All the Reason You Need to Travel to Costa Rica
July 17, 2017
Central America
I can't imagine it would take much to get someone to book a trip to Costa Rica. The gorgeous locale is reason enough. But when you add in a workshop at Harmony Hotel filled with everything from morning beach yoga to tropical floral arranging, surfing and dinners under the stars, it sure ups the ante. Have a look at the inaugural Pura Vida Peartree workshop masterminded by Liza of Peartree Flowers. It's a beautiful mix of creativity and adventures in the sun all captured by Heather Waraksa.
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More about Pura Vida Peartree from Liza... The workshop is a week long exploration of movement and creativity spanning a wide range of pursuits from raw desert making (with Emily Aumiller of Lael Cakes), surfing lessons, floral arranging workshops (with Liza + Sarah Blasi from Selva Floral), jungle foraging, vinyasa yoga, and book making + botanical illustrations in the magical surroundings of Nosara, Costa Rica.

I’ve admired the Harmony Hotel’s commitment to sustainability and tranquility, and their love affair Nosara since I started coming to this sleepy surf town in 2011. One of the things I love so much about Nosara is the way this town provides for the people in it – how the heat forces a balance between work and relaxation; how the sweet smells add calm to a surfing lesson. A couple years ago, I was brainstorming retreat ideas at the Harmony Juice Bar and realized that despite the plethora of retreats in and around Nosara, none offered the right creative component. I was curious how different crafts and disciplines could play off each other in a workshop environment: would a yoga class in the morning influence flower arranging in the afternoon? When the Harmony Hotel stepped in to host Peartree’s inaugural workshop, it all came together. Last November, the second Puravida Peartree workshop took place, combining movement + creativity, ocean marveling, and human connection. We turned the yoga/surf retreat paradigm on its side, injecting flower arranging classes, botanical illustrations, book making and raw dessert classes into the week’s curriculum alongside jungle vinyasa and surfing, of course.

Our students were able to experiment with locally-sourced Costa Rican product including mokara orchids, anthiriums and local fruits like passion fruit and papaya to create tropical pieces with a loose, whimsical flair. We had fun styling each student’s arrangement, collaborating and taking photos so that each student could go home with a portfolio of his or her own work. Our week culminated with a beautiful styled Tico dinner at the Harmony’s Restaurant that brought together the creative courses of the entire week. We divided the group into teams to work on portions of the evening’s decor. Some people worked on decorating cakes (lead by Lael Cakes owner Emily Aumiller). Others began work on the table’s flowers and overhead tropical floral installation.

We rotated throughout the day so everyone could touch all parts of the design that interested them. Teachers stepped out of their disciplines to work in new spaces. My favorite part of the evening was when everyone interacted with the decor. It eliminated the museum-like quality some styled events portray and instead got to the core of the workshop’s motivation. Nosara holds a balance of personal and community space unlike any I’ve ever encountered. The people that connect with Nosara forge that connection from different beginnings, and with different ends in mind. When they do fall in love with being there, as I have, there’s a unifying sense of place, of collaboration and kindness, where each person’s passion can support and elevate another’s. The students at last year’s Pura Vida Peartree were each creating for their own sakes, for their own enrichment and enjoyment. But the collaborations are what elevated each of us, myself included, and the results were beyond my expectations.