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Life in Costa Rica #2 : PACHAMAMA!

Posted Jan 04 2013 11:35am

Time flies and seems to stand still at the same time. Have I really been in Costa Rica for 2 months already? Have I only been in Pachamama for a month? It seems like so much longer.

So, Pachamama! So many of you have showed interest in this place and hearing about my experiences, we should all just meet up here next year! Cacao party at my casita ;)

About Pachamama

Pachamama (‘Mother Earth’) is an intentional community in the forests of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. It came to be 13 years ago and was founded by Tyohar. In the beginning of Pachamama, it wasn’t as open to the public as it is now. Visitors from all over the world, from all different ages and backgrounds, come to Pachamama to either relax and unwind, partake in transformation workshops or cycles, or do a work exchange (like me). This makes that Pachamama isn’t a community in the traditional sense of the word anymore, it’s kinda like between a community and a retreat center, with plenty of long-time, permanent residents, and many new work exchangers and visitors every season.

The intention of Pachamama is to provide a place for people to come and retract from the outside world and have time and space for going inwards, for silence. In that silence we find ourselves, our true and higher self. The daily silent sitting (meditation) from 7-8 pm is the highlight of the day for most residents and certainly the most sacred element of Pacha.  It is called the daily inner shower and every night you can find some 100+ people here in stillness and oneness. Sometimes there is Satsang, also called ‘dharma talks’ instead if silence. Satsang literally means being in the presence of truth, where someone who is far along his spiritual journey (some might call this person a guru) speaks from the heart about topics that help us awaken to our inner wisdom. In Pachamama, this person is Tyohar. There are several silent retreats and Vipasana retreats throughout the year, which is one of the main reasons I am here. This year, the silent retreat is during christmas and new years and the whole community will be in silence for 10 days. I can only imagine how beautiful and powerful this is going to be. To celebrate the new year with awareness and quiet, instead of party and loud noises.


“Listening. I am ever listening

That I may know the fullness of my Being

Of Presence

Life itself

As it flows within me


I Am

Love, Grace, Gratitude,

If I listen, I will hear

That you and I are One.”

Pachamama consists of a ‘downtown’ area with a little shop, veggie market, communal kitchen, restaurant, and raw cafe (the ‘wild treats bar’), with an open space for gatherings and events. There is a communal area with hot showers, toilets and big lockers (which nobody locks ;) ). The big hall for silent sittings is called Osho hall (after, yes, Osho), there is a Yoga studio with free daily yoga, dancing and chanting, another Yoga studio usually used for people in a particular workshop, and the Prana Clinic, which is a cute little hut with a big open kitchen, hammocks, lounge area, and DIY colonic rooms. Finally, there is a bamboo internet cafe (there is no wi-fi in most areas of Pachamama, which I love) and ‘books nest’, a small library. The internet cafe is a top a hill with a great view of the sunset everny night. Around these areas are casita’s, camping spots, cottages, houses and even villa’s. I live in a primo spot casita; right behind the wild treats bar and one of only three casita’s that is downtown. A casita is the cutest thing ever; a little hut, consisting of a wooden floor and two walls, in the middle of the forest. A nice comfi 2 person bed, bedside table, chair and lamp, and a little cabinet for books and clothes. That’s it. Amazing. I share mine with a family of about 6 bats. They are very considerate though, when I come home they leave and latch themselves to the outside of the casita. And they help me wake up every morning! (Other casita’s have monkey alarm clocks, with monkeys that sound, literally, like demons. Brrr).

I work in the raw food cafe which I absolutely love (oh really?). I get to be around incredible smoothies and chocolate creations all day and make people happy with these treats. Though I have also been asked to help out with the marketing and communication (through writing articles) and the prana clinic (help develop their detox materials) so I guess I’ll be doing a little bit of everything from now on. If I wanted, I could have 4 part-time jobs here, including my own biz :p.

There is quite a lot of fun stuff going on at Pachamama aside from the more ‘serious’ healing work that is being done. Weekly movie nights, flea markets, 2-3 sweat lodge ceremonies per week, music & dance nights, special dinners, cacao parties, ‘medicinal mondays’… There also seem to be a lot of meetings which for newcomers like me is quite funny (9 out of 10 times when I am looking for a staff member they are in a meeting, frustrating at first, quite funny now). There are daily beach busses going for $3 for a round trip.

Pachamama has a (free) school program and is home to plenty of kids. Outside of the transformation workshops (like ‘freedom from the past’, tantra, ‘yoga and healing’, ‘body cleanse’, etc) you can book individual sessions with staff healers, like accupuncture, clarity breathwork, tantra for couples, Shiatsu massage and other mind-body work. You can also do your own colonics for a reasonable price, and someone from the clinic staff will help you and will give you the option to add something to your colonic (like I had my very first garlic enema the other day. Phew, powerful stuff).

The food at Pachamama, though I would love to see a few minor tweaks, is pretty amazing. Fresh everyday with the perfect balance between raw and cooked foods. About 90% of the food is vegan (and always vegetarian), and if there is dairy or eggs its clearly labeled and comes from some free pasture local goats and chicks. Not all food is organic (which is the one thing I’d like to see improved) but a lot of it is, and some is from Pachamama’s permaculture gardens. Everyday there is a buffet with bowls full of salad, raw crackers, homemade sauerkraut and seaweed salad, and raw dressings, coupled with some wholesome rice or lentil dishes, amazing soups, and sometimes special stuff like (vegan) sushi, wraps, quice, etc. I’d say the food is neither cheap nor expensive, but eating at the restaurant three times a day is too costly for most younger people. Which is not a problem because we just make our own stuff and share it either at someones casita, the restaurant, or the bar. Everyone is free to do their own thing. The food at the raw cafe is what I lovingly call ‘raw junk food’. It is raw and wholesome, but it’s all sugary and fatty stuff which is what it is; something to indulge in (daily, preferably). Raw bounty’s and truffles, energy balls, marzipan, ice-creams, and deliciously thick smoothies. Here in Pachamama though, they add ‘Macuna’ to all the chocolate, which is like cacao’s antidote! It is nature’s richest source of dopamine which balances the ‘high’ from cacao, but it’s also a superfoods loaded with nutrients. I don’t really understand antidoting cacao though. Isn’t the high what you want? I know I do, lol.

It is for sure possible to eat all raw at Pachamama, but you’d have to get a bit creative, and come prepared. I would advice you, if you want to eat fully raw at Pachamama, to bring some staples; hemp and chia seeds, bee pollen, maca and spirulina, maybe E3Live or vitamineral green, sprouting seeds, a nutmilk bag, some nori sheets and a stash of raw granola or spicy trail mix are just some examples, all depending on your diet and how long you’ll be staying for. The jungle shop does sell really good chlorella ($25 for a bag), stuff like fresh kefir and kombucha, medicinal honey and raw cacao powder, butter and vanilla extract. The spirulina and apple cider vinegar don’t seem to be of a very good quality (raw/organic). The shop sells nuts, some of which or raw and organic, some aren’t. In the end, it all depends on your desire and motivation for eating all raw. I personally am fine with eating vegan and high raw. What I find more of an obstacle is that not all the food is organic. Nosora, a town about half an hour drive away, has an organic market on Saturdays.

So there ya go, all you need to know about Pachamama. It’s a great place which provides a unique experience. I’d highly recommend coming here to anyone. We all need inner showers, satsang and lots of sweat lodges and cacao parties to heal ;) .

“Meditate every day for 30 minutes. Unless you don’t have the time, then meditate for 60 minutes”

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