Heal the Hearts

In my beloved jungle town Puerto Viejo, in Costa Rica, I’ve met many magical sisters that all inspire me through their heart’s wisdom. This story is about Flora. Flora is one of the most balanced and grounded young women I know. She is also crazy, wild and free and has a laughter that warms every inch of my body. Her gift comes from a strong heart and through the ancient wisdoms of Ayurveda she shares it with the world in her healing food at Puerto Pirata, Puerto Viejo.

Flora was born in Togo, Africa, but moved to Italy as a young child when her mom unexpectedly went missing. She grew up in Italy with her dad and sister without ever knowing what happened to her birth mother. Flora sought ways to heal her heart through ancient wisdoms such as yoga and Ayurveda but there is always that last piece of the puzzle…..

Suddenly, one day last year on the year of love – relatives from Africa reached out through Facebook, knowing where her mother is. 2015 is the year when we go out in the world to do our work, to build on our tribe, and to mend the hearts. Flora and her sister are determined to travel to Africa to meet their mom, to get answers and most of all to embrace their family so that hearts can heal.

The trip Costa Rica to Nigeria is a costly one and, so, Flora and her sister are praying to our hearts for donations so that they can make this important journey happen. Read their full story and donate here.   

Food Haven in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

In 2013, I wrote an article about the best places to eat in Puerto Viejo- you can read it below. Already back then it was hard to choose which places to include on the list and nowadays it's even more difficult as more places are popping up! Puerto Viejo is indeed a Food Haven with its many delicacies in every street corner. The Farmers' Market has almost doubled in size and, nowadays, also includes local handicrafts, skin products, chocolate and everything from salsa picante to tofu. Last week I got the hands on the last bag of cooked pejibayes and kale- happy! My point is, I am now extending the food list with a new organic, vegan friendly café and the always magical ayurvedic pirate.

Como en Mi Casa Art Café

When I first got to Puerto Viejo I remember there was a beautiful woman with a loving smile that sold brownies on the beach. Later on I bought her delicious cakes and food as she sold them in the market. And so one day she wasn't there anymore and I wondered what had happened to the amazing food I used to snack on Saturdays. Last year Como en mi Casa opened and I found the woman and her magical food art again. Their menu is simple traditional breakfast, snack and lunch. Their creations are colourful, flavourful, arty, innovative and pure bliss in your mouth. Everything is organic and made from scratch and there is a wide range of vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and raw options. The owners are Italian and not only know their food, but their coffee! 

In this place I eat delicious food, created for all senses and made with true love; my body feels strengthened and happy; and my heart is filled with warm joy after each food experience. Gratitude. 

 

Puerto Pirata Deli

Since the first day I ate the ayurvedic food made by pirates, it has been one of my favourite places where I keep coming back. Located in the town's oldest building, it is literally ON the beach and offers a true Pura Vida vibe. The magical woman who runs the place is an Ayurvedic nutritionist with Nigerian and Italian roots- which offers a flavourful, healthy and innovative food medicine menu. This, too, is a place for great coffee, breakfast and lunch, and is of course vegetarian, with vegan and gluten free options. The other day I asked for a "vegan surprise" as dessert and was served a vegan mango ice cream with a vegan carrot cake on top- yum! So much Love.

Brunch by Puerto Pirata Deli Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

Brunch by Puerto Pirata Deli Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

When you are in the Caribbean you also have to try the Rice and Beans made with coconut. It differs greatly from the tico rice and beans and is (also) delicious! Any local place in town will serve Rice and Beans with patacones. Have you tried the various rice and beans dishes- which one is your favourite? Comment below!

Pura Vida

 

 

Top 3 Places to Eat in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

About a four hours bus ride south east of Costa Rica’s capital San José lays the relaxed reggae town and culinary paradise called Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. If you are a food-loving traveler this village is a must-visit! Puerto Viejo has an interesting mix of cultures including the Afro Caribbean heritage, expats from Europe and United States and of course Tico influences in its blend. To me, this cultural vibe is what defines the town and part of what makes it special. To be sure to truly experience the culture of Puerto Viejo I recommend eating your way around town. Below I have listed my top three places to eat and drink, enjoy!

1.    The Farmers’ market

The local farmers’ market is held Saturday mornings in the center of the small town. Head towards Casa de la Cultura and you’ll see it! This is the place to find the food you can’t get in the regular super market. Beside cheap organic fruits and vegetables, there is locally produced cheese (including feta!) and milk, chocolate and coconut oil to mention some goodies. Tasty and different kinds of cheese are in general hard to find in Costa Rica, since Ticos like their cheese simple and without flavor. This could be hard on a cheese loving European visitor but the solution is to visit the farmers’ markets.

Farmers' Market Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Farmers' Market Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Personally, I like to make my visits to the organic market in Puerto Viejo a half-day event. This friendly environment is where you mingle with people from all areas around Puerto, buy veggies for the week and maybe get a vegetarian empanada for lunch. There are vendors selling yummy and healthy cakes, juices and pies to please your appetite as you are walking around. In addition, you can buy environment friendly and handmade soap, clothes and more. One time I even found organic tahini! (edit: now standard)

2.    CariBean

I am sure you think you have had chocolate before. Maybe even good, dark, pure chocolate. Visit CariBean and no other chocolate will ever satisfy you again (you have been warned!). At OM Yoga café in Cocles you can buy healthy snacks, breakfast and lunch. Their selection of cakes is varied and baked buy different local cake magicians. But there is more. CariBean at Om Yoga is the place I visit when I need a boost of energy: a chocolate espresso. Yes, you heard me! Thick, dark, soft cacao in a shot gives you a refill with antioxidants and healthy energy. The owners practice sustainable ecological farming on their cacao farm, located behind the house, where they make the chocolate by hand. Be sure not to miss the chocolate tour where you learn about producing, try surprising flavours and enjoy Puerto Viejo’s best view.

Chocolate Tasting Tour, CariBean's Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

Chocolate Tasting Tour, CariBean's Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

3.    Bread and Chocolate

This breakfast and lunch place is probably the most famous restaurant in Puerto Viejo. Before I had ever even been on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, my friends living on the other side of the country told me I had to visit Bread and Chocolate. They were right of course. Craving French coffee instead of that brewed stuff? This is the place to go. Choose from a bunch of creative and chocolaty cakes with innovative names to go with that. Or my personal favorite: veggie sandwich. They bake their own bread that is rich in flavor, not sweet and to some extent whole grained. There is a bunch of sandwiches to choose among and they are all served with fruit, green salad or potatoes. Since Bread and Chocolate is mentioned in Lonely Planet, it tends to crowd up quickly during high season so keep that in mind when you are planning your visit.

Jungle Journeys and Yoga in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Have you noticed how vibrantly green everything gets after rain?

Weather in the Caribbean has been weird lately with days of endless pouring rain. After two days of waterfalls outside the window, Father Sun came back today. We greeted him down by the ocean; tide was high, the beach empty and the morning early. We sung to him as waves were rolling in. Suddenly, summer’s proper heat was back and the day is only getting hotter! We are spending the warmest hour of the day indoors, taking a siesta, while most tourists just woke up. Biking through town this morning showed us there is still, despite being Tuesday, a big group of backpackers and other tourists in town. They were all headed towards town and the beach as we were on our way back home...

Enjoy the pictures of Masai (dog), Medicinal Plant tour, bugs, the astonishing full moon and the waterfall Dos Vueltas.

We rent a small casita (house) in Cocles Beach, a few kilometers from town and about 200 meters to the ocean. Thanks to its concrete floor and shady location, we have a cool working space even during mid-day. And, yes, after a few weeks of ceremonies and studies I am now working again. That is to say, combining work with studies- as always the sweetest way of life! Tomorrow starts a Warrior Path’s yoga immersion at the Garden, guided by my magic friend Jerusha, which I’ll be attending. In addition, Wednesday and Saturday mornings I’ll be guiding a Bhakti Flow and a Morning Flow yoga class, and there will be TWO Yin and Drum workshops the coming weeks. Check out Calendar for info!

There you have it guys, a regular day in the Caribbean. Stay updated more frequently on Instagram: @foodbymagie where I share food experiences and new organic and local creations.

Please tell me what you like to read about!

What is shamanic journeying?

Stories from shamanic journeys?

More information about Puerto Viejo/nearby/Costa Rica?

Yoga?

Regular day-to-day life?

Other?

Post in the comments below, or contact me on social media!

 

Mucho amor, luz y paz

/OM

Highlights of 2014

2014 was not only the year of the Horse but also the year of Love and, WOW! How many great, magical and life altering moments and journeys I got to experience! Here is my attempt to summarise my travels within and without from 2014. Enjoy and please share your stories in the comments below! 

1.     Around Costa Rica and across Worlds

Starting the year off in one of my favourite countries, and one of the two I currently call “home”, by purging and cleansing and working in various traditional shamanic ceremonies such as the Temazcal (sweat lodge) and the meeting with Ayauaska. Many great journeys within oneself and between worlds are made in traditional ritual and ceremony, personally one of my favorite ways of traveling. I also got the chance to travel around Costa Rica together with my best friend and show him the magic of the country before heading on to the next adventure: Yoga Teacher Training in the desert! The adventures, travels and challenges were overlapping each other these first months of 2014! Thank you all – new and old- friends and family that helped make these voyages MAGICAL!  

2.     Space of Love

As I got back to Sweden in the start of summer, I was guided to visit a Yoga Festival on an island outside the east coast. Little did I know how those 2 weeks would continue the flow and journeys that started in Costa Rica and, at the same time be a trigger point for what would come next. It truly is a Space of, for and with Love. I met long lost friends and lovers- new to this lifetime, served the fire, encountered Grandfathers from the North and traditions completely new to me, and I experienced Love in ways I never knew of. Love, Connections and Journeys within and without with guidance from the medicines of song, dance, yoga, ceremony and human beings with big hearts. Thank You ALL! 

3.     Summer Love Tour

I continued the summer by touring Sweden together with my best friend. We had no plans as how to transport ourselves or where to end up on our way to the North and my family house. We packed yoga gear, food, a tent and all the necessities for camping- yes, we carried more than ever before on our backs! – and we hit the road. There is a special beauty and inspiration in traveling only by intuition and bare feet. We found ourselves creating connections on a yoga camp in the forest of Småland, catching up with old friends, and finding Light in the church. I taught yoga in the park and we got on buses and trains not knowing where to end up. We helped a shaman constructing a Shamanic Museum, danced with the drums and walked bare foot around Dalarna in pouring rain. We visited the native people of the North and learnt more about ancient wisdom; we camped with reindeers and created songs. And somewhere on the road we fell in love.  

4.     Skattungbyn

All the meetings and connections that were made during the sunny summer months led me further and towards new adventures. One of them being the Yoga Festival in Dalarna in October where I got to, once again, experience the magic of the deep forest and wild rivers, connect through love and rhythm, and share the wisdom of my drum and the ancient roots. Guiding a Yin and Drum class for about 50 people was incredible beyond words. I am so very grateful. Thank You Thank You.

5.     Liverpool & Wales

What seems to have started in July, with our Summer Love Tour, came to somewhat of a peak in early December. Me and my best friend went to visit the fairytales of northern Wales and my dancing soul sister Anahí. We watched a psychedelic Christmas parade, had a chat with the Hatter, followed the White Rabbit and we got engaged on the hills of the Welsh coast where the seals have their playground. Indeed, 2014 was a year filled with Love and magic, guided by the great Horse. Thank you all for participating in the ride! 

I ended my highlights of 2013 by saying: “My intentions for 2014 are to continue deeper into my spiritual journey, wherever in the world it may take me.” Summarizing 2014 showed me that I really did dive deeper into my spiritual journeys and practices and in ways and places I never could have imagine. I am grateful for everything I experienced through feelings, vision(s), hearing, touch, taste and smell. And I am grateful for being guided by the magic flow of life, always taking me to new challenges and journeys - within and without. I set my intentions for 2015 to be even more profound; deepening my spiritual practices and, thus, share the wisdoms with the world(s) even more! 

Make sure you follow the Travels of 2015 by subscribing below!

Studying abroad in Costa Rica: this is all you need to know Part 3

Read Part One about Visa details

Read Part Two about Flight tickets

 

1.    Where to?

So, now you’ve decided to move to Paradise to study- where will you go? Again, the starting point for this article is exchange through Swedish Universities, first and foremost Linnaeus University, and thus there are three options to choose from. Even if you shouldn’t choose USAC to study with, these guides can be used generally to decide on what part of the country you want to live in. If you are interested in more specific areas, other areas, more tips, or want me to write about something that is not mentioned here: WRITE me! Comment below or send me an email :)

Heredia and San Ramón (San José)

The San José area has a sunny mountain coolness that turns into real cold at nighttime (except during summer), astonishing views, busy town(s) and a maze-like bus system. If you opt for a city life and a cultural scene either of these should be good options. There are plenty of buses to take you all around San José, both in the center and to the outskirts.

Find schedule between Heredia – San José and San Ramón – San José hereIn addition, buses for the Caribbean coast, West Coast, Guanacaste, Nicaragua, Panama etc. depart from around the capital.

The environment offers- in addition to mountains- trees and green nature despite both places being quite busy cities. There are plenty more everyday activities around than the beach option (Puntarenas), such as the movies, theatre, concerts, restaurants, coffee places, yoga studios, gyms and other workout places. Downtown San José and all of its parks also offer regular events, such as free activities on Saturdays with Enámorate de tu ciudad, organic festivals, markets, concerts and more. Read more about the capital of Costa Rica here.

Puntarenas

Is the natural option if you want to live by the beach. Puntarenas is a fishing village and still today a lot of boats and ships come, go and randomly hang out outside the harbors. This includes the huge cruise ships that about once a week dock along Paseo de los Turistas- for the tourists to beach it and buy coffee. Due to Puntarenas’ industry, and of course a bunch of other things, the beach and most of town is dirty. It is a great place as a starting point for your travels, since it’s a kind of transportation hub of the west coast. The ferry easily takes you to Nicoya Peninsula and busses leave regularly for both Guanacaste in the North, Jaco, Manuel Antonio and all the beaches on the southwest coast, San Ramón and San José. The town is small without any real activities besides the beach, a couple touristy restaurants and football games at the stadium every now and again. As with all places, Puntarenas has its charm. For instance, it offers tranquility and a chance to live in the heart of the Tico culture. The opportunity to practice Spanish here is great too since around town there is not much English spoken (as soon as you get away from El Paseo de los Turistas that is). The city center is cute with a useful and decent food market that brings you local fruits, veggies, fish and more.

2.             Oh, you fell in love in Central America, Costa Rica and Paradise too? How to extend the stay

Volunteering. That is the word. If you have money left still, there are also a lot of interning opportunities around the country. Simply, I’ve put together a list of links you can have a look at according to your preferred interest. Sure, it takes some time reading through it all, send applications, make decisions and what not but you wanted to stay, right? Remember that YOU are the only one in charge of your life, now go out there and LIVE IT! Much Love and Luck to you on your path. If you feel like sharing your traveling stories with me (before, during, after or always), I’d be honoured.

Volunteer Latin America: http://www.volunteerlatinamerica.com/projects/index.html

Great source to find small, cheap and free projects: http://www.volunteersouthamerica.net/

http://www.goabroad.com/

http://globalportalen.org/

http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/work/internships/latinamerica.shtml

http://www.scandinavianinst.se/

http://www.peaceworks.se/

http://mytellus.com/

http://www.nicaraguainternships.org/ 

http://manniskohjalp.se/bli-volontar

Internships

http://framtidsjorden.se/bli-praktikant

 

http://www.theinterngroup.com/how-it-works/

http://www.praktikstart.se/kategori/praktik/

http://www.oneworld365.org/continent/central-america/work

http://www.projects-abroad.se/volontarresor-lander/costa-rica/

Work Exchange

Great blog to find all kinds of info about Work Exchange http://www.broketourist.net/tag/work-exchange/

Bonus tip!

There are organisations around that are not listed online and that doesn’t necessarily cost anything. The Caribbean Coast is unfortunately a poor area in Costa Rica and in need of loving souls helping out in smaller farms and what not. Go to Puerto Viejo (de Talamanca) and have a look around.

http://www.puertoviejosatellite.com/volunteer.php 

http://www.ateccr.org/ 

http://www.vagosplace.com/

http://veronicasplacepv.com/work-exchange.php

 

Pura Vida siempre!