The Nicoya Blue Zone in Costa Rica

The Nicoya Blue Zone in Costa Rica

Most people find an unstructured world less stressful. You don’t get things wrong very often, you can’t.  Think about it.  When you pull into a parking spot and you car is a couple of inches across the line people get mad at you.  On the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica it’s hard to find a parking line.  All of the little structures people have put in place in life are pretty much non-existent here.

Blue Zones are areas in which there is a noticeable difference in how much longer people live. The Costa Rica Nicoya Peninsula is one of only five in the world.

In 2004 a guy named Dan Buettner partnered with National Geographic and grant money to search for areas in the world were people lived longer than others.  In 2007 three had already been found and in January of that year he started looking at the Nicoya Peninsula.  There are certain things that have been found to be consistent in all of the blue zones.  Most involve lifestyle choices of the people like eating healthy, not smoking, not heavily drinking and so on.

Nicoya offers up it’s own unique differences. For instance the water in Nicoya is rich in calcium which gives its residents stronger bones.  One thing that was glaringly obvious to us was the air.  The air just seemed very clean.  It probably contains lots of oxygen which made it easy for us to walk for hours on end.  Which is why on a recent trip to Costa Rica we planned on visiting the Blue Zone for a day and ended staying for two or as we called it “taking a vacation from a vacation”.

Nicoya Blue Zone Costa Rica

Our goal was simple, head to the bottom coast of the blue zone, maybe have some lunch or an early dinner and see if we noticed anything different.  After all, we were only 30 minutes from one of five blue zones on earth, it would be crazy not to check it out.

The four us us started our journey in the northern Guanacaste region of Costa Rica and headed south through the town of Nicoya. The town of Nicoya is not considered part of the Nicoya peninsula blue zone for some reason, but we try not to judge. For the first part we stayed along eastern Nicoya on Rt. 21. The very scenic oh so crooked road winded through the mountains and small towns but didn’t have all of the overlooking the ocean scenic spots we thought it would have.

It was still a great drive, stopping sporadically taking a picture here and there until we reached a place called Tambor Beach at the very bottom of the peninsula. It was about 3 in the afternoon and with about 3 1/2 hours spent in the car, the girls were ready for some beach and/or beach bar time.   As it turned out the beach bars were up to par, but the beach wasn’t quite the white sand beach the girls were hoping for.

After a quick lunch with fresh fruit drinks mixed with rum we decided to walk the beach.  The beach was a muddy-rocky sand, but our goal was to explore and find out what the deal was with this blue zone rather than lay on the beach.  There were not many rules, but the ones they had were good ones.

Nicoya Blue Zone Costa Rica

Nicoya Blue Zone Costa Rica

While walking the beach you couldn’t help but notice that all of the locals and their children played in the streams leading up to the ocean not in the ocean.

There was a small natural park to walk through along side the beach that has Capuchin monkeys, alligators, parakeets and an amazing collection of other wild birds that I had never seen.  All in all we probably walked about 8 miles from one end of the beach to the other.  The amazing part was that after the walk we felt better than when we started.  It was like they were pumping oxygen into the air like those Vegas Casinos.

Costa Rica Blue Zone

Also along the beach were a few hotels that we stopped in to see about a room for the night.  All of them were booked.  The weird part was that the pool areas and beaches in front of the hotels were desolate.   Either we just weren’t the type of people they were looking for or everyone that was staying at these places was off doing something else.

We got back in the car and headed down the road.  It was about 6:30pm and we were either going to find a place soon or have to suck it up and drive the 4 hours back.

Luckily, not to far down the road we spotted a Montezuma Beach sign and in Montezuma found an opening at Luz de Mono Hotel – an Eco Resort. So cool, this was our first eco resort.

Luz de Mono Hotel Montezuma

We followed the long path up through the jungle to our place, dropped off what little we had and ventured out to the one horse town to try to find sustenance.  Then we proceeded to eat and drink beyond what typical bluezonians eat and drink.  Somehow we found our way back and settled in for a nice peaceful eco-sleep, or so we thought.  All night there were sounds like someone was trying to break in and pounding on the roof.

Our eco bungalow was truly eco.  In the morning we found out it was infested with the iguanas you see below.  They were in every roof gap you could find around the place.  That and the Capuchin monkeys running non stop across the roof trying to get in the door and windows for people food.  Why we brought leftovers back I will never know.

Luz de Mono Hotel – an Eco Resort

I personally would have slept way better if I knew that all the racket was wildlife.

Nicoya Blue Zone Costa Rica

The next morning the girls headed down to the pool for some rest and we headed to check out the snorkeling.  The snorkeling wasn’t very good at all, so we all hung at the pool.

Around noon they booted us out of the hotel so we grabbed some lunch at Chico’s Bar which had great outdoor seating and headed out to find typical Costa Rica adventure.

Chico's Bar Montezuma Costa Rica

We didn’t get very far. A little bit down the road there was a place called Sun Trails Canopy Tours of Montezuma and decided to see what it was all about.  Next thing you know we were doing the typical Costa Rica zip lining, jumping/diving off and swimming in waterfalls sort of thing.

Sun Trails Costa Rica

Nicoya Blue Zone Costa Rica

After that we were ready to head back to our fake reality at our other hotel back in Guanacaste.

What did we learn about the “blue zone”?  Probably only two things, there is less stress from there being less rules and the air just seems way better.