GUANACASTE, COSTA RICA, May 23, 2023 — Since 2012, Global Wellness Day is celebrated on the second Saturday in June in over tens of thousands of locations around the world. A day to raise awareness about the importance of living well and striving for a healthier life, Global Wellness Day reaches over half a billion people internationally with complimentary in-person and virtual activities. According to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), wellness tourism is expected to see a 21% annual growth rate through 2025 making it one of the fastest-growing travel categories in the world, if not the fastest. Industry experts project wellness tourism to grow at a yearly growth rate of more than 10% globally, doubling its valuation to $1.97 trillion by 2031.
Although travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining one’s wellbeing has been popular for quite some time, the pandemic shifted travelers’ perspective of wellness travel to view it more as a priority rather than a luxury. In January of 2023, the GWI released its 2023 Global Wellness Trends identifying 12 main trends projected to impact the wellness space this year and beyond. Topping the list at number one, an interesting trend shines a spotlight on the relationship between wellness and gathering and the importance of social connections. New experiences and spaces that bring people together in healthier social spaces emphasize putting people with people and brings connectedness to the forefront of the wellness conversation.
Connecting and engaging with others within communities in meaningful ways is a cornerstone of this concept, linking people to each other through a lifestyle that promotes engagement. Building a more socially connected network can start with reimagining towns, neighborhoods, and destinations to focus on the values of community and ways to encourage connections among the people who live there and visit. Higher density neighborhoods with public plazas and parks, mixed-use spaces, walkable and pedestrian-friendly roads and walkways, outdoor dining are all ways to create greater connections among people. According to GWI, “designing neighborhoods and cities so that people can spontaneously meet up or gather around shared interests is the most natural, powerful way to create greater connections”.
This is the vision behind the car-free, coastal town of Las Catalinas in Guanacaste, Costa Rica when the innovators began conceptualizing a compact master plan in 2006 that set out to implement a better way of living for its visitors and residents. Almost totally car-free, the town and its textured hardscapes encourage maximum human-to-human interaction in a setting that harmonizes the people with nature. Taking cars out of the equation means people spend more time outdoors on foot (or on bike) getting from one place to the next lending opportunities for spontaneous interactions, more conversations and impromptu socialization. Since its inception, Las Catalinas has been influenced by the New Urbanism movement of building highly walkable neighborhoods, towns, and cities. Car-free public realms invite natural sociability offering chances to get to know your neighbors, interact with visitors and connect with the community. In 2022, The Congress for New Urbanism celebrated Beach Town, the first neighborhood within Las Catalinas, with a Charter Award recognizing the town for achieving “more equitable, sustainable, connected, healthy, and prosperous communities.” Most activities, conversations and meals are enjoyed in the fresh air under shade trees or on the outdoor covered terraces within the timeless tropical architecture. The value placed on walkability and relationship to nature creates an engaging place to live and visit.
With a natural progression towards linking people to living well, the town introduces Well-Living by Las Catalinas, a wellness platform combining lifestyle and wellbeing. Its mission is to create a community of like-minded people whose main intention is to live a healthier life in a better environment by offering its visitors and residents experiences and services to support one’s overall wellbeing through group retreats, holistic therapies, day events and valuable content. During these experiences, people can relax, recharge and rebalance in a community setting. The town’s wellness gathering hub, Center of Joy, offers a full range of activities including yoga, meditation, breathwork, sound healing, ceremonies, workshops, cooking classes, and more. Well-Living by Las Catalinas focuses on five pillars: movement through sports and recreation, nourishment for the body, mind and spirit, meaningful connections with others, with nature, with ourselves, simplicity through rituals, habits, openness and availability to all, and beautiful surroundings encouraging sociability and awakening inspiration. In celebration of Global Wellness Day, Well-Living by Las Catalinas launches a full month of complimentary virtual content to its online community with a series of weekly programs based on these five pillars. Starting in June, subscribers will have access to a Presence and Mindfulness Webinar (Week 1), a guided meditation (Week 2), a recorded yoga class (Week 3) and a recorded cooking class (Week 4). Anyone interested in joining the online community can subscribe here.
With 42 kilometers of world-class, single-track trails that feature stunning views of the coastline and valley vistas, Las Catalinas offers an array of outdoor activities where people can share adventures on the trails or in the water. Trails vary in difficulty and length, from high-intensity hills to low-impact flatter tracks. The town is also flanked by two of the best beaches on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Sheltered just enough from the southern swell, Las Catalinas is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, and consistent moderate waves make it ideal for body surfing and boogie boarding as well as standup paddle-boarding (SUP) and sea kayaking. Stay in town at Santarena Hotel or book a villa through Beach Town Travel with an array of villa options including daily housekeeping and laundry service, a fully equipped kitchen, free Wi-Fi, use of the Las Catalinas Collection resort facilities and more. While not on the trails or in the water, enjoy the convenience of the cardio classes and private training at CORE by Chakfitness outdoor gym, massage and facials at WAKE Day Spa, wellbeing treatments, pilates and art classes at Center of Joy, mountain bike, kayak and SUP rentals at Pura Vida Ride, healthy food to go, private chef dinners or wine tastings at Copper & Stone gourmet market, fresh smoothies and made from scratch organic dishes for all dietary restrictions at Pots & Bowls and more.
About Las Catalinas, www.lascatalinascr.com
The conscious town of Las Catalinas is Costa Rica’s newest desirable beach town inspired by New Urbanist philosophy. The car-free, highly walkable town includes several inns and intimate hotels, shops, restaurants, retail, day spas, pedestrian streets, parks, plazas, and recreational facilities, all located between two of Costa Rica’s loveliest Pacific beaches and 1,000 acres of protected tropical dry forest, which are interlaced with extensive hiking and biking trails. Within the town, the walkable public spaces are interwoven with nature, and the architecture emphasizes indoor-outdoor living and scenic views. Cars are refreshingly absent. Founder Charles Brewer’s core values and beliefs include environmental stewardship, connection to one another and to the rhythms of nature, promotion of wellness, and an emphatic preference for quality of life over quantity of material possessions, understanding that the “good life” is not about material possessions but about human connections, good health, and ecological sustainability.