Hotel Nantipa is sharing the secrets of human longevity in a Blue Zone wellness programme inspired by the lifestyle traits of local elders. Jenny Southan reports
Hotel Nantipa has launched a new Blue Zone wellness programme that provides guests with actionable insights into the way of life that helps residents of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula live longer than almost anyone else on Earth.
As identified by researchers Michel Poulain, Dan Buettner and Giovanni Mario Pes, the world’s five Blue Zones are the places where people frequently live to 100 or more. These destinations are: Okinawa in Japan; Sardinia in Italy; Ikaria in Greece; Loma Linda in California; and Nicoya in Costa Rica. Interestingly, the people who live in these places all share certain lifestyle commonalities that contribute to their wellbeing and longevity. These include plant-rich diets, a strong sense of community, natural movement and a sense of purpose, even in old age.
Globetrender identified the tourism opportunity for Blue Zone Wellness several years ago and wrote about it last spring in an edition of our premium newsletter VOLT. Now, Netflix is debuting a documentary called Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones, which will no doubt accelerate interest in these destinations and the people that live there.
The Nantipa “Blue Wellness” programme “invites guests to immerse themselves in this micro-culture and explore natural ways to enjoy enhanced physical health, minimal stress, active days, and fulfilling encounters”.
The experience pairs Nantipa hospitality with the following key Blue Zone pillars:
Put Loved Ones First: The Nantipa Blue Wellness experience can accommodate families, friends or generations of travellers with various options for accommodation in suites, bungalows and three-bedroom villas, along with engaging, inclusive activities.
Embrace your “Plan de Vida”: This sense of purpose has been identified as an element specific to the Nicoya Peninsula Blue Zone. Often identified as “why I wake up in the morning”, it’s a vital part of maintaining a positive outlook amongst elders in this Blue Zone community. As part of the experience, guests are encouraged to journal their thoughts and intentions to record, plan and ideate, while distancing themselves from digital devices to remove external noise.
Mind-Set to Relax: As stress management is a key component to Blue Zone longevity, the experience begins each day with a moment of mindfulness. The experience includes a yoga and meditation programme where guests can choose between traditional practices or try a paired activity like acro-yoga either in the hotel’s brand new yoga Shala or on the beach surrounded by lush greenery and serene sounds.
Natural Activity: Exercise is woven into the day as part of a fun and laid back outdoor lifestyle. Guests can choose from a selection of bonding activities, including a rainforest hike followed by a dip in a waterfall, ziplining on a surfboard, a beach horseback ride, surf lessons, exploring the coastline by boat, snorkelling over an underwater volcano, or working up an appetite on a fishing trip.
Social Culture: Being part of a community makes humans feel comfortable and connected, and is shown to have lasting health benefits. To connect guests with the local culture, the package also includes the opportunity to visit a local family or one of the local sodas to learn more about traditional Nicoyan culture first hand.
Connect with Mother Nature: Spiritual connection with nature is a way of life at Nantipa, which means protecting Santa Teresa for all beings who call it home. During their stay, guests can volunteer at local non-profit coastal ranch Cirenas, either in the turtle hatchery or at their permaculture and medicinal gardens.
Alternatively, guests can enjoy a moment of solitude discovering their own Robinson Crusoe beach in the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, Costa Rica’s first protected nature conservation lands. Back at Nantipa, organised beach clean-ups help to clear microplastics from the ocean, before guests are rewarded with a fresh tropical fruit smoothie.
Sleep Right: None of this will make any difference without quality sleep allowing our bodies time to heal, recover, consolidate memories and improve motor skills. Guests can prepare for sleep with a cup of fresh herbal tea and daily in-room massage or reflexology treatment before being lulled to sleep by the natural sounds of the ocean.
Eat Local, Not Late: While nutrition is central to Blue Zone longevity, it’s not simply what, but also when you eat. The Blue Wellness experience helps guests shape their day the Blue Zone way: from a traditional breakfast of gallo pinto, fresh fruits and coffee, to an early evening dinner at Manzú enjoying a selection of blue zone dishes that combine locally sourced plant-based dishes with wild-caught fish direct from the sea.
Guests can also enjoy the benefits of drinking high-calcium Nicoyan water and a “sundowner” at 5pm, known as the optimum time to enjoy an alcoholic beverage (according to Blue Zone experts), as the sun sets over the Pacific.How much does it cost?
At Nantipa, the Blue Wellness experience is tailor-made to guest preferences based on the number of participants, length of stay and desired activities.
A three-night itinerary for two people could include yoga and meditation each morning, a private surf lesson, a hike to the Montezuma waterfall, volunteering at non-profit coastal ranch Cirenas, a local family visit, daily sunset cocktails, a private sunset dinner on the beach, and daily spa treatments (this would cost from US$3,485).Harry Hartman, general manager and owner of Nantipa, says: “Here in Nicoya we perhaps take our way of life for granted, but it’s something that’s often remarked upon by our guests. We’re an outdoor culture, we enjoy being with people, taking our time, and eating what grows naturally around us – pura vida.
“If we can piece together these seemingly simple elements to encourage people to live healthier, more mindful lives when they get home from a stay at Nantipa, then we become more than just a happy memory – we become a long-term lifestyle that expands beyond our Blue Zone.”
In a press release for Nantipa, which has been savvy to respond to this trend at this point in time, Globetrender founder Jenny Southan, says: “It’s great to see Hotel Nantipa recognising the natural assets it has all around it as one of the world’s five Blue Zones. Coming up with a programme like this puts it ahead of the curve and I expect to see other properties following suit.”