Take an exotic journey.
Leave transformed.

Costa Rica is a global go-to spot for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Volcanic hills and lakes and plummeting waterfalls shape the lush, vibrant landscape. Tropical jungles teem with hundreds of wildlife species that exist nowhere else on the planet. San José, located in the Central Valley, is Costa Rica’s bustling urban capital. Pura Vida Retreat & Spa is tucked serenely in the clouds, nearly a mile above the city.

Pura Vida’s climate is spring-like year round with warm days (70s-80s F) and mild nights (60s F). The sun rises at 5:30 and sets around 6 all year long.

Costa Rica’s Green Season is full of splendor for those seeking peace and tranquility. Refreshing mountain temperatures, purifying and cleansing rains are an opportunity to enliven the senses as you enter the season of turning within.

United States and Canadian citizens may enter Costa Rica with a valid passport.

Please note that Costa Rican law requires your passport be valid for at least 90 days after the date you enter the country.  When in Costa Rica, you’ll need to carry your passport information with you at all times. If you should be stopped by officials, a photocopy with your photo, passport number and entry stamp will usually suffice and is recommended when making local excursions.

A $29 non-residency departure tax will be due when departing Costa Rica, before you check-in with your airline. This tax can often be paid upon arrival to Costa Rica, but make sure to keep your receipt for departure.

Citizens of countries outside the U.S and Canada, should check with the Costa Rican Consulate in your country for more recent requirements and rules governing entrance into Costa Rica.

Individuals entering Costa Rica from or through the following countries will require a Yellow Fever vaccination:

SOUTH AMERICA: Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Venezuela (San Andres is an exception), Providence, Santa Catalina.

AFRICA: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leona, Sudan.

Shuttle Transfer from Juan Santamaría International Airport to Pura Vida

Pura Vida Retreat & Spa offers shuttle service to and from the SJO airport.

Shuttle service is included with special packages such as Mind + Body + Spirit, Pure Life Cleanse as well as with most group retreats. Otherwise, round trip shuttle service is available for $30/per person round trip of $15/per person one-way.
Taxis are also available for hire.

Reserving a Shuttle

Shuttle service should be reserved at least 3 days prior to your arrival.

If your package or retreat includes shuttle service, please make your reservation using this online form.  You will receive confirmation by email.

If your visit does not include shuttle service, please contact the Reservations Office 888-767-7375 ext 233 or reservations@puravidaspa.com to make your reservation.

Finding Your Shuttle

Once you’ve cleared immigration and customs, proceed to the exit.  You’ll find our shuttle driver holding a sign reading “Pura Vida Retreat & Spa” + your last name.  Please do not accept help from anyone who is not properly identified as Pura Vida Staff or holding a sign with your name on it.

If you are delayed, please alert Pura Vida Retreat & Spa in Costa Rica ASAP.

Dialing the resort from Costa Rica: 2-483-0033

Dialing the resort from the US or Canada (678) 661-2140


Costa Rica’s second largest city is a quick car ride from Pura Vida Retreat & Spa where you can find ATMs, dining, and shopping.

Car Service

We can usually have a car for you in 15 minutes or less.

Car services in Costa Rica charge by the trip and not per person. Generally a car service can accommodate up to four people. A trip to downtown Alajuela is about $15 each way, to the airport is $25 each way, to downtown San José is around $35 each way, and to Jacó (the nearest beach) is about $110 each way.

Car Rental & Public Transportation

If you’d prefer to rent a car, our staff will gladly help you make arrangements upon arrival.  You’ll need a valid driver’s license, passport, and credit card.

There is also a public bus route that picks up near Pura Vida and goes to downtown Alajuela once per hour. The cost is less than 50 cents per person.

Driving directions from SJO Airport (approximately 20 minutes)

  • As you exit the SJO airport, make a right.
  • Immediately after exiting the airport you will go under the Pan-American Highway and take the ramp to the right following the sign for Alajuela. This ramp will loop around and merge onto the main highway.
  • Make your way immediately to the right lane and take the first off ramp to your right, again following the sign for Alajuela.
  • Take this road about 2 kilometers past the Mall Internacional on your left.
  • Go to the second traffic light and make a right.
  • Continue straight through several traffic lights. You will pass a McDonald’s on your right.
  • Two blocks after the McDonald’s, follow the flow of traffic which will be making a left turn (there is a Martinizing dry cleaning store on the corner.)
  • After this turn, continue straight about 6 blocks.
  • At a traffic light you will see a building on the right with Coca-Cola signs painted on it.
  • Take a right at this corner.
  • Just after the turn you will see a large red structure on your left, which is a soccer stadium.

Start here if you are traveling from within the province of Alajuela

  • Starting from “el stadio”, the soccer stadium in Alajuela: Start measuring!
  • Exactly 7 kilometers from here, toward Carrizal, you will find a cantina (Bar) on the left called the “Apolo 15”.
  • Make a sharp left turn that is almost a U-turn and go 700 meters.
  • Stay to the left on the paved road until you come to a huge stone wall on your left.
  • Stop at the first cream-colored gate where a guard is posted. The guard will check in with our reception desk and direct you where to go.

Pura Vida Retreat & Spa

Contact Information

Dialing the resort from Costa Rica: 2-483-0033
Dialing the resort from the US or Canada (678) 661-2140
Dialing US reservations (770) 483-0238

Mailing Address

Villas Pura Vida Retreat Center
Apartado 1112, Alajuela 4050, Costa Rica

Physical Address:

800 Mts SW From Minisuper Pavas
Pavas, Carrizal, Alajuela, 020103 Costa Rica
Phone: 011-506-2-483-0033.
Fax: 011-506-2-483-0041.

Pura Vida staff are available to assist with guest services at reception from 7:30am to 10pm each day, and staff is on-call around the clock in case of emergencies.  Everyone in office, the yoga teachers and the massage therapists all speak English.

Check in/Check Out

Check in time is 2pm and consists of some brief paperwork and a welcome orientation.

Check out time is 11:00am.  During check out, we’ll settle any remaining balance due from expenses incurred during your stay.  Pura Vida Retreat & Spa accepts cash, traveler’s checks, and all major credit cards on site.

Reminder: your balance should be paid 1 week prior to your arrival by credit card or Pay Pal.


Package prices do not include tips for the general staff of 50 people working at Pura Vida Retreat & Spa to ensure that our standards of quality and service are exceptional.

Tipping is discretionary, and we recommend that each guest leave a gratuity of at least $50 per week. Our kitchen staff, housekeeping team, gardeners, maintenance crew, drivers, yoga, fitness and office staff all take great pride in their work and are honored to serve you. Staff tips
are pooled together weekly and distributed equally among the hospitality team. We ask that you please tip your massage therapist separately – the U.S. standard of 15 to 20% — preferably in cash at the time of treatment, or added to the treatment service receipt. It is customary to tip tour guides as a token of your gratitude for their service as well.


Free Wi-Fi is available in our restaurant, guest lounge, and pool area.

Computers with high-speed internet access are also available for complimentary use in our guest lounge.

Most cell phones work in Costa Rica, but you may need to contact your provider for assistance selecting the correct service.

A phone is available for use in our guest lounge for a rate of $5 per 15 minutes.


Laundry service is available to our guests at a charge of $8 per load to wash, dry and fold.


We have bottled water in your room and at the bar, as well as bottled water stations throughout the property to refill personal bottles. Water at Pura Vida is safe to drink from every faucet on the property. We filter our water on the premises with both a 1-micron filter and a UV filter. Countrywide, water quality standards in Costa Rica are generally quite high and visitors normally do not have any problems. There is now alkaline water available in the restaurant at no additional cost.


Children and infants are welcome are Pura Vida.

Local childcare is available upon request for a modest fee. Please contact the resort office to arrange: 011-506-2-483-0033 or frontdesk@puravidaspacr.com.

Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. While here, kids can use our pool and hot tub. There is also a guest lounge with board games, magazines and books. Children really enjoy our eco-excursions, too (although some have age minimums).

Creepy Crawlies

Being one of the most bio-diverse countries on the planet, insect life is abundant in Costa Rica. Luckily, the elevation at Pura Vida keeps our resort remarkably mosquito-free.


Our resort is very secure, yet as a standard precaution we recommend you store your valuables (cash, credit cards, passports, plane tickets, etc) in the safe available in the office. Safety deposit boxes are also available. Please check with the reception desk.

The area around Pura Vida is also safe to walk, and many people (male and female) enjoy a walk or run in the surrounding neighborhood and coffee fields.

Generally, Costa Rica is quite safe. Like any place, normal precautions and care should be taken depending upon where you are visiting. Violent crime is rare in Costa Rica while theft of personal property (from automobiles and hotel rooms) is more common. Big cities, beach areas and anyplace with a concentration of tourists require more caution.

Sustainability and conservation

As proud leaders of the green movement we are always looking for new ways to support this ongoing mission.


We have a food compost on the property. You will find labeled recycling bins for food and other disposable items in the dining hall and elsewhere.  Please be mindful about what you put in each bin.

Water & Energy Conservation

Your rooms are turned over each day. If you choose to re-use your towels leave them hanging on the towel rack. If you require new towels, simply place your used towels on the floor. The fresh bed linens in your room are not changed again unless you request this be done.

Septic System

Our plumbing is on a septic system. We ask that you kindly discard used tissue, toilet paper and feminine hygiene products into the bins provided, not into the toilets. The bins are emptied daily, and we are glad to send housekeeping to freshen them sooner if needed.

Pura Vida Retreat & Spa
800 Mts SW From Minisuper Pavas
Pavas, Carrizal, Alajuela, 020103 Costa Rica
Phone: 011-506-2-483-0033.


Sample week at Pura Vida Retreat & Spa

Dining Hall

Breakfast 7:30am-9:00am

Lunch 12:30pm-2:30pm

Dinner 6:30pm-8:00pm

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” –Cesar Chavez

At Pura Vida Retreat & Spa, our chefs and cooks make our guests that gift, each and every meal, each and every day. Delicious dishes are lovingly prepared from fresh local produce, regional purveyors and greens and herbs harvested from our Holistic Garden. Meals, served buffet-style in our chic dining hall, feature both North American and Costa Rican vegetarian, fish and chicken dishes to tempt your taste buds and nourish body and soul.  We also can accommodate vegan, gluten-free, and high-protein diets – just let us know.

Complimentary coffee, tea, alkaline water and filtered water are available throughout the day. The wine and juice bar in the dining hall stocks Costa Rican and Central American beers, sulfite-free, organic wines and bottled water. It is also the place for fresh smoothies, custom-blended chai and organic wheat grass elixirs (made from wheat grass grown in-house).

The dining hall closes each night at 9pm, and may stay open later during the summer season. Items purchased during your stay will be added to your bill. Because we ask that you settle your account with us the night before you leave, please pay cash at the time of service for anything you buy after paying your bill.


Al fresco dining


Greens and herbs from our Holistic Garden


Breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets


Locally sourced produce


Group Dining


We can acommodate vegan, gluten-free,
and high-protein diets– just let us know.


Café at sunset


WI-FI enabled



Our boutique is located adjacent to the dining hall. Discover a lovely selection of Costa Rican arts and crafts as well as essential travel items like toiletries, sun block, sunglasses and yoga gear. Open SundayFriday 12pm – 8pm (closed Saturday). If you need anything from the boutique after hours, please let us know and we’ll be happy to assist.

Pura Vida Resort photos

Shop at Pura Vida Retreat & Spa

Pura Vida Resort photos

Authentic, handmade Costa Rican jewelry

Pura Vida Resort photos

Yoga-wear, handmade wraps and crafts

Our Pools

In 2015, Pura Vida renovated and upgraded our swimming pool.  Enjoy lazy laps and floating on the mountaintop, or just soaking in the sun poolside.  Our property also offers a hot tub and Watsu pool for therapeutic wellness treatments.

Holistic Garden, Flora & Fauna

Over 1,400 species of orchid grow wild in Costa Rica. Our natural flower is under siege in some areas because of deforestation, so we are taking an active role to conserve and celebrate this exotic plant. Our grounds hold dozens of species of orchids and have been certified as a conservation property by the National Ministry of Environmental Ecology.

Our focus is on health and healing. So naturally, we’ve cultivated a Holistic Garden on our property. Many of the culinary and medicinal herbs used to flavor your meals, have their roots in our peaceful, beautiful Holistic Garden.