Saturday, October 31, 2015

Southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula Costa Rica - Phone book & guide Zoom

My favorite publication focusing on the Southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula is without question Nicoya Zoom a glossy bi-annual print magazine that is free and available in most hotels and tourist locations, includes great articles, an invaluable phone book, and also very useful advertisments..
Zoom has my vote as best publication all around.. Covers the following townships: Cobano, Cabuya, Montezuma, Mal Pais & Sta. Teresa, Paquera, Tambor, Delicias, Manzanillo, San Isidro

Pura Vida, Justine Smythe

Nine Core Principles of Longevity

According to National Geographic and author Dan Buettner, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica is one of the few blue zones on the planet where people live longer, happier lives..

when looking for a retirement home, we decided living a longer happier life sounded good, so we invested in a home and retreat center in one of the few blue zones and began to embrace the blue zone principles. there are nine core principles that people in blue zones live by:

1) Move naturally
2) Cut calories by 20 percent
3) Plant-based diet
4) Drink red wine
5) Plan de Vida: determine your life purpose
6) Down shift -- take time to relieve stress
7) Belong / participate in a spiritual community
8) Put loved ones first / make family a priority
9) Pick the right tribe, the people around you influence your health

Come to visit us at Casa Bellavista to enbrace these principles and create lasting habits you can bring back with you when you return to your own home.

Pura vida,
Justine Smythe


retreats are limited to 8-12 participants...

Surrounded by lush jungles, with panoramic mountain and ocean views,
Casa Bellavista was chosen for its ideal location for wellness retreats.
As you sit by the spa pool, watching the grazing arabian horses, you will
find deep peace and relaxation, tropical birds and howler monkeys call
this home and you will too. Come to visit for a few days, a week, or longer...
register for a retreat for complete nourishment and revitalization of your

Friday, October 30, 2015

fresh Ceviche the Costa Rica way...

Living in the blue zone has its benefits, especially on the Southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula in beautiful Costa Rica right on the Pacific Ocean, where the fish is always caught daily...It's important to know what time the fishermen will be ready to sell their catch, bring a cooler in the car to keep the fish as fresh as possible, unless of course you are walking to the beach.... 

Here is a healthy yet delicious recipe for you...

Once home, skin and debone the fish (should be light fleshed non-oily fish such as tilapia, snapper, or even mahi mahi is ok, but not tuna or salmon or mackerel), and cut it up into bite size pieces, keep the fish cold in the fridge while preparing the rest of the ingredients: fresh squeezed lime/lemon juice, chopped parsley or dill or cilantro, and optional chopped vegetables and or fruits - onion (red or white or green), tomato, cucumber, sweet bell pepper, papaya, mango, pineapple, orange. add as much or as little as you like and be sure to experiment...there are many ways to make Ceviche and they are all delicious. 

This method of "cooking" fish with acid is said to have come from the Moors living in the Mediterranean region and has been documented as being a popular healthy recipe in ocean front villages in Mexico, Central and South America for at least two thousand years.

Be sure to only make as much as you will eat at one sitting. Serve with lettuce and a few chips. and enjoy to your health! Join us in Montezuma for a healthy cooking intensive or just to lay by the pool. 

Pura vida, Justine Smythe

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Howler Monkeys are the loudest land animals...

Howler monkeys live in small tribes of six to 15 members, they are of a gentle nature rarely fighting among themselves. The three tribes of howler monkeys that live in the jungle trees surrounding our home in Costa Rica spend their waking hours munching on leaves and hanging around grooming each other and enjoying the peaceful life of an herbivore. At Casa Bellavista it is easy to know when the howlers are around because they make a beautiful noise that sounds like a lion roaring, and they are most vocal as sunrise and sunset, preferring to nap in the heat of the day.
Pura Vida, 
Justine Smythe

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sunrise over the Nicoya Bay view to Jaco beach across the bay and beyond..

Life in the blue zone includes rising with the sun and setting with the sun, this includes amazing views right after waking up and just before going to sleep...each sunrise and sunset is completely different and one can not predict what it will look like, what colors will appear, how long it will linger, what cloud formations will grace the sky, and at what time the sun will actually appear...despite the consistency of 12 hours of daylight year round...

I love to sit on the veranda at Casa Bellavista listening to the howler monkeys waking up, watching the world wake up, sitting in near meditation, with no agenda except to witness the wonder of life, again...

This view here is of the mountains across the bay from the Nicoya Peninsula. Tn the bottom under the mountain is the Pacific Ocean, above that the tall mountains behind Jaco beach across the bay...

Pura vida,
Justine Smythe

Monday, October 26, 2015

Blue Zones - live longer, be happier, naturally...

Three years ago my husband and I began to look for a retirement home someplace warm and relaxing. we ultimately chose to purchase a beautiful four acre piece of property complete with a teak wood and river stone Swiss chalet house in the Montezuma hills, Nicoya Peninsula, Puntarenas, Costa Rica.

When folks find out we live in Costa Rica for half of the year they ask us, why Costa Rica? and we respond there are so many reasons....but why did we choose the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula? because it is one of the few blue zones in the world...

We are surprised to find out few people know about these blue zones, where the resident populations tend to live to 100 or more years old, where these people have a better quality of live, enjoy their lives more, and feel happier all around..

My husband David and I have been reading about blue zones for a long time, and we have been ready to move to a blue zone and start to adopt the practices and principles that lead to living longer and being happier...

If you would like to experience life in the blue zone, join us for a wellness retreat at our home in paradise, go to:

Check back for my next blog on life in the blue zone...

pura vida,

Justine Smythe