cleansing benefit of this health retreat while also having the energy to enjoy the retreat.
We highly recommend you prepare your body, mind and spirit by taking measures to clean up your diet and lifestyle during the weeks in advance of your arrival. This will vary for every individual. Here are some straightforward guidelines and recommendations we can give you now:
Our staple fruits – papaya, bananas, pineapple, soursop and mangoes – are year-round fruits, although mangoes are out-of-season October-December.
Other fruits are available as follows (these are general guidelines):
Watch our video on the fruits of rainy season.
Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. This is our nickname for the Rambutan fruit.
You are welcome to. We simply will charge you a bit extra for the cost of ingredients. Advance planning is required.
We provide an abundant supply of organic fruits and vegetables from the farm and local area, including fruits, vegetables, potatoes, avocados and coconuts. If you have specific food preferences, particularly for cooked food items, specialty groceries, grains, legumes, spices, nuts and seeds, then you are welcome to purchase them from the local markets or bring them with you in your luggage. It is difficult to find raw, organic nuts and seeds and some types of grains in Costa Rica. If you are transporting food through customs, we recommend you keep them in their sealed, original containers. We can provide you with pantry and refrigerator space in our communal kitchen for your belongings.
We are not a B&B. We do not serve breakfast, but we do serve a complimentary green juice every morning after yoga. You may use the communal kitchen space to prepare your own breakfast.
Yes. We have some of the cleanest water in the world. Our water comes from a spring. Clean, pure and mineralized water comes out of every tap. Throughout Costa Rica, municipality and village water systems are chlorinated, but not at Farm of Life.
Yes! Flush in confidence! Farm of Life has a composting septic system. We use biodegradable toilet paper, but otherwise you won’t notice the difference. We are wired for electricity and are pleased to offer you hot showers. Hair-dryers and other high-powered devices will strain our system. Please leave those behind.
Yes, for $6 we will wash and dry one load of laundry.
Room service is twice a week. Sheets and towels are changed out only once a week, unless otherwise requested.
No, we only provide on-site health coaching with our guests.
We recommend our dear friend and raw food inspiration, Chris Kendall at the Raw Advantage, for online, by-donation, health coaching.
We have great cell phone reception. The carrier is called Kolbi - the national monopoly. Call your cell phone carrier, and check online information and blogs (e.g. Costa Rica Blog Central) to find out if your phone will receive service here. At a minimum, you’ll need an international service plan and an unlocked phone. We hardly keep up with the forever evolving technology so please do your own research on this topic. Call your carrier, check your plan (unlimited, roaming) and read the current blogs! You can also buy a Kolbi SIM card (at the airport) and use it in your card to have local minutes for in-country use only.
Another way to communicate is on the computer with Skype, Facetime, Goggle Hangouts and more. Bring your laptop, but first download the software on your computer and possibly also your loved-one’s computer. You can use Skype to call phones for a low rate (Skype will need your credit card on file), or to call other computers with Skype for free. We have a laptop available for guests to use for email and Skype when necessary.
Our personal phone can only be used for in-country calls within Costa Rica. Our phones are not serviced to make International calls, although we can receive International calls.
If you want to leave your loved ones with our contact information so that they can contact you in case of an emergency, please give them our Costa Rica cell phone number of 506 (country code) 8893 - 7407.
If you want to leave your loved ones with our contact information so that they can contact you in case of an emergency, please give them our Costa Rica cell phone number of 506 (country code) 8893 - 7407 and our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
We do not have a mailing address for you to use, please do not ask anyone to mail items to you here.
If you need to use our address for your Visa Application, please use: Finca de Vida, BJ, SRL; el fin del calle de Baru; San Salvador Perez Zeledon; San Jose, Costa Rica.
On customs forms, please write that you are visiting Finca de Vida in Playa Dominical.
This is a smoke-free and drug-free campus. They are not allowed. Do not bring cigarettes or pipes. We can recommend other lodging to smokers who want to visit the area.
If you want to come to Farm of Life to quit smoking, you’ll have to quit before arriving. If we find you smoking in our rooms and on-campus, you will be asked to leave without a refund.
If you are chemically sensitive, we welcome your visit and can work within your needs. We use vinegar and baking soda to clean the rooms and can wash your linens without detergent.
As for mold....this is the tropics and we have mold, particularly during the rainy season months of May-November. Mold is in everything, even in the grass, and hard to control. Then, we have dry season, December-April, 9-degrees from the equator, everything dries out and the mold dies out too. This is the pattern.
Visit this page to learn about a typical day, typical week and retreat schedule too.
We often fast guests for a week or so, either with water, coconut water or green juice. It all depends on the person, their goals and health status. We usually fast guests who visit for a month of longer. They start with 2 weeks on a clean raw food diet, week 3 is a fast and week 4 is a re-feed. We do not offer medical supervision during the fast, but we do check-in on you daily and tend to your needs.
We require a Skype conversation with you in advance of making your reservation to assess your level of health/toxicity, weight, fasting goals, etc.
We do not offer long fasts to anyone without experience. We do not fast guests with bulimia, anorexia, obsessive compulsive disorders or who are severely underweight.
Farm of Life is not a medical clinic, skilled nursing facility or residential care unit. We do not have doctors, nurses, medical equipment or medications to assist with convalescence or mental disabilities. We are not a treatment center for anorexia, bulimia or severe obsessive-compulsive disorders. The nearest medical clinics and pharmacies are a 1-hour drive. Hospitals and dialysis are in San Jose, a 4-hour drive. You may not visit if you are on dialysis.
We do not provide samples of soaps and shampoos. Please bring your own biodegradable and natural toiletries - shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, insect repellent, sunblock and lotions.
We use a grey water system – the water from faucets is returned to the soil. Mainstream toiletries contain harmful chemicals and carcinogens and we do not want this in our soil. Please bring your toiletries but please make sure they are natural, organic and biodegradable.
We are 9-degrees from the equator and the sun is strong, so bring a sunblock. Also, newcomers are sometimes frustrated by the insects, and others not at all. Bring some repellent just in case they choose you.
We recommend you bring some cash and a debit and/or credit card. Let your bank know that you will be using your debit card in Costa Rica. However, bank machines tend to only allow tourist to withdrawal $100 a day. Bring cash in $20 denominations. Farm of Life will accept $100 denomination bills, but no one else will. Be careful carrying too much cash, since theft is rampant in the tourist areas. Most places around Costa Rica accept USA dollars, and of course the Costa Rica colone. Some stores and restaurants accept credit cards, but many do not. Farm of Life accepts only cash and paypal.
Yes, a 10% gratuity is appreciated. It is appropriate to tip your shuttle / taxi driver, tour guides and service staff. A 10% gratuity it automatically included in all restaurant bills. Here at FOL, we have a tip box available for each member of the team, from our chefs and instructors to cleaning crew and grounds keepers. Every team member’s contribution is invaluable to us.
There is no theft at Farm of Life. We are a sanctuary at the end of the road, remotely located. We have a safe in the office where you can lock-up your valuables.
However, please leave your valuables at home, and only bring necessary items.
The tourist areas of Costa Rica have a well-earned reputation for theft. Thieves can break into a rental car and swipe your luggage in minutes. They’ll grab your backpack at the beach and run. They are very talented. Please be wise when you are travelling this country. Do not leave any valuables unattended or in vehicles when you are out on tours or travelling.
Otherwise, Costa Rica is a very safe place to travel. There is minimal violent-crime. It is a peaceful land with a school in every village and no military. The people are kind, educated and helpful.
Fly in and out of the San Jose Santa Maria International Airport. We are a 4-hr commute from the airport. Guests can travel to Farm of Life via:
We have very specific transportation instructions and driving directions that we can send you by email once a reservation is made. Please bring cash for your transportation needs.
Renting a car is perfect for a few tourists and totally wrong for most others. Driving conditions are not easy in this country – rural roads do not have street signs, 4x4 is required, manual transmission is recommended, etc. For some guests, they appreciate the luxury of being able to tool around at their convenience, and may have some specific reasons for wanting to see more of the area, such as looking at real estate.
Most of our guests, however, do not rent cars and are glad they didn’t. We offer a compliment of weekly tours, providing the transportation ourselves, and guests find this more than satisfactory.
Farm of Life is located in the Southwest coastal region of Costa Rica, near the Pacific Ocean, Dominical beach and the mountain town of San Isidro. We are specifically located in the outskirts of a rural, mountain village called San Salvador. We are located halfway between Dominical and San Isidro. It is a 40-minute car ride to the beach town of Dominical and 40-minutes, in the other direction, to the small, mountain city of San Isidro (Perez Zeledon).
We are a 4-hour drive from San Jose. We recommend guests drive the beach route, passing Jaco, Quepos and Dominical. We are also near to the regional airports at Quepos and Palmar Sur.
Travel Times (non-stop) by car:
We recommend Margarita's guest house - she is 5-minute taxi ride from the airport, speaks English, it is $30 per night per person plus $5 per meal. Her B&B is in her typical Costa Rican home in a suburb called Alejuela. There are more than 1 Margarita's Guest House's near the airport, so I recommend you give your taxi driver her phone # so that he takes you to the correct one. Her contact information is: 506-2441-1464 and email@example.com and http://margaritaguesthouse.blogspot.com/
There are also many airport hotels to choose from: Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Marriot.
We also like Hotel Aeropuerto and Hotel Los Volcanoes in Alejuela. They all have airport shuttles and continental breakfasts.
Please email us so that we can send you complete driving directions. This is a brief explanation, but likely not sufficient enough to get you here.
From Dominical Beach, take the inland-heading road towards San Isidro. When you arrive in Tinamaste, turn right onto the Las Tumbas gravel road, located about 200 meters after the white church. Follow this gravel road for 7-kilometers, pass Las Tumbas (market, soccer field, school), and into the town of San Salvador. When you see San Salvador’s minisuper sign, take the left turn indicated here. 4x4 is now required. Follow this road for 3-kilometers. The road splits at an orange house – stay left and follow the electric lines. Follow signs that you see for Rancho Tranquilo and Farm of Life. Pass the horse stables, continue straight, stay left, pass the colorful water tank and arrive at Farm of Life. If you get lost, call us at 8893-7407 or ask our neighbors for directions to Finca de Vida.
Costa Rica has a tourism visa for most nationalities. Please check online for the most up-to-date visa entry requirements for your country
The Tourist visa is for 90-days. When crossing borders, you’ll need to have a copy of your return travel itinerary (by air, within 90-days), a credit card to demonstrate financial solvency, and of course your passport.
A 90-day stamp is not given automatically. Often, customs gives you a stamp for only the number of days that you will be in the country. For example, if your return is 10-days from your arrival, then the customs agent may give you only a 10-day stamp. Check your stamp before you depart the customs agent. We’ve had guests with a 90-day ticket get a 5–day stamp!
There is a lot of great information online about this. Please inform yourself if you plan to travel in Costa Rica for 3 or more months. If you plan to stay for more than 3-months, then you’ll have to leave the country for a 3-day minimum every 90-days (e.g. go to Panama for a long-weekend).
If you need to use our address for your Visa Application, please use: Finca de Vida, BJ, SRL; el fin del calle de Baru; San Salvador Perez Zeledon; San Jose, Costa Rica.
On customs forms, please write that you are visiting Finca de Vida in Playa Dominical.
This country has a 90-day visa and requires that you have a return flight out of the country. For this reason, you can not to fly to Costa Rica on a 1-way ticket. The airlines are held accountable for this and so the airlines will check your travel plan at ticketing. If you do not have a return ticket, they will require you to buy one there on the spot.
Check the Costa Rica custom's stamp and make sure the date matches your travel plans.
If you plan to be in Costa Rica over 90-days, then you can buy a refundable return ticket... Refund it after you arrive into Costa Rica.
As of this writing, no vaccinations are required to enter the country for most nationalities. No malaria pills are required either. Please check online information to confirm this. We are on the West coast of Costa Rica, where there are typically no travel alerts.
If you will be traveling to Costa Rica from South America and/or sub-Saharan Africa, you will need the Yellow Fever Vaccine at least 10 days prior to entry.
In the event of a medical emergency, Farm of Life is a 1-hour drive to the nearest medical clinic or pharmacy. We prefer to take guests to a private clinic. You are responsible to pay out of pocket. The cost, in comparison to the USA, is very reasonable.
We are a 4-hour drive from the capital city, San Jose, where more complete medical care is available, such as dialysis.
"This was the most life-changing trip of my life. I have never been around such positive, genuine, and spiritual people in my life." Lina, Florida
"Thanks for giving people the opportunity to get their thoughts straight, guts clean, eyes sharp and heart open. It works, big time." Judith de Grauuw, Netherlands
"This Farm of Life radiates positive energy and healing in ways that, if you allow yourself to remain open, you may not have expected." Vienna Sunflower, New Jersey
"Words cannot describe what healing powers your love emits. Thank you for all that you do." Ashley, Florida
"Not only is the setting straight out of Mother Nature’s heart, but the atmosphere that Brian and Jody have created in every detail of the farm is nothing short of inspirational and mesmerizing." Angela Bliss, Canada
"Arrive with an open heart and willingness to grow and you will leave with an activated and revitalized Vital Life Force." Zan, Alaska
"The meals were prepared with great love & joy." James, Canada
"No worries if you are not raw or even vegan, the fruits here are soooo amazing and delicious they won't leave you wanting anything else." Nina, Slovenia
"It was awesome waking up at dawn listening to the howler monkeys & the other sounds of nature all around. The outdoor shower was to die for." Arlene, Canada
"I definitely recommend this place to all who search for truth, transformation, living in harmony with life, eating vibrant raw foods and pure fun and laughter!" Tina about the Living Yoga Retreat
"The vibes were incredible as well as the connections with other kindred spirits & souls. I will treasure this experience of a true farm to table." Craig Ridgeway about the Raw Advantage Retreat
"This is not a traditional vacation but one that is very healing in all ways. You will leave feeling totally rejuvenated." Linda about the Raw Habilitation Retreat
"I am looking and feeling better than I can ever remember. I cant thank you enough for in essence saving my life, truly thankful for you kindness and vision!" Shelley Kozicki, Canada, Cancer Survivor
"Since our visit last month, we have maintained a mostly vegan lifestyle. Thanks for the inspiration and showing us how easy it is to get in all these lovely living foods!" - Jill & Adam, about learning skills from the Chef
"I could write pages about how I've changed from my experiences on the farm. It hasn't been much "easier" since I have been home, but my awareness, understanding & appreciation of things are on a totally different level. I know that's such a beautiful place to begin. So much gratitude towards you both and everything you represent." - Hayley, Canada, about the Into the Light retreat